Saturday, May 10, 2014

Dark As A Dungeon By Merle Travis

I first heard this on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's Will The Circle Be Unbroken album back in middle school. Our music teacher brought this album in and used several of the songs on it to teach some lessons about the different types of music.

I fell in love with the songs I heard in class and bugged my mom till she bought me a copy of the album. Back then it was actual vinyl record albums. I also bought cassette copies and eventually CD copies of it. I still have the CD copy. That album has some other beautiful songs on it like Wildwood Flower.

Dark As A Dungeon just sort of grabs my imagination though. Those men who worked (or still do) in mines had a hard row to hoe and they didn't get paid nearly enough in my opinion. Not for working in the dark and risking their lives.

Come listen you fellows so young and so fine
Oh seek not your fortune in the dark dreary mine
It will form as a habit and seep in your soul
'Till the stream of your blood is as black as the coal


It's dark as a dungeon and damp as the dew 
Where the danger is double and the pleasures are few 
Where the rain never falls and the sun never shines 
It's dark as a dungeon way down in the mines 

It's a-many a man I've known in my day
Who lived just to labor his life away
Like a fiend with his dope and a drunkard his wine
A man will have lust for the lure of the mine

The midnight the morning or the middle of the day
It's the same to the miner who labors away
Where the demons of death often come by surprise
One fall of the slate and your buried alive

 I hope when I'm gone and the ages shall roll
My body will blacken and turn into coal
Then I'll look from the door of my heavenly home
And pity the miner a-digging my bones

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