’YouTube’ Facebook

Wreck of the Ol' 97

from by Tin Cup Rattlers

  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

      $1 USD  or more



On one cloudless morning I stood on the mountain,
Just watching the smoke below,
It was coming from a tall, slim smokestack
Way down on the Southern railroad.

It was that old 97, the fastest train
That had Ever run the Southern line,
All the freight trains and the passengers take the side for 97,
For she's bound to be at stations on time.

They gave him his orders at Monroe, Virginia,
Saying, "Steve, you're way behind time.
She is not the 38, but she's the old 97,
You must put her into Spencer on time."

He looked 'round and said to his black greasy fireman,
"Shovel in a little more coal,
When I take her across that old White Oak Mountain
You just watch Old 97 roll."

It's a mighty rough road from Lynchburg to Danville,
And the lie was a three-mile grade,
He was going down that grade when he lost his air brakes,
And you see what a jump that she made.

He was going down the grade making 90 miles an hour,
When his whistle broke into a scream,
He was found in the wreck with his hand on the throttle,
He was scalded to death by the steam.

Well the telegram came in from Washington Station,
And this is how it read.
Oh, that brave engineer who ran old 97,
He lays in old Danville dead.

Come all you ladies and hear my warning,
From this time on and learn.
Never speak a harsh word to your true loving husband.
He may leave you never to return.


from If My Luck Don't Change, released November 20, 2016



all rights reserved


Tin Cup Rattlers Chattanooga, Tennessee

Jeff and Marcy Paulson of the Tin Cup Rattlers love sharing old-time ballads, gospels, and folksongs in the tradition of their home in Southeast Tennessee. Their blend of clawhammer banjo, old-time harmonica, and mountain singing is original, yet demonstrates compelling reverence for tradition. This duo is drawn to time-honored tunes and their love for the music is infectious. ... more

contact / help

Contact Tin Cup Rattlers

Streaming and
Download help

Redeem code