Music Heritage: Songs of WV Coal Mining
Sixteen Tons - Tennessee Ernie Ford
Coal Miner's Daughter- Loretta Lynn
Lynn wrote this biographical song, which gives another perspective of mining life, as the child of a miner. "Daddy loved and raised eight kids on a miner's pay," Lynn says in the song. That pay was not much, and she goes on to describe their poverty and how hard working her parents were, a point of pride for her.
Dark as a Dungeon- Merle Travis
This rallying song found fame when it was performed by Johnny Cash. Railing against the dreary and unsafe conditions of the mines, it croons out to young men to avoid the life of mining, lest they be forced to toil "till the stream of your blood runs as black as the coal." Miners worked long hours, breathing in dangerous coal dust, and often dying young of Black Lung or other mining ailments.
That Little Lump of Coal- J.N. York
With a pang of the stigma poor miners faced, this song urges people to see the coal miner's personal strength and struggle. It pays respects to the hard working men of the mines, who were often taken for granted, despite the great sacrifices they war making for the coal we all use.
29- 600 Lbs. of Sin