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Lyr Req: Spring Hill Disaster (Maurice Ruddick)

DigiTrad:
LA COMPLAINTE DE SPRINGHILL
SPRINGHILL MINE DISASTER
SPRINGHILL MINE DISASTER (1891)


Related threads:
Origins: Springhill Disaster/Ballad of Springhill (59)
happy? - Oct 23 (Springhill) (17)
Lyr Req: Springhill Miracle (3)
Folklore: Springhill Mine Disaster (48)
Springhill Mining Disaster - TV Documentary (10)
Rocked out rendition of Springhill Mining (26)
Lyr Req: Springfield Mining Disaster (11) (closed)


terry.barr@ns.sympatico.ca 30 Sep 98 - 10:23 PM
Dan Calder 01 Oct 98 - 04:34 PM
Joe Offer 01 Oct 98 - 05:10 PM
Joe Offer 02 Oct 98 - 10:12 PM
Joe Offer 02 Oct 98 - 10:15 PM
Joe Offer 02 Oct 98 - 10:20 PM
Dan Calder 05 Oct 98 - 09:00 PM
Terry Farrell 12 Oct 98 - 09:58 PM
dick greenhaus 12 Oct 98 - 10:12 PM
GUEST,rj.glassford@sympatico.ca 09 Mar 05 - 10:30 AM
sian, west wales 09 Mar 05 - 11:34 AM
Sandy Mc Lean 09 Mar 05 - 11:36 AM
Charmion 09 Mar 05 - 01:27 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 09 Mar 05 - 01:39 PM
GUEST 09 Nov 07 - 08:34 AM
Beer 09 Nov 07 - 08:43 AM
Peace 09 Nov 07 - 10:08 AM
Beer 09 Nov 07 - 10:17 AM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 09 Nov 07 - 05:24 PM
Jim Dixon 06 Feb 09 - 05:46 PM
pdq 06 Feb 09 - 05:56 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 07 Feb 09 - 09:55 AM
GUEST,Kat 04 Jun 10 - 09:01 PM
pdq 04 Jun 10 - 09:54 PM
GUEST,Nick Porter 07 Jun 10 - 07:00 PM
GUEST,Richard Logan 13 Oct 10 - 02:13 PM
pdq 23 Oct 10 - 04:10 PM
Beer 23 Oct 10 - 04:45 PM
Fraoch 11 Feb 12 - 06:29 AM
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Subject: Maritimes, Canada
From: terry.barr@ns.sympatico.ca
Date: 30 Sep 98 - 10:23 PM

As a Nova Scotian I am thrilled to see the extensive representation of the songs from the Dr. Helen Creighton collection in the database. I am also looking for something which has proved quite elusive. There is a song called the "Springhill Disaster" written by Maurice Ruddick, late of Springhill. Ruddick was known as the "singing miner" and was a survivor of the bump in the 1950's which captured much attention and which is the subject of the Peggy Seeger composition recently made popular by U2. As a local I consider Rudddick's composition yto be the "original" and would like to see it posted. Terry


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE SPRINGHILL DISASTER OF 1958
From: Dan Calder
Date: 01 Oct 98 - 04:34 PM

Hello,
I'm the vice-principal and grade six teacher at an elementary school in Springhill, Nova Scotia. As you can imagine, our Music teacher does "The Springhill Mine Disaster" every year with our students. This year she is also doing Maurice Ruddick's "THE SPRINGHILL DISASTER OF 1958". We are also very fortunate to have one of Maurice Ruddicks daughters working in our school as a Teacher Assistant. I showed her a copy of Terry Barr's post this morning, and she was very pleased to see that her father is the topic of discussion on the Internet. She was especially pleased when I explained just what "The Mudcat" was, and the type of people who read and contribute these posts.

I'm posting the lyrics to the song Maurice wrote, but they may not be complete. There may be another verse that Maurice wrote, and Katrina is checking on that tonight. If there are any others, I'll post them tomorrow. The family is very musical, and several of the girls are very well known for their singing ability.

"THE SPRINGHILL DISASTER OF 1958"
(Words and music by Maurice Ruddick)

The twenty-third of October, we'll remember that day;
Down the shaft underground in our usual way.
In the Cumberland Pit, how the rafters crashed down
And the black hell closed 'round us way down in the ground.

