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happy? - Oct 23 (Springhill)

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


Related threads:
Origins: Springhill Disaster/Ballad of Springhill (59)
Lyr Req: Springhill Miracle (3)
Folklore: Springhill Mine Disaster (48)
Lyr Req: Spring Hill Disaster (Maurice Ruddick) (29)
Springhill Mining Disaster - TV Documentary (10)
Rocked out rendition of Springhill Mining (26)
Lyr Req: Springfield Mining Disaster (11) (closed)


GUEST 23 Oct 05 - 09:08 AM
Peace 23 Oct 05 - 02:09 PM
pdq 23 Oct 05 - 03:05 PM
Peace 23 Oct 05 - 03:09 PM
pdq 23 Oct 05 - 03:24 PM
Peace 23 Oct 05 - 03:25 PM
Beer 23 Oct 05 - 05:44 PM
Peace 23 Oct 05 - 05:49 PM
Abby Sale 24 Oct 05 - 08:57 AM
John Routledge 24 Oct 05 - 12:39 PM
pdq 23 Oct 09 - 01:40 PM
Padre 23 Oct 09 - 06:43 PM
pdq 23 Oct 11 - 06:09 PM
Beer 23 Oct 11 - 08:36 PM
pdq 23 Oct 12 - 07:01 PM
GUEST,999 23 Oct 12 - 07:25 PM
pdq 23 Oct 14 - 05:14 PM
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Subject: happy? - Oct 23 (Springhill)
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Oct 05 - 09:08 AM


   In the town of Springhill, Nova Scotia, Late in the year of '58...      (10/23/1958, 8:06 pm)

                "The Ballad of Springhill," Peggy Seeger

This was the 453rd earth movement in the area since 1917 and it caused a cave-in. 75 died. 12 (including Caleb Rushton) were rescued after 6 days underground; 7 more were rescued 2 days later. The main pocket was 3' high and 100 long & 13,000' from the pithead. Some of the rescuers wore oxygen masks, some were bare-faced.

18 of the 99 men rescued, including the mulatto M Ruddick, accepted Gov. Griffin of Georgia's invitation to recuperate in his state..on a segregated basis.

A number of the miners arrived NY City Nov 2 to promote fund-raising for families of the deceased. The fund was later stolen in Toronto.

(per Life 11/3 & 11/10/1958; Newsweek 11/10/1958; NY Times)

-------
Steven Sellors informs us about another song, "The Springhill Mining Disaster" by Maurice Ruddick. Steven says: "I like it because it was written by someone actually trapped in the mine. Now there's something you don't see much in the folk music industry these days: a song about the working man written by the working man."

There are songs written about Springhill disasters dating back to 1891. Words and music for many or all of them are found in the bookAnd Now The Fields Are Green A Collection of Coal Mining Songs in Canada , compiled by Jack C O'Donnell; Univ. College of Cape Breton, ISBN 0-920336-43-4; 1992.

Peggy wrote the song (a few lines added by MacColl) from her hotel room in France. Livetime. Watching it on television. The cave-in had the distinction of being the world's first live, full-access media disaster event. A new era had begun.

Her biography includes interesting material on her visit to Springhill in 1997. Many there think the Ballad is a folksong and schoolchildren learn it as a matter of course. It was performed at a school assembly and Caleb Rushton stood up and spoke his part from verse six. A nice example of a wrote song going, effectively, into tradition.

Copyright © 2005, Abby Sale - all rights reserved
What are Happy's all about?    See Notes and Index


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Subject: RE: happy? - Oct 23 (Springhill)
From: Peace
Date: 23 Oct 05 - 02:09 PM

I recall listening to the disaster unfold with my grandfather. He had been a coal miner early on in his life. Kitchen table and the old Marconi. (To this day I prefer radio to TV.) I remember also the tears in my grandfather's eyes when they announced that some of the men had been brought out alive. Thanks for this thread, Abby.


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Subject: RE: happy? - Oct 23 (Springhill)
From: pdq
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: happy? - Oct 23 (Springhill)
From: Peace
Date: 23 Oct 05 - 03:09 PM

PDQ,

THAT Paul Clayton? The one I woulda met and spoken with at Gerde's Folk City in 1964 or 1965?


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Subject: RE: happy? - Oct 23 (Springhill)
From: pdq
Date: 23 Oct 05 - 03:24 PM

Yes, same person.

Clifton (William August Marburg) and Paul Clayton (Paul Clayton Worthington) did an album together ('53-55, not sure). It was the recording debut for both, but it was not released at the time. Bear Family put out an LP in the late '70s from the Stinson tapes, which, oddly enough, was still available as an LP last year.

In previous posts, Bob Coltman said he is working on a (long overdue) biography of Paul Clayton. Anyone with good stories is encouraged to contact Bob Coltman.


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Subject: RE: happy? - Oct 23 (Springhill)
From: Peace
Date: 23 Oct 05 - 03:25 PM

I relayed some memories to him about six months back. Hope you're keepin' well, pdq. And behaving.


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Subject: RE: happy? - Oct 23 (Springhill)
From: Beer
Date: 23 Oct 05 - 05:44 PM

In That Dark Deep Hole in the ground.


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Subject: RE: happy? - Oct 23 (Springhill)
From: Peace
Date: 23 Oct 05 - 05:49 PM

One of the first times I heard my grandfather use the word 'bastards'. Was a reference to the mine owners.


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Subject: RE: happy? - Oct 23 (Springhill)
From: Abby Sale
Date: 24 Oct 05 - 08:57 AM

Peace: Yes - hard to minimize it when the world was watching.

pdq: Thanks for the insights about Ruddick.


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Subject: RE: happy? - Oct 23 (Springhill)
From: John Routledge
Date: 24 Oct 05 - 12:39 PM

Thanks for background Abby.

I sing Peggy's "Springhill" in the UK occasionally. Her best song in my view.


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Subject: RE: happy? - Oct 23 (Springhill)
From: pdq
Date: 23 Oct 09 - 01:40 PM

The 23rd of October cometh again.


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Subject: RE: happy? - Oct 23 (Springhill)
From: Padre
Date: 23 Oct 09 - 06:43 PM

Yeah, it has a habit of doing that every so often


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Subject: RE: happy? - Oct 23 (Springhill)
From: pdq
Date: 23 Oct 11 - 06:09 PM

That date again.

The song with "that dark black hole in the ground" was written by Bill Clifton, although the haunting line I just quoted was contributed by Paul Clayton.

Bill Clifton turned 80 on April 5th of 2011. Hope he is happy and healthy.

His mom lived over 100 years.


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Subject: RE: happy? - Oct 23 (Springhill)
From: Beer
Date: 23 Oct 11 - 08:36 PM

I was 11 when that took place. Can still remember listening to the news fear. Why fear? I don't know.
ad.


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Subject: RE: happy? - Oct 23 (Springhill)
From: pdq
Date: 23 Oct 12 - 07:01 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: happy? - Oct 23 (Springhill)
From: GUEST,999
Date: 23 Oct 12 - 07:25 PM

Good one, pdq.


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Subject: RE: happy? - Oct 23 (Springhill)
From: pdq
Date: 23 Oct 14 - 05:14 PM

The death of 75 miners in one event lead to the mine being closed.

Oddly, they were only mining coal.

It just doesn't seem important enough to dig a 2-mile-deep hole for coal.


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