Mudcat Café message #1920614 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #97553   Message #1920614
Posted By: Azizi
28-Dec-06 - 01:30 PM
Thread Name: Religious Train & Chariot Songs
Subject: RE: Religious Train & Chariot Songs
I'm taking the liberty of reposting this comment from the African American Christmas Carol thread:

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: African-American Christmas Carols
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman - PM
Date: 28 Dec 06 - 11:41 AM

Hello Azizi,

I agree that the "People keep a-comin' but the train done gone" line refers to the train to glory ... or perdition. The "White Flyer to Heaven" or the "Black Diamond Express to Hell" as the recorded 1920s sermons by Rev. A.W. Nix put it. Or


Death's black train a-comin'
Better get your business right,
Better set your house in order,
For the train may be here tonight ... etc.

Maybe the train, seen as the release from a hard life, seemed to be a hard one to catch, or to be allowed to board ("Got my ticket, let-n me ride..." not unlike "Swing down chariot, let me ride" and so on). And being saved was the key. The line "None can ride but the sanctified" is typical of several songs' viewpoint, so the religious connection is plainly foremost.

But of course the physical railroad train in the here-and-now contributes the bedrock of the feeling, too. Bob


Thanks, Bob!