Now when the news reached our good neighbours nearby,
The rescue work started; our hopes were still high.
But the last bit of hope like our lamps soon burned dim;
In that three foot high dungeon we joined in a hymn
In that dark, black hole in the ground.

Only God will ever know all that happened down there.
How we watched Percy Rector die gasping a prayer,
And young Clarke had his birthday, he thought, in his grave;
After days of cruel torture we'd no hopes to be saved.

We sang altogether, though racked through with pain.
When they broke through we knew that our prayers weren't in vain.
I crawled through the tunnel, they helped me along.
I said, "Give me some water, and I'll sing you a song
Of that dark, black hole in the ground!"


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Subject: RE: Maritimes, Canada
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Oct 98 - 05:10 PM

Say, Dan, any chance of getting a tune for the song? If you can't figure out how to post a MIDI here with MIDITXT, I could post it for you if you e-mail or fax it to me. Click on my name to send me E-mail.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: Tune Add: THE SPRINGHILL DISASTER OF 1958
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Oct 98 - 10:12 PM

Dan Calder sent me a scan of the tune. Thanks a lot, Dan. Here's the MIDI.
-Joe Offer-

MIDI file: SPRING~1.MID

Timebase: 192

Name: The Springhill Disaster of 1958
Text: By Words and music by Maurice Ruddick
Key: F
TimeSig: 3/4 24 8
Start
0000 1 65 110 0094 0 65 000 0002 1 65 110 0094 0 65 000 0002 1 65 110 0094 0 65 000 0002 1 69 110 0160 0 69 000 0032 1 69 110 0160 0 69 000 0032 1 69 110 0160 0 69 000 0032 1 72 110 0160 0 72 000 0032 1 69 110 0160 0 69 000 0032 1 65 110 0094 0 65 000 0002 1 65 110 0094 0 65 000 0002 1 67 110 0094 0 67 000 0002 1 65 110 0256 0 65 000 0032 1 67 110 0160 0 67 000 0032 1 69 110 0912 0 69 000 0048 1 72 110 0094 0 72 000 0002 1 72 110 0094 0 72 000 0002 1 72 110 0160 0 72 000 0032 1 74 110 0094 0 74 000 0002 1 72 110 0256 0 72 000 0032 1 72 110 0336 0 72 000 0048 1 65 110 0094 0 65 000 0002 1 65 110 0094 0 65 000 0002 1 65 110 0160 0 65 000 0032 1 67 110 0160 0 67 000 0032 1 69 110 0160 0 69 000 0032 1 67 110 0912 0 67 000 0048 1 60 110 0094 0 60 000 0002 1 60 110 0094 0 60 000 0002 1 65 110 0094 0 65 000 0002 1 65 110 0094 0 65 000 0002 1 65 110 0336 0 65 000 0048 1 69 110 0160 0 69 000 0032 1 67 110 0160 0 67 000 0032 1 65 110 0160 0 65 000 0032 1 67 110 0160 0 67 000 0032 1 65 110 0160 0 65 000 0032 1 67 110 0160 0 67 000 0032 1 69 110 0912 0 69 000 0048 1 65 110 0094 0 65 000 0002 1 65 110 0094 0 65 000 0002 1 72 110 0160 0 72 000 0032 1 72 110 0160 0 72 000 0032 1 74 110 0160 0 74 000 0032 1 72 110 0094 0 72 000 0002 1 69 110 0256 0 69 000 0032 1 65 110 0160 0 65 000 0032 1 67 110 0160 0 67 000 0032 1 65 110 0160 0 65 000 0032 1 64 110 0160 0 64 000 0032 1 65 110 0912 0 65 000 0048 1 60 110 0160 0 60 000 0032 1 69 110 0160 0 69 000 0032 1 69 110 0160 0 69 000 0032 1 69 110 0160 0 69 000 0032 1 72 110 0160 0 72 000 0032 1 69 110 0160 0 69 000 0032 1 65 110 0094 0 65 000 0002 1 65 110 0094 0 65 000 0002 1 67 110 0094 0 67 000 0002 1 65 110 0256 0 65 000 0032 1 67 110 0160 0 67 000 0032 1 69 110 0912 0 69 000 0048 1 72 110 0094 0 72 000 0002 1 72 110 0094 0 72 000 0002 1 72 110 0160 0 72 000 0032 1 74 110 0094 0 74 000 0002 1 72 110 0256 0 72 000 0032 1 72 110 0336 0 72 000 0048 1 65 110 0094 0 65 000 0002 1 65 110 0094 0 65 000 0002 1 65 110 0160 0 65 000 0032 1 67 110 0160 0 67 000 0032 1 69 110 0160 0 69 000 0032 1 67 110 0912 0 67 000 0048 1 60 110 0094 0 60 000 0002 1 60 110 0094 0 60 000 0002 1 65 110 0094 0 65 000 0002 1 65 110 0094 0 65 000 0002 1 65 110 0336 0 65 000 0048 1 69 110 0160 0 69 000 0032 1 67 110 0160 0 67 000 0032 1 65 110 0160 0 65 000 0032 1 67 110 0160 0 67 000 0032 1 65 110 0160 0 65 000 0032 1 67 110 0160 0 67 000 0032 1 69 110 0912 0 69 000 0048 1 65 110 0094 0 65 000 0002 1 65 110 0094 0 65 000 0002 1 72 110 0160 0 72 000 0032 1 72 110 0160 0 72 000 0032 1 74 110 0160 0 74 000 0032 1 72 110 0094 0 72 000 0002 1 69 110 0256 0 69 000 0032 1 65 110 0160 0 65 000 0032 1 67 110 0160 0 67 000 0032 1 65 110 0160 0 65 000 0032 1 64 110 0160 0 64 000 0032 1 65 110 0160 0 65 000 0032 1 65 110 0160 0 65 000 0032 1 64 110 0160 0 64 000 0032 1 62 110 0528 0 62 000 0048 1 64 110 0528 0 64 000 0048 1 65 110 0160 0 65 000 0032 1 64 110 0160 0 64 000 0032 1 65 110 0160 0 65 000 0032 1 62 110 0736 0 62 000
End

