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Origins: The Gospel Train (Get on Board)

Related threads:
Lyr Req: Hear that train a-comin' (10)
Lyr Req: Golden Gate Gospel Train (5)
Lyr Add: Gospel Train (sung by Ella Madison) (3)
ADD: De Gospel Train (not Git on Board) (5)


Q (Frank Staplin) 23 Aug 03 - 08:53 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 23 Aug 03 - 09:09 PM
GUEST,Pete Peterson 24 Aug 03 - 08:32 AM
Charley Noble 24 Aug 03 - 08:43 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 24 Aug 03 - 03:49 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 24 Aug 03 - 05:02 PM
Charley Noble 28 Aug 03 - 08:41 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 28 Dec 06 - 02:47 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 28 Dec 06 - 03:22 PM
Azizi 28 Dec 06 - 03:59 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 05 Mar 07 - 09:20 PM
cnd 30 May 15 - 10:04 PM
maeve 30 May 15 - 10:24 PM
cnd 30 May 15 - 10:29 PM
cnd 30 May 15 - 10:30 PM
Joe Offer 30 May 15 - 11:34 PM
Jim Dixon 13 Aug 15 - 11:11 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: THE GOSPEL TRAIN (Jubilee 1)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Aug 03 - 08:53 PM

Lyr. Add: THE GOSPEL TRAIN (Jubilee 1)

The gospel train is coming, I hear it just at hand;
I hear the car wheels moving, And rumbling through the land.

Chorus:
Get on board, children, Get on board, children,
Get on board, children, There's room for many a more.

No signal for another train, To follow on this line;
O sinner you're forever lost, If once you're left behind.

She's nearing now the station, Ah, sinner, don't be vain;
But come and get your ticket, Be ready for the train.

The fare is cheap and all can go, The rich and poor are there;
No second class on board the train, No difference in the fare.

This train has never run off the track,
She's passed through every land;
Millions and millions are on board;
Oh, come and join the band.

We soon shall reach the station,
Oh, how we then shall sing;
With all the heavn'ly army,
We'll make the welkin ring.

We'll shout o'er all our sorrows,
And sing forevermore,
With Christ and all his army,
On that celestial shore.

"Songs of the Jubilee Singers from Fisk University." Cincinnati, John Church and Co., 1904?
Linked by Masato Sakurai from American Memory,
Thread 52566: Fisk Jubilee Singers


Lyr. Add: THE GOSPEL TRAIN (Jubilee 2)

The Gospel train is coming, I hear it just at hand,
I hear the car-wheels moving, And rumbling thro' the land.

Cho.
Get on board, children, Get on board, children,
Get on board, children, For there's room for many a more.

I hear the bell and whistle, She's* coming round the curve,
She's playing all her steam and pow'r, And straining every nerve.
(*Mistake; 'The' in sheet music)

No signal from another train, To follow on the line,
O, sinner, you're forever lost, If once you're left behind.

This is the Christian banner, The motto's new and old,
Salvation and Repentance, Are burnished there in gold.

She's nearing now the station, O, sinner don't be vain,
But come and get your ticket, And be ready for the train.

The fare is cheap, and all can go, The rich and poor are there,
No second class on board the train, No difference in the fare.

There's Moses, Noah and Abraham, And all the prophets too,
Our friends in Christ are all on board, O, what a heavenly crew.

We soon shall reach the station, O, how we then shall sing,
With all the heavenly army, We'll make the welkin ring.

We'll shout o'er all our sorrows, And sing forever more,
With Christ and all his army, On that celestial shore.

No. 27, The Gospel Train, from "Negro Spirituals, or the Songs of the Jubilee Singers," edition published by W. J. Gibbs, Bromley, Kent, with preface by Theodore F. Seward. Probably from the revised edition of 1892 (1st in 1872 only had 28 spirituals- not including this song; the 1892 edition had 139).
Odum and Johnson, The Negro and His Songs, print most of the second Jubilee song. They say "while the song as reported by the Jubilee Singers does not possess the usual characteristics of form and dialect, it neverless appeals to the Negroes and it is sometimes sung." It is likely that some of the verses originated at the school.
I thought it best to post the two versions separately rather than putting them together.

