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Lyr Add: The Battle of Jericol

Stewie 01 Oct 01 - 12:26 AM
Stewie 17 Oct 01 - 06:57 PM
JohnInKansas 18 Oct 01 - 07:10 PM
Stewie 19 Oct 01 - 04:58 AM
GUEST,Dave 25 Jul 09 - 08:10 PM
GUEST,Chels 24 Jul 17 - 04:18 PM
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Subject: ADD: The Battle of Jericol
From: Stewie
Date: 01 Oct 01 - 12:26 AM

Below is my attempted transcription of 'The Battle of Jericol' on the Rounder 'Coal Mining Women' compilation - I would appreciate it if someone who is familiar with the song could check its accuracy for me. The notes to the album do not give specific information on the songs. Can anyone give me info about the specific strike referred to in the song, including the date, duration, outcome etc. I have consulted Google re the Sigmon Coal Company, but became bogged down in transcripts of court judgments. A couple of sentences outlining the specific events underlying this impressive song would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

(Mary Lou Layne)

Bless the fathers, bless the brothers
Bless the sons who pass the time
Standing, waiting, watching
Upon the picket line
You can see the thoughts written on each face
As they watch that L&N roll
And as they see the trucks run by each day
Taking scabs into Jericol

Bless the mothers, bless the sisters
Bless the wives and the daughters too
Who stand beside the miners
Lord, tell them what to do
They can't sit back any longer
You know, they've got to take a stand
'Cos the women in Harlan county
Want to make it a union land

Bless the veterans and disabled
Who can't work in the mines no more
They keep labouring for these striking men
Though they be old and poor
'Cos the union they built for thirty years
They can't stand by and watch it die
Though their hands are worn and their lungs are spent
They'll fight till their final sigh

Bless the miners who are buried
In the coalfields of these great hills
Lord, spirits are among us
Oh how could they be still
On the mountainside of a non-union mine
How could they peaceful lie
There's a reason for the rich to rule
Can you please, Lord, tell us why

Bless the struggles and the trials
In the battle of Jericol
Bless our demand that only union hands
Mine our own homelands coal
May her safety crew be miners
May a pension plan be written down
And, in the pits of Sigmon's Jericol, may the walls come tumblin' down
And, in the pits of Sigmon's Jericol, may the walls come tumblin' down

Source: transcription of Reel World String Band 'The Battle of Jericol' on Various Artists 'Coal Mining Women' Rounder CD 4025 (1997).


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Subject: RE: Help: The Battle of Jericol
From: Stewie
Date: 17 Oct 01 - 06:57 PM

Still looking for some info on this one if anyone can oblige. Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Battle of Jericol
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 18 Oct 01 - 07:10 PM

No luck finding anything particularly helpful, but I did come across Liner notes for Coal Mining Women

Unfortunately, the notes for the group that performed this song do not include anything on the song. The notes on and by other performers on the album are pretty inspiring though.
Maybe someone else could dig some clues out of them.

As noted above, a search for "The Company" turns up mostly lawsuits. Maybe the song deserves to live!


Liner Notes for ROUN4025

I always wondered where the heart and soul of American Music lives. I should
have known it's at the bottom of a coal mine where it runs deep, dark and
dangerous. This is some of the purest music that's ever been made regarding the
true life blues of a coal miner. These songs take you to a world where few belong.
When it's over, ask yourself, "Which side are you on?"
-Marty Stuart

p & c 1997 Rounder Records Corp.

