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Wreck of the Tennessee Gravy Train, song lyrics

Song: Wreck of the Tennessee Gravy Train(1)
Lyrics: Uncle Dave Macon(2)

Music: Uncle Dave Macon
Year: 1930(3)
Genre: Folk
Country: USA

The people of Tennessee want to know who wrecked our gravy train
The one we thought was run so well and now who can we blame
They want to know who greased the track and started it down the road
This same ol' train contained our money to build our highway roads

But now we're up against it and no use to raise a row
But of all the times I've ever seen, we're sure up against it now
The only thing that we can do is to do the best we can
Follow me, good people, I'm bound for the promised land

Now, I could be a banker without the least excuse
But look at the treasurer of Tennessee and tell me what's the use
We lately bonded Tennessee for just five million bucks
The bonds were issued and the money tied up and now we're in tough luck


Some lay it all on parties, some lay it on others you see
But now that you can plainly see what happened to Tennessee
For the engineer pulled the throttle, conductor rang the bell
The brakeman hollered 'all aboard' and the banks all went to Hell



1 - This is an account of the 1930 situation with Tennessee Governor Henry Horton awarding contracts without bids, the embezzlement of highway funds and the Caldwell Company Bank declaring bankruptcy leaving the state six million dollars in debt.

2 - Two short biographies on Uncle Dave Macon, this first one from PBS's American Roots Music and this second from the Encyclopedia Britannica.

3 - Released on Okeh records 45507, Dec. 17, 1930.