LININ TRACK

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs
  • LININ TRACK
    One of the first version’s of “Linin Track” appears in John A. Lomax & Alan Lomax
    ‘American Folk Ballads’ Macmillan 23rd Printing 1972 under the title ‘Tie-shuffing
    Chant’. The gang leader sings first line of each verse. The Lomaxes provided the
    following illuminating description of lining track:
    ‘Tie shuffling’ is the lining or straightening out of the railroad track. To understand the
    work-rhythm that forms the chant it will be necessary to describe Henry Trevelyan’s
    section gang as it worked to the tune. Henry, the foreman, stooped over and squinted off
    down the shining rail; then stood up and bawled out directions to his gang in the
    impossibly technical language of the railroad. They, with heavy bars off down the track,
    jammed their lining bars down under the rail on the inner side, and braced against them.
    One of their number, a handsome yellow man, when he was sure they were ready to
    heave, threw back his head and sang. On the first and next to last beat of every verse,
    each man threw his weight against his bar; the refrain was repeated until Henry, who had
    kept his eye on the rail meanwhile, shouted his directions about the next ‘johnnyhead’. At
    that signal, the song was broken off , the gang stopped heaving, and the whole scene was
    repeated a few yards on down the track”.
    Ho, boys, is you right?
    I done got right
    All I hate about linin’ track
    These ol’ bars ’bout to bust my back
    Chorus:
    Ho, boys, cancha line ’em track
    Ho, boys, cancha line ’em track
    Ho, boys, cancha line ’em track
    Let’s see Eloise go linin’ track
    Down in the holler below the field
    Angels are workin’ on my chariot wheel
    Chorus
    Mary and the baby were settin’ in the shade
    Thinkin’ of the money that I ain’t made
    Chorus
    Well, I bin on the river, nineteen and ten
    But I didn’t have no women like the drivin’ men
    Chorus
    Moses stood on the Red Sea shore
    He was battin’ at the waves with a two-by-four
    Chorus
  • Well if I could I surely would
    Stand on the rock where Moses stood
    Chorus
    Mary, Marthy, Luke and John
    Well all them ‘ciples now they’re dead and gone
    Chorus
    Well you keep talkin’ ’bout the break ahead
    Ain’t said nothin’ ’bout my hog an’ bread
    Chorus
    Ho, boys, is you right?
    I done got right
    All I hate about linin’ track
    These ol’ bars ’bout to bust my back
    Chorus