Hump Day Music: ‘Frisco Town

‘Frisco Town (6.3 MB MP3)

What can I say? Plucked bass, bari sax, washboard, jazz organ, and a dombro? Damn. It works. The tune is by “Memphis Minnie” from around the early 30’s, and this recording is from a few years ago. It’s an old blues tune about duncanroo‘s town.

Of course, I love it for the bari sax part. A dead simple part and spot on.

3 Responses to “Hump Day Music: ‘Frisco Town”

  1. the_gneech says:

    Oomp, oomp, oomp…

    Good stuff!

    -The Gneech

  2. cuprohastes says:

    Oh dear. Looks like you just incurred a $25 fine under Emperor Norton’s edict against contracting San Fransisco!

  3. smokepaw says:

    Quite an interesting find, actually. Being somewhat of a train-nut my whole life (for a long time I was damn certain I’d be working for the railroad as a career. And then I turned 12.), listening to the lyrics near the beginning I can be 100% certain the train being spoken of is none other than the once world-famous ‘City of San Francisco’. Long-forgotten by most, this one train was the most expensive, highest-quality and most luxurious means of travel between the cities of San Francisco and Chicago in the 1930’s. It was such a huge endeavor of a train that one railroad company alone could not handle her, instead requiring the Union Pacific, Western Pacific, Southern Pacific, and NorthWesten Line to team together and produce this dame of the rails- a gleaming ivory white and polished stainless steel zephyr. She was powered by six identical and specially-made General Motor’s ElectroMotive F-7 A and B Diesel locomotives; the most powerful in the world at the time with each 12-cylinder engine producing 900 horsepower and hurtling the 600-tons of steel and aluminum at speeds of 110 miles an hour. The train made the trip between both cities at a precision-calculated and constantly monitored 36 hours. The only thing that replaced this means of travel was the jet airplane.

    Each of her cars bore the name of a San Francisco locale. Examples include The Embarcadero, Telegraph Hill, Chinatown, Twin Peaks, Market Street, Ocean Beach, The Presidio, Portsmouth Square, Union Square, Mission Dolores, and Seal Rock. The highest amenities of the time were on-board, including a personal radio in every seat and room, as well as telephones that could call anywhere on the train and anywhere in the world when at a station. The interior played host to the most notable figures of the day, and was more than plush enough to make the most demanding of passengers feel like a king.

    She was the Titanic of the rails, a sign of true American dominance and power exiting the Great Depression. But, like the Titanic, everything came to a dramatic and devastating end on the night of August 12, 1939 at a place known as nothing more than Bridge Four, when the mighty City of San Francisco derailed. Little is actually known of how the accident happened other than one of the rails just before the bridge being bent inward by 1 and a half inches, but the final verdict after the largest, most exhaustive, and most expensive private investigation in American railroad history was sabotage. You see, bridge four was far from a small dry creek bed crossing, it still is a massive iron masterwork of engineering spanning a crevasse in the earth several hundred feet deep to where the Humboldt River cuts through. It was everything 5400 horsepower of force driving 600 tons of weight at 60 MPH could do to stay to the rails, but even with the engineer applying the emergency brakes at the moment of derailment, nothing but sheer terror ensued as only the locomotives and two passenger cars made it over the bridge unscathed- the rest ended up in the river bed below like a mangled arrangement of caskets for the passengers who never knew what happened. 16 people alone died in the Presidio, while the Fisherman’s Wharf hug from the bridge like an avulsed limb attached only by a small spur of steel to keep it from falling to join its brethren below.

    A very important song indeed, and also very easy to listen to. I just thought I’d share the history behind the train being sung about. 😉

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