The Rock Island Line

$3.25

traditional American
SATB (div) a cappella
Published by Fresh Ayre Music

“Rock Island Line” has had many different births, first appearing in 1929 sung by a quartet of railroad employees; recorded by Alan Lomax in 1934 in an Arkansas prison; and released by blues titan Leadbelly in 1937. It has since been covered countless times by artists such as Johnny Cash, Lonnie Donegan, The Weavers, Harry Belafonte, Little Richard, and is now part of the American folk music songbook.

This setting is not directly inspired by any previous performance, and the lyrics that it uses are taken from many different renditions. This arrangement is imagined to take place late at night with the singer watching the country rattle by through a darkened train car window. Keep it hushed and moody.

Perusal Score (click to view)

SKU: FAM-1083-01 Category:

Oh, the Rock Island Line, it is a mighty good road
The Rock Island Line, it is the road to ride
The Rock Island Line, it is a mighty good road
If you wanna take a ride, you got to ride it like you find it,
Get your ticket at the station for the Rock Island Line.

Well, I may be right and I may be wrong,
But I know you’re gonna miss me when I’m gone.

Oh, the Rock Island railway is a road of steel,
It’s a great long highway with a low-lit field,
When the train start a-runnin’ with a drivin’ power,
It goes from early mornin’ to the midnight hour,
The midnight hour.

Cloudy in the west and it looks like rain,
‘Round the curve come a passenger train,
North-bound train on a south-bound track,
He’s all right to leavin’ but he won’t be back.

Oh, the Rock Island Line, it is a mighty good road
The Rock Island Line, it is the road to ride
The Rock Island Line, it is a mighty good road
If you wanna take a ride, you got to ride it like you find it,
Get your ticket at the station for the Rock Island Line.

Well, A-B-C-double-X-Y-Z,
The cat’s in the corner, but he can’t see me,
You might see my baby, but you won’t see me.

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