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Hardin Wouldn't Run
Wouldnt Run. I wrote this after reading the autobiography John Wesley Harden wrote
just before he was killed. Mr. Goddard Lieberson, President of Columbia Records, asked me
to write something for "the badmen" a volume in the Columbia Records legacy
collection he produced no long ago. I was late getting the song in, so we saved for this
album. John Wesley Hardin, a desperado, married Jane Bowen, the two were on the train
headed for Pensacola when Hardin was arrested. He was imprisoned at Huntsville Texas, for
fifteen years. Jane waited faithfully but died a few months before her husbands
pardon. In prison, Hardin studied law and open a law office in EL Paso soon after his
pardon. Clients were few. Juarez, Mexico, and its women were handy, and booze was
plentiful. John Selmans, a local constable had pistol-whipped Selmans son.
Here are some more definitions that will
help you under stand the song better; Plow-handle > the drawing hand; plow-handle is a
nickname for the shape of the stock on the colt single-action army revolver. ( Col. Samuel
Colt invented the revolver; his first one was a five-shooter, not a six. He said he got
the idea from watching the paddle wheel of a ship of a ship going to India on in 1835) .
Skin his gun > a fast draw Tophand > The boss or number-one man, an expert; Goose
Hair > Feather Bed ; Red Eye > Whiskey
program presents Johnny Cash as singer and narration in an imaginative
travelogue across America. Ride This Train is not, as might be supposed, a
collection of train songs. It is a provocative tour of the country through
narration and song. Through the background runs the haunting sound of the
now vanishing steam locomotives and their whistles, sounds that used to
echo through the nights of small towns and across the empty plains. Most
of the people this story tells about are vanished now, too, but they have
left their mark on America, and Johnny Cash sings about them with uncommon
artistry and sympathy. The travelogue begins with a recital of place-names
of America, majestic in their artless poetry, and continues with the
thundering names of the Indian tribes who lived here first. The Johnny
Cash boards the train, stopping first at a small town in the mining
country of Kentucky. He presents a brief character sketch of a boy whose
father is a miner – when he comes home “nothing is clean but the
whites of his eyes” and whose ambition is to follow that calling.
“Loading Coal” tells the story of a miner who never expects to get
rich, but still follows the tradition of his family. The Train then moves
westward into the prairies, where we meet the outlaw John Wesley Hardin,
whose murderous life is described with candor. Then we meet another
Westerner, a saddle tramp who rides an Old Paint. His life is nearly
spent, he misses his daughters and wife, but he tries to keep on singing
“Slow Rider”. Johnny Cash next takes us still farther west, to Oregon,
into lumberjack country, and outlines a young man’s first day as a
high-climber. Among the lessons he learns is “Don’t Cut Timber On A
Windy Day” (Lumberjack). Then the fabulous engine carries the train
south and east, to the swamps and forest of Louisiana, where the Acadians
settled in 1788. Johnny Cash presents his own composition, a tragic ballad
of (Dorraine Of Ponchartrain),
the black-eyed beauty who was lost in a boat amid the choppy waves of the
What folks casually call a "Dobro" is technically a resonator
guitar - Dobro is actually the brand name of most popular type, made by
the Gibson company. The name is short for the Dopyera Brothers, the
siblings who produced the first resonator guitar in 1927.
Now the train goes
northward, up to Mississippi and its levees and the constant fight against
flood waters. In this sequence Johnny Cash sings his own version of
“Going To Memphis”, a striking song of the convict work-gangs with
remarkable contrast between the abjection of its lyrics (My brother was
killed for a deed I did but I disremember what ), and its urgent rhythm.
Eastward, now, the South Carolina. Here Johnny Cash sketches the delights
of going of going to a county fair in a buckboard, and the pleasure of a
child in listening to dance music after judging events are conclude. The
song is Johnny’s own When “Papa Played The Dobro”, the dobro being
an old-fashioned metal-stringed instrument, similar to the guitar. Papa
didn’t know much about music by real standards, but when he played it
was worth sitting up for ! Arkansas is the next stop in this remarkable
journey. Johnny Cash describes the cotton land, particularly the old days
of tall cotton, through the eyes of an enlightened slave owner, and sings
a work-song about a good boss, “Boss Jack” and his kindness to the
people who worked for him. Once more the train rumbles across America,
stopping at last in Iowa, where the influx of Irish immigrants is noted,
with a special accent on the interdependence of arrivals in the New World.
The story of “Old Doc Brown” is recited by Johnny Cash, and although
the trip is now over, echoes of American past remain vivid.
brilliant performance is in this program is yet another in his steadily
growing list of achievements. The writer of any successful songs, he also
a performing artist of unusual accomplishment.
This song was bought to me
by folk singer Jack Elliott. I wrote most of the songs dialogue. Its is eight
years old and to my knowledge has never been recorded Jack recorded "The Ballad Of
Charles Guiteau" about a man who shot President Garfield.
PRESIDENT - JAMES A.
20TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
This Illustration To The Right Shows The
Events Of July 2, 1881 When President Garfield Was Shot While Waiting For A Train to Take
Him From Washington DC. To A Speaking Engagement Secretary Of State James C. Blaine,
Accompanying The President, Pointed Out The Assassin Charles J. Guiteau, Who Was Tried And
Hanged in 1881. Garfield Died On September 19,1881, At A Summer Resort In New Jersey.