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Songs about Aberfan (1966 mining disaster)

Related threads:
Aberfan disaster 40th anniversary - 21 Oct 1966 (32)
Lyr/Tune Req: Song about Aberfan by George Holden (7)
Aberfan - 43 Years ago today! (28)
Lyr Req: Grey October (9)
BS: Aberfan Memorial Petition (19)
Lyr Req: Close the Coalhouse Door (about Aberfan) (3)


Suibhan 26 Sep 97 - 01:54 PM
Alison 26 Sep 97 - 08:32 PM
bigj 28 Sep 97 - 07:55 PM
Wolfgang (Hell) 29 Sep 97 - 05:52 AM
Dave Barnes U.K. (dave.barnes@lis.co.uk) 29 Sep 97 - 11:10 AM
Barry 29 Sep 97 - 05:04 PM
bigj 30 Sep 97 - 08:01 PM
Wolfgang (Hell) 01 Oct 97 - 03:45 AM
dcollins@inc.co.uk 18 Aug 98 - 06:57 PM
Barry Finn 18 Aug 98 - 07:09 PM
Bob Bolton 19 Aug 98 - 06:13 PM
GUEST,kombibob@ozemail.com.au 11 May 01 - 05:38 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 11 May 01 - 06:19 AM
nutty 11 May 01 - 09:49 AM
Wolfgang 11 May 01 - 09:55 AM
Dave (the ancient mariner) 11 May 01 - 10:57 AM
Dave (the ancient mariner) 11 May 01 - 11:01 AM
Mark Cohen 11 May 01 - 06:43 PM
radriano 11 May 01 - 07:39 PM
GUEST,Thom Parrott 18 Jan 04 - 11:54 AM
songs2play 18 Jan 04 - 05:55 PM
BanjoRay 18 Jan 04 - 06:40 PM
Gareth 18 Jan 04 - 06:54 PM
Leadfingers 18 Jan 04 - 08:28 PM
Susanne (skw) 18 Jan 04 - 09:20 PM
Leadfingers 19 Jan 04 - 06:59 AM
Gareth 19 Jan 04 - 12:56 PM
GUEST,g.davies6733@ntlworld.com 05 Feb 04 - 03:21 PM
Gin Crewe 05 Feb 04 - 06:18 PM
GUEST,I. C. Rapoport 07 Feb 04 - 01:06 PM
GUEST,Van 07 Feb 04 - 02:21 PM
richd 08 Feb 04 - 08:07 AM
Megan L 08 Feb 04 - 03:01 PM
GUEST,davecollins@onetel.com 22 Feb 04 - 02:02 PM
Catherine Jayne 22 Feb 04 - 04:35 PM
GUEST,graham sutton 17 Mar 04 - 05:12 PM
GUEST,Anne Croucher 17 Mar 04 - 06:36 PM
GUEST,Li'l Aussie Bleeder. 17 Mar 04 - 08:15 PM
GUEST,Mike Green 12 May 04 - 04:48 PM
Durham-Mike 12 May 04 - 05:43 PM
LindsayInWales 12 May 04 - 09:13 PM
LindsayInWales 12 May 04 - 09:55 PM
GUEST,Alan 12 May 04 - 09:55 PM
GUEST 31 May 04 - 08:41 AM
GUEST,Guest 02 Jan 06 - 02:48 AM
bfdk 02 Jan 06 - 06:39 AM
Lancashire Lad 02 Jan 06 - 01:12 PM
BB 02 Jan 06 - 03:30 PM
GUEST,Barrie Roberts 03 Jan 06 - 10:31 AM
Chris in Wheaton 03 Jan 06 - 02:13 PM
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Subject: Songs about Aberfan
From: Suibhan
Date: 26 Sep 97 - 01:54 PM

Does anyone know any songs about the mining disaster in Aberfan, Wales in 1966? Or would someone like to write one?


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: Alison
Date: 26 Sep 97 - 08:32 PM

Hi

I don't know if it's strictly about Aberfan, but there is a song called, (I think), "Close the coal house door, there's blood inside."