The song was also sung by the Hampton Institute Chorus. In "The Religious Songs of the Negro as sung at Hampton Institute," ed. by R. N. Dett, 1927 (1st ed. by Fenner, 1874- lacks this song), only three verses appear, under the title "Git on Board, Little Children.":
De Gospel train's a-comin';
I hear de train a-comin';
De fare is cheap an' all can go.

There are two unrelated songs with the same title; see thread 41409 for the gospel train comin' round de mountain-
Thread 41409
It seems that this spiritual is post-slavery since it is not found in the older collections. The consistency in form also suggests that it is not an old song.

See post by Charley Noble(62339) for a short variant by Ella Madison that is combined with another song. Madison Gospel Train


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: THE GOSPEL TRAIN (Jubilee 1)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Aug 03 - 09:09 PM

52556: Fisk Jubilee Singers
41409: Gospel Train not Git)
62339: Madison Gospel train


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: THE GOSPEL TRAIN (Jubilee 1)
From: GUEST,Pete Peterson
Date: 24 Aug 03 - 08:32 AM

THANKS! Now I know where Harry C. Browne got his words. (his are a little different, he uses "Coming from the Ball" as a refrain, which always seemed to me an odd juxtaposition)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: THE GOSPEL TRAIN (Jubilee 1)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 24 Aug 03 - 08:43 AM

Good work, Q! You've certainly pulled together what appear to be the basic variants.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: THE GOSPEL TRAIN (Jubilee 1)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 Aug 03 - 03:49 PM

Older than I thought, and possibly white in origin.
In an Appendix, Newman I. White has this version taken from "A Collection of Revival Hymns and Plantation Melodies, by Marshall W. Taylor, Cincinnati, 1882. White says that in this volume, "the revival hymns of the white people and the plantation songs of the Negroes are indistinguishable." The oldest version I have found, but the white southern hymn books have not been checked.

Lyr. Add: THE GOSPEL TRAIN (Taylor)

The gospel train is moving,
I hear it just at hand;
I hear the carwheel moving,
And rumbling through the land.

Cho.
Get on board, children (repeat twice)
For there's room for many more.

I hear the bell and whistle,
They're coming round the curve;
She's playing all her steam and power,
And straining every nerve.

Oh see the gospel engine,
She's heaving now in sight;
Her steam valves they are groaning,
The pressure is so great.

No signal for another train,
To follow in the line;
O sinner, you're forever lost,
If once you're left behind.

O see the engine banner,
She's flut'ring in the breeze;
She's spangled with the Savior's blood,
But she still floats at ease.

This is the Christian banner,
The motto's new and old,
Repentance and Salvation
Are burnished here in gold.

She's nearing the station;
O sinners don't be vain,
But come and get your ticket,
And be ready for the train.

The fare is cheap and all can go,
The rich and poor are there;
No second class are on board this train,
No difference in the fare.

We soon shall reach the station,
O how we then shall sing
With all the heavenly army
On that celestial shore.

The idiom is completely white. Marshall W. Taylor, 1882, "A Collection of Revival Hymns and Plantation Melodies, Cincinnati. No. 91 p. 159. Reproduced in N. I. White, 1928 (facsimile 1965), "American Negro Folk-Songs, Appendix 22, pp. 441-442.

Lyr. Add: WHEN DE TRAIN COME ALONG

Well, I may be sick and cannot rise,
But I meet you at de station when de train come along.

Cho.
When de train come along,
When de train come along,
I'll meet you at de station when de train come along.

Well, I may be blind and cannot see,
But I meet you at de station when de train come along.

Well, I may be lame and cannot walk,
But I'll meet you at de station when de train come along.

H. W. Odum and G. B. Johnson, "The Negro and His Songs, Negro Univ. Press, 1976, reprint of 1925 Univ. North carolina Press, pp. 111-112.
No data provided in text.

Lyr. Add: SAME TRAIN

I am talkin' 'bout the same train,
Same train that carried my father,
Same train.

Same train that carried my mother,
Same train.
Same train will be back tomorrow, Same train

Other relatives, friends, etc., may be carried.

Odum and Johnson, 1925, p. 112.

Lyr. Add: THE GOSPEL TRAIN

If God was to call me I would not came- um-u,
For he done move away my fears- um-u.
I'm goin' to heaven, an' I'm goin' fo' long- um-u,
All don't see me will hear my song- um-u.

