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Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Thursday, September 8, 2005

The Singing Brakeman on Railroads

Texas_and_pacific If he hadn't died of tuberculosis at the age of 35, the first true country music star, James Charles "Jimmie" Rodgers, would be 108 today.  The "Singing Brakeman," born in Pine Springs, Mississippi, and raised in Meridian, got his nickname from his work on the railroads before disease made him turn to music.  Here's his ode to some of the great old railroads of his day.  (Images: Wikipedia)

                 Jimmie the Kid
              Words and music by
         Jimmie Rodgers & Bob Neville

I'll tell you a story of Jimmie the Kid.
He's a brakeman, you all know.
He was born in Mississippi, away down south,
And he flagged on the T. & N.O.

He yodeled to fame on the Boston Maine,
The Wabash, and the T.P.
From the old Grand Trunk to the Cotton Belt,
He yodeled on the Santa Fe.

On the Lehigh Valley, he yodeled awhile,
Then he went to the Nickel Plate.
From the old Lake Shore and the Erie Line,
He yodeled to a Cadillac Eight.

He yodeled his way to the C. & A.
The Lackawanna and I.C.
He rode a rattler called the Cannon Ball
Then he yodeled on the M.K. & T.

[Click on "continue reading" for the key to the railroads mentioned.]

Missouri_kansas_texas T& N.O.:  Texas & New Orleans
Boston Maine:  Boston & Maine
Wabash:  Wabash Railroad
T.P.:  Texas & Pacific
Grand Trunk:  Grand Trunk Railway
Cotton Belt:  Cotton Belt Line
Santa Fe:  Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe
Lehigh Valley:  Lehigh Valley Railroad
Nickel Plate:  New York, Chicago & St. Louis
Lake Shore:  Lake Shore & Michigan Southern
Erie Line:  Erie Railroad
C. &. A.:  Chicago & Alton
Lackawanna:  Delaware, Lackawanna & Western
I.C.:  Illinois Central
M.K. & T.:  Missouri, Kansas & Texas (also called the “Katy”)

The "Cadillac Eight" was a popular touring sedan during the Depression.  (Image: Wikipedia)

[Frank Snyder]

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