Elizabeth Cotten
Freight Train and Other North Carolina Folk Songs



by jackboblamont USER (2 Reviews)
October 6th, 2013 | 3 replies

Release Date: 1992 | Tracklist

Elizabeth Cotten is a classic in every sense of the word. She has created beautiful, timeless music, been profoundly influential countless artists and even created her own guitar style. Her music is as powerful today as when it was rediscovered in the 60’s and when it was originally penned almost a century ago.
Cotten was a talented musician from a young age but virtually unknown until a chance meeting with the Seeger family in the 50’s at which time her music was recorded and embraced by the burgeoning folk revival scene.
Much like the better known guitar virtuoso, Jimi Hendrix, Cotten was left-handed guitarist who played a righty guitar. She would pluck the melody with her thumb while picking the rhythm with her fingers, a style which became known as “Cotten Picking”.
This music is unbelievably raw and soulful. Many have tried to imitate it but have come up short of the original. I was first introduced to her music when I started to learn fingerpicking and it was a great time to discover her. I first heard “Freight Train” from a buddy that was showing me the ropes of fingerpicking and he played it damn well but I couldn’t believe it when I first heard Elizabeth sing it.
I think “Freight Train” is such an incredible song that it deserves it’s own review. Elizabeth speaks to some of the universal dilemmas that people have always grappled with in this song she wrote in her early teens:

Freight train, Freight train, run so fast
Freight train, Freight train, run so fast
Please don't tell what train I'm on
They won't know what route I've gone

When I am dead and in my grave
No more good times here I crave
Place the stones at my head and feet
Tell them all that I've gone to sleep.

When I die, Lord, bury me deep
Way down on old Chestnut street
Then I can hear old Number 9
As she comes rolling by.

This song is really dark. It deals with the tragedy of mortality just as eloquently as Ian Curtis would. Elizabeth Cotten was delving into the dark nature of life decades before goth rock/darkwave/whatever came around. She was doing it with minimalist instrumentation and raw, soulful vocals. She is a treasure of American music and really deserves more attention from fans of any substantial contemporary music

user ratings (2)

Comments:Add a Comment 
October 5th 2013


Album Rating: 5.0

Damages SputCred that this was only added today!

October 6th 2013


This isn't a review, this is a profile about the artist

October 7th 2013



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