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Various Artists - Coal Digging Blues: Songs of West Virginia Miners

Coal Digging Blues:
Songs of West Virginia Miners

Various Artists

WVUPress-SA8

Available from West Virginia University Press.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mike Jurkovic
(rnrcurmudgeon@yahoo.com)

We've all heard 'Sixteen Tons' and gleaned small bits from PBS documentaries and sound bite histories of the miners struggles, But these gospels and bituminous blues, drawn from the extensive and exhaustive field recordings collected by the late folklorist George Corson, present the Great Depression-era West Virginia coal miners in the stark light of their daily lives.

Though many of these songs are performed by African-American miners, a marginalized group in the history of mining, the color of one's skin didn't matter. The silicosis, or miner's asthma, doomed you. Hopefully the union saved you. This is the story of a country being formed, of a history being made.

Track List:

  • Drill Man Blues - George Curley Sizemore
  • Going Democratic - George Curley Sizemore
  • The Snitcher - George Curley Sizemore
  • Bill Green Better Run On - The United Four Quartet
  • I Can Tell the World What the Union Has Done - The United Four Quartet
  • I Dont Want to Go Down Yonder - The United Four Quartet
  • Coal Digging Blues - Jerrel Stanley
  • The Brave and Trembling Motor Man - Jerrel Stanley
  • A Little Lump of Coal - Orville O.J. Jenks
  • Its On in Washington - Orville O.J. Jenks
  • John L. Lewis Blues - Orville O.J. Jenks
  • Union Blues - Orville O.J. Jenks
  • How Beautiful Union Must Be - Orville O.J. Jenks
  • The Union Coal Mines in the Sky - Orville O.J. Jenks
  • The Battle of CIO - The Evening Breezes Sextet
  • Coal Miners Versus Machine Loaders - The Evening Breezes Sextet
  • Bartley Mine Disaster - The Evening Breezes Sextet
  • Cheer the Union Travelers - The Rising Star Quartet
  • Union in My Heart - The Rising Star Quartet
Produced and compiled by Mark Allan Jackson

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2006, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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