Mudcat Café message #1920607 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #97553   Message #1920607
Posted By: Azizi
28-Dec-06 - 01:24 PM
Thread Name: Religious Train & Chariot Songs
Subject: RE: Religious Train & Chariot Songs
Thanks for listing those songs! By golly, gee wilikers, you guys [and gals] are fast!!

And yes, "People Get Ready" {and the other songs mentioned} are great additions to this thread.


Here's more excerpts or comments that I posted on that African American Christmas Carol thead:

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: African-American Christmas Carols
From: Azizi - PM
Date: 26 Dec 06 - 10:30 PM


"Maybe the version without the "people keep a comin' but the train done gone" line is actually the one that's the earliest and the versions with the train line came later.



Subject: RE: Lyr Add: African-American Christmas Carols
From: Azizi - PM
Date: 27 Dec 06 - 12:13 AM

I'm trying to "suss" out the meaning of that line "people keep comin and the train done gone"

Suppose some people missed the train because they came late? So "people keep comin but the train done gone"?

Last week for some reason or the other I read an online article about the history of the Black newspaper "The Chicago Defender".
The article described how train stations from Southern cities to Chicago and cities farther North would be crowded with Black people during the Great Migration [of Black people from the Southern USA to the Northern USA].

I can't find the specific article that I was reading, but here's an excerpt from another article about the Chicago Defender:

"Would you move across the country based on the urgings of a newspaper? Now imagine having that kind of influence over an entire race, or even an entire country of people. The power of the media is, and was, often underestimated, but can prove to be domineering as Robert S. Abbott found out. Abbott had a vision and a sole purpose in founding The Chicago Defender, the most prominent black newspaper in the history of Illinois and the United States...

Abbott's most successful campaign brought thousands of southerners to the North from 1915 to 1925. This epoch is known as the Great Migration, during which the Chicago Defender influenced over one million blacks to migrate to the north. From 1916 to 1918, more than 110,000 southern blacks came to the city of Chicago alone. In the wake of the Industrial Revolution, the newspaper gave southerners a new hope and purpose. Based in the liberal North, the Defender was able to be significantly more outrageous and militant... Images of the North's best schools were shown adjacent to those of the South's worst schools. Articles described the horrendous conditions of the South compared to comfortable lifestyles in the North. Even job listings and train schedules were given to provide blacks with specifics on the movement. The paper synchronized the Great Migration with historical and religious events, making it that much more significant and relevant to African Americans...


All this to say, if that line "people keep comin and the train done gone" dates from 1915 or so, maybe that line was penned because of the impact of seeing so many Black folks tryin to get on the fastest train or any train out of the South.

However, in my opinion, that "people keep comin and the train done gone" line has a religous meaning. The train refers to the gospel train which took the place of the chariot as the means of transporting people to glory [ie. heaven]. Of course, only the people who are "saved" ["born again", "santified"] would have a ticket for this train. And "people might keep comin", but "everybody talkin 'bout heaven aint goin there".


So this is my theory and I'm stickin with it [at this point in time, anyway].

What do ya think about that?