Long Black Train (song)

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"Long Black Train"
A black-and-white image of a man playing an acoustic guitar.
Single by Josh Turner
from the album Long Black Train
B-side"Backwoods Boy"
ReleasedMay 19, 2003 (2003-05-19)
FormatCD single, 7" single, music download
GenreCountry, Southern gospel, bluegrass
Length4:10 (album version)
LabelMCA Nashville
Songwriter(s)Josh Turner
Producer(s)Mark Wright, Frank Rogers
Josh Turner singles chronology
"She'll Go on You"
"Long Black Train"
"What It Ain't"

"Long Black Train" is a song written and recorded by American country music singer Josh Turner. It was released in May 2003 as the second single and title from his debut album of the same name. Having spent more than 30 weeks on the Billboard country charts, "Long Black Train" reached a peak of #13 in early 2004. On June 1, 2006 it was certified as Gold by the RIAA.


"Long Black Train" is a mid-tempo song featuring acoustic guitar, fills from dobro guitar and fiddle, and a percussive rhythm reminiscent of a steam locomotive in motion. Using a funeral train as a metaphor,[1] the lyrics tell of resisting temptation from the Devil.

Turner told The Boot that the song was inspired by a vision that he had of a long, black train running down a track in the middle of nowhere. Turner said, "I could see people standing out to the sides of this track watching this train go by. As I was walking, experiencing this vision, I kept asking myself, 'What does this vision mean and what is this train?' It dawned on me that this train was a physical metaphor for temptation. These people are caught up in the decision of whether or not to go on this train" .[2]

The song is composed in the key of B-flat major.[3]

Critical reception[edit]

Steve Leggett of Allmusic said of the song, "sung in Turner's deep voice, it rolls across country radio like nothing else on the scene, the ominous breath of hellfire in the lyrics conjuring up the ghost of Johnny Cash."[1] Hank Kalet of PopMatters also described the song favorably: "It is a proudly religious song, almost fiery, defiant."[4]

Music video[edit]

The music video for this song was shot at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum in a few different locations along a railroad track. The various shots of Turner include him walking through a tunnel, standing on the tracks singing, and from above while he is playing guitar. The video features various characters, all of whom are participating in various sinful activities (including binge drinking, gambling, and prostitution), and are shown on the train tracks as well.

The video also featured ex-Army Class 2-8-0 Consolidation #610 as the locomotive pulling the train.

Chart performance[edit]

"Long Black Train" debuted at #60 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks for the week of May 31, 2003.

Chart (2003–04) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100[5] 72
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[6] 13

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2004) Position
US Country Songs (Billboard)[7] 50


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[8] Gold 500,000double-dagger

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ a b Leggett, Steve. "Long Black Train review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-07-31.
  2. ^ Turner, Josh (26 March 2008). "Josh Turner, 'Long Black Train' - Story Behind the Lyrics". The Boot. Retrieved 21 June 2010.
  3. ^ "'Long Black Train' sheet music". MusicNotes.com. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  4. ^ Kalet, Hank. "Long Black Train review". PopMatters. Retrieved 2009-07-31.
  5. ^ "Josh Turner Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved April 4, 2011.
  6. ^ "Josh Turner Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved April 4, 2011.
  7. ^ "Best of 2004: Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2004. Retrieved July 11, 2012.
  8. ^ "American single certifications – Josh Turner – Long Black Train". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved May 3, 2018. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH.