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Leadbelly song, rumoured to have originated with a prison work gang he ran into as he was leaving Louisiana with John Lomax, about the railroad line out of New Orleans. It begins with a spoken introduction:

That Rock Island Line train, coming back this a-way. A traindriver, he pulls up to the toll-gate and the man hollers nicely what all he had on board, and he said:

I got cows, I got horses, I got hogs, I got sheep, I got goats, I got all live stock, I got all live stock!

Well, they said, you're all right boy, you don't have to pay no toll, and they gonna let that train on by. So, he goes on through the toll gate and as he goes through, he starts pickin' up a little bit of speed, pickin' up a little bit of steam. He got on through and he turns to look back at the man, and he says:

I done fooled ya!
I fooled you!
I got pig iron,
I got pig iron!
I got pig iron
Sung:chorus: Oh the Rock Island Line, she's a mighty good road
Oh the Rock Island Line, she's a road to ride
Oh the Rock Island Line is a mighty good road
If you want to ride her, gotta ride her like you're flyin'
Get your ticket at the station on the Rock Island Line

And it's A, B, C, W, X, Y, Z,
Cat's in the cupboard but she can't see me
chorus

Well I may be right and I may be wrong,
Lawd you gonna miss me when I'm gone
chorus

Jesus died to save our sins
Glory to God I'm gonna see him again
chorus

Moses stood on the Red Sea shore
smotin' that water with a 2 x 4
chorus


Addendum: I had considered messaging dirkg42 about this, but then realized he hasn't been here in over three years. I may still be wrong about the one line, but at least the 1939 Lomax recording of the Story Battle and Denny Johnson version of the song clearly has "like you're flying". Go figure.

A respectful correction (or difference of opinion): According to the Library of Congress liner notes compiled by the Lomaxes, and my own ears, the fourth line of the chorus should read "If you want to ride it, gotta ride it like you find it." I have no problem with anthropomorphizing the train route as her instead of it, but to say "ride her like your flyin'" suggests you better be fast if you want to get away, while ride her (or it) like you find her (ditto) suggests the next line more perfectly ("Get your ticket at the station on the Rock Island Line"). I know this is nitpicking - the important thing is that we keep the music alive - so I hope Gone Jackal will understand that my thanks to him for creating this node in the first place outweighs my small criticism a thousandfold.

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