This program is worth the effort of learning it.

To download the March 10 MIDItext 98 software and get instructions on how to use it click here

ABC format:

X:1
T:The Springhill Disaster of 1958
M:3/4
Q:1/4=120
K:F
FFFA2A|-AA2c2A|-AFFGF2|-FG2A3|-A6|Ac5|-c2cc2d|
c3c3|-cFFF2G|-GA2G3|-G6|GC5|-C2CFFF|-F3A2G|
-GF2G2F|-FG2A3|-A6|AF5|-F2Fc2c|-cd2cA2|-AF2G2F|
-FE2F3|-F6|FC5|-C3A2A|-AA2c2A|-AFFGF2|-FG2A3|
-A6|Ac5|-c2cc2d|c3c3|-cFFF2G|-GA2G3|-G6|GC5|
-C2CFFF|-F3A2G|-GF2G2F|-FG2A3|-A6|AF5|-F2Fc2c|
-cd2cA2|-AF2G2F|-FE2F2F|-FE2D3|-D3E3|-E3F2E|
-EF2D3|-D19/4||


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Subject: RE: Maritimes, Canada
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Oct 98 - 10:15 PM

The ABC on this one is really goofed up. Better rely on the MIDI.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Maritimes, Canada
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Oct 98 - 10:20 PM

Well, the problem with the ABC is blank spaces at the beginning of each line but the first. If you delete the blank spaces, it works.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE SPRINGHILL DISASTER OF 1958 (Ruddick)
From: Dan Calder
Date: 05 Oct 98 - 09:00 PM

Hello again,
It turns out that Maurice did write another verse to his song. His daughter, Katrina, got in touch with her sisters over the week-end, and came up with it. I've re-posted the entire tune here.

By the way Joe, I've listened to the midi, and it sounds great.

Enjoy,
Dan Calder ^^ "THE SPRINGHILL DISASTER OF 1958"
(Words and music by Maurice Ruddick)

The twenty-third of October, we'll remember that day;
Down the shaft underground in our usual way.
In the Cumberland Pit, how the rafters crashed down
And the black hell closed 'round us way down in the ground.

Now when the news reached our good neighbours nearby,
The rescue work started; our hopes were still high.
But the last bit of hope like our lamps soon burned dim;
In that three-foot high dungeon we joined in a hymn
In that dark, black hole in the ground.

Only God will ever know all that happened down there.
How we watched Percy Rector die gasping a prayer,
And young Clarke had his birthday, he thought, in his grave;
After days of cruel torture we'd no hopes to be saved.

We sang altogether, though racked through with pain.
When they broke through we knew that our prayers weren't in vain.
I crawled through the tunnel. They helped me along.
I said, "Give me some water, and I'll sing you a song."

I'll sing you a song of the bravest of men.
And of those who remain to go digging again.
And you boys up in heaven as you look on down,
Don't forget to remember Springhill mining town,
And that deep, dark hole in the ground.

HTML line breaks added. --JoeClone, 28-May-02.


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Subject: RE: Maritimes, Canada
From: Terry Farrell
Date: 12 Oct 98 - 09:58 PM

Thanks for your responses. I don't live too far away and I am acquainted with some of M. Ruddick's descendants. I mostly wanted to see how this discussion forum worked. I am amazed. Thanks again Terry


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Subject: RE: Maritimes, Canada
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 12 Oct 98 - 10:12 PM

1958 wasn't the only Springhill Mine disaster. The DT has two songs (one in French) dealing with an earlier one. Search for Springhill.


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Subject: RE: Maritimes, Canada
From: GUEST,rj.glassford@sympatico.ca
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 10:30 AM

Hello, friends:

I am keenly interested in the Springhill mining history and visited the town in 2003. My partner and I met with Dr. Arnold Burden and walked the former minefield. I first got interested in the town when I heard the Seeger-McColl song in the early 1960s on the Singalong Jubilee record (and the singer was from Springhill, but she was not Anne Murray) Do you know whom that was?

I am very interested in what the town is planning to do to comemmorate the 50th anniversary of the bump in 2008. Does anybody know what has been discussed?

I would also like to know if there are any good drawings of what the mines looked like at the time (diagrams or blueprints). The best that I have seen were in Dr. Burden's book which got me to a good point of understanding.

If anyone can help me out, I would be grateful.

All the best,
Ronald Glassford
Toronto


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Subject: RE: Maritimes, Canada
From: sian, west wales
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 11:34 AM

Would the singer have been Catherine McKinnon of the puffy hair-and-skirt? Ah yes - remember them well!

siân


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Subject: RE: Maritimes, Canada
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 11:36 AM

I thought that I might have that Singalong Jubilee album but I could not recall the Springhill song being on it. I dug through my old lps but what I have is vol.2 .
Besides Anne Murray , Karen Oxley and Catherine McKinnon were other lead singers on that show, but McKinnon wasen't from Springhill. I think
that Oxley was from somewhere between Truro and Halifax, perhaps Lantz or Elmsdale but I am not sure. I'm not much help I'm afraid. I think Anne's brother Bruce may have also been on that show for a time.
       Best regards,
         Sandy


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Subject: RE: Maritimes, Canada
From: Charmion
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 01:27 PM

If you're looking for girl singers from Springhill ca 1960, there's Anne Murray herself!


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Subject: RE: Maritimes, Canada
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 01:39 PM

Kay Porter was on that show during the heyday. She sang in the Chorus mostly, but she also sang in the Don Burke Four. On the Yellow LP from Singalong Jubilee, she sang the Springhill Mine Disaster with Fred McKenna. See this link


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Subject: RE: Maritimes, Canada - Springhill disaster
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Nov 07 - 08:34 AM

Hi:
Kay Porter was definitely the vocalist singing with Fred Mc Kenna on the "Springhill mine disaster" song. I still have a copy of that yellow colored album. She also was a member of The Don Burke Four and did solo work as well, and was one of my favorite performers at that time, and I often wondered what happened to her.
Mary
mlk@ns.sympatico.ca


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Subject: RE: Maritimes, Canada - Springhill disaster
From: Beer
Date: 09 Nov 07 - 08:43 AM

That song has been in my repertoire ever since I learned it back in the early sixties while living in N.S. Great tragic song.
Beer (adrien)


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Subject: RE: Maritimes, Canada - Springhill disaster
From: Peace
Date: 09 Nov 07 - 10:08 AM

Minor drift. I sat riveted (with my grandfather and grandmother) to the radio listening to events being broadcast at that time. It's been close to ffity years now but to this day I cannot listen to songs about mining disasters without tearing up.

CBC Archives.


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Subject: RE: Maritimes, Canada - Springhill disaster
From: Beer
Date: 09 Nov 07 - 10:17 AM

Thanks for sharing that Peace. Man does that dring back memories.

Beer (adrien)


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Subject: RE: Maritimes, Canada - Springhill disaster
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 09 Nov 07 - 05:24 PM

Guest Mary, have passed your message on to Kay's sister, Mary. They still live together. -

One thing I didn't mention in my earlier message, Kay (and her sister, Mary) Porter is FROM Springhill, which is why she was tapped to sing that Peggy Seeger song in addition to her vocal talents.


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Subject: Lyr Add: SPRING HILL DISASTER (Maurice Ruddick)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 06 Feb 09 - 05:46 PM

From the Canadian Folk Music Bulletin, Volume 25.1, Spring, 1991:

Maurice Ruddick: In Memory

In the December 1989 issue of the Bulletin John Leeder introduced the music of the Ruddick family of Springhill, Nova Scotia by printing a song (No More Pickin' Coal) by Valerie Hope MacDonald, née Ruddick, along with his story of the family based on material from Gerry Taylor. I agree with Taylor that the name of Maurice Ruddick needs to be restored to the public consciousness, but regret that this cannot now be done before he goes to his reward. Ruddick died in the summer of 1988 at the age of seventy-five; an obituary appeared in the July 11, 1988 issue of Maclean's.

I would like to contribute to the restoration of the Ruddick name by printing the text and tune of his most widely-disseminated composition. I have always found it ironic that the best-known and most widely recorded song about the 1958 Springhill disaster is the only one not composed by a Canadian (I'm referring to "The Ballad of Springhill," composed mainly by Peggy Seeger, with some assistance from Ewan MacColl), particularly when such a moving song as Maurice Ruddick's "Springhill Disaster" is available. What follows is an excerpt from my work in progress on a study of Springhill mining disaster songs.

Maurice Ruddick was one of the seven trapped miners who were freed last in the 1958 disaster. Ruddick, known in Springhill as "The Singing Miner," performed locally with a quartet, composed songs, and was well-known among his fellow miners for leading songs during rest periods in the mine. According to Leonard Lerner (Miracle at Springhill) [NY: Holt, 1960], pp. 17-18) he is said to have been singing one of his compositions, "The Curse of Old Number 2," as he and his fellow miners descended to work on the 23rd of October, the day of the disastrous "bump". That they chose to sing a hymn while trapped as line 4 of verse B relates is not unusual; this was the song type preferred by most of the miners. Note the use of "dungeon" in the same line, no doubt a reflection of Merle Travis's widely known "Dark as a Dungeon." Verse C describes the death of one of the group and the birthday of another; with the exception of the Seeger-MacColl "Ballad" which made Caleb Rushton famous, this is the only Springhill ballad in which the names of miners are given. Ruddick later came to believe that he had made a mistake in mentioning names.

Most of the song focuses upon the miners and provides a view of the rescue from inside; in this it contrasts with all of the other Springhill ballads which place the rescue effort in the foreground. Ruddick's often quoted statement in line 4 of verse D was, originally, "Give us a drink and I'll sing you a song," a statement often heard in traditional song performance contexts (Lerner, pp. 173-4). According to Lerner, Ruddick began composing the song while trapped, thinking of the quartet, and of the possibility of marketing it for publication and broadcast (pp. 117-8). However, Ruddick's wife told me that several days after the rescue, while he was still recuperating in the hospital, Virginia bluegrass performer Bill Clifton called him and asked him if he would write a song about the disaster. This he did; the song was published by Ft. Knox Music and Clifton recorded it in Nashville. It was released simultaneously on Phonodisc in Canada and Kapp in the U.S. two or three weeks after Ruddick composed it (discographical references are given below). Ruddick believed that the song did not become a hit because of this delay. The meager royalties from the recording went to a miner's relief fund. Although the song speaks in line 2 of verse E of survivors remaining "to go digging again," in fact the mines were completely closed after this incident.

I am pretty certain that the chorus, with its minor chords, was added by Bill Clifton and Paul Clayton, whose names appear on some of the copyright documents; it lends a touch of their folksong revival style to what is otherwise a country song (a fourth name in the copyright credits is that of C. Graham Pembroke, whose role in the song's creation is unclear to me). The recording was played extensively on Halifax radio, and even made it onto the "Western Airs" hit parade at CHNS, run by a DJ who had refused to play at least one of the other country songs about the disaster. In Nova Scotia during the months following the disaster, the Clifton recording of Ruddick's song was the most frequently heard song concerning the event. It was reissued several times on LP albums, most recently on an anthology which I edited for New World Records; that album is still in print. Ruddick continued to perform after the disaster, often in a quartet with his daughters. At least once during the mid-eighties one of his daughters performed this song on a Saint John, N.B., television broadcast.

