Music – 1934 – Roy Acuff – Wabash Cannonball – With Highlights Of Cards World Champ Gas House Gang

The Wabash Cannon Ball” was a fast express train line on the Wabash Railroad. This express train traveled throughout the middle and western United States….and also, on the Great Rock Island Route in the late 1800’s and into the early 1900’s.

“The Great Rock Island Route”, also known as “Wabash Cannonball”….is the title of an American folk song which describes the scenic beauty and predicaments of the Wabash Cannonball Express as it traveled on the Great Rock Island train route. Over many years, this popular song’s music has remained unchanged, while the verses have been updated by song artists. 

Roy Claxton Acuff (September 15, 1903 – November 23, 1992) was an American country music singer, fiddler and promoter….who was known as the “King of Country Music,” ….as Acuff is often credited with moving the genre from its early “string band and hoedown” format to the singer-based format that helped make it internationally successful. In 1952, Hank Williams told Ralph Gleason, “He’s the biggest singer this music ever knew. You booked him and you didn’t worry about crowds. For drawing power in the South, it was Roy Acuff, then God.”  

Acuff began his music career in the 1930’s….and gained regional fame as the singer and fiddler for his group, the Smoky Mountain Boys. He joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1938….and although his popularity as a musician waned in the late 1940’s….he remained one of the Opry’s key figures and promoters for nearly four decades. In 1942, Acuff and Fred Rose founded Acuff-Rose Music….which was the first major Nashville-based country music publishing company….who signed such artists as Hank Williams, Roy Orbison and the Everly Brothers.  In 1962, Acuff became the first living inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

The Gashouse Gang was the nickname of the baseball team the St. Louis Cardinals in 1934….who won 95 games and the National League pennant….then went on to win the 1934 World Series in seven games over the Detroit Tigers.  Some baseball writers use the nickname to refer to a multi-year period….for example, Jack Cavanaugh has used the phrase, “the raucous Gas House era in the 1930’s.”   

The team was led by general manager Branch Rickey….playing manager Frankie Frisch….and included other stars such as Joe Medwick, Ripper Collins, Dizzy Dean, Daffy Dean, Bill DeLancey, Pepper Martin, Spud Davis, and Burgess Whitehead…who were fellas from the South or Southwest mostly from middle class backgrounds.

This video herewith features country and folk music legend, Roy Acuff….who is singing his famous and popular rendition of the song “Wabash Cannonball”…..while being adapted to wonderful highlights footage of the infamous St Louis Cardinal’s “Gas House Gang”….a baseball team comprised of motley looking players who played the game with a sense of “pit bull pazazz”….which makes this video another  “nugget of gold” in our treasure chest of vintage memories here at ImaSportsphile.


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