Hank Snow

I'm Movin' On

Song Review by

Evocative images of trains have been an enduring staple of country music since the genre's inception and Jimmie Rodgers' tragically truncated bout with stardom. Not only was Hank Snow an unabashed Rodgers admirer, he shared the Singing Brakeman's lifelong love affair with the rails -- and wrote one of country's greatest locomotive odes, "I'm Movin' On." Snow cut the seminal number March 28, 1950, in Nashville for RCA Victor, fiddler Tommy Vaden sawing in accurate simulation of a smoke-stained train whistle before Snow delivers his up-tempo tale of farewell in a clipped, hard-edged Canadian accent (he was a native of Nova Scotia), betraying little regret or hope for reconciliation; this Singing Ranger sounds quite content to swap his untrue woman for a big eight-wheeler movin' down the track. He also inserts a snazzy little acoustic guitar solo two-thirds of the way through, underscoring what an expert fretsman the diminutive Snow was. "I'm Movin' On" made him a country luminary of dazzling magnitude, the song holding down the top slot on Billboard's country charts for 21 amazing weeks later that year (his next hit, "The Golden Rocket," rode a similar stylistic rail line). The song impacted the next generation of rockabilly and country royalty -- Warren Smith waxed a hot rockabilly version for Sun in Memphis that laid unissued at the time, and Don Gibson scored a sizable seller with a 1960 remake for RCA -- but it took a certified genius to propel it into the pop arena. Though his groundbreaking 1962 album, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, for ABC-Paramount justifiably receives the credit for knocking down idiomatic barriers, Ray Charles' first recorded venture into country material actually came on his 1959 remake of "I'm Movin' On" for Atlantic that was a zesty hybrid; the horns deputize for the fiddle, but Brother Ray does retain the keening steel guitar (played here by Charley Macey) as he transforms Snow's rural theme into a relentless R&B rocker stoked by the Raeletts' interjections and his own electric piano that hit late that year. Blue-eyed soul singer Matt Lucas also made some noise with the tune in 1963 for Smash, his reading owing more to Brother Ray's conception than Snow's.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
No Image 1952 RCA Victor
No Image 1955 RCA Victor
Souvenirs 1961 RCA Victor
No Image 1961 Camden
The Best of Hank Snow, Vol. 1 1966 RCA Victor
No Image 1966 RCA Victor
No Image 1971 RCA Victor
No Image 1974 Camden
The Singing Ranger: 1949-1953 1989 Bear Family Records 2:50
Nipper's Greatest Hits: The 50's, Vol. 2 1990
Various Artists
RCA 2:48
I'm Movin' On and Other Country Hits 1990 RCA
The Singing Ranger, Vol. 2 1990 Bear Family Records 2:47
No Image 1991 RCA 0:00
Smithsonian Collection of Classic Country Music, Vol. 2 1991
Various Artists
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings 2:53
The Thesaurus Transcriptions 1991 Bear Family Records 2:32
No Image 1992 GSC
Snow Country 1992 Pair 2:46
The Singing Ranger, Vol. 3 1994 Bear Family Records 2:46
The Singing Ranger, Vol. 4 1995 Bear Family Records 4:51
No Image 1995
Various Artists
The Kings of Country Music 1995
Various Artists
Ranwood Records 2:48
The Essential Hank Snow 1997 RCA 2:48
Pure Country: 50's Superstars 1997
Various Artists
Coyote Records 2:43
Best of the Best 1998 King 2:50
Classic Country [Time-Life Box Set] 1999
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:49
Classic Country: Neon Memories 1999
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:49
Classic Country: 1950-1959 1999
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:50
Classic Country: 1950-1964 1999
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:50
Classic Country: 1950-1959 [2 CD] 1999
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:50
The Roots of Elvis Presley 2001
Various Artists
Catfish 2:53
RCA Country Legends 2001 Buddha Records 2:51
Down at the Rainbow's End 2001 Jasmine Records 2:32
Bound for Movin' On 2001
Various Artists
BMG International 2:49
A Fool Such as I 2001 Arpeggio Country 2:48
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Prism Leisure 2:49
#1 Country Legendary Hits, Vol. 2 2002
Various Artists
Razor & Tie 2:49
The Ultimate Classic Country Collection 2002
Various Artists
WEA International 2:50
Songs That Made Elvis Famous 2002
Various Artists
Simply The Best (Netherlands) 2:48
Further Beyond Nashville 2002
Various Artists
Manteca 2:50
I'm Movin' On [Prism] 2002 Prism Leisure 2:52
Legendary 2003 BMG International 2:50
The Singing Ranger [ASV/Living Era] 2003 ASV / Living Era 2:54
Country Heaven 2003
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:52
The Best of Hank Snow [Paradiso] 2003 Paradiso 2:49
A Proper Introduction to Hank Snow: I'm Moving On 2004 Country Stars 2:50
Elvis Inspiration 2004
Various Artists
Boulevard Vintage 2:52
Just Call Me Hank 2005
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:54
Classic Country Hits: Your Cheatin' Heart 2005 Dynamic / Essential Gold 2:51
Solid Gold Country [Union Square] 2005
Various Artists
Union Square Music 2:53
Country Music Legends 2006 Castle Music Ltd. / Castle Pulse 2:50
Famous Country Music Makers [Castle Pulse #2] 2007 Castle Pulse 2:50
The Sound of the 50s: America 2008
Various Artists
Primo Records 2:53
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Uncut Music 2:49
The Intro Collection: Country 2008
Various Artists
Union Square Music 2:52
Bob Dylan Cover to Cover: The Originals 2010
Various Artists
Mischief / Music Melon 2:50
Simply Country [2012] 2012
Various Artists
Simply 2:45
Souvenirs/Big Country Hits: Songs I Hadn't Recorded Till Now 2014 Sepia Records 2:45
100 Tubes Country
Various Artists
Wagram 2:49
Legends of Country [Prism]
Various Artists
Prism Entertainment / Prism Leisure 2:50