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Coal Mine Songs

Related threads:
Lyr ADD: Redneck War (Short & Shortridge) (6)
Coal Mining Songs (78)
BS: Appalachian Destruction (25)
Coal Mining Songs--New Book + CDs (17)
coal mining songs (48)


FreddyHeadey 10 Dec 17 - 12:12 PM
Dennis the Elder 08 Nov 12 - 04:20 AM
GUEST,SD Williams 07 Nov 12 - 05:31 PM
GUEST,Marv 28 Apr 12 - 10:42 PM
2581 20 Mar 12 - 01:42 AM
Paul Burke 03 Mar 12 - 03:18 PM
GUEST,mg 01 Mar 12 - 03:46 PM
Mr Happy 01 Mar 12 - 09:26 AM
Desert Dancer 01 Mar 12 - 01:11 AM
2581 06 Jan 12 - 12:43 PM
2581 05 Jan 12 - 11:32 PM
GUEST,paul67 20 Sep 11 - 05:26 PM
2581 25 Dec 10 - 12:03 PM
Mick Tems 24 Dec 10 - 07:55 AM
Jason Xion Wang 24 Dec 10 - 06:40 AM
GUEST,Ray Stephens 24 Dec 10 - 12:58 AM
Dennis the Elder 10 Jul 10 - 08:41 AM
Mr Fox 04 Jul 10 - 07:36 PM
GUEST,ollaimh 03 Jul 10 - 09:11 PM
GUEST,Aneirin 03 Jul 10 - 06:09 PM
open mike 07 Apr 10 - 06:45 PM
GUEST,Tom 15 Mar 10 - 02:54 PM
Dennis the Elder 28 Feb 10 - 09:15 AM
HiHo_Silver 27 Feb 10 - 05:05 PM
GUEST,xXxSKIDxXx 27 Feb 10 - 02:44 PM
Kevin Sexton 12 Nov 09 - 03:32 AM
Rog Peek 11 Nov 09 - 10:54 AM
GUEST,Raker john 10 Nov 09 - 01:48 PM
Young Buchan 27 Oct 09 - 07:50 AM
Young Buchan 27 Oct 09 - 05:28 AM
Seamus Kennedy 27 Oct 09 - 02:36 AM
Martha Burns 26 Oct 09 - 08:52 PM
2581 26 Oct 09 - 07:48 PM
GUEST,EK Anne 26 Oct 09 - 11:42 AM
Young Buchan 26 Oct 09 - 10:42 AM
Young Buchan 26 Oct 09 - 10:14 AM
Santa 26 Oct 09 - 09:54 AM
catspaw49 25 Oct 09 - 05:20 PM
GUEST,Braddie 25 Oct 09 - 05:03 PM
Allan C. 18 Jun 09 - 05:35 PM
Allan C. 15 Jun 09 - 07:40 PM
Rumncoke 15 Jun 09 - 10:26 AM
Allan C. 15 Jun 09 - 06:22 AM
jaze 14 Jun 09 - 11:50 AM
GUEST,Joe G 13 Jun 09 - 07:09 PM
gnu 13 Jun 09 - 05:27 PM
TonyK 13 Jun 09 - 05:16 PM
GUEST,MikeL 12 Jun 09 - 03:24 PM
GUEST 12 Jun 09 - 09:58 AM
GUEST,Bill the sound 11 Jun 09 - 08:22 PM
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Subject: Dust in the Air
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 10 Dec 17 - 12:12 PM

re
GUEST,raredance-
Date:?10 May 09 - 11:06 PM
... songs from "'And Now the Fields Are Green' A Collection of Coal Mining Songs In Canada" by John C O'Donnell. University College of Cape Breton Press, 1992.

... Dust in the Air

video link here sung by Canadian choir Men Of The Deeps

/mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=163264


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: Dennis the Elder
Date: 08 Nov 12 - 04:20 AM

Thanks for sharing it SD, Certainly worth the 27 years wait for this recording.
It looks like a real family presentation from the list of those involved in the recording.


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Subject: RE: Coal Mining Songs
From: GUEST,SD Williams
Date: 07 Nov 12 - 05:31 PM

I just recorded this song I wrote in 1985 about the Wilberg Coal Mine fire in Utah. Wanted to share it. Click here


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: GUEST,Marv
Date: 28 Apr 12 - 10:42 PM

Does anybody have the lyrics of a song that has the line "leavin nothin behind but some words on a stone"?


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: 2581
Date: 20 Mar 12 - 01:42 AM

An Australian songwriter, Raymond Crooke, recently wrote a coal mining song based on the true story of Charles Scott Howard, a Kentucky coal miner and mine safety activist. Mr. Howard took a video of unsafe conditions underground at the mine where he worked. He showed that video at a public hearing held by MSHA, the American government agency that enforces mine safety laws. He was disciplined for doing so by his employer, Cumberland River Coal Company. Mr. Howard filed a safety discrimination case against the company and prevailed, but later (in May, 2011) he was fired by the coal company because of his safety complaints. Mr. Crooke's song tells the story of Charles Scott Howard. It's called "Big Coal Don't Like This Man At All". Check it out below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljtxjFKB718


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Subject: Lyr Add: OLD WORKINGS (Maldwyn Morgan)
From: Paul Burke
Date: 03 Mar 12 - 03:18 PM

OLD WORKINGS
Maldwyn Morgan

Unseen, darkness fills the place where men
Took to task a million years of trees.

Black water runs on rails that have sung
The song of trams.

The end of the tunnel, where the mountain won,
Is wet with drippings and with tears -

A tired symphony of echoes.
That water jack; was it Dai's or Twin's

Or Gareth's - who should have been a clerk!
Look! Those timbers notched by Rees -

Flower stems holding up a forest.
That tram - the chalk mark, what does it say?

Number three hundred and four - a scribbled essay
On living with coal.


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Subject: Lyr Add: BLACK DIAMOND
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 01 Mar 12 - 03:46 PM

This is one I posted somewhere before because it is in the DT..but I will repeat it because it is about the coal miners of Black Diamond, Washington..pretty close to Seattle and where we had Rainycamp. Lots of Welsh were there..in fact, they used to come to Seattle to the Welsh sings, and when a group of them walked in the door the singing went up exponentially..goodness they were great.

It is about real live miners who were buried in a common grave..5 were Italian and one was perhaps Slavic? The gravestone says Morte in Esplosione.

Black as a miner's face
Black as a foreman's heart
Black as the weather when we buried them together
Cause we couldn't tell their bones apart...couldn't tell their bones apart

Green the few dollars we earn
Green the wet wood we must burn
By the banks of Green River the miners' children shiver
And they know that it soon will be their turn
Know that it soon will be their turn

White for our sliver of soap white for our last ray of hope
White for the coffin that our town has seen so often
Carried up that wet mossy slope
Carried up that wet mossy slope

Red for the sun we hear shines
And red for the red danger signs
And the fires underground that will burn the year around
In the tunnels of the Black Diamond Mines
Tunnels of the Black Diamond Mines..


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Subject: Lyr Add: BLOOD ON THE COAL (Christopher Guest)
From: Mr Happy
Date: 01 Mar 12 - 09:26 AM

BLOOD ON THE COAL [Christopher Guest, 2003]


It was April 27 in the year of 91
Bout a mile below the surface and the warm Kentucky sun
The late shift was ending and the early shift was late.
The foreman ate his dinner on a dirty tin plate

Blood on the tracks, blood in the mine,
Brothers and sisters what a terrible time.
Ole 97 went in the wrong hole,
Now my number 60 has blood on the coal,
Blood on the coal, blood on the coal.

The slag pits were steamin' it was 7:25,
Every miner worked the coal face,
Every one of them alive
The train came round the corner,
You could hear the trestle groan,
But the switcher wasn't listnin' so he left the switch alone!

The walls began to tremble and the men began to yell,
You could hear that lonesome whistle like an echo out...well
They dropped their picks and shovels and to safety they did run,
For to stay among the living in the year of 91!

An Irishman named Murphy said "I'll stop that iron horse!"
And he stood to thwart its passage
And it crushed him dead of course.
And I hope he hears the irony when ere this tale is told,
The train that took his life was burning good Kentucky coal, Hey!


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 01 Mar 12 - 01:11 AM

A new song by environmental science writer Andy Revkin: Black Bird, a ballad inspired by the story of his bandmate's great grandfather's death.

On his New York Times "Dot Earth" blog post, Songs of this Fossil Age: A Coal Miner's Death Foretold, he tells the story and links some other songs of his, as well as other coal mining songs. Among the comments to the post, he mentions the Music of Coal website, which focuses on songs of the southern Appalachian coalfields.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: 2581
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 12:43 PM

Check out these classic coal mining songs. Chuck Ragan's cover of "Coal Tattoo" (Billy Edd Wheeler) may not be done in a folk style, but it is brilliant nonetheless!

West Virginia Mine Disaster (Jean Ritchie)

You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive (Darrell Scott)

Coal Tattoo - Chuck Ragan


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: 2581
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 11:32 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: GUEST,paul67
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 05:26 PM

does anyone know the welsh song about a boy that picks coal with his grandfather? "when he wasnt looking i rubbed coal dust in my face", cmon dygi cmon i said we dont want anymore...


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: 2581
Date: 25 Dec 10 - 12:03 PM

Merle Travis wrote "Miner's Strawberries" in 1963. It is included in his album, "Songs of the Coal Mines".


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: Mick Tems
Date: 24 Dec 10 - 07:55 AM

The centenary of the Tonypandy Riots has just passed in the Rhondda Valleys, when 12,000 miners went out on strike to protest at the bullying attitudes of the massive Cambrian Combine chain of collieries, who locked out miners at the Ely colliery in Penygraig. The Home Secretary, Winston Churchill, sent armed troops into the Valleys, an incident remembered in a folk song (to the tune of Clementine):

"Tonypandy, Tonypandy,
Tonypandy, don't forget;
Tonypandy, Tonypandy,
All the Welsh remember yet..."

When The Coal Comes From The Rhondda was a rallying-cry inspired by The Tonypandy Riots. And BBC-1 Wales showed Sophie Evans (runner-up in the theatre audition show Over The Rainbow) singing All The Nice Girls Love A Miner, a 100-year-old Rhondda Valleys parody to the tune of All The Nice Girls Love A Sailor, which was another song inspired by the Riots.

Churchill's reputation was blackened, as far as South Wales was concerned, by his actions in the Riots. As late as the 1960s, South Wales mothers scared their naughty children by telling them: "You be good, or else I'll send Churchill to get you!"


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: Jason Xion Wang
Date: 24 Dec 10 - 06:40 AM

I only know:

Dark as a Dungeon
Coal Tattoo
Bells of Rhymney


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: GUEST,Ray Stephens
Date: 24 Dec 10 - 12:58 AM

Merle Travis sang a lot of traditional coal mining songs as well as his own original compositions. Does anyone know in which category "Miner's Strawberries" falls?


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: Dennis the Elder
Date: 10 Jul 10 - 08:41 AM

I have nor read the full thread so if "Morley Main" by Keith Marsden has already been mentioned I am sorry, but it deserves another mention anyway!!
Beautiful song , sung by Keiths wife Val of Cockersdal, on their CD "Picking Sooty Blackberries".If you are a female singer well worth listening to.


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: Mr Fox
Date: 04 Jul 10 - 07:36 PM

Also, from Kent is "Garden of England":-Sorry - but I've fogotten who wrote it All I recall is that she was married to a Kent miner.

Most likely Kay Sutcliffe who also wrote the lyrics of 'Coal Not Dole'


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: GUEST,ollaimh
Date: 03 Jul 10 - 09:11 PM

alistar macgillvary's coal town road is one of the greats.

but don't forget stings "we work the black seam together"


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: GUEST,Aneirin
Date: 03 Jul 10 - 06:09 PM

Welsh mining songs - "Merthyron y Glo", Niclas y Glais (TE Nicholas)
(Chwi ddewrion y dwfn erwau tywyll...)

Also, from Kent is "Garden of England":-

To the garden of England strangers came one day
From the north to work down the mines.
To the garden of England strangers came one day
And they walked hand in hand with their wives.

And the children played in the green fields
And sang their songs, and danced away the years,
Coming home, kicking leaves by the roadside,
Coming home, walking hand in hand.

To the garden of England strangers came one day
Riding horses down narrow country roads.
To the garden of England strangers came one day
Linking arms and forming battle lines

And the children (etc.)

In the garden of England our children play games
Linking arms and forming battle lines.
In the garden of England our children play games
Of police facing picket lines

And they play no more in the green fields
Or sing their songs, or dance away they years.
Now they all link arms by the roadside,
Facing strangers, forming battle lines.

To the garden of England strangers came one day
Driving horses down narrow country lanes.

Sorry - but I've fogotten who wrote it. All I recall is that she was married to a Kent miner.


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: open mike
Date: 07 Apr 10 - 06:45 PM

refresh...sing a song in memory of the miners who died this week.

also see: http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=126607


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: GUEST,Tom
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 02:54 PM

The Molly Maguires by the Irish Baladeers
1968 - Avoca 33-ST-162 LP

I have a scratch on my record
and can't make out the last verse of
Up went O'Reilly
about O'reilly talking to Saint Peter
and being denied entrance and
docked for the time he was away


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: Dennis the Elder
Date: 28 Feb 10 - 09:15 AM

Just a couple more verses of "Workingman" that I have picked up from somwhere, but unfortunatly no idea where that was. Most probably not written by Rita MacNeil. Does any one else know their origin(s)

At the age of 65 I pray to God I'm still alive
And the wheels above the mine no longer wind
And they've finally closed the hole
Where for years they/we clawed for coal
And never again will we go down underground.

At the age of ninety two
And his time on earth all through
Friends and family we all gathered round
We cast his ashes to the wind
For we promised our old friend
That he ne'er again would go down underground

Apologies to the author(s) of these verses for not crediting them, its due to my age.


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Subject: Lyr Add: WORKING MAN (Rita MacNeil)
From: HiHo_Silver
Date: 27 Feb 10 - 05:05 PM

This is one of the best:

Workingman - RITA MAcNEIL Cape Breton

It's a workingman I am and I've been down underground
And I swear by God if I ever see the sun
Or for any length of time, I can hold it in my mind
I never again will go down underground

At the age of sixteen years, oh he quarreled with his peers
Who vowed they'd see never see another one
In the dark recess of the mines, where you age before your time
And the coal dust lies heavy on your lungs

It's a workingman I am and I've been down underground
And I swear by God if I ever see the sun
Or for any length of time, I can hold it in my mind
I never again will go down underground

At the age of sixty-four, oh he'll greet you at the door
And he'll gently lead you by the arm
Through the dark recess of the mines, he can take you back in time
And he'll tell you of the hardships that were there

It's a workingman I am and I've been down underground
And I swear by God if I ever see the sun
Or for any length of time, I can hold it in my mind
I never again will go down underground

It's a workingman I am and I've been down underground
And I swear by God if I ever see the sun
Or for any length of time, I can hold it in my mind
I never again will go down underground

It's a workingman I am and I've been down underground
And I swear by God if I ever see the sun
Or for any length of time, I can hold it in my mind
I never again will go down underground

No, I never again will go down underground


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: GUEST,xXxSKIDxXx
Date: 27 Feb 10 - 02:44 PM

does anybody know the song coal loading johnny?if so who sings it?


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE OLD MINER (from John Moreton)
From: Kevin Sexton
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 03:32 AM

My favourite is 'The Old Miner', from Roy Palmer's "Songs of the Midlands" (1972); collected by John Moreton in the early 1960s, from an unnamed source. Palmer notes: "Sung by an old miner in Haunchwood Pit, Nuneaton, Warwickshire... The pit is now closed. The informant originated in Durham, where he had learned the tune. The words were his own."
Recorded by Silly Sisters on "No More To The Dance" (1988)and by Dere & Dorothy Elliott in the 70s:-

Oh who'll replace this old miner
And who will take my place below?
And who will follow the trepanner?
Who, dear God, when I go?

Oh who will wield this heavy pick
That I did wield for forty years?
And who will hew the black black coal
Who, dear God, when I go?

Oh who will ride the miner's train
That takes him to the dark coal face
Who'll take my place upon that train
Who, dear God, when I go?

Oh who will load the great iron tub
And who will strain his bending back
And who will work sweat and ache like hell
Who, dear God, when I go?

And who will cry when the roof caves in
When friends are lying all around
And who will sing the miner's hymn
Who, dear God, when I go?

For forty years I've loved the mine
For forty years I've worked down there
Now who'll replace this old coal miner
When I've paid, God, my fare?


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: Rog Peek
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 10:54 AM

Gresford Disaster Trad?
No Christmas in Kentucky - Phil Ochs
Dogs at Midnight - Tom Paxton
The Coal Owner and the Poor Pitman's Wife - Trad
The High Sheriff of Hazard - Tom Paxton

Rog


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: GUEST,Raker john
Date: 10 Nov 09 - 01:48 PM

These are a few off the top of my head:

Paradise - John Prine
Coal Tattoo - Billy Ed Wheeler
Red-Winged Blackbird - Billy Ed Wheeler
You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive - Darrell Scott
Dark As A Dungeon - Merle Travis
Nine Pound Hammer - not sure of the author
The L&N Don't Stop Here Anymore - Jean Richie


I'd love to find a comprehensive list of coal mining songs (preferably American) so if anyone knows of one, please post it - thanks!


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: Young Buchan
Date: 27 Oct 09 - 07:50 AM

The pit at Wardley near Gateshead was closed in 1969 when the coal seam gave out into a chalk one. Dave Douglass who worked on the final shift there told me this was written by one of the miners and sung as they went down for the last time. Usual Lockout tune.

We have withstood the sweeping hand of Robens and his gang.
'Gainst each and every gaffer's trick we stood firm to a man.
We thought we'd got a living wage, but bad luck did us appal,
For the only seam that held our hopes has struck a great white wall.

When first we saw that line of white a peeping through the coal
The gaffer said, "Lads, never mind, it's nothing but a roll."
But day by day it grows and grows, and we're finished one and all,
For there's not a lot of coal to mine when you dig a great white wall.

And there it gleams among the coal, so white and clear and bright
And the dust comes up like London fog or a steamer's smoke at night.
Just like a great white whale she sits, so wide and deep and tall;
But she'll break our backs and take our jobs, will Wardley's great white wall.

In many a long struggle just to earn a living wage
The gaffers and the Union lads together did engage.
No quarter was expected, whatever may befall:
But it's beat us both and closed the pit, has Wardley's great white wall.


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: Young Buchan
Date: 27 Oct 09 - 05:28 AM

Tony from Kentucky:

I am confident that Easington is on Jock's vinyl LP Pitwork Politics and Poetry.

The wonders of the Internet inform me that No 2 Top Seam is on Muckram Wakes' Pick and Malt Shovel and June Tabor's Cut Above. I guess they are also vinyl.If you just want a tune it too goesto Winding Banks/Lockout

I don't know of a recording of Invalid Miner. I got it from a version published in a tiny British folk magazine in the 60s called either Spin or Sing Out but NOT the American magazines of the same name! :-<


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Subject: Lyr Add: MY FATHER WAS A MINER (Seamus Kennedy)
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 27 Oct 09 - 02:36 AM

Here's one I wrote and recorded on my 'On The Rocks' CD a few years ago.

MY FATHER WAS A MINER
(Seamus Kennedy, Gransha Music)


I wrote this song for my friend Bruce Cunningham of Scranton, PA, whose father Jim was a coal-miner in the Lackawanna Valley mines. Bruce related several stories about his dad to me one night in the Banshee Pub in Scranton, and I mentioned that they'd make a good song. He immediately challenged me to write one. This is it. Thanks to Bruce and to his dad for the inspiration.


My father was a miner
As his father was before him,
Hacking out the anthracite
From the Pennsylvania clay,
He left school at fifteen,
Was down the mines at sixteen,
At nineteen he was married
And soon I was on the way.

At seven every morning,
My mother made him breakfast,
Then he'd walk down to the pithead
With all the other men.
He'd swing his old lunch bucket,
As she watched him from the window,
Wond'ring if this was the day
That she would not see him again.

His name is Jim Cunningham,
from Lackawanna County,
Like all his childhood buddies
He toiled at digging coal.
Risking black-lung and cave-ins,
And flying red-hot splinters,
And bleeding ruptured eardrums
After "Fire in the hole!"

While crawling in a shaft one day
To hew a brand-new coalface,
He didn't hear the timbers creak
Or the rumble overhead,
But a hand reached in and grabbed him,
And pulled him from the tunnel,
Just another second later
And my dad would have been dead.

Well, he finished out his shift,
There was no time off for dyin',
That night he told my mother,
And she began to keen and moan,
She threw his supper on the table,
Her eyes were red with cryin'.
Saying, "If you go down tomorrow,
I won't be here when you come home."

So now he drives a truck
For a bakery here in Scranton,
And once a week I help him
With deliveries round the town.
He lived to see us growin',
And it keeps my mother happy,
But sometimes I think for one more day,
He'd love to go back down.

One morning having coffee
In a nearby Dunkin' Donuts,
An older man came in
And sat down not too far away.
My father brought me over,
And said, "Shake hands with Ray Hinkley,
If it hadn't been for him, son,
I would not be here today."

I whispered, "Thank you, Mr. Hinkley."
As I took his hand and shook it.
My tears fell hot and heavy,
So I could scarcely see.
He put a big hand on my shoulder,
And pulled me close beside him,
Saying, "Your dad and I are miners,
He'd have done the same for me."

My father was a miner,
As his father was before him,
Hacking out the anthracite
From the Pennsylvania clay.


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: Martha Burns
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 08:52 PM

Boy, coal miners were a singing bunch!
With all of these songs, there's one of my favorites that no one has mentioned, and that's THE SHOOFLY.

As I went a-walking one fine summer's morning,
It was down by the furnace I chanced for to stroll.
I spied an old lady, I'll swear she was eighty,
At the foot of the dirt bank, a-looking for coal.

ETC.


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: 2581
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 07:48 PM

Young Buchan --
   Do you know where I can find "No. 2 Top Seam", "The Invalid Miner" and "The Easington Explosion" on a CD or LP?
                         Best wishes, Tony from Kentucky


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE AUCHENGEICH DISASTER (Norman Buchan)
From: GUEST,EK Anne
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 11:42 AM

Here are the words of a song about the Auchengeich disaster on 18th September 1959, in Lanarkshire, Scotland, when 47 men died in an underground fire.

THE AUCHENGEICH DISASTER

1) In Auchengeich there stands a pit,
    The wheel above, it isna turnin'.
    For on a grey September morn
    The flames o' Hell below were burnin'.

2) Though in below the coal lay rich
    It's richer noo, for aw that burnin'
    For forty seven brave men are deid,
    Tae wives an' sweethearts ne'er returnin'.

3) The seams are thick in Auchengeich,
    The coal below is black an' glistening
    But och, its cost is faur ower dear,
    For human lives there is nae reckoning.

4) Oh, coal is black an' coal is red,
    An' coal is rich beyond a treasure;
    It's black wi' work an' red wi' blood --
    Its richness noo in lives we measure.

5) Oh, better though we'd never wrocht,
    A thousand years o' work an' grievin'.
    The coal is black like the mournin' shroud
    The women left behind are weavin'.

6) Repeat v1.

This song was recorded by Dick Gaughan on the Topic themed LP "The Bonny Pit Laddie", where it was mistakenly described as traditional. In fact, it was written by the late Norman Buchan (who was a teacher at the time and later a member of Parliament) and was first published in book form in his little red book '101 Scottish Songs' -- Collins Publishers -- in 1962, where it was credited to Tormaid (which is Gaelic for Norman).
The tune he used was 'Skippin' Barfit through the Heather', because it was the singing of this song by Jessie Murray at a People's Festival ceilidh in Edinburgh in 1951? (organised by Hamish Henderson) that first aroused his abiding interest in traditional music.

There's also a great site for those with interest in mining --

www.scottishmining.co.uk (sorry, no clicky)


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE EASINGTON EXPLOSION (Jock Purdon)
From: Young Buchan
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 10:42 AM

By Jock Purdon. As far as I can see not in DT. I tend to sing it to Winding Banks of Erne (Durham Miners' Lockout) though Jock had a slightly different tune.

The Easington Explosion

Come listen all you mining lads that take the road inby.
I'll tell to you a dreadful tale how 80 men did die.
In Easington in '51 men saw the gates of hell
And those that lived to see the sight, never lived the tale to tell.
CHO:God comfort all you miners, your wives and children all;
They strike no medals for mining men but they still are heroes all.

It was on the 29th of May a dreadful twist of fate
Found the fore shift on the face, the back shift on the gate.
Explosion wracked the quarter seam, killing all but one
Leaving many the miner's happy home without father, brother, son.

It was firedamp beneath the seam, it was coal dust fed the flame
That roared outby till it was spent, then roared back in again,
Twisting all the roof supports from out their proper bed
And leaving us in mourning for the dying and the dead.

Inside the hour from Houghton-Le the rescue party come.
They listened for the voices, but the voices all were dumb.
The death of hope was firedamp, the gas the miners dread;
And two rescue men with yellow birds were numbered with the dead.

Now time has dried the widows' tears and stilled the orphans' cry;
For some the memories linger on, for some the echoes die.
"God comfort you" a woman cried and her words I still recall
"They strike no medals for mining men, but you still are heroes all."


