City of New Orleans

Words & Music:

Steve Goodman & Arlo Guthrie


C             G           C       Am                F              C

Riding on the City of New Orleans Illinois Central, Monday morning rail.

Fifteen cars and fifteen restless riders, three conductors and twenty-five sacks of mail.

Am                                    Em

All along the southbound odyssey, the train pulls out of Kankakee,

    G                                  D

And rolls along past houses, farms and fields.

Am                                Em

Passing trains that have no name, freight yards of old black men

        G                 F            C

And the graveyards of the rusted automobiles.



F              G           C

Good morning, America, how are you?

     Am                  F               C

Say, don't you know me?  I'm your native son.

G7      C                   G           Am  Am7  D7

I'm the train they call the City of New Orleans

            Bb        F       G                     C

And I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done.


Dealing card games with the old men in the club car

Penny a point ain't no-one keeping score

Pass the paper bag but hold the bottle

Feel the wheels rumbling 'neath the floor

And the sons of Pullman porters and the sons of engineers

Ride their father's magic carpets made of steel

Mother with her babes asleep rocking to the gentle beat

And the rhythm of the rails is all they feel.




Nightime on the City of New Orleans - changing cars in Memphis Tennessee

Half way home we'll be there by morning

Through the Mississippi darkness rolling down to the sea.

But all the towns and people seem to fade into a dark dream

And the steel rail still ain't heard the news

The conductor sings his songs again, the passengers will please refrain

This train got the disappearing railroad blues.



Good night America, How are you?

Say, don't you know me, I'm your native son.

I'm the train they call the City of New Orleans

I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done.

Back to the Songbook Index.

This page's content is copyrighted ©1977-2008 by Kristin C. Hall. Please drop me a line (via "dink (at) media (dot) mit (dot) edu") if you wish to use it or link to it or correct it! Please send comments, suggestions, fixes and general mischievious mayhem to the web diva via the above email address. (sorry, spambots have forced me to remove my automatic mail link.) Many thanks...and enjoy!

Note to lawyers and any other litigious-minded folk:
I am not trying to screw anyone out of royalties, etc. I have posted these only as a helpful resources for teachers, camp counselors and people who like to "sing along with Mitch", if you will. If you do not want your work posted to these pages, please just email me (via "dink (at) media (dot) mit (dot) edu") and I shall remove it.