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Gandy dancer

Posted by SR on June 10, 2004

The Gandy Shovel Company made long handled shovels, broad at the blade with a fairly long handle, nicknamed "Irish Banjos" which workers used to build and maintain the railroad. The men would insert the blade of this shovel beneath the rail and dance up and down the long handle while other workers filled beneath the rail in order to level the track. The action became known as "gandy dancing."
Paddy on the Railroad (Traditional) - one oe the more popular Irish Gandy Dancer songs which kept the rail-spikers in beat as they built America's railroads.