January 6

Simplicity and Raw Vocals of Sister Rosetta Tharp’s “This Train”

“The Godmother of Rock and Roll” and “The Original Soul Sister”: are the titles Sister Rosette Tharpe has received throughout her music career as she released several hit songs, including “This Train.”

Sister Rosetta Tharpe was one of the first and greatest gospel music artists who used R&B and rock and roll. She became one of the significant influences of early rock and roll musicians such as Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Because of her influence and contribution to gospel and rock and roll music, Sister Rosetta Tharpe was inducted as an Early Influence into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.

Meaning Behind the Song

“This Train” is also known as “This Train Is Bound For Glory.” The American gospel song was initially recorded in 1922, and it became popular during that time. As Sister Rosetta Tharpe released her version in 1939, “This Train” became one of her most famous gospel hits.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s “This Train” speaks about the people who can ride the train bound for glory. The gospel song talks about how everyone depending on the train has Jesus in their hearts and minds. People who are redeemed and holy are the ones riding. Thus the lyrics say that the train they are on is clean.

She uniquely performed the gospel song; minimal piano, her voice, just those. She used her vocals, electric guitar, and the occasional tunes of the piano to convey her message. 

Listen to Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s voice in her song “This Train” below.


Sister Rosetta Tharp

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