The fiddle tune “Orange Blossom Special” is about a passenger train of the same name….and was written by Ervin T. Rouse (1917–1981) in 1938….with the original recording was created by Ervin and Gordon Rouse in 1939. It is often called simply The Special. It has been referred to as the fiddle player’s national anthem.
By the 1950’s, it had become a perennial favorite at bluegrass festivals….which became tremedously popular for its rousing energy….and for a long time no fiddle player would be hired for a bluegrass band unless he could play it. For many years….the Orange Blossom Special has been not only a train imitation piece….but also a vehicle to exhibit the fiddler’s pyrotechnic virtuosity….which is performed at breaknect tempos and with imitative embellishments that evoke train wheels and whistles….as “OBS is guaranteed to bring the blood of all but the most jaded listners to a quick, rolling boil.”—Norm Cohen, author, Long Steel Rail….the Railroad in America Folksong.
This particular version of the Orange Blossom Special is performed by a medley of great country and western music groups including The Charlie Daniels Band, Mel Tillis and the Statesman, Merle Haggard and the Strangers, The Country Super Pickers and Johnny Gimble and The Texas Swing Pioneers…in what is one of the best medleys ever put together by musical groups with fiddles in the band.