Casey Jones 

by Wallace Saunders, oral tradition elements, tune from Carl Sandburg's American Songbag,
reworked by Andrew Calhoun from the historical record. John Luther Jones, born in Cayce, KY, died in a wreck on April 30, 1900.  Recorded on Grapevine.

Come all you railroaders for I want you to hear 
A story told of an engineer; 
Casey Jones was the hogger's name, 
On the Illinois Central, he rode to fame. 

He pulled into Memphis on Number Four, 
The engine foreman met him at the roundhouse door; 
Said, "Joe's got sick, can't make his run 
I'm asking you to double back on Number One." 

Out of South Memphis yard on the fly, 
His fireman Sim Webb said, "You got a white-eye," 
All the switchmen knew by the whistle's moans 
That the man at the throttle was Casey Jones. 

Pulling out an hour and a quarter late, 
Making up time at a breakneck rate. 
He turned to his fireman, and said, "All right, 
She's got her high-heeled slippers on tonight." 


Around a curve, in the pouring rain, 
He spied the lights of a stalled freight train; 
He turned to his fireman, with a face of ash, saying, 
"Sim, you better jump, she's going to crash." 

With his warnin' whistle and his whining brake, 
Vaughan, Mississippi went wide awake; 
Sim Webb jumped but Casey stayed on, 
He's a good engineer but he's dead and gone. 

His wife and family got the news, 
How he saved the passengers and crews; 
They buried him in Jackson, Tennessee,
Close by the tracks of the old IC. 

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