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8/24/12 – “Rock Island Line” Cat Fight Podcast

Posted: August 24th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Blues, Doo Wop, Rock n' Roll | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments »

Friday Night Cat Fight Podcast

“Rock Island Line”

This week’s “Friday Night Cat Fight” features the classic American folk tune, “Rock Island Line,” which was first discovered by musicologist John Lomax in 1934.  Lomax was making his way through the South recording and preserving folk music for the Library Of Congress.  It was at a penitentiary in Arkansas that he came across Kelly Pace and his group and they sang “Rock Island Line” for him.  It is documented that this tune was very popular among inmates, who sang it as they worked the prison yards.  Leadbelly also heard the tune while in prison and he first recorded it in 1937.  The version by Leadbelly up for competition this week, though was taking from a 1940 session he had with the Golden Gate Quartet. 
There are also five more versions of “Rock Island Line” vying for your vote, including the most popular one to date by British Skiffle sensation Lonnie Donegan.  His version was released in 1955 and went to #8 on the US charts in 1956.  Charting versions by Don Cornell and Johnny Cash are also featured.
Listen to the podcast in full and then decide which version of “Rock Island Line” you DIG THE MOST!  Then, voice your choice and vote below.


Which One Do You DIG THE MOST? - "Rock Island Line"

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6 Comments on “8/24/12 – “Rock Island Line” Cat Fight Podcast”

  1. 1 Stickball Eddie said at 7:19 pm on August 24th, 2012:

    Thank you for bringing back the FNCF. I liked each of the versions but am voting for the voice I dig the most, Bobby Darin’s version. I will probably be in the minority and will be interested in other comments and choices

  2. 2 Virginia said at 7:27 pm on August 24th, 2012:

    Well I am actually shocking myself I voted for Johnny Cash, Leadbelly was my 2nd most favorite.

  3. 3 Yum Yum said at 8:23 pm on August 24th, 2012:

    Welcome Back Matt Its Been Too Long And Now Friday Will Be Like You Never Left So My Vote Goes To Bobby Darin Did You Think It Would nt Be And A Close Second Is Lonnie Chewing Gum Donegan So Again Matt The Best Cat Its Nice To Have You Back Where You Belong

  4. 4 Kenn said at 10:58 pm on August 24th, 2012:


    I chose the Man In Black, his story tellin’ just fits the song.

    Let’s do more!!!

  5. 5 timevac3 said at 5:20 am on August 25th, 2012:

    I voted for Leadbelly. Honorable mention goes to Kelly Pace and the guys; a great job for 1934. The later “pig iron” bit wears on me.
    Thanks Matt, this was a nice surprise!

  6. 6 Pinball Wizard said at 7:05 pm on August 25th, 2012:

    Thank you for your excellent work in putting together this cat fight. As usual my wife & I were in total agreement. We liked Stan Freberg best.

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