When de gospel train come 'long- um-u,
That's the train goin' carry me home- um-u.
Wake up sinner, you will be too late, um-u,
Gospel train done pass yo' gate- um-u.

Odum and Johnson, 1925, no data, p. 113-114.

Odum and Johnson (p. 272) also quote a fragment of which I would like to see more:

Where was Ezekiel when de church fell down?
Down in de valley wid his head hung down.

Ezekiel said he spied de train a comin',
We got on board an' she never stopped runnin'.

See "This Train" in DT, another old gospel song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: THE GOSPEL TRAIN (Jubilee 1)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 Aug 03 - 05:02 PM

I wish to apologize for errors in dating The Gospel Train- Jubilee songs. Also for memory loss; Stewie worked out the dates in thread 18648, but I had forgotten.

The date for the song in the booklet of songs published by Church and Co. is 1884 (Jubilee 1, above), not 1904. Moreover, it appeared in the second edition of 64 spirituals published in 1872 by Seward (not seen). - it is in the 3rd edition with 139 songs published in 1892 (Jubilee 2).

I am assuming that the edition of "69" reported by John in Brisbane is the second edition of 1872; Gospel Train is included in his list of contents- thread 18648: Help- USA Jubilee

The earliest published date for the song thus seems to be 1872 (Gospel Train 2), also reported by Cohen in "The Long Steel Rail; the version by Taylor is 1882; the Jubilee Singers version in the Church and Co. booklet is 1884. I still have my doubts about this song originally being a spiritual; it seems more like southern white gospel. The comment by Odum and Johnson (1st posting) that it lacks the usual characteristics of form and dialect seems pertinent.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: THE GOSPEL TRAIN (Jubilee 1)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 28 Aug 03 - 08:41 AM

Here's some background notes on Ella Robinson Madison's theatrical and musical career in the late 19th century:Click Here!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: THE GOSPEL TRAIN (Jubilee 1)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 Dec 06 - 02:47 PM

refresh
"That Gospel Train Is Coming," coll. by Allen in Alabama, 1915-1916, is a partial version. N. I. White, 1928, American Negro Folk-Songs, p. 64.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: THE GOSPEL TRAIN (Jubilee 1)
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 28 Dec 06 - 03:22 PM

WOW! What a shock this one is not in the DT.

Learned it in the public education songbook for third grade.p>

The version I learned is slightly different than the one's posted - however it is the same as the first one listed by Cohen Long Steel Rail "The Gospel Train is Coming/Get on Board" p 619-623.

The major difference is the word LITTLE

CHORUS 4/4 tempo=184* (C,G,C,G,D7,G)

Oh, get on board, little children,
Get on board, little children,
Get on board, little children,
There's room for many a more.

The gospel train is comin'
I hear it just at hand,
I hear the car wheels running
And a-rambling through the land

CHORUS

I hear the train a-comin'
She'w comin' round the curve,
She's [?whistling and a-steamin'"] (sic ?= as printed Cohen)
And straining every nerve.

*on the recording the verses are sung somewhat slower than the choruses.

Tuskegee Institute Singers

REFERENCES:
"Get on Board, "by the Tuskegee Institute Singers. Double male quartet, unaccompanied. Recorded ca. 1918. Released on Victor 18446. Part of the medley "I Want to Get Ready" and "Get on Board. This version is transcribed here.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: THE GOSPEL TRAIN (Jubilee 1)
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Dec 06 - 03:59 PM

When I was growing up in the 1950s, the children's choir that I belonged to sang "Get On Board, Little Children" this way:

Get on board, little children,
Board little children.
Get on board, little children,
Board little children.
Get on board, little children,
There's room for many ah more.

-snip-

I don't remember any verses to this song, though I'm sure we sang some verses.

But I do remember wondering why the children were bored.

:o)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Gospel Train (Jubilee 1)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Mar 07 - 09:20 PM

"The Gospel Train" as sung by the Jubilee Singers was copied exactly by a group called the "Nashville Students," their music arranged by a 'Prof. J. J. Sawyer' and managed by H. B. Thearle, Proprietor, "The celebrated Colored Concert Co., Chicago, Illinois."
H. B. Thearle, 1885, "Jubilee Songs and Plantation Melodies, words and music," p. 9.