Rounder 4025
Coal Mining Women

        1.        Hazel Dickens Coal Mining Woman 3:56
                (Hazel Dickens/Happy Valley Music, BMI)
        2.        Phyllis Boyens Blue Diamond Mines 3:57
                (Jean Ritchie/Geordie Music Pub. Inc., ASCAP)
        3.        Sarah Gunning Dreadful Memories 2:12
                (Sarah Gunning/Folk-Legacy Records Inc., BMI)
        4.        Hazel Dickens Yablonski Murder 2:57
                (Hazel Dickens/Happy Valley Music, BMI)
        5.        Phyllis Boyens Lawrence Jones 2:56
                (Si Kahn/CMI America, ASCAP)
        6.        Reel World String Band Draglines 2:51
                (Deborah Silverstein/Debobiz Music, BMI)
        7.        Hazel Dickens Coal Miner's Grave 5:27
                (Hazel Dickens/Happy Valley Music, BMI)
        8.        Sarah Gunning Come All You Coal Miners 1:56
                (Sarah Gunning/Happy Valley Music, BMI)
        9.        Hazel Dickens Black Lung 3:21
                (Hazel Dickens/Happy Valley Music, BMI)
        10.        Phyllis Boyens Dream of a Miner's Child 2:24
                (adapted by Phyllis Boyens , Hazel Dickens and Ken
Irwin/Happy Valley Music, BMI)
        11.        Hazel Dickens Mannington Mine Disaster 4:32
                (Hazel Dickens/Happy Valley Music, BMI)
        12.        Sarah Gunning That 25 Cents That You Paid 2:41
                (Jim Garland)
        13.        Hazel Dickens Clay County Miner 4:31
                (Hazel Dickens/Happy Valley Music, BMI)
        14.        Hazel Dickens Clara Sullivan's Letter 3:42
                (Malvina Reynolds-Pete Seeger/Abigail Music Company, BMI)
        15.        Reel World String Band What She Aims to Be 2:26
                (Sue Massek/Happy Valley Music, BMI)
        16.        Hazel Dickens Coal Tattoo 2:58
                (Billy Ed Wheeler/Bexhill Music Corp.-Quartet Music Inc.,
        17.        Sarah Gunning Hello Coal Miner 4:46
                (Sarah Gunning/Happy Valley Music, BMI)
        18.        Reel World String Band The Battle of Jericol 2:28
                (Mary Lou Layne/Happy Valley Music, BMI)
        19.        Florence Reece Which Side Are You On? 1:42
                (Florence Reece/Storm King Music, Inc., BMI)
        20.        Hazel Dickens They'll Never Keep Us Down 2:41
                (Hazel Dickens/Happy Valley Music, BMI)

Tracks 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 10, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20 originally appeared on Rounder
4012 They'll Never Keep Us Down.
Produced by Guy and Candie Carawan, Highlander Center and Ken Irwin.
"Coal Mining Woman" and "Coal Miner's Grave" recorded at Bull Run Studio,
Ashland City, Tenn.
Engineered by Steve Chandler.
Mixed by Glenn Berger at Blue Jay Recording Studio, Carlisle, Mass.
Hazel Dickens vocal
Tommy Goldsmith guitar
Jerry Douglas Dobro
Blaine Sprouse fiddle
Roy Huskey bass

"Lawrence Jones," "Blue Diamond Mines," "Dream of a Miner's Child" and "Coal
Tattoo" recorded at Shook's Shack, Nashville, TN.
Engineered by Jerry Shook.
Mixed by Glenn Berger at Blue Jay Recording Studio, Carlisle, Mass.
Hazel Dickens vocal on "Coal Tattoo" and harmony on "Dream of a Miner's
Phyllis Boyens vocal on "Lawrence Jones," "Blue Diamond Mines" and "Dream
of a Miner's Child"
Mark Hembree bass
Pat Enright guitar
Blaine Sprouse fiddle
Jerry Douglas Dobro
Roland White mandolin
Bela Fleck banjo

Florence Reece was recorded at her home in Knoxville, TN, by Guy and Candie

Sarah Ogan Gunning was recorded at a workshop at Highlander Center by John

"They'll Never Keep Us Down" was recorded at Bias Recorders, Springfield, VA
by Norm Rowland and mixed by Glenn Berger at Le Studio, Boston, Mass.
John Kaparakis guitar
Gary Henderson bass
Lamar Grier banjo
Akira Otsuka mandolin

