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Lyr Req: The Old Miner (from Maddy Prior)

DigiTrad:
OLD MINER


Related thread:
Lyr Req: Silly Sisters - The Old Miner (6)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
Old Miner ( The song was published in Roy Palmer's Songs of the Midlands (1972); it was collected by John Moreton in the early 1960s, from an unnamed source. Palmer notes: "Sung by an old miner in Haunchwood Pit, Nuneaton, Warwickshire... The pit is now closed. The informant originated in Durham, where he had learned the tune. The words were his own." see thread for text.)


Boo Bear 28 Aug 98 - 12:42 PM
Boo Bear 28 Aug 98 - 01:37 PM
Barbara 28 Aug 98 - 11:50 PM
Barbara 28 Aug 98 - 11:52 PM
dick greenhaus 29 Aug 98 - 08:40 PM
Cuilionn 29 Aug 98 - 08:59 PM
Barbara 29 Aug 98 - 10:35 PM
Boo Bear 31 Aug 98 - 01:53 PM
12 Sep 98 - 12:56 AM
Gurney 14 Dec 02 - 04:19 AM
DG&D Dave 14 Dec 02 - 07:41 AM
Snuffy 04 Sep 03 - 11:40 AM
Malcolm Douglas 04 Sep 03 - 01:50 PM
Reiver 2 04 Sep 03 - 06:03 PM
Gareth 04 Sep 03 - 07:00 PM
Stewie 04 Sep 03 - 07:33 PM
GUEST,Robert Staines - ex Birch Coppice Collier 17 Sep 03 - 03:18 PM
Joe Offer 18 Sep 03 - 02:27 AM
GUEST,suzie 18 Sep 03 - 04:07 PM
GUEST,John moreton. (johnchris18@lineone.net. 07 Mar 06 - 09:28 AM
Paul Burke 07 Mar 06 - 10:13 AM
gnomad 07 Mar 06 - 10:41 AM
gnomad 07 Mar 06 - 10:50 AM
yrlancslad 07 Mar 06 - 07:11 PM
GUEST,okay, okay, but what about the song 25 Nov 06 - 07:18 PM
GUEST,Ringer 20 Jan 08 - 10:17 AM
Gurney 20 Jan 08 - 08:31 PM
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Subject: Maddy Prior's Lyrics: The Old Miner
From: Boo Bear
Date: 28 Aug 98 - 12:42 PM

I can understand almost all of Maddy's words in the song "The Old Miner," except for the following. Can anybody help with these? (Sorry, I don't recall what album... it was a recent one.)

Verse 1: Oh, who'll replace this old miner And who will take my place below And who will follow the - - - - Oh dear god, when I go?

Verse 6: For forty years I've loved the mine For forty years I've worked down there Now who'll replace this old miner When I fade - - - - -

Thanks for your help!


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Subject: RE: Maddy Prior's Lyrics: The Old Miner
From: Boo Bear
Date: 28 Aug 98 - 01:37 PM

Just spoke with my husband, who says that this song is actually on the Silly Sisters album "No More to the Dance." (Much earlier than I thought.)


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Subject: RE: Maddy Prior's Lyrics: The Old Miner
From: Barbara
Date: 28 Aug 98 - 11:50 PM

This is what I hear:
Verse 1: Oh, who'll replace this old miner And who will take my place below And who will follow the trepanner - Oh dear god, when I go?
Verse 6: For forty years I've loved the mine For forty years I've worked down there Now who'll replace this old miner When I fade, gold might fade

Isn't treppaning the long form for panning for gold?
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Maddy Prior's Lyrics: The Old Miner
From: Barbara
Date: 28 Aug 98 - 11:52 PM

Well, I don't have the dictionary out here. It's either that, or it's that operation where you bore a hole in the skull... so Maddy and June might be saying "triphammer". Do you use that in goldmining?
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Maddy Prior's Lyrics: The Old Miner
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 29 Aug 98 - 08:40 PM

Trepanning is the process of making a hole in something. It was once used much more generally than in the narrow surgical sense:

"Cease your funning
Toil and cunning
Never shall my heart trepan.
All these sallies
Are but malice
To seduce my constant man."
The Beggar's Opera, John Gay, 1728


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE OLD MINER^^^
From: Cuilionn
Date: 29 Aug 98 - 08:59 PM

Here ye are... I raided Maddy's lyric website, an' pu'd these wairds doon for ye. Cannae stand tae watch anither pairson suffer due to a Prior engagement...

All honor for th' followin' gaes tae whae'er guid folk put her website taegither. If ye need ony mair o' her information, gae luik it up at th' followin' address. (Sorry, I'm no' bricht eno' tae fashion th' link mysel'.) Maddy Prior's lyrics are at:

http://www.sectorel.pt/gaudela/prior/frames.html

THE OLD MINER

Oh who'll replace this old miner
And who will take my place below?

Oh who will wheel this heavy pit
That I did wheel for forty years
And who will hew the black black coal
Oh dear God, when I'm gone?

Oh who will ride the miner's train
That takes him to the dark old place
Who'll take my place upon that train
Oh dear God, when I'm gone?

Oh who will load this crate on top
And who will strain his bending back
And who will work sweat and ache like hell
Oh dear God, when I go?

Oh who will cry when the roof caves in
When friends are lying all around
And who will sing the miner's hymn
Oh dear God, when I go?

For forty years I've loved the mine
For forty years I've worked down there
Now who'll replace this old miner
When I've paid, God, my fare? ^^^


Gabh spors,

--Cuilionn


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Subject: RE: Maddy Prior's Lyrics: The Old Miner
From: Barbara
Date: 29 Aug 98 - 10:35 PM

Great, Cuilionn, only the second two lines of the first verse are missing (from Maddy's page too, I went back and checked) So we've got one of the two mystery lines solved. And thanks for pointing me at a neat site
May I groan now, in regards your Prior engagement?
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Maddy Prior's Lyrics: The Old Miner
From: Boo Bear
Date: 31 Aug 98 - 01:53 PM

Thanks! Thanks! Not only the words I needed, but entertainment as well! What mair kin ye ask?

My significant other and I did figure out the first word, as you did, Barbara - "trepanner," which we suppose was a machine of some kind which advanced the tunnel in search of veins of coal.

So, thanks for the other phrase, Cuilionn, I don't think we'd ever have gotten that one.

Bless ye all, good buddies!

Boo Bear


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE OLD MINER (version)^^^
From:
Date: 12 Sep 98 - 12:56 AM

I think these words come from the Oxford Book of English Folk Song, or something like that:

Oh, who'll replace this old miner
And who will take my place below
And who will follow the trepanner
Oh, dear God, when I go.

Oh, who will wield this heavy pick
That I did wield for forty years
And who will hew the black, black coal
Oh, dear God, when I go.

Oh, who will ride the miners' train
That takes him to the dark coal face
Who'll take my place upon the train
Oh, dear God, when I go.

Oh, who will lug this great iron tub
And who will strain his bending back
And who will work, sweat and ache like hell
Oh, dear God, when I go.

Oh, who will cry when the roof caves in
When friends are lying all around
And who will sing the miners' hymn
Oh, dear God, when I go.

For forty years I've loved the mine
For forty years I've worked down there
Now who'll replace this old miner
When I've paid God his fare.^^^

The second definition of 'trepan' in the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary: "a heavy tool for boring mine shafts."

I guess you can pick your version!

Muriel


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Subject: RE: Maddy Prior's Lyrics: The Old Miner
From: Gurney
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 04:19 AM

This is near enough for Folk Music! There are a few words slightly different from the version in 'The Wide Midlands' but nothing to signify, as it is sung choral or doubletracked there. I took an interest because I was a miner at 'the Tunnel' when the song was collected, and when it closed, but in those days I was interested in moterbikes, angling, and girls.


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Subject: RE: Maddy Prior's Lyrics: The Old Miner
From: DG&D Dave
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 07:41 AM

Just a bit of pedantry.

Trepan has two meanings.

the most common usage is to cut a disc out of something, often used in brain surgery, but also to cut a circular shaft, as in mining.

The other, more obscure, usage is to set a trap. As entrap is an anagram of trepan, I originaly thought that it was a spelling mistake!

There is an obscure Victorian song entitled "It was my cruel parents that first did me trepan". I am never too sure which meaning of the word this refers to, but I hope its the second.

Happy hunting. Dave.


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Subject: Lyr Correction
From: Snuffy
Date: 04 Sep 03 - 11:40 AM

The version in the DT is a bit mondegreened (how do you wheel a heavy pit?)

The version posted by Muriel on 12 Sep 98 - 12:56 AM (but marked as redundant ^^^) is accurate.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Maddy Prior's 'The Old Miner'
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 04 Sep 03 - 01:50 PM

I noted that at  Missing DT tunes part 9. Muriel's text isn't, as she thought, "another version", as this isn't a traditional song; just a better transcription. If it was taken from a book (it would be Roy Palmer's Songs of the Midlands, presumably) there are still some errors and an omission. These are detailed in the message indicated.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Maddy Prior's 'The Old Miner'
From: Reiver 2
Date: 04 Sep 03 - 06:03 PM

Interesting. My dictionary defines trepan as "A large rock-boring tool" and "to cut circular disks from a rock or matal plate by a rotary tool."

