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Come All You Coal Miners

Sarah Ogan Gunning


Language: English


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[1937]
Lyrics and Music by Sarah Ogan Gunning
Album: Harlan County USA Songs Of Th[2006]

SS500


Gunning2

Sarah Garland Gunning (later Sarah Ogan Gunning) was the tenth of 11 children in a Kentucky mining family, at a time when miners were paid less than a dollar and a half for a ten-hour day and worked in appalling conditions. Her father, Jim Garland, was blacklisted as he represented the miners in their fight for better wages, forcing him to use aliases in order go work in the mines. In 1931, a group of Northerners called the Dreiser Committee came to Kentucky to investigate atrocities committed against the miners, and brought their plight to national attention.

Sarah Garland and her sister, Molly (later known as Aunt Molly Jackson) wrote and sang songs in support of the struggle at labor rallies. They were taken to New York by members of the Dreiser Committee to help raise money for the miners' cause. Sarah, who was suffering from brown lung disease met folk singers like Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and Lee Hays, who went on to record her songs. After successful treatment for tuberculosis treatment she retired from performing, but returned in the '60s to perform at several major folk festivals. Her half brother, Jim Garland, wrote "I Don't Want Your Millions, Mister".
This song, written in 1937, is typical of her work. It has been recorded by Uncle Tupelo, who sings it from the perspective of a coal miner, rather than a coal miner's wife as in the original version, and also by Mike Seeger.
Come all you coal miners wherever you may be
And listen to a story that I'll relate to thee
My name is nothing extra, but the truth to you I'll tell
I am a coal miner's wife, I'm sure l wish you well.

I was born in ol' Kentucky, in a coal camp born and bred,
I know all about the pinto beans, bulldog gravy and cornbread,
I know how the coal miners work and slave in the coal mines every day
For a dollar in the company store, for that is all they pay.

Coal mining is the most dangerous work in our land today
With plenty of dirty. slaving work, and very little pay.
Coal miner, won't you wake up, and open your eyes and see
What the dirty capitalist system is doing to you and me.

They take your very life blood, they take our children's lives
They take fathers away from children, and husbands away from wives.
O miner, won't you organize wherever you may be
And make this a land of freedom for workers like you and me.

Dear miner, they will slave you 'til you can't work no more
And what'll you get for your living but a dollar in a company store
A tumbled-down shack to live in, snow and rain pours in the top.
You have to pay the company rent, your dying never stops.

I am a coal miner's wife, I'm sure l wish you well.
Let's sink this capitalist system in the darkest pits of hell.

Contributed by giorgio - 2010/5/31 - 19:58


Il titolo completo dell'album è "Harlan County USA - Songs Of The Coal Miner's Struggle".

Incisa anche dagli Uncle Tupelo nel loro disco "March 16–20, 1992"

March 16–20, 1992

Bernart Bartleby - 2014/7/22 - 09:57


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