Reel World String Band songs were recorded at Track 16 in Lexington, Kentucky.
Engineered by Tom Tandy with production consultation by Therese Edel and
Teresa Boykin (Sea Friends, Inc.) & Jeffrey Jones.
Mixed by Glenn Berger at Downtown Recorders, Boston, Mass.
Bev Futrell mandolin
Sharon Ruble bass
Sue Massek banjo, lead vocal on "What She Aims To Be"
Karen Jones fiddle
Belle Jackson guitar, lead vocal on "Draglines"

Tracks 3, 4, 8, 9, 11, 12 and 13 originally appeared on Rounder 4005 Come All
You Coal Miners.
Concept and Production: Guy Carawan
Recorded by Roger and Lucy Phenix, Gary Slemp and Dick Drevo.
Remixed by Roger Nichols.

"Yablonski Murder," "Clay County Miner," and "Mannington Mine Disaster":
Hazel Dickens vocals
Bob Siggins banjo
Ralph Rinzler mandolin
John Kaparakis rhythm guitar

Track 14 recorded by Mike Rivers at Gypsy Studios, Falls Church, VA.

Mastered by Toby Mountain at Northeastern Digital, Southborough, Mass.
Photography by Earl Dotter.
Design by

Also available:
4005 Come All You Coal Miners (LP only)
4012 They'll Never Keep Us Down: Women's Coal Mining Songs


        At Highlander Center in Eastern Tennessee, we have long been
interested in songs emerging from the coalfields. Appalachian coal communities
have a special and distinct culture. Not only have the old ballads and folk songs,
string music and religious songs associated with mountain communities survived
there, but also a specific body of more recent song and expression related to coal
mining has evolved. From the earliest days of mining, and particularly of union
organizing beginning in the 1930s, songs have been written and sung to express
people's struggles and concerns. Black people came from deeper south into the
region bringing their own cultural heritage and gradually blacks and whites
influenced each other.
        Beginning in 1972, we have held a series of workshops at Highlander
concentrating on this valuable cultural heritage. Many of the performers on this
album got to know each other at these gatherings. In 1972, Hazel Dickens, Sarah
Gunning, Phyllis Boyens and Florence Reece met, along with thirty other singers,
songwriters and musicians from the coal fields. An album was produced from
recording made at the workshop of Nimrod Workman, George Tucker, Hazel and
Sarah - Come All You Coal Miners (Rounder 4005) - and has been an important
source in the region of very specific material relevant to life and struggle here.
(See also the book Voices from the Mountains, University of Georgia Press)
        By 1980 we were interested in doing a second album of more recent
coal songs featuring the many strong women active in expressing what was going
on in the coalfields. Women were composing songs and performing them,
organizing rallies and support for the strikes underway at Stearns and Jericol.
Women were getting jobs in the mines and speaking out about their concerns in
the union and in the community. This album is a small sampling of the good new
songs being sung and heard in the mountains.

Guy & Candie Carawan

        Women have always been a part of the history of mining in this country.
In early days, coal was mined entirely by hand - miners worked 12 to 14 hours a
day. Shoveling tons of coal in cramped rooms as low as 30 inches, miners never
knew when the roof would give way, breaking a back, cutting off a leg or leaving
men buried alive. Women have had to live with death and disasters. The
coalfields have been filled with widows and women who have cared for the sick
and disabled.
        In the coal camps, women found their housing, shopping and daily lives
controlled by the industry. They sometimes organized and marched against the
superintendent for better housing or lower prices in the store. They have
historically been active in many community issues.
        In 1965 "Widow Combs," a frail elderly Knott County woman with a
20-acre farm, lay down in front of a bulldozer to protect her land, and was
promptly carried off to jail. Her action inspired and began anti-strip mining
movements throughout the mountains. Bessie Smith and women in Eastern
Kentucky formed brigades which stopped overloaded coal trucks from traveling
through their communities. Other battles have involved school closings, health
care, and social services. Granny Hager of Lothair, Kentucky, activist from the
1930s in Harlan County as a miner's wife, continued as a widow to work picket
lines, talk at union rallies and at local union and black lung meetings. She was a
leader in the Roving Pickets during the 1950s, the Black Lung Movement and the
UMWA reform during the 1960s and early `70s. She organized house-to-house in
the coalfields to help build the Black Lung Movement.
        Wives, sisters, mothers and daughters have always been active in
union organizing and during strikes the participation of the women was
particularly crucial. Wives had to do without a paycheck. When evicted, they set
up housekeeping in tents. Women and families were harassed by company
thugs. The spirit of the women was critical in keeping up morale, but their
involvement was more than giving moral support or serving soup. They were
often a militant component in the strike, an organizing and irritating force with
which the authorities had to reckon, and they have been beaten, jailed, shot and
        Mother Jones, an organizer for the United Mine Workers at the turn of
the century, often called out the wives. During a six week strike in Pennsylvania,
she formed a women's auxiliary known as the €mop and broom brigade." When a
carload of non-union men came in, the infuriated women met them. They beat
dishpans with hammers and started a stampede of the mules, used during those
days to haul coal from the mines. In an effort to recruit men for strike duty, Mother
Jones would challenge them: 'If you're afraid to fight, we'll get the women together
to fight for you and beat the hell out of them.'"
        The spirit of the "mop and broom brigade" is definitely alive today.
During the strikes at Brookside, Stearns and Jericol, the women's clubs played a
crucial role. They not only organized endless rallies, they also confronted the
scabs and state troopers at each site many times and, along with their children,
spent time in jail.
        In the early 1970s women began to apply for coal mining jobs.
Traditionally women did not work in the mines in this country, though they had a
long history of dangerous and back-breaking work in the pits of Great Britain.
During World War II, women were recruited to work on the surface sorting coal.
Women were not only legally excluded from underground mining, but a whole
series of superstitions developed about "bad luck," accidents or tragedies which
would occur if a woman went underground. As Florence Reece remembers, "They
told us that if a woman went underground, men would be killed. We didn't go
underground, and plenty of men were killed anyway."
        To prevent their working in the mines, it was claimed that women should
not work underground because of the dangerous dirty conditions, and that women
could not physically carry out the arduous labor required. As mining became
mechanized and easier, women continued to be excluded which kept them from
the best paying jobs in the coalfields. Finally in the 1970s, largely through the
efforts of the Coal Employment Project in Tennessee, they legally and
successfully challenged discrimination in hiring and have now begun to enter the
mining workforce in moderate numbers. By 1980 there were approximately 4,000
women miners nationwide. They were active in the union, on safety committees,
and in the community.
        With a new wave of mechanization and mine closures in the mid `80s,
women were the first to lose their jobs because of the last-hired/first-fired rule of
union retirement. Today their numbers are small and many are nearing
retirement. However, they leave us an important legacy, a story of courage and
tenacity, an inspiration to women today who are seeking a decent paying job
through which they can support themselves and their families and gain and
dignity and self respect.

Helen Lewis

        Since the earliest days, women have written and sung powerful songs
about the coal mines, union struggles and life in the camps - hungry children,
families evicted from camp houses, murders of strikers, pitiful wages and the
courage of union members. Aunt Molly Jackson and Sarah Ogan Gunning,
half-sisters who lived in Bell and Harlan Counties in the 1930s, wrote many
moving songs. In the midst of the union battles and gunfire of thugs, Florence
Reece wrote "Which Side Are You On?" which has been a rallying song during
strikes ever since. Hazel Dickens and Jean Ritchie (whose song :"Blue Diamond
Mines" is included here) have in recent years written powerful songs of coal
mining life and struggles. The tradition continues. Phoebia Bowman, a high
school student during the strike at Stearns, wrote a number of pointed and
descriptive ballads about the situation there; the women of the Reel World String
Band have adapted songs and written new ones to express what they see around
them. (Sue Massek's "What She Aims to Be" is on this album.) One of the most
prolific new songwriters is Mary Lou Layne from Ashland, Kentucky, who wrote
"The Battle of Jericol." She began writing as she became involved with the Jericol
Women's Support Team in Harlan County in 1979. In subsequent years she wrote
more than a dozen expressive songs about life in the Kentucky coalfields. Other
songwriters represented on the album include Billy Edd Wheeler and Deborah
        The songwriting tradition continues. During the historic Pittston coal
strike in 1989, women formed a powerful group called the Daughters of Mother
Jones. Their membership included several songwriters. Elaine Purkey from West
Virginia has emerged in the early 1990s as a singer and songwriter very much in
the tradition of Sarah Gunning, Aunt Molly Jackson, and Hazel Dickens.

