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Coal Mine Songs

Related threads:
Coal Mining Songs (78)
BS: Appalachian Destruction (25)
Coal Mining Songs--New Book + CDs (17)
coal mining songs (48)


Bagpuss 23 Feb 09 - 04:13 AM
bald headed step child 23 Feb 09 - 10:09 AM
JohnB 24 Feb 09 - 10:05 AM
heatherblether 24 Feb 09 - 11:43 AM
GUEST,Nikkiwi 24 Feb 09 - 06:24 PM
dick greenhaus 24 Feb 09 - 11:31 PM
fumblefingers 25 Feb 09 - 12:01 AM
DannyC 02 Mar 09 - 08:20 PM
GUEST 02 Mar 09 - 09:38 PM
Jon Bartlett 03 Mar 09 - 01:44 AM
oldhippie 03 Mar 09 - 07:16 AM
Dr Price 04 Mar 09 - 10:11 AM
GUEST,Bobby Bob, Ellan Vannin 04 Mar 09 - 11:11 AM
RTim 04 Mar 09 - 12:04 PM
Willa 04 Mar 09 - 01:29 PM
Rifleman (inactive) 04 Mar 09 - 01:41 PM
meself 04 Mar 09 - 02:49 PM
GUEST,Brian Kell 04 Mar 09 - 04:07 PM
2581 10 May 09 - 02:08 PM
Tattie Bogle 10 May 09 - 07:50 PM
GUEST,raredance 10 May 09 - 11:06 PM
GUEST,Bardford 10 May 09 - 11:52 PM
Susanne (skw) 17 May 09 - 06:02 PM
2581 09 Jun 09 - 11:12 PM
irishenglish 09 Jun 09 - 11:44 PM
Mr Red 10 Jun 09 - 07:02 AM
GUEST,Bob 10 Jun 09 - 01:41 PM
Rog Peek 10 Jun 09 - 04:26 PM
2581 11 Jun 09 - 01:17 AM
GUEST,Bill the sound 11 Jun 09 - 08:22 PM
GUEST 12 Jun 09 - 09:58 AM
GUEST,MikeL 12 Jun 09 - 03:24 PM
TonyK 13 Jun 09 - 05:16 PM
gnu 13 Jun 09 - 05:27 PM
GUEST,Joe G 13 Jun 09 - 07:09 PM
jaze 14 Jun 09 - 11:50 AM
Allan C. 15 Jun 09 - 06:22 AM
Rumncoke 15 Jun 09 - 10:26 AM
Allan C. 15 Jun 09 - 07:40 PM
Allan C. 18 Jun 09 - 05:35 PM
GUEST,Braddie 25 Oct 09 - 05:03 PM
catspaw49 25 Oct 09 - 05:20 PM
Santa 26 Oct 09 - 09:54 AM
Young Buchan 26 Oct 09 - 10:14 AM
Young Buchan 26 Oct 09 - 10:42 AM
GUEST,EK Anne 26 Oct 09 - 11:42 AM
2581 26 Oct 09 - 07:48 PM
Martha Burns 26 Oct 09 - 08:52 PM
Seamus Kennedy 27 Oct 09 - 02:36 AM
Young Buchan 27 Oct 09 - 05:28 AM
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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: Bagpuss
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 04:13 AM

Trimdon Grange - which I think is in the DT.


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: bald headed step child
Date: 23 Feb 09 - 10:09 AM

The CD "Classic Mountain Songs from Smithsonian Folkways" contains a song by The Phipps Family called The Red Jacket Mine Explosion.

It's set to the tune of Red River Valley.

45 miners killed at Keen Mountain, Va April 22, 1938.

Powerful song.

BHSC


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: JohnB
Date: 24 Feb 09 - 10:05 AM

I was thinking and reading the thread at the same time (wow) I saw
Byker Hill, Springhill Mining Disaster and Blackleg Miner metioned.
I don't think I saw Coaltown Road or Trimdon Grange.
JohnB


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: heatherblether
Date: 24 Feb 09 - 11:43 AM

Skewen Main 1925 by Chris Hastings and Huw Pudner is another song welsh mining song ,about the closure of the Skewen Main colliery near Swansea.
HB


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: GUEST,Nikkiwi
Date: 24 Feb 09 - 06:24 PM

"Miners refrain" - gillian welch
"Schoolday's end" - ewan maccoll


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 24 Feb 09 - 11:31 PM

Don't forget "The Coal in the Stone."