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Subject: Lyr Add: INVALID MINER (Roger Watson)
From: Young Buchan
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 10:14 AM

Two by Roger Watson. No 2 Top Seam is in the DT but Invalid Miner isn't.

At 14 Jim left school
With other lads the same,
And like his father had done before
A miner he became, my boys, a miner he became.

A collier lad so bold
One of the best was he
And at the age of 45
They made him a deputy.

A deputy he'd been
For only just a year
When a gas explosion down the pit
Put an end to his career.

The doctors did there best
For a good three months and more
Until they came and told him straight
He never would see any more.

The doctors did there best
For a good twelve months or more
Until they came and told him straight
He never would walk any more.

He's on the welfare now.
It pays his children's keep,
A load of coal four times a year
And a pension every week.

But what they'll never do
No matter how hard they try
Is to give him another pair of legs
Or another pair of eyes.

I emphasise again that this is by Roger Watson, because there is a (quite possibly apocryphal) story that someone once sang it at a club where Roger was present and didn't even credit him. Roger, thinking he might innocently have thought it was traditional, went up to him at the break and asked if he knew who had written it. The reply was "Yes. But I'm not telling you. F*** off and find your own material!"


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: Santa
Date: 26 Oct 09 - 09:54 AM

With a North East England bias, not enough Tommy Armstrong in the list, I think? I don't think he was credited with Trimdon Grange but there are also Oakey Street Evictions, The War between the Cages, and others. The Eliots of Birtley were mentioned, with the Jack Eliot LP for Topic giving us Rap Her To Bank and Cotia. Look to the singing of Johnny Handle, and his time with the High Level Ranters.


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Subject: Lyr Add: FIRE IN THE HOLE (M Daring & J Sayles)
From: catspaw49
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 05:20 PM

I don't see it mentioned in this thread, but this is a very nice mountain sounding piece written for the movie "Matewan"......an EXCELLENT film btw.

FIRE IN THE HOLE
(Mason Daring & John Sayles)

You can tell 'em in the country, tell 'em in the town
The miners down in Mingo laid their shovels down.
We won't pull another pillow, load another ton,
Or lift another finger till the union we have won.

cho: Stand up boys, let the bosses know!
Turn your buckets over, turn your lanterns low;
There's fire in our hearts and fire in our soul
But there ain't gonna be no fire in the hole!

Well, Daddy died a miner, grandpa he did too,
I'll bet this coal will kill me 'for my workin' days are through;
In a hole that's dark and dirty, an early grave confined
I plan to make a union for the ones I leave behind.


(Written for the movie Matewan; Recorded on soundtrack album from
Daring Records)......This one is already in the DT but I think it belongs on the thread.


Spaw


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: GUEST,Braddie
Date: 25 Oct 09 - 05:03 PM

Can anyone help please - a now deceased uncle used to sing about a Pontypridd miner who was looking for his wife it started "Now me and my jam tart for the market made a start" .... I would love to learn the words does anyone know the rest of it please - it went on to list lots of Welsh towns where he looked for her and ends up "I found her drinking in the Butcher's Arms". The listener is left wondering if this was a pub or a guy who sold meat!

Thanks,

John


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Subject: Lyr Add: CANARY SONG
From: Allan C.
Date: 18 Jun 09 - 05:35 PM

I double checked the lyrics. Unfortunately, they do have the canary as a "she". Good song, though. The whole thing goes like this:

CANARY SONG

While the mocking bird warbles
Near the mountain spring
Down in a mine a canary sings
In a deep, dark hole where men didn't belong
They listened to their lives in a canary's song

I remember mountain mornings
So quiet I could almost hear
The wind in the red-tail's feathers
And the breathing of the deer

Those old tracks seemed to go forever
And as a child I'd walk all day
Finding diamonds in the cinders
And taking chunks of coal away

As morning faded to evening
Then so, too, came my time
To follow down in my daddy's footsteps
And leave the mountain for the mine

We'd always bring a bright canary
Our link to the world of air
For we knew while she kept singing
We wouldn't suffocate down there

While the mockingbird warbles
Near the mountain spring
Down in a mine a canary sings
In a deep, dark hole where men didn't belong
We listened to our lives in a canary's song

And we'd listen for the sunrise
For wings against the sky
We'd listen for the dreams
That make men try

Once again I left the mountain
To find work when the mine shut down
Those old tracks don't go on forever
They end in this old part of town

All I brought was this canary
As I awake in dreams of home
I pray I'll hear a bird singing
And hear a silence before the storm

While the mocking bird warbles
Near the mountain spring
In a cold water room a canary sings
Living in this hole where I don't belong
I listen to my life in a canary's song


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: Allan C.
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 07:40 PM

Good point. Maybe I'll give the song another listen. It could be that I transcribed incorrectly.