Guy & Candie Carawan

The Performers:

        All of the women who sing on this album have done a good deal of their
singing in coal mining communities. Most of them grew up in the coalfields. Hazel
Dickens, Phyllis Boyens and the Reel World String Band all work professionally
performing on record, at concerts and festivals. They include in their concert
repertoire coal mining songs and they also generously give their time and talents
back to coal mining communities - at benefits, rallies, and meetings of all kinds.
On this album the songs are mainly recorded in a studio situation, some with
accompanying musicians.

Hazel Dickens

        Hazel Dickens was born in Mercer City, into a family of eleven children.
Raised in and around coal camps, she was only too well acquainted with mining
conditions with a father who hauled timber to the mines and brothers who all
worked in the mines, two of them dying of black lung or other lung problems.
        Hazel's father preached on the weekends as a hardshell Baptist
minister. In a musical family in which her father sang and played banjo, and most
of her brothers and sisters also sang, Hazel too began to sing as a child. Her first
memories of singing were of the unaccompanied singing of the primitive Baptist
church style, which became a major influence on her own singing, along with
old-time, bluegrass, and traditional country music.
        As hard times struck the Dickens family, as happened to many other
rural families, Hazel moved to Baltimore after quitting school, joined relatives
living in the hillbilly €ghetto€ there, and got a factory job to support herself. Later,
as the union came in, she found a factory job with better wages and working
        Shortly, she bought a guitar and with other hillbilly transplants started
singing at parties, and later, as confidence grew, at clubs and bars. Hazel
Dickens has been singing and writing professionally since the mid-sixties, when
she recorded her first album. Since then she has recorded three albums on her
own, four with her former singing partner Alice Gerrard and has participated on
numerous other records.
        Her commitment to the betterment of the quality of life for all people is
evident in her songs. What is also unmistakable, whether she is singing on a
picket line, in a concert hall, or at a national convention of the United Mine
Workers, is that Hazel has chosen to put herself and her music to work for the
benefit of people faced with struggle - for wages, for rights, for their very survival.
        Hazel Dickens has also given freely of her time to benefits, rallies, as
well as to various films, like Harlan County, U.S.A., for which she did much of the
original music. She is highly respected as a musician and traditional singer, as
well as for her songwriting. The vocal style she uses, strident, vigorous and
harsh, or wistful, lonesome and melancholy are those of a country woman who
identifies with the most basic aesthetic and ethical values of her people.
        Hazel Dickens has performed throughout the U.S. and Europe, Canada
and Cuba, appearing widely at concerts and festivals.

Available by Hazel Dickens on Rounder:
0027 Hazel & Alice (with Alice Gerrard)
0054 Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard (with Alice Gerrard)
0126 Hard Hitting Songs for Hard Hit People
0200 By the Sweat of My Brow
0226 It's Hard to Tell the Singer from the Song
11529 A Few Old Memories