I'm glad to have seen this thread as I didn't know there was more than one Silly Sisters recording. I have a cassette tape of a record called simply "Silly Sisters" (no other name) but it doesn't have The Old Miner on it. It's been one of my favorite recordings. I also have an old Shanachie Bulletin which has the record listed (with a photo of the jacket cover) and this notation: "Classic album of duets and solo's by the two finest English traditional women singers. The album moves from one great track to another and is a total delight." I couldn't agree more! Now that I know there are more Silly Sisters albums I'll have to look for them.

I also love Maddy Prior as a member of Steeleye Span and have a bunch of CDs, LP records, tapes and a video tape of them. My old singing partner, Reiver 1, always referred to her as Maddy Maidenhead, I think because the first time he heard her she was singing a song about someone losing hers.

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Maddy Prior's 'The Old Miner'
From: Gareth
Date: 04 Sep 03 - 07:00 PM

"Wheel" - I think not - Try "Wheal" in Cornish.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Maddy Prior's 'The Old Miner'
From: Stewie
Date: 04 Sep 03 - 07:33 PM

In addition to the corrections in Malcolm's link above, the Palmer text has 'my heavy pick', not 'this heavy pick' in stanza 2, line 1.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Maddy Prior's 'The Old Miner'
From: GUEST,Robert Staines - ex Birch Coppice Collier
Date: 17 Sep 03 - 03:18 PM

A 'Trepanner' as used in this context is a powerful coal cutting machine, resembling a huge chain saw which hauls itself along the coal face on a chain. The trepanner 'undercuts' the coal seam, which is then brought down by explosives, laid by the 'shotman'. The trepanner can by steered to ensure it remains at the base of the undulating coal seam - the man in question was carrying out this task, often in thick coal dust and the ever present danger of falling roofs.
Once the coal was brought down, conveyor belts or endless chain belts were erected and the coal shovelled on and then away 'outbye'

this system has long been superseded by armoured conveyors and coal shearing machines - like huge bacon slicers.

Robert Staines ex Warwickshire Collier


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Maddy Prior's 'The Old Miner'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 02:27 AM

Maybe it would be helpful to post Malcom's message on this song (from the "missing tunes" thread)
Thread #48931   Message #745174
Posted By: Malcolm Douglas
09-Jul-02 - 12:43 PM
Thread Name: Tune Add: Missing DT tunes - Part NINE
Subject: RE: Tune Add: Missing DT tunes - Part NINE

2617)   OLD MINER  The DT text was apparently copied from a now-defunct website containing lyrics of songs recorded by Maddy Prior. It appears to have been transcribed by ear from a record, and is inaccurate and incomplete. The song was published in Roy Palmer's Songs of the Midlands (1972); it was collected by John Moreton in the early 1960s, from an unnamed source. Palmer notes:

"Sung by an old miner in Haunchwood Pit, Nuneaton, Warwickshire... The pit is now closed. The informant originated in Durham, where he had learned the tune. The words were his own."

This being the case, the DT text should be amended to reflect the writer's intention rather than the transcriber's (apparently, rather poor) ear or Maddy Prior's memory. In fact, a nearly correct text was posted at Maddy Prior's Lyrics: The Old Miner a couple of weeks after the mutilated set; the poster innocently added it as "another version" rather than (almost) the right version (which is what it is; this is not a traditional song) and the harvesters passed it over. Some small amendments to it:

Verse 3, line 3: that train
Verse 4, line 1: Oh who will load
Verse 5, line 2: When friends are dying
Verse 6, line 3: this old coal miner
Verse 6, line 4: paid God my fare.

In the final lines of verses 2,3,4 and 5, it is Who, dear God; not Oh, dear God.

The unnamed singer appears from the notation given to have sung an extra phrase at the end of each verse; this is not made clear in the text given in the book, however, and it looks as if a lot of revival singers have simply omitted it. To quote the first verse as an example:

Oh, who'll replace this old miner,
And who will take my place below ?
And who will follow the trepanner,
Oh, dear God, when I go?
Who, dear Lord, who?
This final line is presumably to be added to each verse. Midi made from notation in the work cited, including the "missing" line.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Maddy Prior's 'The Old Miner'
From: GUEST,suzie
Date: 18 Sep 03 - 04:07 PM

hi
We actually sing this song .
In the first verse it is "And who will follow the Trepanner".
In the last verse it is"When I've paid God my fare".which I am sure someone has told you already.
We found it on the "Silly sisters" album along with "Blood and Gold" which is a favourit


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Maddy Prior's 'The Old Miner'
From: GUEST,John moreton. (johnchris18@lineone.net.
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 09:28 AM

7th March 2006.
My wife came home from shopping in Norwich yesterday having purchased
2 compilation CDs. One track blew my mind. The song which I collected from a retired caol-miner.   I mhave only heard of one other song being collected in Nuneaton, a version of 'The Banks of the Sweet Primroses.' I was aware that 'The Old Miner' appears in 'The Oxford Book of English Verse' but I was not aware that anyone had recorded it. In over 40 years of singing folk and home produced songs I had only heard myself singing this one.

