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from the desk of Brenda Sauter:

SUSQUEHANNA 142 starts with an excerpt from a tune named “HEWLETT” by a blind Irish harpist/composer, Turlough O’Carolan, who composed more than 200 tunes. Rich learned of O’Carolan from listening to Irish/Celtic records; and learning that song on an alternate-tuned twelve string guitar in the late 1980s inspired him to write the chords that would eventually become SUSQUEHANNA 142. I overlaid the melody and lyrics in 1992. From that tuning, many songs have emerged, including SCARF DANCE; and that guitar remains permanently in that alternate tuning.

In the summer of 1992, steam train leisure excursions were running in northern New Jersey where I lived. Wild Carnation and friends were gathered for Independence Day, and when we heard the train whistle, we went running towards the tracks to see the train as it passed, which was inspiration for part of the song. Hearing the sound of the train and its mournful whistle echoing through the Ramapo Mountains of New Jersey certainly inspired me to write lyrics about train travel in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

For you train enthusiasts: China was still manufacturing steam trains in the 1980s, and the train intended for the Susquehanna railroad was on a ship that sank in the Bay of Bengal, never reaching the USA. Susquehanna replaced the lost train by purchasing an identical steam train from the Valley Railroad in Essex CT in 1992. Its number was changed to 142, and it was renamed “Susquehanna 142”. As of 2022, it’s owned and operated by the New York, Susquehanna, & Western Technical Historical Society; and it runs excursions in Philipsburg, NJ along the Delaware River. You ride, you ride…

Here’s a link to see footage of the train as it’s running along the Delaware:


Laughing, shouting from down the road
Children running towards the tracks
I thought I heard the whistle call
invitations out to all
Climb the stairs, slide shut the doors
Walk along from end to end
Lifting burdens, heavy loads
Linking town to town to town.
Pull back your shades, let fly those doors
Run towards the sound, down to the yard.
The line that young ones used to ride
slumbering years, aging signs
Stirring now along the tracks
oldsters climb aboard once more
Sound the whistle, close the doors
The weary wheels will turn once more
Railings wear and engines age
You ride, you ride, you ride, you ride.
Steam was of a passing time
Victorian men and fine decor
Mother, daughter, father, son
rest their souls, their work is done
Voices echo down the line
call me to forgotten times
Let me leave this life behind
We’ll ride, we’ll ride, we’ll ride, we’ll ride.
Laughing comes from down my road
Bring your burdens, heavy loads
I thought I heard the whistle call
We’ll ride from town to town to town.


from tricycle (remastered / expanded edition), released April 28, 2023


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Delmore Recording Society Nashville, Tennessee

Delmore Recording Society exists to expose singular artists that don’t quite fit in to the world. The pursuit and discovery of lost tapes is another side of that mission.

We strive to bring something of value into the world…music that might enhance our appreciation of an artist that was under recorded, or whose recordings were never released due to some vagary of the business.
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