The Wabash Cannonball!

The Wabash Cannonball! 

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“The Wabash Cannonball” is an American folk song about a fictional train, thought to have originated in the late nineteenth century. Its first documented appearance was on sheet music published in 1882, titled “The Great Rock Island Route” and credited to J. A. Roff. All subsequent versions contain a variation of the 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. The song has been covered many times by many artists over the years.

From the great Atlantic ocean to the wide Pacific shore
From the queen of flowing mountain to the south bell by the shore
She mighty tall and handsome and know quite well by all
She’s a combination on the Wabash Cannonball

She came down from Birmingham one cold December day
As she rolled in the station you could hear all the people say
There is a girl form Tennessee she long and she tall 
She came down from Birmingham on the Wabash Cannonball

Our the western states are dandies so the people all ways say 
From New York to St. Louis and Chicago by the way
From the hills of Minnesota where the rippling waters fall
No changes to be taken on the Wabash Cannonball 

Here’s to daddy Claxton may his name forever stand 
And always be remembered in the courts of Alabam
His earthly race is over and as the curtain around him fall
We’ll carry him Home in victory on the Wabash Cannonball

Listen to the jingle the rumble and the roar 
As she glides along the woodland through the hills and by the shore 
hear the rush of the mighty engine hear the lonesome hobos call 
You’re traveling through the jungle on the Wabash Cannonball

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The Wabash Cannonball 698

The song “The Wabash Cannonball” is part of
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll list!

There was a “Wabash Cannonball” Rollercoaster at the Opryland USA Theme Park 1975-1997:

It is a signature song of the Stephen F. Austin State University Lumberjack Marching Band, the Kansas State University Marching Band, the University of Texas Longhorn Band, and of the Indiana State University Marching Sycamores, as ISU is close to the Wabash River. It was also used as the theme song by the USS Wabash (AOR5). There was a B-17 Bomber that flew in World War II named The Wabash Cannonball and Lionel Toys produced a signature named train set.

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Lionel Wabash Cannonball Train Set

NOTE: The train was named after the song, not the other way around!
In the wake of the song’s popularity, the Wabash Railroad named its express run between Detroit and St. Louis as the Wabash Cannonball 1949 – 1971.

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Wabash ‘Cannonball’ Steam Locomotive 2800 at Pine Junction 26 October 1947 Harry Zilmer/ Strombeck Collection.

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Wabash Cannonball GP7 475 two tone grey & blue with the flag herald Springfield, Illinois 15 August 1965

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The Wabash Cannonball!

Benny Martin, John Hartford & Roy Huskey (this is great!)

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FlashbackFriday! Janis Joplin’s Psychedelic 1964 Porsche 356c Cabriolet

FlashbackFriday!

Janis Joplin’s Psychedelic 1964 Porsche 356c Cabriolet

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Janis Joplin’s Porsche 356c Cabriolet in the Lobby of the Grammy Museum at L.A. Live

Janis Joplin purchased a used 1964 Porsche 356c Cabriolet for $3500 from Beverly Hills car dealer Estes-Zipper in 1968. She paid Dave Richards, one of her roadies, $500 to give the Porsche a psychedelic face lift. Completed in one month and titled “The History of the Universe.” The car and its paint job (a base coat of Candy Apple Red with portraits of Big Brother and the Holding Company, her astrological sign Capricorn, “The Eye of God” design on the hood, butterflies, jellyfish and a Northern California scene on the side doors) became one of the most recognizable vehicles in San Francisco.

The Porsche was stolen in 1969 and partially repainted before being found.  When the stolen car was recovered, the paint job was restored because they were able to remove the new paint from the clearcoat with little damage to the original artwork underneath.

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Janis Lyn Joplin aka “Pearl” RIP (January 19, 1943 – October 4, 1970)

After Janis’ death in 1970, the car was used by her manager Albert Grossman. And then in 1973 ownership of the car went to her siblings, Michael and Laura Joplin in Ohio, who shared it for about 30 years. Michael rebuilt the original engine and returned the car to the original dolphin gray color (although some say it was originally oyster white). Working from photographs, artists Jana Mitchell and Amber Owen, restored Dave’s original artwork in 1990 and the 4-speed manual transmission was rebuilt and restored. The family loaned the Porsche to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when Janis was inducted in 1995 and it was exhibited in museums until 2015. We saw it and took the above photograph in the Lobby of the Grammy Museum at L.A. Live in Los Angeles in 2013 (see our previous Blog).

NOTE: Dec. 10, 2015 – A 1964 Porsche 356 that once belonged to the rock singer Janis Joplin sold at auction for $1.76 million (the highest price ever paid for any Porsche 356 at auction). The car had been expected to sell for between $400,000 and $600,000. The sale price includes a 10% commission for Sotheby’s auction house. According to the family, the proceeds from the auction will be used to support social programs in Janis’s memory.

“Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.”

Sotheby’s did not say who bought Janis’ car and the buyer has not come forward.

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Janis’ Porsche at the “Driven by Disruption” Auction at Sotheby’s