This Train


This page is dedicated to the traditional American folk song This Train, also know as, This Train Is Bound for Glory. Here we will attempt to chronicle the origin and history of this song, it’s importance and influence in American culture —and music as a whole—and the many people who have been involved over the past 100 years.

Origins

The origins of This Train are unknown, but we know this song has been sung and handed down in the American South for over 100 years. The earliest known recording was made by the Florida Normal and Industrial Quartette in 1922, and it was recorded in the field for the United Stated Library of Congress by folklorists and musicologists John A, Lomax and Alan Lomax in the 1930’s.

Over the years, This Train has been performed and recorded by artists such as, Big Bill Broonzy in the 1920s, to Louis Armstrong,  Sister Rosetta Tharpe, to Pete Seeger in the 30s and 40s, to Mumford & Sons in 2012. This Train inspired Bruce Springsteen to write and perform Land of Hope and Dreams in 1998.

Dis Train by the Florida Normal and Industrial Institute Quartette, circa 1922, is the oldest known recording of the song.

This Train Is Bound for Glory by Wood’s Famous Blind Jubilee Singers (ca. 1925).

This Train by Big Bill Broonzy (ca. 1925).

This Train by Sister Rosetta Tharpe (ca. 1939).

This Train by Sister Rosetta Tharpe (ca. 1959).

Land of Hope and Dreams by Bruce Springsteen (written 1998; performed live 2000).

This Train performed by Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Old Crow Medicine Show (ca. 2012).

Other Artists

Other artists that recorded the song are: Brothers Four, Hylo Brown, Alice Coltrane, Delmore Brothers, Sandy Denny, D.O.A., Lonnie Donegan, Jimmy Durante, Snooks Eaglin, Bob Gibson, Joe Glazer, John Hammond, Jr., Cisco Houston, Janis Ian, Mahalia Jackson, Ella Jenkins, Sleepy LaBeef, The Limeliters, Trini Lopez, Bob Marley & The Wailers, Ziggy Marley, The Alarm, Ricky Nelson, Peter, Paul & Mary, Utah Phillips, Pete Seeger, The Seekers, Roberta Sherwood, Hank Snow, David Soul, Staples Singers, Billy Strange, the Tarriers, Hank Thompson, Bradley Nowell of Sublime, Randy Travis, The Verlaines, Bunny Wailer, Nina Hagen, Girls at Our Best!, Buckwheat Zydeco, and Jools Holland. (source: Wikipdeia)

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