Here's a YouTube recording of Christy Moore singing this song:
This song is related to "Lost Jimmy Whelan." Both seem to be derived from an earlier song. The lyrics for this song seem to be derived from this broadside: http://digital.nls.uk/broadsides/broadside.cfm/id/14972.
Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry on this song:
High Blantyre Explosion, The [Laws Q35]DESCRIPTION: The singer tells of meeting a young girl mourning her lover, John Murphy. Murphy, only 21, was killed in the mines of High Blantyre in a great explosion. She transplants the daisies they walked among to his grave and waters them with her tears
AUTHOR: John Wilson? (source: broadside, NLScotland L.C.Fol.70(46b))
EARLIEST DATE: 1951 (collected by A. L. Lloyd); c.1877 (broadside, NLScotland L.C.Fol.70(46b))
KEYWORDS: mining death love flowers
Oct 22, 1877 - Explosion at the Dixon Colliery in High Blantyre near Glasgow. Over two hundred are killed
FOUND IN: US(MA) Britain(Scotland) Ireland
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Laws Q35, "The High Blantyre Explosion"
Morton-Ulster 6, "The Blantyre Explosion" (1 text, 1 tune)
Morton-Maguire 27, pp. 69-70,115,167, "The Blantyre Explosion" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT 543, BLANTYRX*
ADDITIONAL: Jon Raven, _VIctoria's Inferno: Songs of the Old Mills, Mines, Manufacturies, Canals, and Railways_, Roadside Press, 1978, pp. 94-95, "The Blantyre Explosion" (1 text, 1 tune)
NLScotland, L.C.Fol.70(46b), "The Sorrowful Lamentation of Jane Sneddon for the Loss of her Lover, John Murray, in the Disaster at High Blantyre," unknown, c.1877
cf. "The Collier Lad (Lament for John Sneddon/Siddon)" (theme, characters?)
NOTES: Broadside NLScotland L.C.Fol.70(46b) is "signed" by "John Wilson, B.S.,G." - BS
And that broadside poses rather a conundrum, because of the name "Sneddon." The broadside is clearly this song (though unusually full), but the name might well be derived from "The Collier Lad (Lament for John Sneddon/Siddon)." Since both are on the same theme, I have to suspect some sort of connection. - RBW
Last updated in version 3.1
The Ballad Index Copyright 2013 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.
For the record, here's the Digital Tradition version:
By Clyde's bonny banks where I sadly did wander
Among the pit heaps as evening drew nigh;
I spied a young woman all dressed in deep mourning
A-weeping and wailing with many a sigh.
I stepped up beside her and thus I addressed her:
"Pray tell me the cause of your trouble and pain."
Weeping and sighing, at last she made answer
"Johnny Murphy, kind sir, was my true lover's name."
"Twenty-one years of age, full of youth and good looking
To work down the mines of High Blantyre he came,
The wedding was fixed, all the guests were invited
That calm summer evening young Johnny was slain.
The explosion was heard, all the women and children
With pale anxious faces they haste to the mine.
When the truth was made known, the hills rang with their mourning
Three-hundred-and-ten young miners were slain.
Now husbands and wives and sweethearts and brothers
That Blantyre explosion they'll never forget;
And all the young miners that hear my sad story
Shed a tear for the victims who're laid to their rest.
From Songs and Dances of Scotland, Thomson
@Scottish @mining @disaster
TUNE FILE: BLANTYRX
CLICK TO PLAY
The lyrics in the DT version are exactly the same as the lyrics in Folk Songs and Ballads of Scotland, compiled and edited by Ewan MacColl (Oak Publications, 1965), pages14-15. MacColl says the lyrics and tune came from Come All Ye Bold Miners, by A.L. Lloyd.
Notes from the book: The disaster described in this song occurred at Messrs. Dixon's Colliery, High Blantyre, near Glasgow, on October 22nd 1877. Over two hundred miners were killed.