All The Live Long Day.

Meanderer

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"I've Been Working on the Railroad" is an American folk song. The first published version appeared as "Levee Song" in Carmina Princetonia, a book of Princeton University songs published in 1894. The verses that generally constitute the modern version of the song are:

I've been working on the railroad
All the live-long day.
I've been working on the railroad
Just to pass the time away.

Can't you hear the whistle blowing,
Rise up so early in the morn;
Can't you hear the captain shouting,
"Dinah, blow your horn!"

Dinah, won't you blow,
Dinah, won't you blow,
Dinah, won't you blow your horn?

Dinah, won't you blow,
Dinah, won't you blow,
Dinah, won't you blow your horn?

Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
Someone's in the kitchen I know
Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah
Strummin' on the old banjo!

Singin' fee, fie, fiddly-i-o
Fee, fie, fiddly-i-o-o-o-o
Fee, fie, fiddly-i-o
Strummin' on the old banjo.
 

Meanderer

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I have a hard time imagining a time when people measured their "work shift" not by the hour, but by the day! "Working on the railroad all the live long day", did not refer to the trains and train workers, but the work gangs and men who laid the track and those who put in a long hard day's work, each and every day.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I've_Been_Working_on_the_Railroad



Joliet, Illinois, circa 1901. "Chicago & Alton Railroad. Track elevating at grade crossing."
 

Meanderer

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Some of the most well known traditions of the University of Texas: "The Eyes of Texas"

In 1903, two UT students, Lewis Johnson and John Lang Sinclair, collaborated to write a University song (to be sung to the tune of "I've been working on the railroad". As the work progressed, the two decided to make the song a joke on UT President William Prather, who became the University's president in 1899, had attended Washington College in Virginia (now Washington and Lee University), and often heard its president at the time - General Robert E. Lee - tell the students, "Remember, the eyes of the South are upon you." Prather particularly liked this phrase, and decided to end his inaugural speech as UT president with the words "the eyes of Texas are upon you."

http://www.texasexes.org/uthistory/traditions.aspx?tradition=eyesoftexas

 

Meanderer

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This, the earliest known recording is by the Sandhills Sixteen, released by Victor Records in 1927. You will notice some different words in this version. "All the life-long day", and "Dinah, blow my horn", and "strummin' on her old banjo".

 
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Meanderer

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...thanks Nancy! I am just trying to live the life of the hobo and see what's around the next bend. The picture of the Joliet work gang, a few posts back seems to have died, so I am re-posting it.:) If you click on the link, and click on the larger picture you can see more details of the 12 men in the scene, just like your sitting there on your horse.:)
View attachment 11513
Joliet, Illinois, circa 1901. "Chicago & Alton Railroad. Track elevating at grade crossing."
http://www.shorpy.com/node/10034
 
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Meanderer

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You would think that anyone could sing the song "I've been working on the railroad"....but you would be wrong.

This first one is a teen-age rock group of wanna-bees!:) The second offering is from Alfred Jackson, a very senior Boy Scout...who just didn't seem "prepared"!:) Two different trains...on two different grades...at two different speeds!:) Enjoy!




 

Meanderer

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The African-American Railroad Experience

What I found interesting in the Gainesville Maintenance Crew photo, below was the Crew boss....well fed, White collar, watch chain and of all things....a quite stylish umbrella! Then I thought...to keep the rain and sun off of him I suppose! ...course they may all have dressed for "picture day"!:)


Above: Gainesville Midland track maintenance crew, CA. `1890


Portions of interview by
Maureen Cavanaugh with: THEODORE KORNWEIBEL (Professor Emeritus, African-American History, San Diego State University)
http://www.kpbs.org/news/2010/mar/23/african-american-railroad-experience/ (read entire interview transcript)

KORNWEIBEL: The entire southern railroad network that was built during the slavery era was built almost exclusively by slaves. Some of the railroads owned slaves, other railroads hired or rented slaves from slave owners. And the most shocking thing that I found was that women as well as men were actually involved in the hard, dangerous, brutal work of railroad construction and continued to work for railroads after they were built in lesser roles. But in the construction phase, little difference between the abilities, considered abilities, for black women, and white women would never have been considered for any of those jobs.

CAVANAUGH: Yes. Now you mentioned something that also I found extremely interesting, that these so-called hired slaves were working on the railroad side by side by laborers who were being paid for their work on the railroad. Is that correct?


KORNWEIBEL: That’s right. That’s right. Both black, free blacks, as well as white workers. There were some categories of work in which both slaves and free persons worked, like brakemen, like firemen stoking the firebox on a steam locomotive. Other jobs like maintaining the track were almost exclusively the province of black workers. And what’s significant here is that the pattern set during slavery, what jobs blacks could and could not do—that’s the wrong way of putting it—what blacks were allowed to do or not allowed to do, that then became the national pattern after the Civil War.

CAVANAUGH: …but what was the attraction of the railroads for freed slaves?