Neil V. Rosenberg
Department of Folklore
Memorial University of Newfoundland


SPRING HILL DISASTER
by Maurice Ruddick, as performed by Bill Clifton and the Dixie Mountain Boys on Kapp K-251X, Nov. 1958

[Sheet music]

The 23rd of October we'll remember that day
Down the shaft underground in our usual way
In the Cumberland Pit how the rafters crashed down
And the black hell closed round us way down in the ground

Now when the news reached our good neighbors nearby
The rescue work started their hopes were still high
But the last bit of hope like our lamps soon burned dim
In the three foot high dungeon we joined in a hymn

CHORUS In that dark, black, hole in the ground

Only God will ever know all that happened down there
How we watched Percy Rector die gasping a prayer
And young Clarke had his birthday he thought in his grave
After days of cruel torture we'd no hopes to be saved

We sang all together though racked through with pain
When they broke through we knew that our prayers weren't in vain
I crawled through the tunnel they helped me along
I said give me some water and I'll sing you a song

CHORUS: Of that dark, black, hole in the ground

I'll sing you a song of the bravest of men
Of those who remained to go digging again
To bring the coal up from ten thousand feet deep
And the others who stayed there forever to sleep

Oh be thankful you fellows brought back from the dead
And pray for your friends who have gone on ahead
And you boys up in heaven as you look on down
Don't forget to remember Springhill mining town

CHORUS: And that dark, black, hole in the ground


Discography
(1) 45 rpm discs:
"Springhill Disaster"/"Girl I Left In Sunny Tennessee." Kapp 251X (Nashville, 1958);
Same recordings issued in Canada on Phonondisc K251X (Toronto, 1958).
(2) LP albums:
Bill Clifton, The Bluegrass Sound of Bill Clifton (Starday SLP 159, 1962).
Tragic Songs of Death and Sorrow (Starday SLP 168, 1962).
Hills and Home (New World NW 225, 1976).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Spring Hill Disaster (Maurice Ruddick
From: pdq
Date: 06 Feb 09 - 05:56 PM

Subject: RE: happy? - Oct 23 (Springhill)
From: pdq - PM
Date: 23 Oct 05 - 03:05 PM

As Mudcat's self-appointed official Bill Clifton fan, I would like to pass on a little information about the "other" song about Springhill...the words quoted are from Bill Clifton...

"I was just overcome with the news that after eight days they had pulled seven people alive out of that mine...the first words of one of the miners to the rescuers were 'give me some water and I'll sing you a song'. His name was Maurice Ruddick and I thought, 'Good Lord, of all the things to say, that's amazing'. So I phoned him at his hospital bed in Nova Scotia and asked him if he had a song. He said 'I can write one'.

The actual song includes little of the text Ruddick sent to Clifton, but it does have the line about "give some water...". The authors are Paul Clayton, Sonny Pembroke, Bill Clifton, and Maurice Ruddick. The latter's share was largely symbolic, with proceeds going to Miner's Relief Fund in Springhill, Nova Scotia. As Clifton says, "There never was much in the way of royalties though".

The recording was done in November, 1958 and came out just weeks after the incident happened. It came out on Kapp records and was their first foray into country music.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Spring Hill Disaster (Maurice Ruddick)
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 09:55 AM

An extended account of the writing of the Bill Clifton "Springhill Disaster" song appears in my book "Paul Clayton and the Folk Revival," published last September (it's available on Amazon).

As part of my research I talked to Bill Clifton, who was a great friend, classmate at UVa, and sometime bandmate of Paul Clayton's. He gave me his own description of the process, which involved meshing his own lyrics and ideas with African-American miner Maurice Ruddick's. There's much more, but here are a couple of details that clear up points raised by Neil Rosenberg's article:

C. Graham "Sonny" Pembroke was a classmate of Clifton's at the UVa business school who sat in on the composing.

So, though the sheet music says "by Maurice Ruddick," the proper (and usual) credit is (though the order of names may not always be the same) "M. Ruddick-B. Clifton-P. Clayton-C. Pembroke."

