Wreck of the Old '97
by Johnny Cash & The Johnny Cash Band
Lyrics and Meaning
Well they gave him his orders at Monroe Virginia sayin' Steve you're way behind time
This is not 38 this is old 97 you must put her into Spencer on time
Then he turned around and said to his black greasy fireman shovel on a little more coal
And when we cross that White Oak Mountain watch old 97 roll
[ guitar ]
But it's a mighty rough road from Lynchburg to Danville
With a line on a three mile grade
It was on that grade that he lost his air brakes see what a jump he made
He was goin' down the grade makin' 90 miles an hour his whistle broke into a scream
He was found in the wreck with his hand on the throttle
A scalded to death by the steam
[ dobro ]
Then the telegram come to Washington station and this is how it read
Oh that brave engineer that run old 97 he's a layin' in old Danville dead
So now all you ladies you better take a warnin' from this time on and learn
Never speak harsh words to your true lovin' husband
He may leave you and never return
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