KORNWEIBEL: That’s a good question. The railroads were the best—in the south—were the best alternative to escaping two worse fates, either agriculture which often meant sharecropping, which meant you were in debt year after year after year, or domestic service. The railroads were the most important industry that blacks ever worked in. Blacks worked more – More blacks were railroaders than were steel workers, were coalminers, were loggers, you pick the industry that African-Americans participated in railroading, and in a wide sense, more than any other industry. So this is the—the—African-American industrial experience.

KORNWEIBEL: And for southern blacks especially to be able to get – it was low pay but to get a steady job, a steady income – There’s a blues that says ‘when you marry, marry a railroad man, every day Sunday, a dollar in your hand.’


CAVANAUGH: Let’s talk a little bit about George Pullman and these Pullman porters. He, George Pullman, pioneered sleeping accommodations on trains and, from what I understand from your book, by the late 1860s he was hiring only African-Americans for this type of service. Why was that?

KORNWEIBEL: Well, he saw that there was a large pool of former slaves who would be looking for jobs, looking for work, perhaps an alternative to agriculture. But he also had a very clear racial conception. He knew that most Americans, even most middle class, upper middle class Americans, didn’t have personal servants in their homes. The wealthy did, so the wealthy had an experience of being served by a liveried black waiter or butler, something like that. But to staff the Pullman cars with like workers in uniform and properly humble and all of that, that was something that the middle class had never experienced and now they could experience it for two days, three days, four days on a – depending on the length of the journey. And so part of the appeal to traveling on sleeping cars was to, in a sense, get out of your own class and into a higher class experience.

CAVANAUGH: So for African-Americans, this was an opportunity but at the same time it was also sort of being stereotyped as the servant class and having to take a lot of abuse.

KORNWEIBEL: Including the fact that many passengers didn’t bother to learn their personal names and addressed them as George. George was the term which was really an epithet for many porters.
 
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I hate to see pictures like that, but it goes to prove what things were like then. Poor guys.

The tall worker standing right behind the crew boss, has "contempt" written all over his face and I don't blame him.
(If looks could kill !)
 

Meanderer

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I hate to see pictures like that, but it goes to prove what things were like then. Poor guys.

The tall worker standing right behind the crew boss, has "contempt" written all over his face and I don't blame him.
(If looks could kill !)
Words just don't have the impact that a picture has! I made the same observation John, and I wondered how the crew boss reacted....when he saw the picture? It was 1890!
 

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[h=2]Susan Armstrong’s been working for the railroad By Karen Jones[/h]http://www.superlawyers.com/virginia/article/All-the-Livelong-Day/b5a6d400-b765-102a-a861-000e0c6dcf76.html
“I love seeing the expressions on the jurors’ faces,” Susan C. Armstrong says, “when I put on a hard hat, safety goggles and work boots and demonstrate some aspect of railroad operations.”

Armstrong, a partner at Troutman Sanders in Richmond, began working with railroads when she represented CSX, a Class 1 railroad, in 1986; but it was in 1988, while second-chairing a successful week-long trial in an anti-railroad venue, that her mentor, Jack Kay, decided she’d earned the privilege of membership in the National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel (NARTC). She fondly remembers her first meeting. “It was a very male-dominated group, but they seemed genuinely interested in sharing not only their war stories of past trials, but also the wisdom and knowledge they had gained through many years of hard work on behalf of railroads. … I’ll never forget the camaraderie of the group and how kind they were to this newcomer.”

Armstrong’s conversation is sprinkled with railroad vernacular, such as “knuckle” (the heavy piece of equipment that connects cars) and “EOT” (an end-of-train device mounted in lieu of a caboose). For her, the legendary romance of the railroad is very much alive. “There is something enticing about being out in a railroad yard, or in the operating compartment of a locomotive, or throwing a switch or picking up a knuckle,” she says.



“I’ll never forget the EOT case where the allegation was that the railroad negligently required an employee to handle an EOT that was”—here she makes air quotes— “‘too heavy for one man to carry by himself.’ I carried an EOT in each hand and had a bit of fun cross-examining the witness who made that statement.”
 
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Meanderer

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http://keyboardsforchrist.com/traintrack.html

“Throughout the years Folk music, trains, and railroads would hardly exist in this country without one another. Going back to the early days of the building of the railroads, and the introduction to train travel, from the early west to the times of the Depression, the vast variety of peoples traveled on trains in search of work. These immigrants, working class folks, told in song of the trains, tracks and places. Some of the greatest American folk songs of all time can be traced back to the building of the railroads'.”


“The song I've been working on the railroad, is a truly great song. For those who have ever even tried to move a railroad tie, you know what I mean. In my younger days, some 30 years ago I moved over 200 railroad ties to build walls around my property which are still solid today. I have family that worked for the railroad, on the track crew. To pull the spike, take the plate off, roll the rail and pick up the tie out of the ballast wow, unless you have done such, it is one of the hardest jobs ever”.


 

Meanderer

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I just learned that Rod Stewart has quite a train layout! ...and he is very private about letting the BBC get a look at it!:)



 

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