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This Train (is Bound for Glory) - Chords, Lyrics and Origins

Origins

First recorded in 1922 by the Florida Normal Industrial Institute Quartet, This Train (or 'This Train is Bound for Glory' or 'Dis Train' as it is sometimes known) is an African-American spiritual.  The oddly-named Florida Normal Industrial Institute Quartet were an early African-American barber-shop act who sang the song a cappella.  This Train was later made famous by Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who recorded it twice: initially, using an acoustic guitar, in the 1930s, and then again, using an electric guitar, in the 1950s.  Her 1950s version is now seen as a precursor of Rock-n-Roll.  And indeed the song, transmuted by Willie Dixon into 'My Babe', was a hit for Little Walter in 1955.  It was also famously recorded as 'This Train is Bound for Glory' by Woody Guthrie.  Guthrie's autobiographical novel, 'Bound for Glory' takes its title from the song.  See the YouTube video embedded on this page for a lesson about how to play the song on the guitar.

Chords

G
This train is bound for glory - this train;

G                                                  D
This train is bound for glory - this train;


G                                                 C   
This train is bound for glory - all who ride it must be holy;

G                D7             G
This train, this train, this train.

Lyrics

Just about everybody who has recorded this song changes the words a little, or adds their own favourite verses.  These are just a few of my favourite verses.  Take your pick!

This train is bound for glory - this train;
This train is bound for glory - this train;
This train is bound for glory - all who ride it must be holy;
This train, this train, this train.

This train has left the station - this train;
This train has left the station - this train;
This train has left the station - this train takes on every nation;
This train, this train, this train.

This train don't carry no liars - this train;
This train don't carry no liars - this train;
This train don't carry no liars - no false pretenders, no back-biters;
This train, this train, this train.

This train don't pull no gamblers - this train;
This train don't pull no gamblers - this train;
This train don't pull no gamblers - no crap-shooters, no midnight ramblers;
This train, this train, this train.

This train is a clean train - this train;
This train is a clean train - this train;
This train is a clean train - everybody ride it in Jesus' name;
This train, this train, this train.

Other American Folk Songs
Other Traditional Folk Songs