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Freight Train

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A bit of fun, really - some practice at fingerstyle guitar. Two guitar tracks in the key of D both played on my steel strung Maton FG100. First track played in C with capo on second fret; second track played in G with capo on 7th fret. Electric bass added. Three vocal tracks. It was one of the first songs where I learnt to play the melody and the chords together, and I still often find my self playing it when I have a guitar in my hands. Hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed playing it!

The photo is from the ABC News web site.
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Freight Train

Freight train freight train goin' so fast
Freight train freight train goin' so fast
Please don't tell what train I'm on
So they won't know where I've gone.

Freight train, freight train, comin' round the bend
Freight train, freight train, gone again
One of these days turn that train around
Go back to my hometown.


One more place I'd like to be
One more place I'd love to see
To watch those old Blue Ridge Mountains climb
As I ride ol' Number Nine.


When I die please bury me deep
Down at the end of Bleecker Street
So I can hear ol' Number Nine
As she goes rollin' by.

Song Stats
Hits: 2491
Comments: 22
Fans: 12
Plays: 87
Downloads: 44
Votes: 1
Uploaded: Jun 06, 2011 - 09:27:44 AM
Last Updated: Jun 06, 2011 - 09:39:14 AM Last Played: Mar 19, 2017 - 03:04:04 PM
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Maton FG 100
Line 6 UX 2
Samson condenser mike
MacBook Pro
867-5309 said 2178 days ago (June 6th, 2011)
two different string tensions and intonations going at the same time - good idea -
smooth picking and smooth vocals -
harmonies accent this mix -
tracks blending harmoniously
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Philip18 said 2178 days ago (June 6th, 2011)
Much appreciated, Scott. I guess I've played the song a thousand times over the years and it's become fairly automatic for me - but I still like the tune!
mrattue said 2178 days ago (June 6th, 2011)
Enjoyed this one immensely! Fan of trains and picked guitar like most of us and this definitely hit the spot!

Left me wanting a little more, perhaps, and i might suggest that this could be extended a little? Different landscapes, maybe, with different moods? Want some more of those descriptive lyrics!

Nicely done, and very enjoyable as it is.

Cheers now

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Philip18 said 2178 days ago (June 6th, 2011)
Less is more?
I appreciate the comments and have to admit that I took out some repeats of the chorus so it wouldn't be too long! Like a lot of traditional songs there are various versions around, including extra verses, but I guess I saw it as a quick bit of guitar fun and didn't focus too much on the lyrics. No doubt you could do as you suggest and take it to different places. Next time maybe? Thanks for taking the time to listen!
magnatone said 2178 days ago (June 6th, 2011)
Freight Train
what a wonderful piece of music philip! i wouldn't mind at all if this was longer with some more development - or something - it's just so good!
Check out my latest song called Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen) and Variations
Philip18 said 2178 days ago (June 6th, 2011)
Much appreciated, Karen. In a way it's the sort of song that could be extended indefinitely - a piano solo, a banjo solo, a harmonica solo, a mandolin solo, a bit of violin, more verses. Maybe the next one in that genre should b a collab with all the MacJams folk to get a "round the campfire" feel? These old tunes are fun to play.
johnwhitehead said 2178 days ago (June 6th, 2011)
Freight Train
Nice rendition, Phillip. Like the the two guitar arrangement, and the multiple vocal tracks.

Please allow a correction about the song's provenance from a folk nerd and inveterate reader of liner notes.

Although this SOUNDS like a trad tune and has become a folk standard, it was actually written by Elizabeth Cotten (1895-1987).

Check out her bio-she has a great back story.

Check out my latest song called Wandering Blues
Philip18 said 2178 days ago (June 6th, 2011)
Thanks for the positive comments, John - and for the information about Elizabeth Cotten. I hope the song is out of copyright?! Can't tell from a search - although did note that one version attributed to Elizabeth Cotton has somewhat different words. Any advice on that would be much appreciated! I considered doing John Hardy instead (both were tunes I learnt early in my playing career). Is there anything I should know about the provenance of that one?
kindafishy said 2178 days ago (June 6th, 2011)
Love this
Great all around. Excellent guitar, excellent recording and mix.

