Ewan MacColl, Peggy Seeger & Charles Parker   •   The Ballad of John Axon (1965)

image image image image
  • The Ballad of John Axon
    • 1965 - Argo RG 474 LP (UK)
  • Side One
    1. John Axon was a Railway Man
    2. It was 4 a.m. that Saturday
    3. The Iron Road is a Hard Road
    4. It doesn't matter where you come from …
    5. The rain was gently falling …
    6. Come all you British loco men
    7. The Repair Was Done
    8. I May Be A Wage Slave On Monday (part one)
  • Side Two
    1. I May Be A Wage Slave On Monday (part two)
    2. Come All You Young Maidens
    3. Steam Train, Steam Train
    4. Under The Large Injector Steam-Valve
    5. The engine had reached the distant signal
    6. On the 3rd of May 1957

  • Instrumentalists
    • Jim Bray: Bass
    • Fitzroy Coleman: Guitar
    • Terry Brown: Trumpet
    • Bob Clark: Fiddle
    • John Cole: Harmonica
    • Brian Daley: Guitar
    • Billy Loch: Drums
    • Alf Edwards: Concertina
    • Bob Mickleburgh: Trombone
    • Bruce Turner: Clarinet
  • Credits
    • Set into song by Ewan MacColl
    • Orchestration and music direction: Peggy Seeger
    • Production by Charles Parker
    • Technical direction under John Bower
    • Issued with the co-operation of the British Broadcasting Corporation
    • The cover picture, 'Rain, Steam and Speed' by J.M. Turner, is reproduced by courtesy of The National Gallery, London
    • First broadcast July 2, 1958, BBC Home Service
    • The Ballad of John Axon was the work (script) of Ewan MacColl and Charles Parker

'Engine driving's got to be in your blood for a start. If it's not in your blood to stand the erratic hours you'll never stand the pace. The railway life, to my mind — to the proper railwayman — it always comes first, it's in his blood.'

(Alec Watts — Chargeman Cleaner)

The old railwayman, it was a tradition, it was part of your life railways went through the back of your spine like Blackpool went through rock.'

(Jim Howarth — Driver)

'What a feeling you have when you get off the shed; you've got the engine, you've got the control of it, and what a feeling — I'm cock of the bank, there's nobody can take a rise out of me now, she's mine. Come on, me old beauty, and off we go. The moon's out and the countryside — it's lovely. On we go, what a feeling — she answers to every touch. Some more rock on, lad. Yes — it's grand.'

(Jack Pickford — Driver)