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Ridin' on the City of New Orleans
Illinois Central, Monday mornin' rail
Fifteen cars and fifteen restless riders
Three conductors and twenty-five sacks of mail
All along the south-bound odyssey
The train pulls out at Kankakee
And rolls along past houses, farms and fields
Passin' trains that have no names
And freight yards full of old black men
And the grave-yards of the rusted automobiles

Good morning America, how are you?
Say don't you know me, I'm your native son
I'm the train they call the City of New Orleans
And I'll be gone five-hundred miles when the day is done

Dealin' cards with the old men in the club car
Penny a point ain't no one keepin' score
Pass the paper bag that holds the bottle
Feel the wheels grumblin' 'neath the floor
And the sons of Pullman porters, and the sons of engineers
Ride their father's magic carpet made of steel
Mothers with their babes asleep, rockin' to the gentle beat
And the rhythm of the rails is all they feel

Good morning America, how are you?
Say don't you know me, I'm your native son
I'm the train they call the City of New Orleans
I'll be gone five-hundred miles when the day is done

Night time on the City of New Orleans
Changin' cars in Memphis, Tennessee
Halfway home, we'll be there by mornin'
Thru the Mississippi darkness rollin' down to the sea
But all the towns and people seem to fade into a bad dream
And the steel rails still ain't heard the news
The conductor sings his songs again
The passengers will please refrain
This train has got the disappearin' railroad blues.

Goodnight America, how are you?
Say don't you know me, I'm your native son
I'm the train they call the City of New Orleans
I'll be gone five-hundred miles when the day is done



Lyrics taken from http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/w/willie_nelson/city_of_new_orleans.html

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  • U
    +1
    UnregisteredMay 13, 2014 at 1:08 am
    Steve Goodman wrote this song, which has one of the greatest lyrics ever. Not Nelson! Better give credit where credits due. The song captures both train traveling and american history in an thoughtful and touching way. The song is both melancholic and optimistic at the same time. It's a true masterpiece in song writing craftsmanship. Steve Goodman was diagnosed with lung cancer during college. He died in 1984. He was only 36 years old. This song however will be played in radio stations all over the world a hundred years from now. Listening to this song makes me both sad and happy at the same time. "Good morning America how are ya - Dont you know me Im your native son". The lyrics touches the bottom of my soul even though I'm from an entirely different kontinent than the usa.
  • j
    +1
    Jerome ThomasJul 30, 2013 at 10:55 pm
    Great trains, like etiquette, non-obscene everyday conversation, and privacy are gone. A tragedy indeed. An even greater tragedy...I have lived to see it.
  • l
    Larry HefflinJul 10, 2013 at 7:57 pm
    If you have ridden a train from that era, you can feel the pain of those who lost so much by the demise of passenger trains pulled by steam engines
  • U
    UnregisteredAug 27, 2012 at 11:58 pm
    The real "railroad", i mean the "long haul railroad for passengers', is passing into the american history books. The cabooses are long gone. The dispatching towers are gone, given way to "bunkers" filled with "controllers" like the union pacific's in omaha. The original seven "majors" have combined to make mega railroad companies. This is a nostalgic song of a wonderful time in history, passenger cars with mixed freignt on their way to wherever - and passing towns that have no name, trainyards filled with old black men, and the graveyards of the rusted automobiles. Arlo guthrie loved them. Many have sung the song. And i guess, i love them too.
  • U
    UnregisteredJul 12, 2012 at 2:52 pm
    My kids have just facebooked to say they re outside kankakee . And one of them is singing this to herself !

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