Editor's note: I'm republishing this post from last year now because the programme has just been repeated and that's a good enough excuse to revive this excellent new recording of Skiffle classic 'Rock Island Line' - SB
The chorus goes like this:
The Rock Island Line is a mighty good road The Rock Island Line is the road to ride
The Rock Island Line is a mighty good road
If you want to ride you gotta ride it like you find it
Get your ticket at the station for the Rock Island Line
Darren Broome, producer of a lovely Radio 4 programme about Rock Island Line that went out this afternoon, has pulled off a small coup. He's secured a brand new recording of this keystone of folk, blues and rock 'n' roll music (and that strange hybrid we made our own called skiffle) from Pete Donegan (Lonnie's son) and the legendary Quarrymen, for you to listen to here. And, if you've got a web site of your own, you can click the 'embed' button, take the track away and embed it there.
Rock Island Line was first recorded on a prison farm in Arkansas in 1934. Lead Belly recorded it in the late thirties for Alan and John Lomax. In Britain, George Melly recorded the song in 1951 and Lonny Donegan and his Skiffle Group (Chris Barber on bass, Beryl Bryden on washboard) turned it into a hit in 1955.And the rest is history.
Steve Bowbrick is editor of the Radio 4 blog