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“Coming to You by Recording. . .”

Yes, I’m out of town, still in Powhatan, Virginia, visiting with daughter Sarah and family.  Had a full-filling Thanksgiving dinner with her Reilly in-laws, for which Sarah (with Dr Janie’s and her three boys’ help) made “All nine kinds of pies that Harold liked best”; that of course is from Crockett Johnson’s Harold and the Purple Crayon.


The National Weather Service has a winter storm warning for tomorrow (Sunday) and Monday in the Boston area, when we’ll be coming back.  Will it affect Amtrak and the drive home from the Route 128 Station?  We’ll see, I guess.  Plenty of time to get back for next Saturday!  /CL

Here’s the Met Broadcast Schedule for 2019-2020

320px-Metropolitan_Opera_auditoriumOnce again we make room for the Saturday afternoon Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts, in the Boston area exclusively on WHRB.  All but three of the broadcasts start at 1:00 PM, with HAH ending about 15 minutes early for the Prelude to the Met.  Remember to stay tuned after the Lincoln Center broadcasts for WHRB’s Post-Met feature, inaugurated by David Elliott, and since last year hosted by WHRB’s excellent Classical Music Department.  Here’s the schedule:

December 7
Glass: Akhnaten
1:00 —> Hillbilly at Harvard ends c. 12:45

December 14
Tchaikovsky: The Queen of Spades
1:00 —> Hillbilly at Harvard ends c. 12:45

December 21
Verdi: Macbeth
1:00 —> Hillbilly at Harvard ends c. 12:45

December 28
Mozart: The Magic Flute
1:00 —> Hillbilly at Harvard ends c. 12:45

January 4
Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier
12:00 —> Hillbilly at Harvard ends c. 11:45

January 11
Berg: Wozzeck
1:00 —> Hillbilly at Harvard ends c. 12:45

January 18
Verdi: La Traviata
1:00 —> Hillbilly at Harvard ends c. 12:45

January 25
Puccini: La Boheme
1:00 —> Hillbilly at Harvard ends c. 12:45

February 1
Gershwin: Porgy and Bess
1:00 —> Hillbilly at Harvard ends c. 12:45

February 8
Berlioz: La Damnation de Faust
1:00 —> Hillbilly at Harvard ends c. 12:45

February 15
Massenet: Manon
1:00 —> Hillbilly at Harvard ends c. 12:45

February 22
Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro
1:00 —> Hillbilly at Harvard ends c. 12:45

February 29
Handel: Agrippina
1:00 —> Hillbilly at Harvard ends c. 12:45

March 7
Mozart: Cosi fan tutte
1:00 —> Hillbilly at Harvard ends c. 12:45

March 14
Wagner: Der Fliegende Holländer
1:00 —> Hillbilly at Harvard ends c. 12:45

March 21
Rossini: La Cenerentola
12:30 —> Hillbilly at Harvard ends c. 12:15

March 28
Massenet: Werther
1:00 —> Hillbilly at Harvard ends c. 12:45

April 4
Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice
1:00 —> Hillbilly at Harvard ends c. 12:45

April 11
Puccini: Tosca
1:00 —> Hillbilly at Harvard ends c. 12:45

April 18
Verdi: Simon Boccanegra
12:30 —> Hillbilly at Harvard ends c. 12:15

April 25
Puccini: Turandot
1:00 —> Hillbilly at Harvard ends c. 12:45

May 2
Janácek: Kát’ a Kabanová
1:00 —> Hillbilly at Harvard ends c. 12:45

May 9
Donizetti: Maria Stuarda
1:00 —> Hillbilly at Harvard ends c. 12:45

Engine 576 Whistles & The Pan-American on WSM in Nashville

In the previous post on the restoration of NC&StL Engine 576 and the Marty Stuart/Harry Stinson song, I drew on a post by ‘jh’ on the Mac Resource Forum.  I left out the part where jh posted a link to a video featuring the whistle that had sat on engine No. 576 in Centennial Park for decades.  Surprisingly, it was never stolen, but it had been damaged when someone went after it with a crowbar.  The whistle was repaired and placed on a different but operating steam locomotive, the former Nickel Plate No. 765 (note the same digits!) so fans could hear it powered with steam.