Phyllis Boyens

        Phyllis Boyens was born in Lobata, West Virginia, the youngest girl and
the eleventh of thirteenth children, of Nimrod and Molly Workman.
        Phyllis started singing in Molly's Church of God at the age of five, and
soon was singing in various churches local to the Mingo County area. In her
father's church she was only allowed to sing a cappella, and in order to sing
anything other than gospel music she had to sneak away from home. She and a
sister teamed up and traveled to revival meetings all over the country and later
formed a quartet which traveled into Virginia, Kentucky and neighboring counties
of West Virginia.
        Phyllis took time out from her singing and traveling to marry and begin
a family. For a period of seven years she did her singing at home with her
husband and small children. Then is 1973, Phyllis and her father, Nimrod
Workman, recorded the first June Appal record Passing Through the Garden (June
Appal 001), and soon after were invited to perform at the Smithsonian Institute's
American Folklife Festival - returning also in 1975, 1976 and 1978. During those
years Phyllis also performed at the Vandalia Gathering in West Virginia, a festival
which features the state's most proficient authentic folk musicians.
        Along with her festival and concert appearances, Phyllis has always
given a good deal of time and energy to rallies and benefits for miners and other
working people throughout the east and south. During the 3-year strike at Stearns,
she visited many times to support and lift the spirits of the miners and their
families. Phyllis and Hazel Dickens led a delegation of women to the picket line
for the first time during the strike.
        Phyllis appeared in the Academy Award-winning documentary Harlan
County, USA, and was featured in the film Coal Miner's Daughter, playing Clara
Webb, mother of country music star Loretta Lynn. She continues to compose the
music and write the words for her own songs as well as singing a wide range of
music from traditional to country, rock and blues, and has released one solo
album (Rounder 0162, I Really Care).

Available by Phyllis Boyens on Rounder:
0162 I Really Care

The Reel World String Band

        The Reel World String Band is composed of five women from Kentucky
who consciously came together to celebrate by participating in the performance of
traditional Appalachian music.
        "By performing a wide variety of mountain music, we seek to preserve a
proud and powerful musical heritage. Many of our songs have been passed down
orally from generation to generation. Our repertoire includes fiddle tunes which
were brought to this country over 200 years ago by immigrants from Wales,
Scotland and Ireland, and became the lively style of traditional mountain music
from Appalachia that's just made for toe-tapping and hand-clapping. These fiddle
tunes are accompanied by a claw-hammer style of banjo picking, a rhythmic form
of playing used to accompany dance."
        The band also performs songs written about contemporary struggles.
"We are engaged in several struggles involving women and the working class
people of Appalachia and have found music to be a powerful ally. Much of our
music deals with coal mining, and many of the songs we do are still sung on the
picket lines today."
        The women of the band have put a good deal of energy and time into
organizing support benefits and rallies around the mountains for ongoing
struggles. They also generously support community musical activities and give a
lot of encouragement to local musicians.
        They began coming to Highlander in the late 1970s and there met Sarah
Gunning. Florence Reece and others who helped strengthen their conviction about
their music and their concerns.
        Members of the band on this album are Bev Futrell, Sharon Ruble, Sue
Massek, Karen Jones and Belle Jackson.

Available by the Reel World String Band on Flying Fish:
FF 517 Appalachian Wind

Sarah Ogan Gunning

        Sarah Ogan Gunning was born in Knox County, Kentucky, in 1910. At the
time of her birth, southeastern Kentucky was in transition from an economy of
frontier farming to coal mining. Her father, Oliver Perry Garland, was a
farmer-minister who turned to the mines while still a young man. He cast his lot
with trade unionism as soon as the mountaineers began to organize. Sarah
recalls union meetings at her home from earliest childhood.
        The Garlands were known as a singing people. Besides the father and
mother, there were fifteen children including Sarah, Molly (Aunt Molly Jackson)
and Jim - all of whom would later be known for their songs.
        During the union battles of the 1930s the family came into contact with a
band of northern, radical labor organizers. Sarah would later move to New York
where she would meet folksingers and folklorists as well as people interested in
the union movement and radical politics. She heard and learned new songs but
maintained her style of singing and her repertoire of mountain songs.
        Sarah is well known for a number of important songs she wrote to
traditional melodies during the 1930s: "Dreadful Memories," "Come All You Coal
Miners," "I Am a Girl of Constant Sorrow," "I Hate the Capitalist System," "Down
on the Picket Line" and "I'm Going to Organize, Babe of Mine." She has sung
them all over the country at major folk festivals and other gatherings. They have
been recorded and included in several books.
        Archie Green has said of her, "Sarah's prodigious talent has permitted
her to fuse disparate radical elements with traditional forms to create a handful of
significant songs beyond the legacy of well-known material left to her by her
        Sarah herself has explained, "In the early `30s I had one of my babies
starve to death. It literally happened, people starved to death. Not only my baby,
but the neighbor's babies. You saw them starve to death too. And all you could do
was go over and help wash and dress them and lay them out and sit with the
mothers until they could put them away."
        "That, and other things in my life, is what I composed the songs about.
These hardships I went through in the Kentucky mountains - and not just me, but a
lot of other people, too."
        Sarah died on October 14, 1983 while singing at a family gathering. She
wrote "Hello, Coal Miner" in 1979.

