Thursday, June 5, 2008

Boats: Steamboat Edition

John Hartford: Steamboat Whistle Blues [purchase]

John Hartford: Julia Belle Swain [purchase]

Jimmy Work: Hear That Steamboat Whistle Blow [purchase]

John Hartford was truly one of the greats. He's not as well known as he should be, but almost everyone’s heard his most famous composition Gentle On My Mind, which was a huge hit for Glen Campbell in 1968. Campbell’s version alone has received more than 5 million radio plays, and the song has been covered by hundreds of other artists.

So what do you do when you’ve got a hit song under your belt and royalty money coming in? Well, if you’re John Hartford, the answer is to get a job as a steamboat captain and go have yourself some fun on the river.

Hartford, a man of many talents, not the least of which was banjo picking, was a frequent guest pilot on the Julia Belle Swain out of Peoria. Notably, the Julia Belle Swain bested the heavily-favored Delta Queen to win the Great American Steamboat Race of 1976.

Learn more about John Hartford (and get more songs) here.

Learn more about Jimmy Work, another under-appreciated country great, here.

Where else but a muddy old river, would a person want to be?


boyhowdy said...

Three times, I started an entry on John Hartford's Julia Belle Swain. And three times, I stopped after the first sentence, thinking to myself "no, Paul's gonna get this one, and he's already do it better."

Sho' nuff. Great stuff.

Paul said...

Well, thank you Boyhowdy!

Paul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Divinyl said...

If I tell you that I've never before heard of John Hartford, will I be disowned? Does being 28 hold any sway? I'm certainly expanding my music knowledge through getting to know you guys!

Paul said...

You are definitely not alone in that. Check out my post at STWOF for more info on Hartford, particularly the song: Back In The Goodle Days.

Anonymous said...

That post on Goodle Days was my first encounter with Hartford - great song. I need to get home so I can hear these as well...