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"MIDNIGHT SPECIAL"

Posted: May 26 2017

Inspiration is a funny thing. It is an incredible force while you have it and it will disappear in a flash. As a fan of blues and rock and roll music we are often inspired by the southern folk song "Midnight Special." Originally thought to originate among prisoners in the American South, the song has been passed along over time and performed by many artists. Huddie William a.k.a “Lead Belly,” Odetta, The Beatles,Van Morrison, Little Richard, Buckwheat Zydeco, Eric Clapton and Creedence Clearwater Revival have all performed the song.

 Later versions of the song place the locale near Houston. Lead Belly, for his Angola prison recording session, appears to have inserted several stanzas relating to a 1923 Houston jailbreak into the traditional song. The song is performed in the viewpoint of the prisoner. The title comes from the refrain, which refers to the passenger train Midnight Special and its “ever-loving-light.” In this song the train is the hero, giving hope to prisoners, while dreaming of escape from the prison walls to freedom via a ride on the “Midnight Special.”

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