In the video Nickel Plate No. 765 runs with “the shop-built, three-chime whistle that was unique to the NC&StL J-3 class of locomotives and original to No. 576.”  This past Monday jh followed up with another post, offering “a better video of the engineer (on the former Nickel Plate No. 765) blowing the NC&StL 576’s whistle.”


Now back to Nashville and a different railroad.  The Nashville, Chattanooga & Saint Louis Railroad ran east-west.  It crossed in Nashville with the more famous Louisville and Nashville, which ran north-south, and had owned the NC&StL since 1888 (however, the two roads maintained separate operations).  jh writes:


Undated postcard, attributed to Curt Teich, Chicago (PD, via Wiki Commons)

Speaking of whistles. The Louisville & Nashville (L&N, “The Dixie Line”, “The Ol Reliable”) ran a passenger train between Cincinnati, Ohio and New Orleans, Louisiana from 1921 to 1971 called the Pan-American. The unique thing about this passenger train is its relationship with WSM radio in Nashville. The Pan-American had its own radio show for a few minutes each day. From 1933 to 1945 the Pan American would notify WSM as it was stopped at Union Station in Nashville of the time it was expected to pass the WSM transmitting tower just south of Nashville (the tower is still there and you can see it as you drive by with the now CSX rail line next to it) and the name of the engineer. As the Pan-American passed the WSM tower it would blow its whistle which was broadcast over North America. Later the WSM microphone was stationed on the L&N Vine Street tower.

There is an illustrated article about the Pan American/WSM whistle being broadcast. I talked to a gentlemen who indeed said you could set your time to the train’s whistle being broadcast.

The legend on the postcard reads:

On the Air!
Over Radio Station WSM, (Nashville)
5:08 P. M.
Sound AND ITS Whistle
Tune in 650 on Your

In case you were wondering, no, it wasn’t the 576’s whistle; the L&N did not share locomotives with its subsidiary NC&StL (and turned down an offer to buy the NC&StL’s class J-3 engines in 1953, having already converted to diesels).  Doubtless there is a recording of one of those broadcasts.

There were at least three songs written about the Pan-American:

DeFord Bailey: ‘Pan-American Blues’ (1926)

The Delmore Brothers: ‘Pan-American Boogie’ (1949)

Hank Williams: ‘The Pan-American’ (1948)

Thanks to jh for the links, and the opportunity to quote his MRF post.  /CL

Erratum: First paragraph rewritten 26Oct (and divided in two) to make clear that I was not confusing the Nickle Plate road with the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis, as two readers thought.

Stuart and Stinson Celebrate Nashville’s ‘Duchess’, NC&StL No. 576


NC&StL Engine No. 576 at Centennial Park, Nashville. Photo by Ryan Kaldari, 27Apr05.  PD, via Wikipedia Commons.

Since 1953, Nashville, Chattanooga & Saint Louis locomotive no. 576 has adorned Nashville’s Centennial Park. It was the last of the 20 class J3 4-8-4 (‘Dixie’) steam engines built by the American Locomotive Company (Alco) for the NC&StL (abbreviated ‘NC’) in 1942 and 1943, and devoted to the massive war effort, moving millions of men, and tons of ammunition, equipment, and even oil from the Mississippi to Atlanta. But by 1952, business was down, and diesel-electrics had replaced most of the mainline power.  Trains Magazine editor David P. Morgan described the end of all but 576:

“We didn’t owe them anything and they didn’t owe us any thing,” says [Superintendent of Machinery C. M.] Darden of the J3’s as they neared the inevitable torch. . . Owner L&N [Louisville and Nashville Railroad], busily dieselizing itself by that date, decided not to buy the engines, so they went to the cutting torch. All except No. 576. She was presented to the City of Nashville in 1953 and mounted behind a fence in Centennial Park – just a stone’s throw (or a whistle’s blast) from the former Nashville Shops of the railway.

