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American Ballads and Folk Songs
Casey Jones was a good engineer,
ToP his fireman not to have no fear,
All I want's a lil water an' coal,
Peep out de cab an' see de drivers roll,
Oh, see de drivers roll, see de drivers roll,
Peep out de cab an' see de drivers roll.
On a Sunday mornin' it begins to rain,
'Round de curve come a passenger train,
ToP his fireman he'd better jump,
Kase dose two locomotives is boun' to bump,
Boun' to bump, boun' to bump,
Kase dose two locomotives is boun' to bump.
But although "Casey Jones" may have originated as Cornelius Steen says that it did, it had its roots in an old ballad tradition—
"There's many a man killed on the railroad, And laid in his lonesome grave."
The following scraps, whether they were fathered by "Casey Jones" or whether "Casey Jones" is only one among many similar ballads, attest to the vigorousness of this tradition.
THE WRECK OF THE SIX-WHEEL DRIVER*
Joseph Mickel was a good engineer, Told his fireman, well, oh, not to fear. All he wanted was to keep her good and hot. Says, "We'll make Paris 'bout four o'clock." Says, "We'll make Paris 'bout four o'clock."
* Contributed by H. M. Harris, who learned it in 1906 from a Negro working in the cotton field.