"Pea Vine Blues"
for Rick Steiger and R.J. Spangler

When the train runs
through your back yard
you know it's hard to stay
in any one place too long --

Take the Pea Vine Special
hooked up to the Dockery farm
where the Delta blues
came to flower
just before the first world war --

Pea Vine starts out from Cleveland,
at 4:00 a.m.,
runs two miles south to Boyle
(by Tommy Johnson's place in 1913)

then over to the private depot
at Will Dockery's plantation,
west over to Rosedale
& back to Cleveland
before nightfall

And when it's darkness
on the Delta
you can hear that train coming
from a long way off
& it's so easy to ride --

Take the Illinois Central
from New Orleans
straight through to Chicago
in 24 hours -- one way fare
in 1940

is still just $16.95
or if you catch it
in Memphis
at the top of the Delta
one way to Chicago for $11.10

Or say you don't wanna
go that far --
catch the Yazoo &
Mississippi Valley RR
& ride the Yaller Dog

up from Moorehead
"where the Southern cross the Dog"
all the way to Tutwiler
where Highway 49 goes east & west
& where, one night in 1903,

sitting in the station,
waiting for a train that was already
nine hours behind time,
trying to get to a gig,
the great W.C. Handy,

"Father of the Blues,"
first heard a Delta man
worry his guitar strings
& sing his little
railroad song:

Down by the station,
catch that train & ride --
why stay in this godfor-
saken place
when it's so easy to slide

This page © 1997 by Blues Access,
Boulder, CO, USA.