Song of the Day #94 – Freight Train (Elizabeth Cotten)

Elizabeth Cotten was a folk and blues musician and songwriter from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She is unique among fingerstyle guitarists in that she was left handed but learned to play a right-handed guitar upside down and plays the bass notes with her fingers and melody with her thumb (known as Cotten picking). She had been retired from playing and performing for 25 years when she took a job as a housekeeper with┬áthe Seeger family (Pete Seeger‘s father and new wife and their kids). There she started playing guitar again and Mike Seeger recorded her and released an album on Folkways leading her to begin writing songs again and performing regularly during the 60’s folk revival. She wrote Freight Train when she was 11 and it became her signature song. She died in 1987 at age 94.

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