I'm not sure of the lyrics, or title for that matter hopefully someone else will know.

The rest of the verses go on to say, "There's bones / bairns (ie children) inside."

Hope I've jogged someone elses memory.

Slainte

Alison


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: bigj
Date: 28 Sep 97 - 07:55 PM

The song 'Close the Coalhouse Door' was written by Alex Glasgow, a songwriter from North East England, for his musical of the same name - a very poignant and powerful work that was performed in British theatres some 25 years ago. Last I heard Alex had gone to live in Australia. I think that Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger wrote a song about the Aberfan tragedy but - for the lfe of me - I can't remember the name of it. Perhaps someone could scour one of the Oak songbooks of theirs that were published some years ago,


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: Wolfgang (Hell)
Date: 29 Sep 97 - 05:52 AM

I did a little (re)search on the web, but only came up with the information that the first BeeGees hit, "New York Mining disaster 1941" was "inspired" by the Aberfan tragedy. Possible, since the tragedy was in '66 and the song became popular in '67. Don't think that Suibhan was looking for that type of music, but just in case, the lyrics are on http://mv.ru/~eddy/bee/album/bg1st.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: Dave Barnes U.K. (dave.barnes@lis.co.uk)
Date: 29 Sep 97 - 11:10 AM

I know that there is a song called: Palaces of Gold which was specificaly relates to the Aberfan disaster I am sure Martin Carthy recorded it on the Topic label but I do not know the album title although it may be: Crown of Horn I think the author was Leon Rosselson and other performers may have recorded it I will try to find out.

The chorus (relating to children born to a better life than those of Aberfan) goes thus:

Buttons would be pressed. Rules would be broken. Strings would be pulled - and magic words spoken. Invisible fingers would mold - Palaces of gold.

Good hunting.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: Barry
Date: 29 Sep 97 - 05:04 PM

"Palaces Of Gold" written by Leon Rosselson about the pit heap disaster at Aberfan, Martin Carthy recorded it on his Crown Of Horn LP Barry


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: bigj
Date: 30 Sep 97 - 08:01 PM

I'm not convinced that Leon's song 'Palaces of Gold' was specifically about Aberfan. It first appeared in print in 1968 in the songbook 'Look Here' in the section 'The Ugly Ones' where he says "I like playing fantasy games inventing the newspaper headlines I'd most like to see. 'Lord Robens Buried by Slag Heap', would be rather pleasing. Or 'Stock Exchange Sunk inIcelandic Gale. No Survivors'. Then, above the song he quotes:-"The situation is not that bad. After all, if you look around the country who can you say is suffering?' - Sir Leslie O'Brien, Governor of the Bank of England. 13 February 1968, before flying to Jamaica for a holiday.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: Wolfgang (Hell)
Date: 01 Oct 97 - 03:45 AM

Martin Carthy in the notes to "Palaces of Gold" on "Crown of Horn" explicitely names the Aberfan disaster as a reason for Rosselson writing this song. But bjgj is correct in pointing out that this is not a song about that specific disaster. The song lines closest in content to the Aberfan disaster go like this:

"...that if you don't want to be buried alive by slagheaps [the Aberfan event],
pitfalls and damp walls and rat traps and dead streets,
arrange to be democratically born
the son of a company director..."

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: dcollins@inc.co.uk
Date: 18 Aug 98 - 06:57 PM

I have written a song specifically about the Aberfan disaster.I was a student in Wales at the time. If anyone cares to e-mail me I'll send them the lyric.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: Barry Finn
Date: 18 Aug 98 - 07:09 PM

dcollins, please post so it's shared by us all, our thanks. Barry


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 19 Aug 98 - 06:13 PM

G'day all,

I seem to remember seeing an Aberfan song printed in a songbook - about 25/30 years back ... it could be a book I still have. The Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger reference resonates as well.

Oh well. Back into the stacks!

regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: GUEST,kombibob@ozemail.com.au
Date: 11 May 01 - 05:38 AM

Close the coalhouse door, has recently been recorded by the Fagans and is on their "Kitchen Dance" cd

Love Bob Eden


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 11 May 01 - 06:19 AM

Did dcollins' song ever emerge (I can't see it in the DT)?.I had just left Cardiff, where several of my co-students were ex-miners, when Aberfan happened. Close the Coalhouse Door and Springhill Mining Disaster always bring it back to me.
RtS


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: nutty
Date: 11 May 01 - 09:49 AM

The McColl/Seeger song I have is called Grey October........... I,m not sure which of them wrote it but it compares the death of schoolchildren in the Abervan disaster with the death of schoolchildren in Thuy Dan, Vietnam

I'd be happy to post the lyrics if this is what you want


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: Wolfgang
Date: 11 May 01 - 09:55 AM

nutty,

a new McColl/Seeger song that is not in the database yet is always welcome here.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 11 May 01 - 10:57 AM

I remember it well. Some Welsh friends of mine went to help dig out the bodies, all the way from my hometown in Lancashire. Hope this is of assistance to you. Yours, Aye. Dave
Click Here


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 11 May 01 - 11:01 AM

Sorry... Try here Click Here


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 11 May 01 - 06:43 PM

The late David Ackles wrote a song called "Aberfan" and recorded it on his 1973 album, "Five and Dime." I have the album but currently am without a working turntable, so I can't get you the words. As I recall it was a very moving song.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: radriano
Date: 11 May 01 - 07:39 PM

Close the Coalhouse Door also appears on the first album by a group called Yorkshire Relish. The album is titled Yorkshire Relish.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: GUEST,Thom Parrott
Date: 18 Jan 04 - 11:54 AM

I wrote a song called "The Aberfan Coaltip Tragedy" or just "Aberfan" during the days following the event which was printed in "Broadside Magazine" and the book "Best of Broadside Volume II" and recorded by me on my first Folkways LP in 1968 (still available from the Smithsonian) and included on a 5 CD set "Best of Broadside, 1962-1988," also available from the Smithsonian. The song was also recorded by the Danish folk group Paddy Doyles on their album "Aberfan" which is not, so far as I know, still available. Pete Seeger sang the chorus of this song in London during the British news blackout (they were afraid news of the event might bring down the government). Full lyrics are on my website http://www.geocities.com/parrottsongs/ -- the chorus is

How many died in Aberfan when the coal tip came rumbling down?
How many children will never grow old?
And how many lives purchase how many tons of coal?


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: songs2play
Date: 18 Jan 04 - 05:55 PM

There comes a little wind from round yon mountain

Oh tell me little wind oh tell me if you can

What news do you bring and where do you come from

"I come from Abervan".



Sorry that's all I remember of a lovely song that seemed to be around the Rhondda Vallies after the time of the disaster. If anyone can add to it I would be grateful.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: BanjoRay
Date: 18 Jan 04 - 06:40 PM

Stewie put the words of Grey October by McColl/Seeger here last March. This one should definitely be put in the database.
Cheers
Ray


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: Gareth
Date: 18 Jan 04 - 06:54 PM

Sorry, a little (litterally) close to home.

I can not recall - tho that may be me, any local spontaneous, songs on this.

The late Alex Glascow covered this on "Close the Coal House Door", there is a verse (inserted ???) in :-
"Halls are made of Marble,
With a Gaurd at Every Door,
And the Vaults are full of Silver,
That the Children perished for."


I can recall a neighbour of my parents, (Mines Rescue Brigade) here in Ystrad Mynach still crying into his beer 6 months later.

No. That nasty an occasion, meant that sentiment and creativity were destroyed.

I do recall my fathers comments, who had served his time underground and as a "manager" after the report was issued -

"There but for the Grace of God went I" - Basically he had orderes tipping without any thought to stability, or 'water springs' destabalising the tip else where in South Wales. ( 9 Mile Point and Abercarn actually)

If you drive along the A470 dual carrigeway between Cardiff and Merthyr about 4 miles North of the Abercynon Junction, as the A470 commences its descent to Merthyr, you can see whats left of No.7 tip, you will recognise it and the path of the slide by the lack of mature trees, and the attempt to camuflage the site by shrubs.

3 miles South of the Abercynon interchange look to the East, you will see a scar on the hillside just to the North of Cilfyndd. The tip there slid in the 1930's. fortunatley there was no houses etc. in its path. But the old main Cardiff/Merthyr/Nelson Rd was blocked for a good 6 months. It also closed permenantly the TVR (GWR) Pontypridd to Nelson Railway.

Some years ago I had to attend a fammilly funeral in Aberfan, an elderly uncle. Myself and my sister escaped to a local pub. We looked around, a generation of customers, my sisters generation were "missing" - That brings it home to you.

Gareth


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Subject: Lyr Add: ABERFAN (Bernie Fairlamb)
From: Leadfingers
Date: 18 Jan 04 - 08:28 PM

I have a song I collected in 1969 from a group in Singapore. They gave me the name of the writer as Bernie Fairlamb, who I think was in the R A F. Whatever, Johnny Collins knew him. Try This one:-

          ABERFAN -- Bernie Fairlamb

Am                           G
Black is the life of a mining man,
                      Am                     Em
In the bowels of the earth with a pick and a lamp
               Am             C
Black is the life of a mining man
                   G            Am
And Black is the memory of Aberfan


That Friday morning in a little Welsh town
A man made mountain came tumbling down
It came down the hillside like a giant black hand
And plucked all the children from Aberfan

In the little brick schoolhouse children laughed sang and played
When down came that mountain that mining men made
More than a hundred lives lost before they began
A lost generation in Aberfan

A heartbroken Mother stood watching in dread
As men brought out children all broken and dead
She'd stood at the PitHead to weep for her man
Now gone two of her children in Aberfan

The graves on the hillside stretch over the town
That a man made mountain brought to world renown
They stretch out as far as the eye can scan
There lie the children of Aberfan

So come all you miners who cut the rough coal
Dont take the life of another young soul
Bury your waste as deep as you can
Lest you bury your children like Aberfan


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 18 Jan 04 - 09:20 PM

Gareth, the verse you quote was obviously taken and adapted from the Les Rice song 'Banks of Marble'. (And the banks are made of marble, with a guard at every door, and the vaults are full of silver that the miners (farmers etc.) sweated for.) It's strange there is no song on Aberfan other than Palaces of Gold that is still sung!


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: Leadfingers
Date: 19 Jan 04 - 06:59 AM

Suzanne - I am still singing Bernies song (as posted above) on a fairly regular basis.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: Gareth
Date: 19 Jan 04 - 12:56 PM

Susanne - Yes you have clarified the point that I was trying to express - I think that the reference to the children was an adapted/inserted verse.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: GUEST,g.davies6733@ntlworld.com
Date: 05 Feb 04 - 03:21 PM

I don,t know if this song is about Aberfan but it is sung on PAUL CHILDS remembrance to David Alexandre called The Price Of Coal.
Worth listening too if you can get it.Let me know how you get off
with your search.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: Gin Crewe
Date: 05 Feb 04 - 06:18 PM

Robin Jones wrote a song about Aberfan, slightly amended by Lol Lynch in the "Wench All," version, see notes below.

"So much is given in money and toys.
In tears they spade away the spoils,
but they don't bring me back again,
to sunshine, and to Aberfan

And I was only a litle girl:
one of three hundred in the school
Who chalked and chanted, skipped and ran
in sunshine and in Aberfan

There's some who lived and many who died,
when the colliery slag began to slide.
The sunless, coal-black slurry ran.
Two hundred buried in Aberfan

Lend me my toys, and let me play
Above the earth for another day.
Let me see my school friends once again
and say 'Goodbye' to Aberfan."

Recorded by local Lancashire groups "Brillig," on a tape of the same name 22 years ago, and "Wench All" in 2003 on a CD "Ne'er a Penny 'o Money."


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: GUEST,I. C. Rapoport
Date: 07 Feb 04 - 01:06 PM

I was the photographer for LIFE Magazine who photographed the aftermath in Aberfan from October 27 through Christmas Day 1966. I am also searching for poems and songs written about the tragedy to place in my upcoming photo exhibit at the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth sometime in 2005.

Anyone interested could view several of the images I made in 1966 on my website www.rapo.com

Thanks

I.C.R.
www.rapo.com


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: GUEST,Van
Date: 07 Feb 04 - 02:21 PM

I remember watching the pictures of this on TV Aberfan & Vietnam were equally remote from where I was at the time. Only Aberfan was reported and I suppose it reflected how people would react to the news. We can all rest easy in our beds now secure in the knowledge that we should no longer have mining disasters, or mining related disasters, thanks to Thatcher & Scargill who, between them, shut down our pits and killed our communities. Unfortunately we will continue to watch children die due to the "war on terror". Can we change the "on" to "of" and stop the whole fiasco.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: richd
Date: 08 Feb 04 - 08:07 AM

Can I just shamelessly plug a book called 'Aberfan- Our Hiraeth an anthology in poetry prose and pictures' produced by the Aberfan and Merthyr Vale Writers and History Group, and published in Aberfan by the Aberfan and Merthyr Vale Commmunity Co-operative. ('Hiraeth' means love and longing for home in Welsh.)Its full of stuff, not only about the Disaster but the story of the village before and after.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: Megan L
Date: 08 Feb 04 - 03:01 PM

this thread triggered one of the few schoolday memories i have that dont revolve around being bullied. I was at primary school like the children of Aberfan and our teacher an old school master led us in prayers that morning with many a stop while he gulped away a tear. we had mine heaps near us (very small ones i realise now) but i remember being affraid each time it rained in case they would slip.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: GUEST,davecollins@onetel.com
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 02:02 PM

I wrote this song about Aberfan some time ago. If anyone is interested, email me and I will send you the melody and guitar chords.

He was lying
In a frozen world of rock and stone;
Death defying,
Through a hundred million years alone.
Dreaming how he would rise,
Once more to fill the skies;
He was giant.
What were centuries to him?

Soft now the giant sleeps.
Soft in the mountain deep.
Far from the children of the mining man;
Far from the village they call Aberfan.

Then they woke him,
Where he slumbered in his ancient pride.
And they broke him;
Threw him out upon the mountainside.
What would he do but wait;
Nursing his grief and hate?
He would show them
Not to lay their hands on him.

Soft now the giant crawls;
Soft while the dark rain falls.
Woe to the children of the mining man,
When the black giant comes to Aberfan.

They were praying,
As they would on any normal day.
They were saying,
"Gentle Jesus look on us we pray".
Was no-one listening in?
Or were they too steeped in sin?
Can't you save them?
Don't you see the giant comes?

Loud now the giant roars,
In through the schoolhouse doors.
Where are the children of the mining man?
Lost in the village they call Aberfan.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: Catherine Jayne
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 04:35 PM

Guest,Van, there are still mines in the UK. My father was a miner in the Selby Coalfield until he was made redundant 2 years ago but there are still men, albeit a few, who still go down the mines in Selby and the surrounding area.

I am too young so I don't remember Aberfan but as children we were told about it. I remember passing slagheaps and I remember the fear I felt for my father and the fathers of my class mates who went down the pits everyday especially when we would see the mines rescue race down the street or there was another news report of a minig accident.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: GUEST,graham sutton
Date: 17 Mar 04 - 05:12 PM

I made a note of this poem written at the time by a child, I believe (not me)
I am a generation
And a threepenny, sixpenny, five pound note
Cannot buy me now,
Drowned and lost in a black, crawling sea.

