Traditional - WABASH CANNONBALL

First performance: 01/11/1980


Coverinfo

Bruce played the song 2 times as a snippet:
 
during THE DETROIT MEDLEY
 
1980-11-01 Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, LA
 
 
 
Following the show Springsteen donates $5,000 to the Second Harvest Food Bank, a Nashville charity that provides food for the poor. 
 
 
 
 

Songinfo

"The Great Rock Island Route", also known as "Wabash Cannonball", is the title of an American folk song that describes the scenic beauty and predicaments of the Wabash Cannonball Express as it traveled on the Great Rock Island train route. Over many years, this popular song's music has remained unchanged, while the verses have been updated by song artists. As early as 1882, sheet music titled "The Great Rock Island Route" was credited to J. A. Roff. This version and all subsequent versions contain a variation of this chorus:

"Now listen to the jingle, and the rumble, and the roar,
As she dashes thro' the woodland, and speeds along the shore,
See the mighty rushing engine, hear her merry bell ring out,
As they speed along in safety, on the "Great Rock-Island Route."

A rewritten version by William Kindt appeared in 1904 under the title "Wabash Cannon Ball". The Carter Family made one of the first recordings of the song in 1929, though it was not released until 1932. Another popular version was recorded by Roy Acuff in 1936.

Other cover versions

In addition to The Carter Family's 1929 recording and Roy Acuff's 1936 recording, many hillbilly artists recorded "The Wabash Cannonball" during the Great Depression era of the 1930s and 1940s.
 

Bruce on the artist

Lyrics

From the great Atlantic ocean to the wide Pacific shore
She climbs a flowery mountains o'er the hills and by the shore
She's mighty tall and handsome she's known quite well by all
She's a regular combination on the Wabash Cannonball
Listen to the jingle, the rumble and the roar
As she glides along the woodland o'er the hills and by the shore
Hear the mighty rush of the engine hear those lonesome hoboes call
Traveling through the jungle on the Wabash Cannonball
Well she came down from Birmingham one cold December day
As she pulled into the station you could hear all the people say
She's from Tennessee she's long and she's tall
She came down from Birmingham on the Wabash Cannonball
Here's to daddy Claxton may his name forever stand
And always be remembered in the courts throughout the land
His earthly race is over and the curtains round him fall
We'll carry him home to Dixie on the Wabash Cannonball
Listen to the jingle, the rumble and the roar
As she glides along the woodland o'er the hills and by the shore
Hear the mighty rush of the engine hear those lonesome hoboes call
Traveling through the jungle on the Wabash Cannonball