Engine 143

Because I will be in Shanghai China on March 1, and not sure what Internet availability will be there, I’m releasing this a day early.”Engine 143″ is a famous Carter Family song preserved in the Anthology of American Folk Music (Edited by Harry Smith). It’s a cautionary tale of a young lad too dedicated to his machine to save his life. Are we slaves to our machines? Georgie’s mother warned him not to try to make up the time but to run his engine right. It’s a good reminder to always run our engines right.


[A] Along came the F15 – the [D] swiftest on the [A] line
Running o’er the C&O road – just [B] twenty minutes [E] behind
[A] Running into Cevile – [D] head porters on the [A] line
Receiving their strict orders – from a [E] station just [A] behind

Georgie’s mother came to him – with a bucket on her arm
Saying my darling son – be careful how you run
For many a man has lost his life – in trying to make lost time
And if you run your engine right – you’ll get there just on time

Up the road he darted – against the rocks he crushed
Upside down the engine turned – and Georgie’s breast did smash
His head was against the firebox door – the flames are rolling high
“I’m glad I was born for an engineer – to die on the C&O line”

The doctor said to Georgie – my darling boy be still
Your life may yet be saved – if it is God’s blessed will
Oh no said George that will not do – I want to die so free
I want to die for the engine I love – one hundred and forty three

The doctor said to Georgie – your life cannot be saved
Murdered upon a railroad – and laid in a lonesome grave
His face was covered up with blood – his eyes they could not see
And the very last words poor Georgie – said nearer my God to thee