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Opening Arguments

Bless the miners

I missed Miner's Day, but somebody (OK, my sister) pointed out to me that it was Saturday. Here's a nice little coal-mining song to get you into the spirit of the celebration, "Coal Dust on the Tombstone." It sounds old-timey, but as far as I can tell, it was written relatively recently. The singer-songwriter who sounds a lot like Judy Collins is actually Kay Smith Elliott.

Yes, the lyrics are a tad treacly. But check out the slide show that accompanies the song, which to me looks like a family album. If you want to know how I grew up, those photos tell the story.

For my money, the best coal-mining song ever is still "Dark as a Dungeon," written by Merle Travis and recorded by darn near everybody, including Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Jerry Garcia, Dolly Parton, Tennesse Ernie Ford, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and even Jackie freakin' DeShannon. "Where the rain never falls, and the sun never shines." Here's a version from John Cowan and Sam Bush of New Grass Revival.

Posted in: All about me