Sung by: Roland Taylor, with George T. Jones, Matt Darnell, and Ernest Bruce, instrumental
Recorded in Poughkeepsie, AR 9/8/61

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Well, they gave him his orders at Monroe, Virginia,
Saying, “Steve, you’re way behind time.
This is not 38, but it’s old 97;
You can put her into Spencer on time.”

Well, he turned around and said to his big greasy fireman,
“Hey, shovel on a little more coal,
And when we cross that wide old mountain,
You can watch old 97 go.”

It’s a mighty rough road from Lynchburg to Danville,
On a line of a three-mile grade.
It was on that grade that he lost his . . .
You see what a jump that he made.

He was going down the grade, making ninety miles an hour,
And his whistle broke into a scream.
He was found in the wreck, his hand on the throttle,
And was scalded to death by the steam.

Come, all you ladies, you’d better take a warning
From this time on and learn,
Never speak harsh words to your true love or husband;
They may leave you and never return.

Also found in Randolph, Vol. IV, #683, “The Wreck of the Southern Old 97”; Brown, Vol. II, #217, “The Wreck of the Old Ninety-Seven.”

All Songs Recorded by John Quincy Wolf, Jr., unless otherwise noted

The John Quincy Wolf Folklore Collection
Lyon College, Batesville, Arkansas
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