City of New Orleans

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Ken V
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City of New Orleans

Post by Ken V » Sat Jul 06, 2019 6:10 am

Ken W2KB wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 4:38 pm
Griff Murphey DDS wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:06 pm
fascinated with the idea of riding the "Illinois Centeal Monday morning rail..." that Arlo Guthrie sang of so eloquently.
Arlo and others covered this song. It was written and first performed by Steve Goodman after Steve rode the train. Here's a video of Steve performing it. :-D
I have a simple question which will surely be taken far and wide. As I and (hopefully) most will attest that the Arlo Guthrie rendition of this song is the de facto ultimate version. There have been many covers and Steve Goodman himself has rerecorded a few variations adopting some of Arlo's lyrics. One thing I won't abide is any cover which doesn't switch to "Good Night America" in the last verse. Lastly, John Denver totally butchered the lyrics to this great song.

Oh, the simple question? Which is better? The original lyric.... verse two, "passing towns that have no name" referring to no station signs, or Arlo's "passing trains that have no name"?
Last edited by Ken V on Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:01 am, edited 4 times in total.
Ken V. Moderator: Most things Canadian.
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Re: City of New Orleans

Post by irtredbirdr33 » Sat Jul 06, 2019 6:45 am

It's "passing trains that have no name". This is a reference to freight and lesser passenger trains.

Larry, RedbirdR33

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Re: City of New Orleans

Post by TomNelligan » Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:20 pm

I've always sort of preferred the original Steve Goodman recording, having heard Steve do it before Arlo made it a hit, but whoever does it, it's a great song.

Meanwhile, note that the Illinois Central's other premier train on the Chicago-New Orleans route, the Panama Limited, also has a song of its own, never a pop hit but known in some folk/blues circles. This is a half spoken/half sung blues piece written in the 1930s by Mississippi bluesman Bukka White and rearranged in the 1960s by Tom Rush. YouTube has several versions including White's original and old and new recordings by Rush. His 1965 original arrangement is here ; later he corrected the train's point of origin when performing the song.

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Re: City of New Orleans

Post by bostontrainguy » Sat Jul 06, 2019 10:13 pm

I haven't heard this great song in years and then there was Arlo Guthrie up there with the Boston Pops for the 4th of July Fireworks concert and what did he sing . . . Coming into Los Angeles (when is the last time you heard that?) and The City of New Orleans (which was a real pleasant surprise).

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