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: fumblefingers
Date: 25 Feb 09 - 12:01 AM

Merle Travis - Songs of the Coal Mines

Black gold
The Harlan County Boys
Payday Come Too Slow
The Browder Explosion
Bloody Brethitt County
Here's To The Operator
The Miner's Wife
The Courtship of Second Cousin Claude
Miner's Strawberries
Paw Walked Behind Us With A Carbon Lamp
Preacher Lane
Dear Old Halifax


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: DannyC
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 08:20 PM

You might wanna here this contemporary one. It's a powerful song called Reclaimed Land

These folks made a serious song, boys.


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 09:38 PM

'42 Years' by Nimrod Workman.
    Please note that anonymous posting is no longer allowed at Mudcat. Use a consistent name [in the 'from' box] when you post, or your messages risk being deleted.
    Thanks.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: Jon Bartlett
Date: 03 Mar 09 - 01:44 AM

Coal mining songs from BC:

A Miner's Life's an Unco Bubble
Are You from Bevan?
Bowser's Seventy Twa

Check Jack O'Donnell's book of Nova Scotia mining songs (not sure of the title - he used to be musical director for Men of the Deeps).

Jon Bartlett


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: oldhippie
Date: 03 Mar 09 - 07:16 AM

Coal Tattoo - Tom Juravich


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: Dr Price
Date: 04 Mar 09 - 10:11 AM

What about the South Wales mining song The Best Little Doorboy, recorded by Ewan McColl?


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: GUEST,Bobby Bob, Ellan Vannin
Date: 04 Mar 09 - 11:11 AM

Jez Lowe was mentioned early on. There's a song at the back of my mind from one of his albums which I've been struggling to remember. Age, stupidity and the drink don't help at such times.

The chorus was something like:
    When the sun is hanging in the sky
    Hours are long, long are the sighs
    Down in the darkness where we lie
    Passing our life away

I seem to remember it starting as:
    Times are hard, days are long
    I wish I was a rich man's son
Another verse is:
    If I was a sailor, I'd sail the main
    And rob the ships from France and Spain
    And if we lost, perhaps we'd gain
    For the French might raise our pay

I'll have to dig out the (vinyl) album and check it out.

Lhiats,

Bobby Bob, Ellan Vannin


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE NORTH COUNTRY MINER'S WIFE (Davenport
From: RTim
Date: 04 Mar 09 - 12:04 PM

How about this one - one of my favorites and I sing it often
Tim Radford

THE NORTH COUNTRY MINER'S WIFE.
Bob Davenport.

One day while in the North Country
A lassie there I spied
All dressed in deep mourning
So bitterly she cried
She lost her man killed down the pit
Crushed by a fall of stone
So short a time she lay with him
So long she'll lie alone.

Now they were 17 years old
When their married life began
And at the age of 19 years
She bore to him a son
A few more months she had
To be for him a wife
So short a time together
Before he lost his life.

Long as she lives she'll never forget
That cruel winter's day
Long as she'll live she'll curse the pit
That took her man away
The owners think one day her bairn
Will take its father's place
But she'd sooner see him go to jail
Than go hewing at the face.


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: Willa
Date: 04 Mar 09 - 01:29 PM

Max Boyce's Rhondda Grey


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 04 Mar 09 - 01:41 PM

John Tams' arrangement of The Gresford Disaster


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: meself
Date: 04 Mar 09 - 02:49 PM

Dirty Yankee/Yahi Miners, variation on same base as Blackleg Miner, discussed at length in a couple of earlier threads.

Coal Town Road, by Alister MacGillvary.


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: GUEST,Brian Kell
Date: 04 Mar 09 - 04:07 PM

The best Christmas present I have had for a long while was a copy of "the Elliotts of Birtley" by Pete Wood. Herron Publishing Wellington Road Todmorden Yorkshire Ol14 5DY (ISBN 978-195406-823-3). Some cracking songs and a lot of background. I served my singing apprenticeship at the Elliots Cub in Birtley, Co Durham in the late 60's and will never forget it. My other major reference is Come all you Bold Miners by A. L Lloyd but that's been mentioned before. Gan canny.


