Judy Lynn & Dick Flood – The Hellbound Train

Judy Lynn, Dick Flood, Fred Carter Jr. and Don Wright – The Hellbound Train

Radio station after radio station began banning the song!


My first release on Epic would be “The Hellbound Train” backed with “Judy Lynn”, a song I had co-written with Fred Carter Jr. and Don Wright. Epic planned to release it during the up and coming annual disc jockey convention held in Nashville in November each year. Columbia always provided a luncheon during which each Columbia and Epic recording artist would sing his or her latest release.

So when November rolled around, in front of a huge crowd of booking agents, music promoters and disc jockeys from all over the world I stepped up to the mike and sang “The Hellbound Train”. And I shall never forget the immediate reaction from that crowd.

Although it seemed an eternity it must have been only a minute that there was complete silence out there. I mean complete silence. Not even the sound of dishes clicking together as waiters cleared the tables.

And sixty seconds of silence while standing up on that stage in front of five or six hundred very important and influential people is just about an eternity. I could not imagine what to think or how to react. Did I do something wrong? Was I off key? Did they not like my song even a little bit?

Then came another shocking but this time most welcome surprise. That entire room full of very important music industry people stood up and in unison gave me a standing ovation! Oh I felt a thrill! Their applause must have lasted a full minute or more, and I felt both relieved and at the same time oh so grateful. They loved my song! And I remember thinking to myself, Wow! It sure looks like I am on my way now!

Epic immediately released “The Hellbound Train” and all the radio stations across the country received their copies. I visited and telephoned as many radio and TV stations as I could to do interviews over the air and to talk the disc jockys into playing my new record.

In less than a week it jumped into the top one hundred in the Country music charts. And again it was looking as if I was really on my way. Then and I’ll never understand why, but the bottom suddenly fell out!

Radio station after radio station began banning my recording of “The Hellbound Train”. They were refusing to play it on the air. The message of the song was that of a drunken man who woke up, found God, repented for his sins, and did his best to never sin again. It was actually a wonderful message. But most radio station program directors never got past the first few lines of the song which were; “After drinkin’ all night I could drink no more and I laid my head on the barroom floor.”

Back in the early sixties certain names or even certain words were not acceptable on radio or in public appearances. Later on in the song the words Hell, Christian, Atheist, Baptist and Jew just to mention a few made matters even worse. And so my first big big break on Epic records was in reality a great big flop!

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One Response

  1. The song “Hellbound Train” has a lot of spirit and is a great song. I don’t find it offensive to anyone, and I think it should have gone to the top of the charts.

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