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Before George Strait was proclaimed the King of Country, Roy Acuff claimed the title as his own and it was definitely well-earned. A great lover of trains, it’s no wonder people most identified him with the traditional folk tune, “Wabash Cannonball“.
“Wabash Cannonball” tells the tale of a fictional train from the late nineteenth century. Though the song as been recorded numerous times, The Carter Family’s version being the first, Acuff’s rendition is thought to be the most definitive version. Recorded in 1936, Acuff’s version sold over 10 million times worldwide.
Sporting a mustard-colored coat, Acuff looks classy as he pours his exceptional talent into one of his most well-known songs. His high energy, up tempo performance and fiddlin’ prowess really makes a person want to join in on the hoedown. Every country music legend Hank Williams was impressed by Acuff. According to Hank Williams: The Biography, Williams once said:
“He’s the biggest singer this music ever knew. You booked him and you didn’t worry about crowds. For drawing power in the South, it was Roy Acuff, then God.”
Acuff proves just that with his timeless performance of “Wabash Cannonball“. His traditional folk music will always be missed, and always be remembered, just as the legend himself is.
From the great Atlantic ocean to the wide Pacific shore
From the queen of flowing mountain to the south bell by the shore
She’s mighty tall and handsome and know quite well by all
She’s the combination on the Wabash Cannonball
She came down from Birmingham one cold December day
As she rolled in the station you could hear all the people say
There’s a girl from Tennessee she’s long and she’s tall
She came down from Birmingham on the Wabash Cannonball
Our estern states are dandies so the people always say
From New York to St. Louis and Chicago by the way
From the hills of Minnesota where the rippling waters fall
No changes can be taken on the Wabash Cannonball
Here’s to daddy Claxton may his name forever stand
And always be remembered ’round the courts of Alabama
His earthly race is over and the curtains ’round him fall
We’ll carry home to victory on the Wabash Cannonball
Listen to the jingle the rumble and the roar
As she glides along the woodland through the hills and by the shore
Hear the mighty rush of the engine hear the lonesome hobos call
You’re traveling through the jungle on the Wabash Cannonball
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