About the "Dark, black hole in the ground" chorus (which gives the recording that great atmosphere): that was indeed added by Paul Clayton. Paul had a nice touch with imagery, and went on to work as a songwriter on his own.   

Bob


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Spring Hill Disaster (Maurice Ruddick)
From: GUEST,Kat
Date: 04 Jun 10 - 09:01 PM

I've been trying to find this song for a long time after hearing it on an old country station. Anyone know where I could find a version of it that I could listen to? Because I really loved the voices that came in for the chorus of "And that dark black hole in the ground." Its a horrible story, but I'd love to hear it again.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Spring Hill Disaster (Maurice Ruddick)
From: pdq
Date: 04 Jun 10 - 09:54 PM

In 1992, Rounder Records released a CD called "The Early Years 1957*1958" which collects 19 songs from that time. This is as close as Bill Clifton came to Bluegrass, but still has lots of his Country-Folk and a few Tin Pan Alley tunes.

There is seldom a problem picking up a copy from eBay.

As mentioned before, the song was written by Clifton with the exception of the phrase "give me some water and I'll sing you a song", which was from the miner Maurice Ruddick, and the phrase "in that dark, black hole in the ground", which came from Paul Clayton.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Spring Hill Disaster (Maurice Ruddick)
From: GUEST,Nick Porter
Date: 07 Jun 10 - 07:00 PM

As a past student of West End Elementry I,m pleased to know that they are still singing the old Springhill mine disaster song.I will always remember doing it myself many years ago. Cheers


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Spring Hill Disaster (Maurice Ruddick)
From: GUEST,Richard Logan
Date: 13 Oct 10 - 02:13 PM

At a time when we are all riveted by the survival and rescue of the Chliean miners, it would be good if North American media did some retrospective coverage of the Spring Hill story and the survival, rescue -- and true heroism -- of men like Maurice Ruddick and Caleb Rushton (the latter a distant relative of mine). It was partly the inspiring example of the miners of Spring Hill that led me to become a psychologist specializing in survival.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Spring Hill Disaster (Maurice Ruddick)
From: pdq
Date: 23 Oct 10 - 04:10 PM

It's the aniversary of the Springhill Mine collapse again.

I re-read this thread and a few points need to be cleared up.

This song was written by Bill Clifton and recorded just weeks after the disaster.

The only contibution that Maurice Ruddick made to the lyrics was the line "give me some water and I'll sing you a song" which is not an exact quote anyway. When being carried from the mine, he asked for a glass of water because his throat was dry and he wanted to sing. The line is more poetic than the original request for water.

Paul Clayton and C. Graham "Sonny" Pembroke were good buddies at Univ. of Virginia. Clayton added the line "in that dark black hole in the ground", but Pembroke's contribution, if any, is unclear.

Bill Clifton mentioned the names of two other miners in the song. This seems to be a tribute to these men. He saw the names in the newspaper report. Ruddick was not happy with Clifton and said that mentioning the other miners by name was "too personal".

Ruddick was given a symbolic 1/4 authorship credit but the proceeds were assigned to Miner's Relief Fund in Springhill in his name, again as tribute.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Spring Hill Disaster (Maurice Ruddick)
From: Beer
Date: 23 Oct 10 - 04:45 PM

Just finished watching all the videos to the blue clicky that Peace posted back on November 7th.of 09.
I was 11 years of age and remember the prayers in church being said as well as our brothers and sisters (12) kneeling at home after supper saying the rosaries to the trapped miners.
I have not sung the song for a while but i will do so next Friday and speak of the tragedy that so many have forgotten and in some cases never heard of.
Thanks pdq for bringing the thread back.
Adrien


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Spring Hill Disaster (Maurice Ruddick)
From: Fraoch
Date: 11 Feb 12 - 06:29 AM

Actually, Maurice Ruddick contributed more than one line to Bill Clifton's song. The story is documented by bluegrass scholar and Atlantic Canadian folklorist, Neil V. Rosenberg of Memorial University:

Rosenberg, Neil V. 2000. "The Springhill Mine Disaster Songs: Class, Memory, and Persistence in Canadian Folksong". In Northeast Folklore: Essays in Honor of Edward D. Ives, edited by P. M. a. D. Taylor, 153-87. Orono, ME: University of Maine Press & Maine Folklife Center.

You can read a quick summary at my disaster song project website.


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