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Song: "Coal Tattoo"

Traveling down that coal town road
Listen to my rubber tires whine!
Goodbye to buckeye and white sycamore,
I'm leaving you behind.
I been a coal man all my life,
Layin' down track in the hole
Got a back like an ironwood
Bent by the wind,
Blood veins blue as the coal.
Blood veins blue as the coal.

Somebody said, "That's a strange tattoo
You have on the side of your head."
I said, "That's the blueprint left by the coal,
Just a little more and I'd be dead."
But I love the rumble and I love the dark,
I love the cool of the slate,
But it's on down the new road
Looking for a job.
This traveling and looking I hate.

I've stood for the Union, I've walked in the line
I've fought against the company.
Stood for the U. M. W. A.
Now who's gonna stand for me?
I got no house and I got no pay,
Just got a worried soul
And this blue tattoo on the side of my head
Left by the number nine coal.

Some day when I die and go
To heaven the land of my dreams,
I won't have to worry on losing my job
To bad times and big machines.
I ain't gonna pay my money away
And lost my hospital plans.
I'm gonna pick coal while the blue heavens roll
And sing with the angel bands.
And sing with the angel bands!

Source: Billy Edd Wheeler, Song of a Woods Colt (1969).


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