World of Bluegrass

September 14, 2013

'Orange Blossom Special' rides on 'Bluegrass for Beginners'

Our fourth entry in the pre-IBMA “Bluegrass for Beginners” countdown is “Orange Blossom Special,” one of the great train songs (and it was written by a North Carolina native).

Day four of our pre-IBMA “Bluegrass for Beginners” countdown, and we’re riding the “Orange Blossom Special,” as composed by Craven County native Ervin T. Rouse in 1938. Pretty much every country or bluegrass fiddler who ever set bow to strings has taken a crack at this amped-up train song; it was a sizable hit for Johnny Cash in 1965, and it’s probably being played somewhere on the planet at this moment. Here’s an all-star version by the Del McCoury Band with Vassar Clements and other notable fiddlers. And for more on the sad story of the song’s author, see this 2008 feature.

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