City Of New Orleans
(Steve Goodman)

This song was written by folksinger/songwriter Steve Goodman. Its most recognized cover is the version which was recorded by Arlo Guthrie for his 1972 album Hobo’s Lullaby. Coincidentally, the title track “Hobo’s Lullaby” is also covered by C.W. on C.W. McCall & Co.


Ridin’ on The City of New Orleans
Illinois Central Monday morning rail
Fifteen cars and fifteen restless riders
Two conductors and a-twenty-five sacks a’ mail
All along the southbound odyssey
The train pulls out at Kankakee
And moves on along past houses, farms and fields
Passin’ trains what ain’t got no names
Switch yards full a’ old black men
And the graveyards full of them rusted automobiles

[Chorus]
Good mornin’ America, how are ya?
Well, a don’tcha know me? I’m your native son
I’m the train they call The City of New Orleans
And I’ll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done

A-dealin’ cards with an old man down in the club car
Just a penny a point ain’t a-nobody keepin’ score
Say won’t you pass that there paper bag that’s a-wrappin’ the bottle
Feel them wheels rumblin’ under that floor
And the sons of Pullman porters
And the sons of engineers
Ride their daddy’s magical carpet made out of steel
Mamas with their babies asleepin’
Are rockin’ to the gentle beat
And the rhythm of the rockin’ rails is all they feel

[Chorus]
Good mornin’ America, how are ya?
Well, a don’tcha know me? I’m your native son
I’m the train they call The City of New Orleans
And I’ll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done

Night-time on The City of New Orleans
A-changin’ cars a-down in Memphis, Tennessee
Well, a half way home, and a we gonna be there by mornin’
Through the Mississippi darkness
Rollin’ down to that sea
Now all a’ them towns and all the people seem
To fade away into a bad ol’ dream
But the steel rail, well he still ain’t heard that news
Conductor’s a-singin’ that song again
Sayin’ “Passengers will please refrain
“This train done got the disappearin’ railroad blues”

[Chorus]
Good night America, how are ya?
Well, a don’tcha know me? I’m your native son
I’m the train they call The City of New Orleans
And I’ll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done

[Fade out.]
Mamas with their babies asleepin’
Are rockin’ to the gentle beat
And the rhythm of the rockin’ rails is all they feel

Mamas with their babies asleepin’
Are rockin’ to the gentle beat
And the rhythm of the rockin’ rails is all they feel

Yeah.