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: 2581
Date: 10 May 09 - 02:08 PM

Here are 25 excellent American coal mining songs that I don't believe have been mentioned in any of the previous posts:

1. Dirty Black Coal - Ralph Stanley
2. Coal Miner's Grave - Hazel Dickens
3. High Flyin' Bird - Billy Edd Wheeler (in my view, the greatest coal mining song that no one knows about... it was covered by Jefferson Airplane, Richie Havens and others many years ago, but frequently the lyrics were changed...)
4. Lawrence Jones - Si Kahn
5. Green Rolling Hills of West Virginia - Utah Phillips (covered by Emmylou Harris, Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard, Kathy Mattea and others)
6. Which Side Are You On? - Florence Reece (written in 1933 by a miner's wife in Harlan County, KY, during the bloody coal wars; now sung throughout the world! great cover versions by Pete Seeger, Natalie Merchant, Billy Bragg & Dick Gaughan)
7. Deep Mine Blues - Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time
8. Coal Mine Blues - IIIrd Tyme Out
9. Coal Minin' Man - Ricky Skaggs
10. The Dying Miner - Woody Guthrie (but check out the cover version by Bucky Halker & the Complete Unknowns)
11. Last Train From Poor Valley - Norman Blake
12. Crooked Road - Chris Knight
13. Miner's Lullaby - James Low - not to be confused with
14. Miner's Lullaby - Utah Phillips (check out the version by Jody Stecher & Kate Brislin)
15. Trip to Hyden - Tom T. Hall
16. Mother of A Miner's Child - Gordon Lightfoot
17. Rich Man's Coal - Special Consensus
18. High Sheriff of Hazard - Tom Paxton
19. Brookside Strike - Si Kahn
20. Don't Come Out of the Hole - Blue Highway
21. '31 Depression Blues - New Lost City Ramblers
22. The Old Coal Mine - Larry Sparks
23. Hole in the Ground - Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time
24. Dusty Diamonds - Lex Romane
25. Jenny's Gone Away - Michael Kline & Rich Kirby

There are many more, not to mention dozens and dozens of brilliant British coal mining songs.


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 10 May 09 - 07:50 PM

Union Miners.
The Midlothian Miners' Song
Jez Lowe: Black Diamonds, You won't make old bones
Allan Taylor: Roll on the Day
Bob Davenport: "Wi' me pit boots on".
Gill Bowman: "Winter Sun"


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: GUEST,raredance
Date: 10 May 09 - 11:06 PM

Below is the list of 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. Some of the songs have already been mentioned above, but many other have not. I have a copy of the book if anyone has interest in the details of a particular song.