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Subject: ADD Version: Get On Board Little Children
From: cnd
Date: 30 May 15 - 10:04 PM

I couldn't seem to find the lyrics anywhere, so I decided to add them.

GET ON BOARD LITTLE CHILDREN
(as recorded by Carl Story)

Oh, I hear the train a-comin'
It's along the station b'low
Better get'cher ticket ready
Get on that train and go

Now, get on board (board little children)
Now, get on board (board little children)
Now, get on board (board little children)
There's room for many-a more
Now, get on board (board little children)
Now, get on board (board little children)
Now, get on board (board little children)
There's room for many-a more

Well the deacon's in the church house
All rared back in his chair
When he asks for a little collection
Well, he shouts "Now I'm not here!"

Now, get on board (board little children)
Now, get on board (board little children)
Now, get on board (board little children)
There's room for many-a more
Now, get on board (board little children)
Now, get on board (board little children)
Now, get on board (board little children)
There's room for many-a more

My eyes are gettin' heavy
My head is bendin' low
I hear the train a-comin'
I'm gettin' ready now to go

Now, get on board (board little children)
Now, get on board (board little children)
Now, get on board (board little children)
There's room for many-a more
Now, get on board (board little children)
Now, get on board (board little children)
Now, get on board (board little children)
There's room for many-a more

When Gabriel blows his trumpet
On the Judgement Day
Will you be ready, brother,
Or what're you gonna say

Now, get on board (board little children)
Now, get on board (board little children)
Now, get on board (board little children)
There's room for many-a more
Now, get on board (board little children)
Now, get on board (board little children)
Now, get on board (board little children)
There's room for many-a more


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Carl Story-Get On Board Little Children
From: maeve
Date: 30 May 15 - 10:24 PM

Find it here! Lyr Add: THE GOSPEL TRAIN (Jubilee 1)

I miss Q.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Carl Story-Get On Board Little Children
From: cnd
Date: 30 May 15 - 10:29 PM

Thanks maeve, but I added this one since it had significantly different lyrics than any of the versions I'd seen online. Should I include it there?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Carl Story-Get On Board Little Children
From: cnd
Date: 30 May 15 - 10:30 PM

Or, the Carl Story version is significantly different than any versions I'd seen.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Gospel Train (Jubilee 1)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 May 15 - 11:34 PM

Hi, cnd-
We like to have as many versions of songs as we can find, but it's better if multiple versions are all in the same thread so they can be compared easily.
I moved your messages into this thread, and they're very happy here.
-Joe-


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE GOSPEL TRAIN (Jubilee Harp)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 13 Aug 15 - 11:11 AM

From: The Jubilee Harp, (Boston: Advent Christian Publication Society, 1868), page 366:

[Musical notation in 4-part harmony is included.]


638. THE GOSPEL TRAIN
Arranged for this work.

1. The gospel train is coming; I hear it just at hand.
I hear the car wheels moving, and rumbling through the land.
I hear the bell and whistle; they're coming 'round the curve.
She's plying all her steam and power, and straining ev'ry nerve.

CHORUS: Get on board; get on board,
For there's room for many more.

2. O see the gospel engine; she's heaving now in sight.
Her steam valves they are groaning; the pressure is so great.
No signal for another train to follow on the line;
O sinner, you're forever lost, if once you're left behind.

3. O see the engine banner; she's fluttering in the breeze.
She's spangled in the Savior's blood, but still she floats with ease.
This is the gospel banner; the motto's new and old.
Salvation and repentance are burnished there in gold.

4. She's nearing now the station; O sinner, don't be vain,
But come and get your ticket, and be ready for the train.
The fare is cheap and all can go; the rich, the poor are there:
No second class on board the train, no difference in the fare.

5. I think she'll make a little halt to wood up on the line,
And give you all a chance to go, but yet she'll make her time.
She's coming 'round the mountain, by rivers and the lake.
The Savior, he's on board the train, controlling steam and brake.

6. We soon shall reach the station; O how we then shall sing!
With all the heavenly army, we'll make the welkin ring.
We'll shout o'er all our sorrows, and sing forevermore,
With Christ and all his army, on that celestial shore.


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