In the early 1970's I made a demo tape at Peter Bellamy's house and 'The Old Miner' was one of several songs that were then passed by Pete to Fred Woods, I think at Topic Records, The only comment that came back was that my songs were much too decorated to merit a recording.

I would love to know what happened to my original tape, and how the melody came to the ears of Maddy Prior and June Tabor. Their version, apart from a few mistakes in the wording is wonderful.

John Moreton


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Maddy Prior's 'The Old Miner'
From: Paul Burke
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 10:13 AM

It was also on Derek and Dorothy Elliot's (how many ls?) "Yorkshire Relish". Whatever happened to them I wonder?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Maddy Prior's 'The Old Miner'
From: gnomad
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 10:41 AM

I have two recordings of this song, one the already-noted Silly Sisters version from 1988 (Topic TSCD450), the other is one by John Kirkpatrick on TSCD473 of 1994 "A Short History of John Kirkpatrick". Quite different treatments, but both well worth hearing.

A good song, belated thanks to John Moreton for his having saved it for posterity.

Roy Palmer's "Songs of the Midlands" published in 1972 includes reference in the discography to a Topic recording "The Wide Midlands" 12T210 which includes the song. The artist's name is not given, but the date suggests that it must be another recording. It would be too good to hope that it might be John M's recording, but Topic do seem to be the common thread here. Maybe someone out there has a copy of the LP?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Maddy Prior's 'The Old Miner'
From: gnomad
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 10:50 AM

PB; Derek & Dorothy are alive and still performing in Whitby and environs. They had a new CD "Ship to Shore" not so long back, available from Rocking Chair (among other places).

To catch them in person you could try a visit to the Whitby Tap&Spile on a Sunday evening, it's usually run by Derek.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Maddy Prior's 'The Old Miner'
From: yrlancslad
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 07:11 PM

Hi from a Lancashire ex-miner and trepanner operator. The trepanner was the last word in mining machinery in the UK in the late 50's -early 60's. It had a circular cutting head at each end almost the same diameter as the face was high and was pulled up and down the face on top of the conveyer so that (in theory) the coal fell directly onto the conveyer. "Stables" were created by conventional methods at each end of the face so the trepanner could start it's run back straight down the face again after being jacked over into the stable.
Hi Birch Coppice-I once worked at the Smokeless Fuel Pilot Plant at Birch Coppice-remember that-or was it before your time?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Maddy Prior's 'The Old Miner'
From: GUEST,okay, okay, but what about the song
Date: 25 Nov 06 - 07:18 PM

they do a f--king great job on this, it is elegiac, old and new, the solo guitar is modern and plaintive and their, always, perfect harmonizing, is just about as good as a rich chocolate truffle. Indeed, the entire "no more to the dance" album is wonderful, the other one they did, is good too, but there is something extra in this album, probably "the old miner" might have something to do with this.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Old Miner (from Maddy Prior)
From: GUEST,Ringer
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 10:17 AM

Oddly enough I looked this thread up whilst listening, at work, to the Silly Sisters recording, 'cos I couldn't make out all the words. And the next-but-a-few song that my MP3 player threw out was "Bushes and Briars", sung by Jane & Amanda Threlfall. It contains the words, [men] "are so false-hearted, young women to trepan", which I heard while I was reading DG&D Dave's contribution about trepan above (Date: 14 Dec 02 - 07:41 AM). I was familiar (only through having looked it up previously from Bushes & Briars) with that, entrap, meaning of trepan, but my dictionary also gives "trapan" as an alternative spelling, which, with its similarity to "trap", gives some clue to its etymology, perhaps.

I suspect that dick greenhaus's quotation from John Gay has this meaning rather than making a hole in the speaker's heart.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Old Miner (from Maddy Prior)
From: Gurney
Date: 20 Jan 08 - 08:31 PM

Robert Staines has the trepanner used at the tunnel colliery exactly right, according to my memory (I was 18 when the Tunnel, which was the usual name for Haunchwood Colliery, closed down. The colliery was near, and under, a railway tunnel.)
No doubt there were several types, but the ones I saw were like a half-open pocketknife, the (handle) body dragging itself along the coalface, and the (blade) chainsaw-like cutter undercutting the coal perhaps 2metres deep. The machine operator was also called the Trepanner.
The shotfirer blew the coal, and the 'Strippers' pick-and-shovelled it onto the belts, which took it to the main 'Jig' from the middle of the face where a bigger belt took it to where it was loaded into 'minecars' which are small railway trucks, took it to the 'Pit Bottom' and so up to the 'Pit Bank' or surface. Of course, everthing had to be reset after each 'Stint,' the face belts moved, the main belt lengthened, the face props exchanged for scanty Pack props in the waste space behind the face, which slowly (if you were lucky) closed down. Hard, dangerous, and dirty work.


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