I’ve always associated trains with death. I guess it’s my inner history buff: tales of what happened when Lincoln and FDR’s funeral trains crossed the country resonate with me. I also associate trains with grim things from listening to early rock-n-roll, Delta blues and vintage country. There’s a reason that Johnny Cash both wore black and wrote and sang a lot of train tunes. My mama done told me…
When Annie and her new sidekick were shown playing Randy Newman’s Dixie Flyer on the Square, it merely confirmed my feeling of foreboding that had started when Creighton taught Kate Chopin‘s The Awakening to his freshman survey class. Creigh was also eerily quiet and subdued (as opposed to the Subdudes song that played over the closing credits) in the last few episodes for such a loud, bumptious man, which was why slipping away over the side of the ferry was an inspired choice by team Treme. I’m relieved, however, that he didn’t actually go to the West Bank, which is something that makes me break out in hives. Note: the last remark is a lame JOKE I’ve been making for years as a semi-snotty Uptowner contemplating the West Bank. In fact, it’s a joke so old that it has whiskers on it and I can’t even tell the Yasir Arafat variation any more, which was obviously even hairier or is that stubblier?
Yeah, I know, the song Dixie Flyer has got nothing to do with death but I wanted to lighten things up a bit after that harrowing episode and the train song gave me an excuse. So sue me. Anyway, it’s an autobiographical tune about Newman’s younger self and his “poor little mama” returning to the Gret Stet from Los Angeles while his father fought in the big one: World War II. The studio version features some wonderful finger picking by the great Mark Knopfler but the video below features Mr. Newman solo: