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coal mining songs

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Lyr ADD: Redneck War (Short & Shortridge) (6)
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BS: Appalachian Destruction (25)
Coal Mining Songs--New Book + CDs (17)


Stewie 30 Apr 04 - 08:54 AM
GUEST,Bex McK 30 Apr 04 - 08:12 AM
GUEST 29 Apr 04 - 09:22 PM
Mary Humphreys 29 Apr 04 - 02:01 PM
katlaughing 29 Apr 04 - 11:43 AM
Giac 18 Feb 01 - 03:08 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 18 Feb 01 - 11:56 AM
Charlie Baum 18 Feb 01 - 02:38 AM
kytrad (Jean Ritchie) 16 Feb 01 - 05:56 PM
nyletak13013 16 Feb 01 - 03:12 PM
Amergin 16 Feb 01 - 02:31 AM
GUEST,jcdevildog 15 Feb 01 - 11:58 PM
GUEST,nyletak13013 15 Feb 01 - 01:15 AM
GUEST,nyletak13013 15 Feb 01 - 01:13 AM
GUEST,tsongs 15 Feb 01 - 12:08 AM
GUEST,Bekki Shining Bearheart 14 Feb 01 - 07:06 PM
Lonesome EJ 14 Feb 01 - 04:48 PM
Shall 14 Feb 01 - 11:36 AM
GUEST,jamesthegirl21 14 Feb 01 - 04:28 AM
GUEST,BigDaddy 10 Feb 01 - 01:52 AM
GUEST,katcandu@newwave.net 09 Feb 01 - 03:52 PM
Amos 09 Feb 01 - 12:46 AM
Lonesome EJ 08 Feb 01 - 11:52 PM
catspaw49 08 Feb 01 - 11:34 PM
Sandy Paton 08 Feb 01 - 11:27 PM
Susan A-R 08 Feb 01 - 10:43 PM
GUEST,Wendy 08 Feb 01 - 10:30 PM
raredance 08 Feb 01 - 10:29 PM
GUEST,bflat 08 Feb 01 - 10:05 PM
Greg F. 08 Feb 01 - 08:55 PM
GUEST,nyletak13013 08 Feb 01 - 08:15 PM
Lonesome EJ 08 Feb 01 - 07:56 PM
mkebenn 08 Feb 01 - 07:30 PM
catspaw49 08 Feb 01 - 06:16 PM
rangeroger 08 Feb 01 - 06:10 PM
kytrad (Jean Ritchie) 08 Feb 01 - 06:06 PM
Greg F. 08 Feb 01 - 06:04 PM
Uncle_DaveO 08 Feb 01 - 05:33 PM
catspaw49 08 Feb 01 - 05:28 PM
catspaw49 08 Feb 01 - 05:24 PM
catspaw49 08 Feb 01 - 05:04 PM
Lonesome EJ 08 Feb 01 - 04:57 PM
GUEST,Jennifer Burdoo 08 Feb 01 - 04:54 PM
catspaw49 08 Feb 01 - 04:43 PM
Sandy Paton 08 Feb 01 - 04:04 PM
Sandy Paton 08 Feb 01 - 04:00 PM
MMario 08 Feb 01 - 03:54 PM
GUEST,nyletak13103 08 Feb 01 - 03:46 PM
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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: Stewie
Date: 30 Apr 04 - 08:54 AM

Guest BMcK, seek out a copy of Archie Green's 'Only A Miner'. Chapter 4 is devoted to 'Dream ...'.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: GUEST,Bex McK
Date: 30 Apr 04 - 08:12 AM

Just while we're on the subject, does anyone know about the origins of 'The Dream of the Miner's Child'?
B


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Apr 04 - 09:22 PM

University Avignon, France, current curriculum, The Underground
Aristocrats, written by Pat Cooksey in 1974, this song is part of
our English history course.
The author seems to be a strong supporter of the miners, we have the
text, but my question is, what is the meaning of the lyrics, is it
just meant to be sarcastic, or is there another meaning to this song.


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: Mary Humphreys
Date: 29 Apr 04 - 02:01 PM

May I make a very small correction to Shall's very informative post? The Welsh hymn that was the tune basis for the Mountain Railway/Miner's Lifeguard song was 'Calon Lan', which means 'Pure Heart'.
I'd like to know whether there was a community of Welsh miners in the area when that song was written.


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: katlaughing
Date: 29 Apr 04 - 11:43 AM

Heard a field recording of the Avondale Mining Disaster and went looking for more info. Found it in the DT, then did a google and found this: Pittston Gazette Newspaper, 16 Sept 1869, Luzerne Co, PA (Extracted by Marge Gray).

The Avondale Catastrophe (copied from the New York Tribune, Sept 9, 1869) Avondale, PA
"Two Hundred Miners Suffocated in the Avondale Colliery Fire" (Here is a list of those who died"


It's heartwrenching info on who they left behind and where they were from at THIS SITE


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: Giac
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 03:08 PM

This site has links to some interesting stuff:

click


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 11:56 AM

Not "The Sign of Four," Jennifer, it was "The Valley of Fear." (Sherlock Holmes case set against a background of the Molly Maguires in Pennsylvania.)


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 02:38 AM

A link to Joan Boyd's aforementioned "Fountain Filled With Blood" in the DT archives.

If you find Harry Caudill's Night Comes to the Cumberlands relevant, you might also consider Kai Ericson's Everything in Its Path, a sociological study of the Buffalo Creek Flood (caused when a mining dam gave way) and why the community was unable to put itself back together following the disaster--the traumas of the mining wars era impacting a much later time period. It's a book with scholarly footnotes, but it reads like a great novel.

--Charlie Baum


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 05:56 PM

Since it's West Virginia you're working on, there's one of my songs no one has mentioned. It's a quiet one, usually sung unaccompanied (by me anyway)entitled just, "West Virginia Mine Disaster," as I couldnt think of a better name for it. It was inspired by the flooding of the mine at Hominey Falls, but I used made-up names not wishing to embarrass real people. It speaks mainly for women, whose lot in those days was to stay at home and worry.

You've a good tough project in hand; work hard and don't let it get you down. All the best, Jean


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: nyletak13013
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 03:12 PM

I haven't really tried to look for it lately but I would assume that you could fing it in a video store. Are you looking to rent or to buy? You might also want to check your local library. I have ordered from amazon before and it worked well. You might want to see if they take money orders. I don't know if that helps or not but I hope it does.


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: Amergin
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 02:31 AM

The thing about Matewan, it is rather hard to find....been searching for it for months and the only place I have found it is at Amazon.com....but I don't like credit cards....so I can't get it from there...anyone have any ideas how I can get ahold of a copy?


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: GUEST,jcdevildog
Date: 15 Feb 01 - 11:58 PM

There was a wonderful recording around 1970 called "They Can't Put It Back" by Rich Kirby & Michael Kline with a lot of songs focused on WV and mining (both underground & strip mining). Don't know if it was ever done as a CD (though I doubt it; if anyone knows how to find it either on CD or LP, please let me know). The "Mountain Voices" section of has lyrics & chords to some great songs like "Ballad of Springhill", "The Coming of the Roads", "Jenny's Gone Away", "Paradise" and "16 Tons" in addition to others already mentioned here.


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: GUEST,nyletak13013
Date: 15 Feb 01 - 01:15 AM

Bekki are you familiar with The Missing Persons Soup Kitchen Gosple quartet?


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: GUEST,nyletak13013
Date: 15 Feb 01 - 01:13 AM

Bekki. My dad is the pres. of FOOTMAD so I am very familiar with them. Thanks for the thought though. I think their influence is a big part of why I am incorperating music into this curriculum. Growing up in that scene instilled a love of old time music in me. Thanks for the FOOTMAD promo!! I would still like your thoughts on people to talk to though. If you are willing.


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: GUEST,tsongs
Date: 15 Feb 01 - 12:08 AM

Have you heard of Rita MacNeil? Her new album is called "Mining The Soul" and her band is called Men Of The Deep and made up of real coal miners. See http://www.ritamacniel.com


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: GUEST,Bekki Shining Bearheart
Date: 14 Feb 01 - 07:06 PM

There's a bunch of folks based in Charleston (WV) who can give you lots of resources-- most of them real people, and some old-timers. I'd contact FOOTMAD (Friends of Old Time Music and Dance). They sponsor a series of concerts every year, of the ilk of Odetta, Tom Paxton , Cherish the Ladies, Tannahill Weavers, and everything from Cajun to blues to "foreign" folk music (south American, etc). They also do a monthly square/contra dance, a newsletter about events in the region, house concerts, and a fall festival/campout. They feature a lot of old-timers at their events, musicians who are considered to be WV's musical heritage. If you have trouble finding them (they have a website) PM me and I'll put you in contact with one one of their main organizers.


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 14 Feb 01 - 04:48 PM

Thanks for the correction katcandu. Because I read the book, and then saw the movie, I assumed the book came first.


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: Shall
Date: 14 Feb 01 - 11:36 AM

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.


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: GUEST,jamesthegirl21
Date: 14 Feb 01 - 04:28 AM

HI lady! glad to see you are doing well on your quest for info. You have to let me know how things are coming along as a whole. I think I might have to read some of this stuff as well, it all sounds so interesting... -Jamie


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: GUEST,BigDaddy
Date: 10 Feb 01 - 01:52 AM

Don't miss a book called "Voices From The Mountains," edited by Guy Carawan. Not only great text but lots of coal mining songs complete with chords. Should be in any good area library. Is still in print.


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: GUEST,katcandu@newwave.net
Date: 09 Feb 01 - 03:52 PM

Thanks for sending so much good info concerning coalmining songs and coal culture to nyletak13013. Lonesome EJ, I believe "Storming Heaven" was published after John Sayles' movie Matewan came out. Sayles developed Matewan from his own research into the 1922 massacre. Denise Giardina may have used some of the same facts in developing her novel, but Sayles did not base his movie on her work. Just for the record.


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: Amos
Date: 09 Feb 01 - 12:46 AM

Keep your eye upon the dollar...
And your hand upon the scale.

(Or was it the other way around? ) From "A Miner's Life is Like a Sailor's", from the same period of struggle and organizing. There's also. of course, "Big Bad John", which is still aging in the barrel and not ripe to be called a folk song, perhaps, and "The Springhill Mining Disaster", which is of like age but qualifies as grassroots folk anyway.

A


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 11:52 PM

The film Matewan was based on an excellent novel called Storming Heaven, by the way


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: catspaw49
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 11:34 PM

Here's some decent background reading on the web about mining. I know your project is West Virginia, but the coal region that entails covers parts of Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, and Pennsylvania as well. These are mainly period pieces and some you will have to interpret a bit. The account of the Mollys is from an different angle entirely so read with an eye to real history.

A group from Ohio State

Great Info from the WVA Gen Society....an awful lot of family information, accounts of life, etc.

And Susan has an excellent idea on "live" resources that is well worth investigating. The Harry Simms song Susan (and maybe Sandy too?) mentioned is in the DT or the mirror site with notes here.

Spaw

Spaw


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 11:27 PM

I'll certainly second the Matewan suggestion. It's a great Sayles film, and remarkably radical for a film that had backing from such corporations as Pepsico! Pretty bloody toward the end, but powerfully done. I also agree with the suggestion that you read Caudill's Night Comes to the Cumberlands. I once gave a copy of that book to Phil Hoff, when he was Governor of Vermont, since it describes some problems that are shared by the Cumberlands and the Green Mountains of Vermont.

I hadn't mentioned the Korson material, since the request was for mining songs from West Virginia, but, if we're going a bit farther afield, listen to Helen Schneyer's singing of Joan Boyd's powerful rewrite of "The Fountain Filled with Blood" which is on her Folk-Legacy cassette titled On the Hallelujah Line. It speaks of a mine disaster and observes that the victims were "men who dug each other's graves!" Helen also recorded "The Avondale Mine Disaster" and "The Miner's Prayer" on her other Folk-Legacy cassette: Ballads, Broadsides and Hymns. Look under "custom cassettes" at the Folk-Legacy web site. CLICK HERE .

Even farther afield is Utah Phillips' "Funeral Train" (properly titled, I think, "The Scofield Mine Disaster", although I don't remember how to spell it). It tells of a mine explosion in 1900 in Utah and reminds us that "in one family there were nine, trapped inside that burning mine!" Very moving song.

Jean Ritchie's splendid "Black Waters" encapsulates the entire history of the mountain people being robbed of their lands through the trickery of the mineral rights leases they gave to outside corporations. They gave away the coal under their farms for pennies per acre, which was bad enough, but they also gave the developers the right to take their timber for the mines and to slash roads through to the sites, etc. KYtrad can tell you all about it. You've got a lot of heavy history to offer your students! Good luck with it.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: Susan A-R
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 10:43 PM

And then there's Nimrod Workman who recorded a bunch of good stuff. And what's the one on the new Pete Seeger collection Spaw, about the guy who is working to organize the NMU and is killed by gun thugs. Harry Simms?

Also, there may be folks who'd come to your class. Are you up for "live music" story telling? Depending on where you are located, there may be some ideas here.

Susan A-R


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: GUEST,Wendy
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 10:30 PM

It's Pennsylvania rather than West Virginia, but I like this cd: Songs and Ballads of the Anthracite Miners .


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: raredance
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 10:29 PM

Try your reginal libraries (or interlibrary loans) for any of 4 books by George Korson:

Coal Dust On the Fiddle - Songs and Stories of the Bituminous Industry (1943)

Minstrels of the Mine Patch - Songs and Stories of the Anthracite Industry (1938)

Pennsylvania Songs and Legends (1949)

Black Rock - Mining Folklore of the Pennsylvania Dutch (1960)

rich r


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: GUEST,bflat
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 10:05 PM

Guest,nyletak,

If you are going to begin with Mother Jones, you may want to look at Ronnie Gilbert's book Mother Jones. It tells the story of Mother Jones through Ronnie's music. I'm not sure where you can get a copy. I do know that it has been available at Folk Festivals in which she performed. Start with you local library.

Ellen


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: Greg F.
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 08:55 PM

Well, lets see.... a visit to West Va. in 1963 or so by Phil Ochs & Eric Anderson (and I've always wondered if possibly reading Night Comes...copyright 1962/63)produced
Hills of West Virginia and Anderson's reworking of the 'trad'
Blind Fiddler

Then there's Billy Ed Wheeler's great Red-Winged Blackbird; not in the DT- thought it was in a thread a while back but can't seem to find it.

Best, Greg


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: GUEST,nyletak13013
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 08:15 PM

Thank y'all soooooo much. keep it coming if you can. The books too are really helpful. I don't know much about all this so everything you can offer is great. I was thinking of starting the unit with a look at Mother Jones, who she was and how she influenced the WV mine wars. That is just a small part of the project though. Even if you can think of nifty ideas of things to do within the curriculum, activities and such that would be cool.


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 07:56 PM

Yep, that "kytrad" person seems to have the lowdown on Jean Ritchie! Hey Kytrad, do you know Rockcastle County? That's where my family hailed from.


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: mkebenn
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 07:30 PM

Ya' need B.E.Wheeler's "coal Tattoo" and Ms. Ritchie's "The L&N don't stop here anymore" EXCELLENT sons, both. Mike


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: catspaw49
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 06:16 PM

Well that's timely isn't it?

If you go to the site that "kytrad" mentioned (CLICK HERE), you'll find that Ritchie woman and her friends have quite a few songs you might think about using as well and she'll probably give you a recommendation or two too!

Do you think I'm right there kytrad?

Spaw


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: rangeroger
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 06:10 PM

I'll also second LEJ's recommendation of "Dark as A Dungeon" done by John Cowan on his album from last year titled, (surprisingly) "John Cowan".

rr


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 06:06 PM

If you'd like to hear, "Black Waters," go to www.jeanritchie.com and click on the opening picture.


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: Greg F.
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 06:04 PM

Right after you watch Matewan pick up a copy of Lon Savage's Thunder in the Mountains: The West Virginia Mine War 1920-21 1990, Univ. of Pittsburgh Press. Foreword for the new edition by John Sayles.

And I'll second the recommendation of Night Comes to the Cumberlands...

Good Luck!

Best, Greg


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 05:33 PM

Another good song: Down, Down, Down a/k/a (That Hole In Oak Hill). You'll find it in the DT.

DAve Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: catspaw49
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 05:28 PM

Sorry.....Harry Caudill is the author. Its a must read in your situation I think.

Damn if I ain't gettin' as back as Sandy!!!! EVERYTHING is taking TWO posts!!!!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: catspaw49
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 05:24 PM

Not music....but as an important piece of background reading, I don't think you can write your curriculum without reading a few books as Sandy mentioned. I'd also add an important piece of work, published in the early 60's titled, "Night Comes to the Cumberlands." Understanding the area helps to understand the music.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: catspaw49
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 05:04 PM

Well Sandy, is there room for me with you on the Group W bench? I seem to have gotten my > gizmo backwards.......

Spaw


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 04:57 PM

Merle Travis' Dark as a Dungeon is hard to beat.


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: GUEST,Jennifer Burdoo
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 04:54 PM

There are several songs extant (and a film or two) about the Molly Maguires, the Irish-American miners' union that may or may not have terrorized the mine owners in SW Pennsylvania. Is that close enough to West VA for you? :) If you're looking for anecdotes, Conan Doyle wrote one of his Sherlock Holmes mysteries about a Molly Maguire-style organisation. I think it was "The Sign of Four."

Jennifer


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: catspaw49
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 04:43 PM

Good info Sandy.

I'd also watch the movie "Matewan"...a favorite around here....as its one of a very few where there is a bit of accuracy at least in the telling of history through film. There is a CD through Rounder you might try to get also and I located it at the the Matewan site.....CLICK HERE. Florence Reese that Sandy mentions is also on that one with "Which Side Are You On"....worth the time in listening!

Related to living with the mines and around them is the great song by Jean Ritchie, "Black Waters" which speaks of the uncaring coal and steel companies who raped and pillaged like Attilla because they owned the mineral rights.

I'll check back in later.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 04:04 PM

I should add: check with Dick Greenhaus at Camsco Music for the recordings Hazel Dickens has made of songs from and of those times. They are on Rounder, and Dick can get 'em for you, pronto.

Sandy (after-thinking, as usual)


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 04:00 PM

Get Archie Green's Only a Miner, John Greenway's American Folksongs of Protest (for stories about Aunt Molly Jackson), Shelly Romalis' Pistol Packing Mama (a biography of Aunt Molly). Florence Reese, who wrote "Which Side Are You On," also wrote a brief autobiography which she was selling at the Newport Festival where we met her, but I can't put my hands on our copy right now, so I'm unsure of the title.

I produced a recording of Sarah Ogan Gunning in 1968, titled Girl of Constant Sorrow. She was the half-sister of Aunt Molly, raised in the midst of the Kentucky coal field wars, and the actual writer of the title song of her album, although it was often attributed to Aunt Molly. That recording is available now only as one of our "Custom Cassettes," but you would find Archie Green's notes that come with it of particular interest. CLICK HERE. I've lost my instructions on how to make a blue clickie, so that may not work. Maybe a JoeClone can fix it for me?

Sandy


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Subject: RE: coal mining songs
From: MMario
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 03:54 PM

I would suggest starting with a search in the digitrad lyrics search box (above, right) on "@mining"

(don't use the qoutes when you go to search.)

you then might want to search the forum for "coal" "mining" - or the titles of songs you find in the first search above.


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Subject: coal mining songs
From: GUEST,nyletak13103
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 03:46 PM

I'm writing a curriculum for one of my classes that revolves around the historical coal mining culture of West Virginia. I'm mainly focasing on life in the mines up to and during the union wars. I want to find songs that are about and were written during this era. I don't know much about the history myself so any anecdotes, stories, comments and reflections would also be greatly appreciated. Thank you.


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