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Lefty Frizzell - "Railroad Lady" (1973 ABC Records)

Cover Image for Lefty Frizzell - "Railroad Lady" (1973 ABC Records)

w Jimmy Buffett, Jerry Jeff Walker; from The Legendary Lefty Frizzell, ABC Records – ABCX-799

Jimmy Buffet died this weekend. I did not know his work well, but I wish he had not. Looking at his website with all the tropical imagery and the man himself geared up in his boat on the ocean, the world suddenly feels darker...

My middle-school's sixth-grade science teacher was really into Jimmy Buffett, and sea shanties, and International Talk Like a Pirate Day which is coming up on the 19th. I wanted to do this post on a song of Buffett's that he'd play during class, but I can't remember what it was. Possibly “Volcano"?

Or "Son of a Son of a Sailor"?

Maybe both or neither. I can't really recall.

But while trying to find it I learned that Jimmy co-wrote this Country song from my childhood, alongside storied Country songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker ("Mr. Bojangles"). And apparently they were quite close.

Interviewed after Walker died in 2020, Jimmy says the two of them wrote "Railroad Lady" on a train:

"Jerry Jeff and I wrote a song together called 'Railroad Lady' while riding the train from New Orleans to Nashville. I thought it was a wonderful thing to be on a train with Jerry Jeff Walker, writing a song. I put it out on my album A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean and he said, 'Why’d you give me credit for it?' I said, 'Because we wrote it on the train.' He didn’t remember it."

Fallen Country star Lefty Frizzell recorded the song towards the end of his life, released on 1973's The Legendary Lefty Frizzell (he died of a stroke a couple years later, after lots and lots of drinking...). I suspect my dad had the whole album on a tape, cause he'd also play Lefty's last hit, "I Never Go Around Mirrors"...anyhow, today I learned that Jimmy recorded his own version of "Railroad Lady" later that year:

It's got more of a singer-songwriter feel, not as much production.

Walker also performed and recorded the song himself:

And Willie Nelson's got a decent version too:

Takes your pick...and see below for a little more Buffett before you go. And enjoy Labor Day. Remember to drink responsibly...does Islands still exist? I could go for a cheeseburger in paradise...and a fruity drink...

Also Check Out:

By Jimmy Buffett

"Pencil Thin Mustache" - YouTube | Spotify

"Cheeseburger in Paradise" - YouTube | Spotify

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