Amish Singing On Amtrak (Video)

This video is titled “Amish Singing On Amtrak”. The quality is passable though not great. But I couldn’t pass up sharing it. This video combines two themes seen here in recent months – Amish singing and Amish on trains. The men singing do appear to be Amish. I count at least three of them. The only detail the uploader put in the video description is “Amish singing on a train in the late hours of the AM headed to NY.”

Image: Tim Livian/YouTube

Does “NY” mean NYC or somewhere upstate? Amish do travel to New York City, but it seems it would be odd for them to be arriving in the city late at night. Looking further into the video comments, uploader Tim Livian adds that “This was a stretch from Chicago to NYC.” With that knowledge and going by the look of the men, I would guess they are heading somewhere in Pennsylvania, possibly back home to Lancaster County.

The men’s voices are quite twangy and the song has a country flavor. We hear some crooning and someone tapping out a beat. According to another commenter, the song is country singer Bill Anderson’s “Po’ Folks”. Here are the bits that we hear them sing (full lyrics here):

The Salvation Army give us clothes to wear
A man from the county came to cut our hair
We lived next door to a millionaire
But we wasn’t nothin’ ‘cept po’ folks

My granddaddy’s pension was a dollar and thirty three cents
That was ten dollar less than the landlord wanted for rent
The landlord’s letters got nasty indeed
He wrote ‘Get out’ but Pa couldn’t read
And we was too broke to even pay heed
But that’s how it is when you’re po’ folks

But we had something in our house money can’t buy
Kept us warm in the winter, cool when the sun was high
For whenever we didn’t have food enough
And the howlin’ winds would get pretty rough
We patched the cracks and set the table with love

‘Cause that’s what you do when you’re po’ folks
And we wasn’t nothin’ but po’ folks

Singing is – or at least used to be – one way to pass the time on long trips. This video was shot way back in 2006. Note that would be several years before smartphones began infiltrating our pockets and capturing people’s attention more or less full-time.

Would people tolerate singing like this in 2020? Or would they scoff at it, an unwelcome distraction from their screens?

Their fellow passengers from that different era seem to appreciate it – breaking out in applause at song’s end.

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    1. C Dale Bannon

      Amish Singing On A Train

      These people do not look like any Amish folk that I’ve ever seen. Take a closer look. Just take a real close look.

      1. Okay, what specifically do you want us to look at?

      2. Lydia Good

        Yep, they're Amish

        I took your advice and looked REAL close. Sorry to burst your bubble, Mr. Dale, but I can assure you they are the real thing. How do I know? I was born and raised Amish. The horse and buggy kind. In Lancaster County, PA. At least 3 verified Amish in the video. I think the gentleman in the last booth is Amish too. He’s bald, but seems to have long hair.

        As far as them singing that corny song, my mother was born in 1905. As a teenager, she knew many of the popular songs of that time period. I have no clue where she learned them. When she was old, she would occasionally sing those songs she learned when she was a young lady. One that I remember is: Yes, we have no bananas today. She remembered all the songs she learned in school too. Mother sang from morning till night. Children’s songs, secular songs and hymns. English and German. My brothers used to play the harmonica and the jews harp.

        1. Geo

          Old songs

          Wow, Lydia, you described my Mother too. Singing all day. I also wondered where she learned all the songs since she grew up before radio. She said she heard them from others. Without radio the Amish must learn songs from each other.

    2. C Dale Bannon

      Amish Singing On The Train

      The women.

      1. I did not see any Amish women in this shot. The ones you see are not Amish.

    3. Geo

      Amish or not

      I used to wonder if Amish folks were allowed to sing and play music.
      If thems Amish or if they aint, thats real corny and I mean that in a good way. I wonder where Amish might have learned that song. I’m a hard core old time hillbilly music fan but I never heard that tune before. I found it on Youtube by Bill Anderson. It was called hillbilly music back in the day Bill recorded it. No one called it country. Any old hillbilly fan like myself can tell you country and hillbilly aint the same and never was. And by the way, hillbilly was not meant in the pejorative sense.