-based partly on notes by Archie Green for Sarah's album Girl of Constant Sorrow
(Folk Legacy 26)

Available by Sarah Ogan Gunning on Rounder:
0051 The Silver Dagger

Florence Reece

        Florence Reece grew up in a coal camp in Tennessee and married her
coal miner husband Sam when she was sixteen years old. They spent the 1930s
in Harlan County, Kentucky, where Sam was a union organizer. Over the years
Florence has written songs and poems and has tirelessly campaigned for working
people. As she says "My songs goes to the underdog - to the worker. I'm one of
them and I feel like I've got to be with them. There's no such thing as neutral. You
have to be on one side or the other. Some people say, `I don't take sides - I'm
neutral.' There's no such thing. In your own mind you're on one side or the other.
In Harlan County there wasn't no neutral. If you wasn't a gun thug, you was a
union man. You had to be."
        Her best known song, which has gone around the world and been
adapted to countless struggles, is "Which Side Are You On?"
        "Sheriff J.H. Blair and his men came to our house in search of Sam. He
was one of the union leaders. I was home alone with our seven children. They
ransacked the whole house and then kept watch outside, waiting to shoot Sam
down when he came back. But he didn't come home that night."
        "Afterward I tore a sheet from a calendar on the wall and wrote the
words to `Which Side Are You On?' to an old Baptist hymn `Lay the Lily Low'."
        Florence traveled from her home in Knoxville, Tennessee to the site of
struggle situations to share her enthusiasm and support, including several visits
to Brookside in Harlan County during the strike there, and was the keynote
speaker at the first annual conference of women miners. When she was unable to
get to Stearns during the long strike there she composed and sent a poem:
        "The strike was on, there's a picket line
        Scabs taking our jobs, we felt like crying.
        Guards came on with gun in hand,
        The low-down guards couldn't understand.
        Now we're peaceful men, we don't want to fight,
        But we'll beat you up if you scab tonight.
        They put us in jail, what a disgrace!
        But our wives and sons they took our place.
        I'm telling you now, we had a hell of a fight,
        But the best part of all, we're going to win this strike."
Florence passes away in Knoxville in 1986.

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Subject: RE: Help: The Battle of Jericol
From: Stewie
Date: 19 Oct 01 - 04:58 AM


The notes that you link to are exactly the same as those supplied with the CD. Thanks for your efforts - I appreciate it. The song stands on its own and indeed does deserve to live, but a little background would be good.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Battle of Jericol
From: GUEST,Dave
Date: 25 Jul 09 - 08:10 PM

This link may help explain the origins of this song by Mary Lou Layne:

The miners were having difficulty obtaining their negotiated retirement benefits because of changes in the mining industry caused the miners benefit plans to be in "serious financial crisis."   A strike was threatened unless a legislative solution was reached.

It looks like "The Battle of Jericol" went all the way to the Supreme Court.

"May your pension plan be written down..."

This great song immortalizes the struggle of working people simply standing up for their rights in a system where corporations rule.

Google "Sigmon Coal Jericol Mining strike" for more info.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Battle of Jericol
From: GUEST,Chels
Date: 24 Jul 17 - 04:18 PM

This one too:

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