Coal & Regional Songs

One of the ways the coal miner’s story is told is through music, lyrics and poetry. Ballads and other traditional songs recounted the work and hardship which were regular parts of everyday life.

"Ballad of the Deputies" from Talkin' Union: Music, Lore, History (Spring 1986) Courtesy of the Labor Heritage Foundation (see links) Click to Enlarge

Musical Traditions Internet Magazine put together some information about songs of the anthracite region, along with soundbites of performances. George Korson, Daniel Walsh and others are noted. Check out the songs and story here: Songs and Ballads of the Anthracite Miners

Smithsonian Folkways also offers a glimpse into the miner’s life through song. They feature the album Down in a Coal Mine by Joe Glazer; and while it’s for sale, you can hear soundbites of songs for free. Check out these songs at Smithsonian Folkways: Down in a Coal Mine

Pennsylvania native Van Wagner has written and performed a number of heartfelt coal and other songs. Listen to his ballad about the Lattimer Massacre for free here: Lattimer Massacre and download others of his songs from iTunes here: Van Wagner on iTunes

If you know of any other sites with songs like these, please leave a comment below!

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