This year, after long negotiations, a group called The Nashville Steam Preservation Society (NSPS) succeeded in convincing the City of Nashville to permit moving the locomotive to the Tennessee Central Railway Museum, in order to restore No. 576 to operating condition and then to use it for excursions on the Nashville and Eastern Railroad.

576 & Cash Life magRailroading and country music, of course, have a long history together.  Life Magazine even did a cover photo of Johnny Cash leaning on the drivers of No. 576; the NSPS has a print for sale in their Company Store (see right); it’s also available on a T-shirt and coffee mug.

The whole restoration project caught the imagination of Marty Stuart and bandmate Harry Stinson.  They even came up with a name for the locomotive, the ‘Duchess’.  Originally the J3s were known as ‘Yellowjackets’, because of a yellow band down the sides; after that got reduced to a thin line, they were called ‘Stripes’.  But why not The Dutchess, ‘Queen of the Dixie Line’?  Has a nice ring to it.  From the NSPS website, quoting Marty:

“Harry and I both have a long history with this train, as do so many others. Johnny Cash was photographed for LIFE Magazine in front of it, and that guitar he’s holding is now one of my prized possessions. When you think about the soldiers that rode behind this engine to war, or the folks who traveled on it to Memphis and Atlanta, or the kids who dreamed about great adventures while climbing on it in the park – that’s why we wrote this song,” Stuart said. “We call her The Duchess, and she deserves to be honored. I offered myself to the Nashville Steam organization to let me be the hood ornament on the front of this campaign, and I’ll help any way I can to raise the funds and get her rolling again.”

Here are Marty and Harry:

There’s lots more information and videos on the NSPS website.  The restoration of No. 576 is a large and expensive project.  They estimate it will take about two million dollars;  they’ve raised about a quarter of that, so there’s still a long way to go.  Marty and Harry’s song will doubtless help.  You can download it HERE.  They’re asking $5.76 (of course) for the download, and they won’t object if you add a few bucks.  If you’re like me, you’ll want to see that engine running under steam before too long.  Watching it run would be a good excuse to go to Nashville!

Oh, and here’s the song:

Hat tip to ‘jh’ on the Mac Resource Forum.   /CL


Harvard Football vs. HAH: Call It a Draw

Harvard AthleticsWHRB Sports is asking for only 15 minutes before the games, so most Saturdays this fall we’ll be going until 12:45 PM.  Can’t complain.  The two games in September will not affect HAH.  The Penn game is scheduled to start at noon, so we’ll be ending at day at 11:45 AM.  Surprisingly, game time for the Yale game has not yet been determined.  Usually we have to end early for The Game; will update this post when I learn more.  /CL

  • Sat, 21 Sep:  at San Diego: Game 4:00 PM; no effect on HAH
  • Fri, 27 Sep: vs Brown: Game 7:00 PM; no effect on HAH
  • Sat, 5 Oct: vs Howard; Game 1:00 PM HAH ends 12:45 PM
  • Sat, 12 Oct: vs Cornell; Game 1:00 PM; HAH ends 12:45 PM
  • Sat, 19 Oct: at Holy Cross; Game 1:00 PM; HAH ends 12:45 PM
  • Sat, 26 Oct: at Princeton; Game 1:00 PM; HAH ends 12:45 PM
  • Sat, 2 Nov: vs Dartmouth; Game 1:00 PM; HAH ends 12:45 PM
  • Sat, 9 Nov: at Columbia; Game 1:00 PM; HAH ends 12:45 PM
  • Sat, 16 Nov: vs Penn; Game 12:00 noon; HAH ends 11:45 PM
  • Sat, 23 Nov: at Yale; Game 12:00 noon; HAH ends 11:45 (Yale game)