The Corner

Mine Disaster

Yo Iain:

What I always remember when mine disasters are in the news is the great Edwardian tear-jerker by Robert Donelly and Will Geddes, “Don’t Go Down in the Mine, Dad.” I can still hear my Grandad Knowles singing it; and I find, after a brief rehearsal, I can still sing it myself. The whole thing is on my website here, complete with sheet music. (It’s a full-service website.)

Under the name “Dream of the Miner’s Child,” the song became a bluegrass classic, though with tune & words somewhat different from the Donelly/Geddes original. I recall hearing a recording by Ricky Scaggs.

The coal miners in my family are two generations back, but the memory clings, like coal dust. I can’t even write a book without putting a mine disaster in it. We Are Doomed has one on page 181.

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

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