|Written by Paul D. Race for Family Garden Trains(tm)
Big Indoor Trains(tm), and Creek Don't Rise(tm)
City of New Orleans, a Classic Train Song from Family Garden Trains™
This page is dedicated to the City of New Orleans, a Steve Goodman song that has become far better known than its author. Goodman was a folksinger who accompanied McGovern (a Democratic candidate in the 1972 national election) on a train trip through the American heartland. He couldn't help noting the bittersweet aspects of rail travel in a day when everyone "important" was traveling by airplane.
The City of New Orleans itself had been an Illinois Central passenger train that ran between Chicago and New Orleans. In the early and mid 20th century, it conveyed many African Americans from the deep south to Chicago.
By the time Goodman rode that train, it had already seen better days. Afterwards, Amtrak changed the schedule, the kinds of passenger cars used, and even shortened its route for a time. Goodman's song, though, caused Amtrack to treat the train with a little bit more respect, I understand.
When Goodman sang this song for Arlo Guthrie, Arlo added it to his repertoire and it became one of his biggest hits. In fact, the "for sale" MP3 version of this song below includes Arlo's explanation of how the song came to him.
Though Goodman died in 1984, the song goes on, having been recorded by Willie Nelson, John Denver, and Jimmy Buffet, to name a few.
If you have a favorite train song, or a favorite performer that I've left out, please contact me and I'll try to track him down. Also, if you don't see the link for a particular song, hit refresh - it seems like Amazon can never populate all of the links at the same time.
A Note about Copyright - Though many of the songs on our Classic Train Songs pages are public domain, this song is still under copyright. So I can't legally publish the sheet music or provide a free recording of the song without somehow working out things with Steve Goodman's estate. However, lots of folks have the lyrics posted online, sometimes with the chords, so I'll post those and hope I'm not crossing any lines. Also, I've posted links to Arlo Guthrie's and Willie Nelson's performances of this song near the bottom of the page in case you aren't quite familiar with it and want to hear it all the way through. The chords are the ones I play when I perform this song in the key of D.
D A D
MP3 clips from Amazon
You-Tube Videos of This Song
The first link below goes to a great Willie Nelson/Highwayman performance. The second one goes to a live Arlo Guthrie performance. It gets taken down every so often and someone else puts it back up. So if the link breaks, do a search for it yourself and you may find it. The third link is young Steve Goodman, the composer himself, singing the song during a sound check for a local television show. It helps you see just what a loss it was to our community when he passed. The last video is one of Willie singing it with Sheryl Crow.
Creek Don't Rise Forum Page. Here's where we post information about updates and information that doesn't really fit anywhere on the Classic Train Songs site(yet).
When we get a question about train songs, we post it there, so other people can see it and respond if they want to. Of course, if you're signed up, you can post questions and replies yourself.
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