Leadbelly, Waiting for the Sugar Land Train

LEADBELLY, WAITING FOR THE SUGAR LAND TRAIN Houston music historian Roger Wood traces the lyrical references of Bob Dylan’s new song, “If You Ever Go To Houston”: “Not nearly as many people realize that ‘Midnight Special’ is a song about getting arrested in Houston and sent to prison in Sugar Land (where the train tracks ran right past the prison near Hwy. 90, and where the folklore about the midnight train beacon signifying early release for the lucky cell-dweller upon which it might shine predated Leadbelly’s song, written while he was incarcerated there). The first verse of that one: ‘If you ever go to Houston, you’d better walk right’ (also recorded by Leadbelly with the alternate line, ‘If you’re ever down in Houston, you’d better walk right,’ which I myself allude to in the title of my first book, ‘Down in Houston: Bayou City Blues’).” [Hair Balls]