Mining Trilogy

On Springthyme SPRCD 1002
John Watt & Davey Stewart - Shores of the Forth

The first song, Anthony Reilly and Emlyn Williams, was written by Ivan Freiman and set to music by Archie Fisher. The song takes a cynical look at the reporting of mining disasters by the mass media. Eany Meany – a poem by John, highlights the migration South by thousands of families after the closure of many of the Fife coalfields. Schooldays Over – a fine song from the pen of Ewan MacColl deals with boys going down the pit for the first time.

Anthony Reilly

1: As I made my way down the street to the colliery,
As I to my work was a-making my way;
I heard the sad news and I heard the men talking,
Young Anthony Reilly has worked his last day.

2: And old Emlyn Williams lies dead in the fan-house,
The roof has caved in and the sides have gave way;
It’ll be in the papers, splashed over the headlines,
What a big coup the newshounds will pocket this day.

3: Willing hands to the rescue of poor stricken comrades,
To move the big rocks and discover their fate;
Upon the next payday there’ll be a collection,
Not a newspaper owner will be there to donate.

4: It’s in the newspaper splashed over the headlines,
A capital story upon the front page;
But there’s blood on the girders in the old Parker fan-house,
And weeping dependents go with the cortege.

5: When the coal merchant calls and ye pay yer good money,
Count well the bags as he lays them aside;
Ye’ll be counting the cuts and the knocks and the bruises,
Ye’ll be counting the lives of the men who have died.

Eany Meany

Eany meany miney mo,
Which pitheid’s the next tae go?
Every day tae feed the mouth,
The hungry miner journeys South.
For empty bellies none can thole,
Or twenty thousand on the dole.
A man’s a man, the poet said,
But not unless he has his bread;
And even then, by bread alone,
A man can’t live – and that’s well known.
Tae have his meat, that’s what he needs,
So pack the trunks and aff tae Leeds;
For where there’s muck there’s brass they say,
And dear auld Scotland’s had its day.
Awa wi kilts and dirks and kings,
We’re thinkin noo o ither things;
Its aff wi the auld and on wi the new,
That’s what we’ll aa hae to do;
And mak for the England o oor dreams,
Whaur Scotsmen play for English teams.

Schooldays Over

1: Schooldays over, come on now John,
Time to be getting your pit boots on;
On wi yer sark and yer moleskin trousers,
It’s time ye were on yer way;
It’s time ye were learnin the collier’s job,
And earnin the collier’s pay.

2: Come on now Dai, it’s almost light,
Time to be down in the anthracite;
The morning mist is in the valley,
It’s time ye were on yer way;
It’s time ye were learnin the miner’s job,
And earnin the miner’s pay.

3: Come on now Jim, it’s time tae go,
Time ye were workin down below;
Time ye were handlin a pick and shovel,
It’s time ye were on yer way;
It’s time ye were learnin the pitman’s job,
And earnin the pitman’s pay,
Earnin the pitman’s pay.

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