Love the harmonies throughout the song.

Makes me feel like I'm on the VIA train, crossing the Canadian prairies. Brilliant.
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Philip18 said 2178 days ago (June 6th, 2011)
It's a great "rolling along" tune. Glad you enjoyed and thanks for listening!
PeterB7858 said 2178 days ago (June 6th, 2011)
Ture to style
Hi Philip, The two guitar tracks work very nicely together and I like your vocal work, too. It is very easy on the ear and true to the style of this song. I think the length is fine. It rolls along nicely for the 2 and a half minutes. The bass work adds solidity to the instrumental backing but just occasionally there is some unevenness in the picking that makes a few notes stand out a bit too much in the mix. Minor quibble though. Much enjoyed and downloaded. Talk soon, Peter.
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Philip18 said 2178 days ago (June 6th, 2011)
Picking on picking
Yes, I still haven't got the recording of the steel strung acoustic guitar quite as I'd like it to be. I have just bought a pickup from Amazon in an attempt to see if that will help get things a bit more even than recording into a microphone does! Of course, it could be the hands of the player getting out of control, too :-)

See you soon!
alackbass said 2178 days ago (June 6th, 2011)
Freight Train
What a nice surprise this was. I have a large folksong book that I purchased hoping to find some good material to sing with my students. This one stood out. So I set about learning it. Every now and again when I'm struggling to come up with an idea for a new song I consider doing an arrangement of this very song. I've never gotten around to it. But I'm glad you did. I really like the layered vocals and guitar solo!
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Philip18 said 2178 days ago (June 6th, 2011)
I appreciate the positive comments on the song, Andrew. It certainly has the structure that makes it suitable for children to sing. Even having some of them "Freight train" once per line repeatedly while others sing the lyrics should work? Good luck with your project. Children love group singing and are lucky to have a talented musician to work with them!
neilh79 said 2175 days ago (June 9th, 2011)
Freight Train
Classic tune and a good job, I've heard many versions of this tune (I play it a lot quicker!!) this is a fine arrangement. You are a very fine picker well done
Philip18 said 2175 days ago (June 9th, 2011)
I'd love to hear your quicker version - I'm going about as fast as I can and still get the lead-line notes clear, I think. It sure is a tune that can be done in all sorts of ways. Thanks for listening!
gadzooks said 2174 days ago (June 10th, 2011)
Freight Train
Nothing like a comfort zone to go back to. Great finger picking. You have done a nice job with the vocals and the harmonies. I enjoyed this.
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Philip18 said 2173 days ago (June 11th, 2011)
Much appreciated, Stan. I do like to mix up the posts with some new things and some old things - a fair representation of what I like to play generally!
Jerry_Quinn said 2168 days ago (June 16th, 2011)
Freight Train
Sweet! Very nice guitar playing and singing on a great old classic.
Check out my latest song called I Had a Dream Last Night w/ alackbass & ktb
Philip18 said 2167 days ago (June 17th, 2011)
Much appreciated, Jerry. I do like a lot of the old songs - the first single I ever bought was by the Kingston Trio, which says a bit about where I'm coming from... Thanks for listening and taking the time to comment.
issaquahbob said 2165 days ago (June 19th, 2011)
Most impressive
Have done this song for many a year myself and your very nice multi-voiced, multi-instrument version is really sweet sounding. I love the fullness of the recording too. What kind of mics are you using? The lead guitar break was very clean and I enjoyed the lead work during the verses too. Very hard to pull all these pieces together like this and make it sound so good.
Philip18 said 2164 days ago (June 20th, 2011)
Yes, it is fun to play the song! I sometimes get carried away with the multi everything, but on this sort of simple material it's probably easier to get away with it :-)

I'm using a Samson CO3 condenser mike for everything. Not a top of the range mike, but I'm happy with the guitar sound it captures.
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Name: Philip Gardner
Location: Melbourne Victoria Australia
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Played folk guitar then learnt jazz guitar in the 70s. Worked in folk joints, then pubs, restaurants and reception centres in bands, duos or solo. Now enjoying the opportunities that the digital age supplies to write and record.... [see more]

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