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The Last Train to San Fernando(1965), sung by The Duke of Iron (1950)

I had to post this one for my friends on WST.

This is video gold, folks.

The audio is the Duke of Iron's 1950 version of the calypso "Last Train to San Fernando", and the video is the actual Last Train to San Fernando in August 1965.

The Original singer was the Mighty Dictator.

This is one of the most memorable calypsos from my early childhood.

Years later, I remember the cover version done by American country singer Johnny Duncan, and now when I Google this song the credits go to him,(even from Trinidad media) and the true origin is hardly mentioned.

This calypso is believed to have been composed in the 1940's by the Mighty Spitfire, and won the calypso crown for the Mighty Dictator in 1950.

The Duke of Iron was a Trinidadian calypsonian who migrated to the US as a teen in 1923 and was popular in the forties through the sixties.

This audio and video sets the record straight.

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Comment by Lloyd McKell on March 13, 2014 at 12:51pm

This song, which I remember from my young boyhood days,  suddenly popped into my head this morning. I remembered only the chorus and wondered what the lyrics for the whole calypso were, as well as who was the singer. Went to the internet, and voila!. I got more than I bargained for. Thank you Glenroy. 

Comment by Yolanda Morean on August 9, 2013 at 12:09pm

Nostalgic moment in history.  Really felt good to enter this TIME CAPSULE. I remember myself as a youth back in 1965!! Nice to look at related videos too!

Comment by terry on June 29, 2013 at 10:57pm

GRJ: I have the Mighty Dictator's 1952 version of this song on 78rpm (Sa Gomes SG 112) and will soon forward for posting. 

Comment by Winston Dayal ( alias Gons) on June 29, 2013 at 8:00pm
Hey Glenroy didn't know you posted this video in 2011 . Sorry about the duplication . Blessings
Comment by Keith Maynard on June 29, 2013 at 3:51pm

I'm happy that the song does NOT celebrate the shutting down of the rail service to San Fernando.  I think that is a major error by the Williams' administration. The number of railroad miles was a measure of the state of development of a country (US, Canada, UK, Russia, etc...) We dropped our railroad miles to ZERO. Sad day for our development. Anyway on a brighter note, the Duke of Iron was friends with Sonny Rollins, Sonny actually wrote a song for him called the "Duke of Iron" an excellent composition. Thanks for sharing the music, it makes up for the pain of remembering the closing of the rail service.

Comment by Don Prorak on October 3, 2011 at 12:06am
Thanks so much for submitting this. I learned the song on pan from the Invaders recording (recorded ca. 1950), but never knew the lyrics or origin until now.
Comment by Glen Beadon on October 2, 2011 at 2:53am

Hi every one, my name is Glen Beadon and I’m the person who edited and posted this video of the Last Train to San Fernando on my youtube channel. If you look at my comments on youtube, you will notice that I share some of your views about the original song being eclipsed by the international cover. As a Trinidadian I have always wanted to make it known that “Last Train” is our song. Read my comments on youtube and you will see.

I have been researching the railways of Trinidad for many years now. I was born in San Fernando and remember the trains very well. I shot video footage of the last trains in Trinidad in 1998 at Caroni. I have posted several videos on my youtube channel, which is called galbeadon.

Over the years I have been intrigued by stories of steelband men boarding trains from all over Trinidad with their instruments bound for Port of Spain. For a very long time I have been searching for either accounts of this or even better yet, a photograph of steelpan men on a train with their instruments.  In fact any photograph or accounts/memories connected with the railways would be most welcome.

When Glenroy Joseph first contacted me about my video, It occurred to me that this would be the best possible opportunity to obtain this type of information. The Lord works in mysterious ways does he not?

Thanks to Glenroy for posting on When Steel Talks and if you can help me please get in touch, I will be very happy to hear from you.

Comment by Sherwin Campbell on September 28, 2011 at 9:22pm
Great memories. I was fortunate as a boy to have rode on the trains and it was really sad to see it come to an end, but for the life of me I could never really understand why as a progressive nation, a rail system would be scraped for a highway, which we all know is the Priority.
Comment by Empriss on September 27, 2011 at 4:13pm
this is GREAT!!!!!!! my father told me about trains but I just use to laugh, he will LOVE to see this. I cant wait to show him. I wish I could live in 1965 for a day to see what it was like.
Comment by Steve "Carter" K. on September 27, 2011 at 11:42am
GRJ. We were blessed to have been around to experience the " BEST TIMES " I believe there ever was to this date and I pray that the Youths and Future Generations would be able at some time to also have Happy Memories for as you know we are now in turbulent times . That Train System was indeed a Great Great Blessing for the entire Island . Thanks .

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