K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

About this recording

Performed by Phil Butler, Brady Walker, Thomas Trimmer, William Grant, and Mary Lee. Recorded by John and Ruby Lomax, 1939.

Date created
1939
Duration
2:59
File
MP3
License
This work is believed to be in the public domain. Users are advised to make their own copyright assessment and to understand their rights to fair use.
Source
Original audio housed by Library of Congress

See this recording in context

  • Antebellum North Carolina: Primary sources and readings explore North Carolina in the antebellum period (1830–1860). Topics include slavery, daily life, agriculture, industry, technology, and the arts, as well as the events leading to secession and civil war. (Page 6.3)

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The Gospel Train is part of the John and Ruby Lomax 1939 Southern States Recording Trip collection at the Library of Congress.

John Lomax was a folklorist and musicologist who traveled throughout the U.S. making field recordings of American folk music. In 1939, he and his wife, Ruby Lomax, made such a trip through the southern states and recorded more than 300 performers, representing a diverse array of traditional musical styles, including ballads, blues, children’s songs, cowboy songs, fiddle tunes, field hollers, lullabies, play-party songs, religious dramas, spirituals, and work songs.

The Gospel Train is a folk spiritual, part of an African American song tradition that arose during slavery. Spirituals were created by slaves using elements of African music such as clapping, drumming, repetition of lyrics, and call-and-response to express their religion and their experiences as slaves.

Transcript

Oh, the gospel train is comin’
Don’t you wanna go?
Gospel train is comin’,
Don’t you wanna go?
Oh, the gospel train is comin’,
Don’t you wanna go?
Oh, yes, I wanna go

It’s comin’ round the mountain,
Don’t you wanna go?
It’s comin’ round the mountain,
Don’t you wanna go?
She’s comin’ round the mountain,
Don’t you wanna go?
Oh, yes, I wanna go

She’s comin’ heavy loaded,
Don’t you wanna go?
Comin’ heavy loaded,
Don’t you wanna go?
Comin’ heavy loaded,
Don’t you wanna go?
Oh, yes, I wanna go

She’s loaded with bright angels,
Don’t you wanna go?
Loaded with bright angels,
Don’t you wanna go?
She’s loaded with bright angels,
Don’t you wanna go?
Oh, yes, I wanna go

Oh, tell me who is the captain,
Don’t you wanna go?
Tell me who’s the captain,
Don’t you wanna go?
Oh, tell me who’s the captain,
Don’t you wanna go?
Oh, yes, I wanna go

King Jesus is the captain,
Don’t you wanna go?
King Jesus is the captain,
Don’t you wanna go?
Oh, Jesus is the captain,
Don’t you wanna go?
Oh, yes, I wanna go

He fought out many a battle,
Don’t you wanna go?
He fought out many a battle,
Don’t you wanna go?
Oh, he fought out many a battle,
Don’t you wanna go?
Oh, yes, I wanna go