The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #30585   Message #397890
Posted By: Shall
14-Feb-01 - 11:36 AM
Thread Name: coal mining songs
Subject: RE: coal mining songs
Solas new CD The Hour Before Dawn recorded A Miner's Life. Cut #5. They mention that the song is similar to the Welsh version Come All Ye Bold Miners. It has the same tune as "Life's Railway to Heaven. They mention that the song was made popular by the United Mine Workers in the 1920's and 30's. The tune is from the Welsh hymn Colon Lan. The museum at the State Park near the New River Bridge presents a very interesting exhibit on mining and ghost towns. I also saw an insightful video about mining and its effects on the land, filmed by the husband of Jean Ritchie. It brought me to tears, the images combined with Jean's voice have haunted me since. My husband's family were all miners in Southwest Virginia, where many of his cousins still going in to work in the deep mines. His grandfather told me this story. Every night he would come in as black as the night covered in coal dust. He would carry in his dinner bucket and place it on the kitchen table. He was greated by his 10 children. They would be excited to see what Poppy had left for them to snack on. Poppy said the children thought he was being generous thinking of them. Little did they know that no one on his shift ever ate all their food. They saved part of the meal just in case of emergency. The fear of a cave in was in their minds every moment they were down in the mine. Poppy lived to an old age, sitting up in the rocker every night. He could not breathe lying down. Black Lung finally won the battle.