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16 Coaches Long (including a new and informative vid by me)

Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:29 am

I couldn't find this song, or this early version, on YouTube, so I YouTube'd it myself. The comments below are also on YouTube.

Watch for the trains: that's when you hear the famous lines, which end the song.

YouTube uploader -- ME wrote:A version of an American ballad later called "Who's Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot?" and made widely known to folk music appreciators by Woody Guthrie. It also influenced The Carter Family's "Worried Man Blues." Guthrie's "train" has 100 coaches, the Carters' classic has the 16.
Later, Herman "Junior" Parker and Sun Records Producer Sam Phillips used the motif for a song they called "Mystery Train." It became a haunting blues about the long, black train that was 16 coaches long, and gone (though Parker sings "carry my baby from home") . . . "Mystery Train" was later worked up by Elvis Presley at Phillips' Sun Records in a version that tends to reverse the despairing tone of the song about the train that took his girl, and gone. Elvis sang that "it never will again, NO, not again!" Among some other lyrical and structural changes, Presley sang the older "and gone" about the train that "got (his) baby."
It has since become a standard rock 'n' roll piece.

P.S. -- I should have used a LONGER train! Aw, well, it looks nice.
P.P.S. -- It's in "Classic Artists" because it's not "the best of Elvis" on YouTube and suchlike. It's about classic artists, and the song.
Last edited by rjm on Fri Jan 06, 2012 9:18 am, edited 3 times in total.

Re: 16 Coaches Long (including a new and informative vid by

Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:32 am

So, while I made a YouTube for one of the earliest instances of the motif,

then this happened:

The now-famous motif is at about 1:36

And then, this happened:

And, then this happened:

"If anyone asks you, who composed this song
If anyone asks you, who composed this song/
Just tell them "who?"
And then you won't be wrong . . ."

Paraphrase from "Worried Man Blues"