The story of how Arlo Guthrie recorded the City of New Orleans.
"Later in 1971, Goodman was playing at a Chicago bar called the Quiet Knight as the opening act for Kris Kristofferson. Kristofferson, impressed with Goodman, introduced him to Paul Anka, who brought Goodman to New York to record some demos. These resulted in Goodman signing a contract with Buddah Records.
All this time, Goodman had been busy writing many of his most enduring songs, and this avid songwriting would lead to an important break for him. While at the Quiet Knight, Goodman saw Arlo Guthrie, and asked to be allowed to play a song for him. Guthrie grudgingly agreed, on the condition that Goodman buy him a beer first; Guthrie would listen to Goodman for as long as it took Guthrie to drink the beer. Goodman played "City of New Orleans", (original lyrics) which Guthrie liked enough that he asked to record it. Guthrie's version of the song became a Top 20 hit in 1972, and provided Goodman with enough financial and artistic success to make his music a full-time career. The song, about the Illinois Central's City of New Orleans train, would become an American standard, covered by such musicians as Johnny Cash, Judy Collins, and Willie Nelson, whose recorded version earned Goodman a posthumous Grammy Award for Best Country Song in 1985. A French translation of the song, "Salut Les Amoureux", was recorded by Joe Dassin in 1979. According to his wife, the song began as Goodman in his imagination wandered all the way to New Orleans while on a train from Chicago to visit her elderly grandmother in Mattoon, Illinois."
Roy Acuff was the King of real Country music and train songs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0QXyYK1FAU
Wabash Cannonball,wreck of old 97, Fireball Mail, Freight Train Blues,Pan American queen, NT to Memphis and many more. Johnny Cash was a close second.
The Rock Island Road, The City of New Orleans, The Wreck of Old 97 - its near cousin - The Man Who Never Returned - & - my own version - The Wreck of Tinker Belle (about the time I split a switch on the Dry Gulch RR), This Train Is Bound For Glory, 500 Miles, I'm Goin' Home on Mornin' Train, and Life Is Like a Mountain Railway.
Similar question was asked on the Chaski RR board last week.
The "BEST" railroad music?
The best, and I do mean BEST railroad music has very few words at all.
The only words are "All aboard" and "Highball".
The music is made by just 2 "musicians" and a Conductor. The Conductor stands on his podium (otherwise known as the rear platform of a caboose) using a coal-oil lantern as his baton to give the downbeat to the 2 musicians (otherwise known as the Engineer and Fireman) at the other end of the concert hall (otherwise known as the cab of a steam locomotive) where they merely release the music from the iron, steel and brass instrument.
Now THAT is MUSIC! And cannot be beat by any bellowing human voice.
Variations in engine characteristics and operating modes is like the variations between Bach, Beethoven, Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky and Mozart. All delicious to hear.
And to be sure no one mistakes the compareson... modern music compares to a Diesel garbage truck; Elvis, a donkey braying and rap are just noise and just do not compare to the symphonic sounds of a steam locomotive.