Wheeling has long been a place with a lot going on. Rivers, roads, and railways have allowed folks to both breeze into town as well as venture away with ease. Some songs about West Virginia are well known (looking at you, “Country Roads”), while others are more obscure.
We asked and you answered! Here are a few of the songs about Wheeling that didn’t make it in our first mixtape. If you’re looking for more songs about Wheeling, check out our coverage of these 10 songs about Wheeling.
How many of these Wheeling-centric songs have flown under your radar?
Bobby Goldsboro – California Wine
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She said she thumbed all day
Wheeling, West Virginia
This one flew under our radar due to a transcription error with the lyrics. Most versions of the lyrics on the internet maintain that the line is “been in West Virginia.” Not to us, and not to our faithful readers!
Charlie Moore – Wheeling
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But I won’t forget
The girl I met in Wheeling
Although Charlie Moore hailed from South Carolina, he spent a great deal of time in Wheeling as a regular performer on the Jamboree.1
Tim O’Brien – Where the River Meets the Road
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I came here from Ireland by way of Baltimore
I rode the train one hundred miles and and I walked one hundred more
I could smell the smoke a-pourin’ off those iron mills
Before I even saw the town from the top of Wheeling hill
It only makes sense that Wheeling’s own, Tim O’Brien, had a song or two about Wheeling. Where the River Meets the Road tells the story of an Irish immigrant who comes to find work and eventually settles down.
Alison Krauss and Union Station – Bonita and Bill Butler
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I grew up in the scantling yards of Wheeling West Virginia
A wheelhouse cub looking for an open door
In the packet ways a Sweeney wed the keel of my Bonita
Just two months from her timbers til she moored
Another historically-minded tune about Wheeling. In this one, the narrator tells of how they got their start as a sailor. The mention of Sweeney refers to the boatworks of A.J Sweeney & Son, and how a Sweeny engine was installed on the narrator’s packet boat. 2
Asleep at the Wheel – Boogie Back to Texas
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Rollin’ out-a New York, Philadelphia P A
Pittsburgh, Wheeling, West Virginia all the way
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This is another one that I missed due to a lyric mix-up. In most places the lyrics for this song read “PIttsburgh wheelin’ West Virginia all the way.” Maybe it’s a play on words, or maybe whoever transcribed those lyrics didn’t give Wheeling its proper due.
Big Slim and his Oklahoma Boys – Wheeling Boogie
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Money jinglin’ in the pocket and I’m feeling right
Gonna head down to Wheeling on Saturday night
Gonna do the boogie ‘til the break of day
Gonna do the Wheeling boogie in the Wheeling way
According to one of the comments posted on this video, “this is an extremely RARE song.” I’ll say! Don’t let the name of his band fool you, Big Slim is from Bluefield and was a fixture on WWVA. He even gives the radio station a shoutout by saying he would take his date “on down to the Jamboree.” Living up to his moniker, Slim would work as a cattle driver and rodeo performer. He was involved with the ‘open air jamboree’ WWVA hosted on Wheeling Island in August of 1947.3
Bonus Track: Chu Berry and his Stompy Stevedores – Chuberry Jam
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Leon Brown Berry, or “Chu” as he was known professionally, was a tenor saxophone player from Wheeling. After graduating from Lincoln High School, he studied at West Virginia State college for a few years, but turned his attention to his music career. He toured with his own band as a band leader, as well as a valued member of other bands. Despite having a tragically short career, his influence and style is still held in high regard.
For those really wanting to dive into Chu’s catalog (and have a knack for record collecting), Mosaic records has put together a discography of significant Berry tracks.
• Kate Wietor is currently studying Architectural History and Historic Preservation at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. She spent one glorious year in Wheeling serving as the 2021-22 AmeriCorps member at Wheeling Heritage. Since moving back to Virginia, she’s still looking for an antique store that rivals Sibs.