APPRECIATION OF A DECEASED BROTHER
ARE YOU FROM BEVAN?
ARISE YE NOVA SCOTIA SLAVES.
AT FOURTEEN I'M TRAPPING.
BALLAD OF SPRINGHILL, THE.
BALLAD OF THE FRANK SLIDE, THE.
BALLAD OF JB McLACHLAN, THE.
BILLY, COME WITH ME.
BILLY, THE PIT HORSE.
BLACK AROUND THEIR EYES, THE.
BLACK-EYED MINER, THE.
BLACK IS THE COALDUST.
BONNY LABOURlNG BOY, THE.
BOOTLEG COAL
BOOTLEG TRUCKMAN.
BOOTLEGGER ME.
BOWSER'S PENITENTS
BOWSER'S SEVENTY-TWA
BOYS OF THE RESCUE CREW, THE
BUMPS, THE.
CALEDONIA.
CALEDONIA EXPLOSION, THE.
CANNY MINER LAD, THE.
CAPE BRETON COAL.
CAPE BRETON COAL MINERS, THE.
CAPE BRETON MINER MAN
CAPE BRETON SILVER.
CHAIN RUNNER'S SONG
COAL BY THE SEA, THE
COAL IS KING AGAIN
COAL MINER UNDER THE SEA, THE.
COAL MINING DAYS.
COAL TATTOO
COAL TOWN ROAD
COLLIER'S RANT
COMPLAINTE DE SPRINGHILL, LA.
CZAR OF BC
DARK AS A DUNGEON
DISASTER AT NUMBER I-B
DON'T GO BELOW
DON'T GO DOWN IN THE MINE, DAD
DOWN AMONG THE COAL
DOWN DEEP IN THE MINE
DOWN DEEP IN A COAL MINE
DOWN IN A COAL MINE
DOWN IN SPRINGHILL'S BUMPY MINE
DUST IN THE AIR
END OF AN INDUSTRY, THE
FAREWELL TO CALEDONIA.
GEORGE ALFRED BECKETT.
GOVERNMENT STORE, THE.
HONEST WORKING MAN, THE
I'M ONLY A BROKEN DOWN MUCKER.
I WENT TO NORMAN'S.
I WORK IN THE PIT
JIM McLACHLAN SONG
JOE HILL
JOLLY MINER, THE.
JOLLY WEE MINER MEN
KELLY'S COVE.
LITILE PINKIE ENGINE
MAN WITH A TORCH IN HIS CAP, THE
MEN UNDERGROUND, THE.
MINER, THE
MINER, THE (WITH A SHOVEL IN HIS HAND)
MINER'S CRY, A
MINER'S EPITAPH
MINER'S LAMENT
MINER'S LIFE, A
MINERS' MEMORIAL HYMN
MINES OF AVONDALE, THE
MINING COAL
MIRACLE AT COLLIERY TWO
MIRACLE AT SPRINGHILL, THE.
NEW ABERDEEN GOVERNMENT STORE, THE
NEW WATERFORD'S FATAL DAY.
1938 DISASTER, THE.
1925 STRIKE SONG, THE
NO 12, NEW WATERFORD
NO 26 MINE DISASTER, THE
NO 26, ONE MILLION TON
NORDEGG BALLAD, THE
OMEN, THE
ON CUMBERLAND'S RUGGED MOUNTAIN
ORAN: THA FAILEADH A' GHUAIL
PEGGY GORDON
PERCY MORRIS
PHANTOM PAN CREW, THE.
PLAIN OLE MINER BOY
PLUCK ME STORE, THE
RAP HER TO BANK
REMEMBER THE MINER
RESCUE FROM THE SPRINGHILL COAL MINE
ROLL ALONG, UNITED MINERS.
RORY DAN, THE MINER
RUN, BOWSER, RUN
SCENT OF COAL, THE
SCHOOLDAYS END
SEVEN LAMPS NORTH
SHE LOVES HER MINER LAD
SHIRT TALE, A
SIXTEEN TONS
SONG OF THE ESTEVAN MINERS.
SORENESS OF MY SOUL, THE
SPRINGHILL DISASTER OF 1958, THE
SPRINGHILL MINE DISASTER 1891
SPRINGHILL MINE EXPLOSION OF 1956, THE
STEP BY STEP
THA FAILEADH A' GHUAIL
THIRTY -INCH COAL
UNDERNEATH THE SEA
UNKNOWN MINER'S GRAVE
WESTVILLE MINERS
WHEN I FIRST WENT TO CALEDONIA
WHEN YOU'RE DONE LOADING COAL
WORKING MAN
YAHIE MINERS, THE


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: GUEST,Bardford
Date: 10 May 09 - 11:52 PM

There is a companion CD to a book called Coal Dust Grins by Alberta photographer Lawrence Christmas. Cambria Publishing
Kind of an awkward-to-navigate site, but some fine portraits & bios of Canadian miners, and this: Coal Dust Grins

Wasn't there a similar thread a while back?


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 17 May 09 - 06:02 PM

Some Jez Lowe songs have been mentioned but not, I think, 'These Coal Town Days', on the end of coal mining in a town.


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Subject: Woddy Guthrie's "The Dying Doctor"
From: 2581
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 11:12 PM

Does anyone know if Woody Guthrie's "The Dying Doctor", a/k/a "The Company Town Doctor", is included on any CD or vinyl LP ? I have never been able to find it...


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: irishenglish
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 11:44 PM

Coal Creek Mine-by Green Bailey, as done by the Oysterband, as well as Swan Arcade's Coal Not Dole. Ashley Hutchings wrote a good one for a project I believe he abandoned about coal mining called Black Jack Blue John and Galena


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: Mr Red
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 07:02 AM

Dave Webber (UK) wrote one in the 80's while at the Somers TFC when it was in the Somers Arms. Can't remember its name.

then there is:
Coal Hole Cavalry
and in NZ I came across a song on a Blues LP called "Pnuemoconiosis Blues" on the subject often called "Miner's Lung" in the US.


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: GUEST,Bob
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 01:41 PM

Alex Glasgow's 'Close The Coal House Door' sang by the Wilson Family from the North East of England.
Bob.


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Subject: RE: Coal Mine Songs
From: Rog Peek
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 04:26 PM

Dogs at Midnight - Tom Paxton
There Goes The Mountain - Tom Paxton
No Christmas In Kentucky - Phil Ochs

Rog


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Subject: North Country Miner's Wife
From: 2581
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 01:17 AM

Hey, Tim --
Where can I find "The North Country Miner's Wife" (Bob Davenport) that you posted the lyrics for? Best wishes, Tony


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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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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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 - 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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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