Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

“Freight Train”: Duane Eddy + Steam

When my son was young, I sure got a lot of mileage out of Buffalo Bop’s bootleg compilation of American train song 45s – Choo Choo Bop.

Choo Choo BopRusty Draper’s version of “Freight Train” is only one of many highlights on this packed 29-song set that includes a bonus track of vintage steam train recordings.  Striking how many competing versions of “Freight Train” were released in 1957 alone – over a dozen.  Even though the song is attributed to two individuals with the surnames James & Williams, the simple truth of the matter is that folk musician & songwriter, Elizabeth Cotten, is the acknowledged author of “Freight Train” – a song written in the early 20th century that only became popular during the British skiffle & American folk revival era.

Duane Eddy would put together his own fetching version with strings in 1969 – produced by Jimmy Bowen and arranged by Glen D. Hardin:

“Freight Train”     Duane Eddy     1969

This single – backed with “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” (which features 6-string bass) – would bubble under at #110 in 1970.

Duane Eddy Train 45Link to other train songs profiled on Zero to 180.

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