The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #40846   Message #849076
Posted By: Joe Offer
17-Dec-02 - 02:42 PM
Thread Name: Help: Everything Malvina!
Subject: Add: MRS. CLARA SULLIVAN'S LETTER(Reynolds/Seeger)
(Malvina Reynolds & Pete Seeger)

Malvina Reynolds puts together many of her songs out of things she reads in the newspapers -- and this was directly made up from a letter written to a newspaper by a woman named Mrs. Clara Sullivan, down in the Eastern part of Kentucky where they been having the troubles in the coal mining area.
So. Malvina called her song "Mrs. Clara Sullivan's Letter."

Dear Mr. Editor, if you choose,
Please send me a copy of the "Labor News;"
I've got a son in the Infantry,
And he'd be mighty glad to see
That somebody somewhere, now and then,
Thinks about the lives of the mining men
In Perry County.

In Perry County and here about,
The miners simply had to go out.
It was long hours, and substandard pay;
Then they took our contract away.
And now fourteen months is a mighty long time
To face the goons on the picket line
In Perry County.

I'm twenty-six years, a miner's wife,
There's nothing harder than a miner's life.
But there's no better man than a mining man,
You couldn't find better in all this land.
The deal they get is a rotten deal,
Mountain greens and gravy meal,
In Perry County.

We live in shacks that the rain comes in,
While the operators live high as sin,
Ride Cadillac cars, and drink like a fool,
While our kids lack clothes to go to school.
Sheriff Combs, he has it fine;
He runs the law and owns a mine
In Perry County.

I believe, the truth will out some day
That we're fighting for jobs at decent pay.
Why, after work, my man comes in,
With his wet clothes frozen to his skin.
Diggin' coals, so the world can run
And operators can have their fun
In Perry County.

Lyrics as performed by Pete Seeger, "The Complete Carnegie Hall Concert, June 8, 1963" (COLUMBIA CSK-45312), 1989; transcribed by Manfred Helfert.