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: Rumncoke
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 10:26 AM

Shouldn't that be 'while he kept singing' - hen canaries are not renowned for their song.

Anne Croucher


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: Allan C.
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 06:22 AM

A few years back Kenny Ray Horton and a guy who later changed his name to Garth Brooks put together a song that Kenny recorded called, "Canary Song". There are some clips out there on the net of some other folks doing it; but Kenny's version is the best. Part of the lyrics are:

We'd always bring a bright canary
Our link to the world of air
For we knew while she kept singing
We wouldn't suffocate down there.


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: jaze
Date: 14 Jun 09 - 11:50 AM

Springfield Mountain Coal Miner- sung by Kate Wolf


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: GUEST,Joe G
Date: 13 Jun 09 - 07:09 PM

Jez Lowe has been mentioned a few times but he really is the modern master of coal mining songs:

Cursed be the Caller
Last of the Widows (one of the most beautiful & tragic songs ever written)
Mike Neville Said it So it Must be True (a wonderfully wry reflection on the devestation of the industry)
Greek Lightning ( a song that many sons of miners - like me - will weep to)
& many more!


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: gnu
Date: 13 Jun 09 - 05:27 PM

Subject: RE: King Coal Dumping on Jean Ritchie and ALL OF US!
From: gnu - PM
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 12:50 PM

Thought I would put in a plug for olddude's song Appalachia. It's in the list on this page.


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: TonyK
Date: 13 Jun 09 - 05:16 PM

Music of the Coal, that Dick mentioned above, is indeed fine. I also like Coal Tatoo as done by Billy Edd Wheeler, the author.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE DURHAM LOCKOUT (Tommy Armstrong)
From: GUEST,MikeL
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 03:24 PM

The Durham Lockout by Ian Campbell also written and performed by Tommy Armstrong


In our Durham County, I am sorry for to say
That hunger and starvation is increasing every day
For the want of food and coals, we know not what to do
But with your kind assistance, we will stand the struggle through

I need not state the reason why we have been brought so low
The masters have behaved unkind, as everyone well know
Because we won't lie down and let them treat us as they like
To punish us they've stopped their pits and caused the present strike

The pulley wheel have ceased to move which went so swift around
The horses and the ponies too are brought from underground
Our work is taken from us now, they care not if we die
For they can eat the best of food and drink the best when dry

The miner and his marra, too, each morning have to roam
To seek for bread to feed the hungry little ones at home
The flour barrel is empty now, their true and faithful friend
Which makes the thousands wish today the strike was at an end

We have done our very best as honest working men
To let the pits commence again, we've offered to them ten
The offer they will not accept, they firmly do demand
Thirteen and a half percent or let the collieries stand

Let them stand or let them lie to do with them as they choose
To give them thirteen and a half we ever shall refuse
They're always willing to receive, but never inclined to give
Very soon they won't allow a working man to live

With tyranny and capital they never seem content
Unless they are endeavoring to take from us percent
If it was due, what they request, we willingly would grant
We know it's not, therefore we cannot give them what they want

The miners of Northumberland, we shall forever praise
For being so kind in helping us, those tyrannizing days
We thank the other counties too, that have been doing the same
For every man who hears this song will know we're not to blame

Mike Landsborough


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 09:58 AM

All the Nova Scotia songs I know are already noted, but Martyn Joseph has some sweet Welsh songs (Please Sir, Dic Penderyn, Proud Valley Boy, etc.)

My Young Man by Kate Rusby is also a nice song.

By the way, yesterday was Davis Day in NS. Read the link for the history.

Davis Day


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: GUEST,Bill the sound
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 08:22 PM

Just a few good Welsh songs
Mardy by Dave Rogers
Farewell to the Rhondda by Frank Hennessy
Both Recorded by Dave Burns
If I Had a Son by Phil Millichip
Recorded by Phil-Vin Garbutt and several other artists


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