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Banjo tablatures for Freight Train


Recomended level: Intermediate

Tags: #blues music, #medium-tempo

Written in the early 20th century, "Freight Train" is an American folk song. The tune was made popular during the 1950s and 1960s American folk revival and British skiffle. Elizabeth Cohen wrote "Freight Train" as a child (sometimes between 1906 and 1912) in Cotten's account in the 1985 BBC series Down Home, influenced by the sight of the trains coming in on the tracks near her home in North Carolina folk singer Peggy Seeger, Cotten was a one-time nanny who brought this song with her to England, where it became popular in folk music circles. It was later misappropriated by English songwriters Paul James and Fred Williams as their work and copyright. British skiffle singer Chas McDevitt, who recorded the song in December 1956, recorded it under their name. With his manager's recommendation (Bill Varley), McDevitt then took Nancy Whiskey to folk-singer and recorded the song with her doing the voice, culminating in a chart success story of McDevitt inspired several of the day's young skiffle bands, including The Quarrymen. The copyright was finally returned to Cotten under the intervention of the powerful Seeger family. Furthermore, it appears miscredited in many outlets. Mike Seeger documented the Elizabeth Cotten performance with guitar album for the folksongs and instruments in late 1957, early 1958, at Cotten's home in Washington, D.C. This song was recorded by Ramblin's Jack Elliott in 1957. The Missing Topic Tapes: Cowes Harbour 1957 is included on the CD.

  • Banjo Freight Train Scruggs Style

    Scruggs Style

    Double Trouble! Check out the double stops in measure 4. They are too much fun. Anytime you have a melody with longer note durations, you can add double stops to add interest. You do...

    Banjo Freight Train Scruggs Style
  • Banjo Freight Train Melodic Style

    Melodic Style

    Written by Elizabeth Cotton, and covered by Doc Watson, Freight Train has great melody and chord changes. Make use of the substitution licks to find new challenges and a new twist on...

    Banjo Freight Train Melodic Style
  • Banjo Freight Train Single String Style

    Single String Style

    It's ok to play a melody note more than once. You don't have to change notes every time you pick. Sometimes picking the same note with a good rhythm is all you need to bring a good m...

    Banjo Freight Train Single String Style