Once I played there, nature's school.
And on a summer sweet day when birds were young
And the sky naked and laced with laughter,
I played the games that children play.

But when the sky swam, crying with tears,
The world fell down on me
And I cannot come back.

I am a generation
And I cannot come back
To the narrow streets walking empty
To the warm kitchen where Mam and Dad wait.
The snapshot taken in life yellows with years.

I am hostage of some avenging valley green god
For the rape of my land that fell down on me.

And I cannot come back.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: GUEST,Anne Croucher
Date: 17 Mar 04 - 06:36 PM

I remember Aberfan, I was 15 and living in a mining town in Yorkshire.

I could never sing a song about it - nor about the Titanic nor '7/11'- they don't need songs, they are too real already.

Anne


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: GUEST,Li'l Aussie Bleeder.
Date: 17 Mar 04 - 08:15 PM

Greg Hastings 'The Wandering Man' here in Australia, known as the Welsh didgeridoo player, has written a song called 'Davy's Dream' which has bought a tear to many an eye over the years. Anyone interested in this song could E-mail sweetpea-Linda@iinet.net.au
or go to http://www.greghastings.com


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: GUEST,Mike Green
Date: 12 May 04 - 04:48 PM

Some time after the Aberfan disaster (67/68) I was resident in two folk clubs in the Manchester area (Eccles: Duke of York & The Cross Keys). There was a teacher whose name I now forget who had collected a song written by the children in his class. The song became very popular through singing at the likes of the MSG in Manchester and I think was performed on "folk from the Two Brewers" a BBC programme from the Salford Pub. I have long since lost the lyrics and cannot recall even the tune, but I have tried on many occasions to recover the song from people I knew at the time.

If there was anyone around the folk scene in Manchester at the time and can recall the song I would be most grgateful to hear from you.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: Durham-Mike
Date: 12 May 04 - 05:43 PM

I have picked up on Leadfingers item regarding the Bernie Fairlamb song of Aberfan - I see you have included chords, but can you indicate the tune (manuscript or a midi file or the like)?

Mike


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: LindsayInWales
Date: 12 May 04 - 09:13 PM

I was also 15 at the time of the Aberfan disaster and living in Hertfordshire. I made myself a promise at the time that I would, one day, visit the village. I finally made it about ten years ago, with my husband and children, soon after we moved from Oxford to South Wales. We walked around the memorial garden where the school once stood, and visited the cemetery which overlooks the village. We went into a pub in the afternoon and I talked to an elderly man, a retired miner, who remembers helping with the digging. It seemed to me that there was still, after all those years, a great sadness in the air.

I would also like to recommend a book, "Aberfan (Struggling Out Of The Darkness)" ISBN 1 898986 05 3 by Gaynor Madgwick, one of the surviving children. I received a copy from her parents, who lost a son and a daughter in the disaster.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: LindsayInWales
Date: 12 May 04 - 09:55 PM

this will take you to a short film about Aberfan

http://www.worldwidewales.tv/index2.php?mid=167

sorry I can't make a proper "link"


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: GUEST,Alan
Date: 12 May 04 - 09:55 PM

I guess I must be the same age as Anne Croucher and Lindswidder. Reading this thread and looking at I.C.Rapoport's photographs has brought back memories of 1966 - the images on the news, prayers and collection of money at school. Like Anne, I couldn't sing a song about Aberfan or about 9/11, but I recognise that there is a need for such songs - to tell the story to future generations who may not know of these events.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: GUEST
Date: 31 May 04 - 08:41 AM

I remember the Bernie Fairlamb song being sung in Plymouth folk clubs in the late '60s by a Geordie, name of Ben Campbell, who had at that time just returned from a tour of duty in Singapore.
I have also been told that the song was published in the manner of a broadside and distributed amongst service personnel in Singapore to raise money for those affected by the tragedy.
Any one know Bernie Fairlamb?
Any one have a copy of this modern "broadside"?


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 02 Jan 06 - 02:48 AM

My grandmother is from the Rhondda, she used to have a record that she picked up in the 70s. On this record was a song about Aberfan. It was recoreded by a man whom I believe was from Wales. I have never heard this song mentioned in all my searches for songs about Aberfan. The only thing I can remember about the song, is that he repeated the word Aberfan throughout the song and one of the last lines is: "...here's to the babes who died that day, Aberfan..."
does this ring a bell for anyone?
I would love to find out who recorded this song.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE ABERFAN COAL TIP TRAGEDY (T Parrott)
From: bfdk
Date: 02 Jan 06 - 06:39 AM

As far as I can see the full lyrics for Thom Parrott's song about Aberfan are not in the database. Verse 6 below is the sung by Danish group Paddy Doyles on "Aberfan" (SONET SLP 1719); the rest is from Thom Parrott's own recording, which can be heard on his album "Neon Princess" (1968; reissued 2004) and on the various-artists album "The Best of Broadside 1962-1988."

The Aberfan Coal Tip Tragedy
(Thom Parrott)

1. The mining men of Wales are hardy, strong and bold,
And they tunnel in the earth and make it yield its coal,
But in the town of Aberfan, it's dearer now than gold,
For one generation for profit has been sold.

CHORUS: How many died in Aberfan
When the coal tip came tumbling down?
How many children will never grow old
And how many lives purchased how many tons of coal?

2. The little school of Pantglas lay where the mountain loomed,
And some two hundred children took their lessons in its rooms.
The day fall recess was to begin, they went to meet their doom
Not knowing the green hollow would soon become their tomb. CHORUS

3. 'Twas just nine A.M. when they opened up the door,
And in came the children, two hundred, maybe more,
But nobody knew then what the mountain had in store.
The lucky ones were tardy; the others are no more. CHORUS

4. "I played with my big dog. I played with my cat,"
Signed "Paul, October 21;" there's nothing after that,
For the whole mountain came down; everyone was trapped,
And now there's only coal slag where little Paul once sat. CHORUS

5. In eighteen hundred and seventy-four, the first pit shaft went down,
And they started piling mining waste on the slopes above the town,
And everybody knew that the practice was unsound,
But for ninety-two years no better place was found. CHORUS

6. The National Coal Board said they'd known from the first
That the coal tips they'd permitted were a worry and a curse.
But I've heard that speech so many times, and it always sounds rehearsed.
If the coal tip was a murderer, the Coal Board's crime was worse. CHORUS

7. The children all were pretty, the children all were fine
The children went to school in the shadow of the mine
But with the slag heap up above them, they were running out of time
And they were buried alive by the Ministry of Mines. CHORUS


Best wishes,
Bente


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: Lancashire Lad
Date: 02 Jan 06 - 01:12 PM

Good to see this thread refreshed.
The previously mentioned Grey October was also sung by The Critics Group and there is a fine version on an LP by a Warrington (UK) based group called The Minor Birds. The song Aberfan was also recorded by Gwen and Gordon (Davis) on their rare album called Songs of Rogues and Roses.

Hope that helps someone
LL


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: BB
Date: 02 Jan 06 - 03:30 PM

The Strawbs - or as they were then - The Strawberry Hill Boys - used to sing one about Aberfan, which I remember as very powerful. I think written by Dave Cousins. Wish I could remember more about it.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: GUEST,Barrie Roberts
Date: 03 Jan 06 - 10:31 AM

I think you'll find that 'Grey October' was not written by McColl/Seeger but by their 'workshop' group known as The Critics.


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Subject: RE: Songs about Aberfan
From: Chris in Wheaton
Date: 03 Jan 06 - 02:13 PM

The Welsh/Nashville singer, David Llewellyn - http://www.davidllewellyn.com/CALENDAR.html -has a song about Aberfan that he did on Frank Hennessy's show last year - and he wil be performing in Wales next month. David is from Mountain Ash - near to Aberfan. Worth listening to if you are nearby.
Chris in Wheaton


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