“Get On Board, Little Children”


"The gospel train is coming, I hear it just at hand... Get on board, little children (x3), There's room for many a more." The train will carry all who wish to board, and "the fare is cheap."


Gail Greenwood points out that a number of sources credit this (as "The Gospel Train") to John Chamberlain (1821-1893). This includes an old (but undated) printed "ballet." It is not clear whether he was responsible for the music. Cohen mentions this attribution but without comment on its value.

The title in the ballet is "Rail Road Hymn." - RBW

Cross references

  • cf. "Cindy" (tune)
  • cf. "I Want To See Jesus" (lyrics)


  • Alphabetical Four, "Get On Board Little Children" (Decca 7594, 1939; rec. 1938; on AlphabFour01)
  • Harry C. Brown, "De Gospel Train Am Comin'" (Columbia A-2255, 1917; rec. 1916)
  • Rev. Clayborn, Guitar Evangelist, "The Gospel Trains Coming" (Vocalion 1082, 1927; rec. 1926)
  • Rev. Mose Doolittle, "Get On Board" (Victor 20295, 1926)
  • Dunham Jubilee Singers, "Get On Board" (Columbia 14676-D, 1933; rec. 1931)
  • Kanawha Singers, "The Gospel Train" (Brunswick 365, 1929)
  • Moore Spiritual Singers, "Get On Board" (Bluebird B-8095, 1939)
  • Norfolk Jubilee Quartette, "Get On Board, Little Children, Get On Board" (Paramount Oriole Male Quartette, "Get On Board Little Children" (Oriole 893, 1927)
  • Clara Smith, "Get On Board" (Columbia 14183-D, 1927; rec. 1926; also issued as E8938, n.d.)
  • Sons of Israel, "Gospel Train" (Kingsport 901, n.d.)
  • Southern Plantation Singers, "Get On Board Little Children" (Vocalion 1414, 1929; rec. 1928)
  • Tuskegee Institute Singers, "Get On Board" (Victor 18446, 1918; rec. 1916)
  • 12268, 1925; Herwin 92009 [as Southland Jubilee Singers], 1926)
  • T-Bone Walker, "Get On Board, Little Children" (Capitol 133, 1943; rec. 1942)
  • Williams Jubilee Singers, "Gospel Train is Coming" (Columbia 14457-D, 1929)


  1. Cohen-LSRail, pp. 619-624, "The Gospel Train Is Coming" (2 text plus a text of "The Gospel Train (IV)"; 1 tune for each of the two songs)
  2. BrownIII 529, "The Gospel Train" (2 texts plus a fragment; the "C" fragment is this piece; "A" and "B" are "The Gospel Train (II) and (III)")
  3. Chappell-FSRA 82, "Get On Board, Little Children" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Scarborough-NegroFS, pp. 254-255, "De Gospel Train Am Leabin'" (1 short text, 1 tune)
  5. Silber-FSWB, p. 361, "Get On Board, Little Children" (1 text)
  6. Roud #13948
  7. BI, FSWB361A


Author: possibly John Chamberlain
Earliest date: 1872 (Seward, _Jubilee Songs_)
Found in: US(SE)