DESCRIPTION: "This train is bound for glory... If you ride it, you must be holy." "This train don't pull no gamblers..." (And so forth, through various sinners the train doesn't pull.) "This train don't pull no extras... Don't pull nothin' but the Heavenly Special."
EARLIEST DATE: 1922 (recording, Florida Normal Industrial Institute Quartet)
KEYWORDS: train religious
FOUND IN: US(SE)
REFERENCES (6 citations):
JonesLunsford, p. 223, "This Same Train" (1 text, 1 tune)
Cohen-LSRail, pp. 629-632, "This Train/Same Train" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-FSNA 255, "This Train" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-ABFS, pp. 593-594, "This Train" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 56, "This Train" (1 text)
Biddleville Quintette, "This Train is Bound for Blory" (Paramount 12448, 1927)
Big Bill Broonzy, "This Train" (on Broonzy01)
Florida Normal Industrial Institute Quartet, "Dis Train" (OKeh 40010, 1924; rec. 1922)
Garland Jubilee Singers [pseud. for Bryant's Jubilee Quartet] "This Train" (Banner 32267/Oriole 8098/Romeo 5098, all 1931/Perfect 190, 1932; on RoughWays2)
Lulu Belle & Scotty, "This Train" (OKeh 04910, 1939)
S. E. Mullis Blue Diamond Quartet, "Dis Train" (Champion 16424, 1932)
Southern Plantation Singers, "This Train is Bound for Glory" (Vocalion 1250, 1929; rec. 1928)
Sister Rosetta Tharpe, "This Train" (Decca 2558, 1939) (Down Beat 104 [as Sister Katty Marie], n.d.)
NOTES: Cohen observes that there are two basic forms of this song, the "This Train" version in the description and a type he calls "Same Train": "Same train carry my mother, same train (x2). Same train carry my mother, Same train be back tomorrow, same train."
There isn't much different in age, but Cohen argues that "Same Train" is older because it is much less interesting. I would say he is almost certainly right.
Cohen also notes the Lomax Special nature of this song. The version in American Ballads and Folk Songs, which probably is the source of most pop folk versions, claims to be based on a field recording by Walter McDonald, but in fact does not agree with that recording, and the later Lomax version in Folk Songs of North America says it's based on American Ballads and Folk Songs, but it again is rewritten. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.0
Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography
The Ballad Index Copyright 2017 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.