#02209
Blackleg Miner (Ryan's Fancy) videos
#104: YouTube video by kelticknots
©2007 ~ Used with permission ~

Well, it's in the evening after dark,
When the blackleg miner creeps to work;
With his corduroys and a dirty shirt,
There goes the blackleg miner.

He takes his pills and down he goes,
To hew the coal that lies below;
There is not a woman in town row,
Will look at the blackleg miner.

O funny boy, why don't you gae,
Funny boy, why don't you gae;
Funny boy, why don't you gae,
Back to blackleg miner.

Delaval is an awful place,
They rub red clay in the blackleg's face;
Around the town, they run a foot race,
To catch the blackleg miner.

Don't go near the Skeghill Mine,
Across the way, they stretch a line;
To stretch the throat and break the spine,
Of the dirty blackleg miner.

O funny boy, why don't you gae,
Funny boy, why don't you gae;
Funny boy, why don't you gae,
Back to blackleg miner.

He takes a pill and hearts as well,
And ties them to the pit of hell;
Down you go and fare you well,
You dirty blackleg miner!

So, join the union while you may,
Don't wait until your dying day;
For that may not be far away,
You dirty blackleg miner!

O funny boy, why don't you gae,
Funny boy, why don't you gae;
Funny boy, why don't you gae,
Back to blackleg miner.

O funny boy, why don't you gae,
Funny boy, why don't you gae;
Funny boy, why don't you gae,
Back to blackleg miner.

####.... Author unknown. Traditional English ballad ....####
This variant was arranged and recorded by Ryan's Fancy (From the Ryan's Fancy CBC Television Series on location in 1977 on Bell Island, NL).

See more songs by Ryan's Fancy.

Note from FARNE (Folk Archive Resource North East) - first collected from a man in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, in 1949. Seghill and Seaton Delaval (presumably the Delaval mentioned in the song) are adjacent mining villages about six miles north of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in North East England, historically part of the English county of Northumberland.

Chris Rockcliffe posted in the Derkeiler UseNet on Wednesday, 08 Feb 2006: "Songs of this type were frowned upon by the Union and had been banned in the local Miners' Welfares and various pubs and later clubs in the region for a century. The growing Northumberland and Durham Miner's Union didn't at any stage want division; they wanted unity and solidarity for good reason and to heal the wounds with later Unionised immigrant labour. As a result, the songs were rarely heard in public until the post-war folk revival and then some were watered down a bit with some of the more vitriolic and overtly racist stuff removed. The song's lyrics are about the events of the 1844 strike and the violent events of the time in South East Northumberland - in Blyth, Delaval, Hartley, and Seghill in particular - and recorded in local papers of the time. There was another pitched battle in the Avenue leading to Avenue Head in Delaval. The song was no doubt revived in later strike actions by striking factions against blacklegs. Whether the lyrics we know now were written at the time of the first strike (1844), or some years afterwards - in my opinion the more likely - and whether it borrowed a tune from elsewhere, or it changed tunes or lyrics later is not known - but likely. Expert musicologists and song collections authors aside, this is about real history, events and real people."

The video below features an excellent guitar performance of a much older variant by Tony Archibald from Port St Mary on the Isle of Man.


#889: YouTube video by threelegsoman
©2009 ~ Used with permission ~

The video below features an excellent performance, influenced by a Steeleye Span variant, by Jesse Ferguson of Cornwall, Ontario, Fredericton, New Brunswick and Sydney, Nova Scotia.

#1955: YouTube video by BardofCornwall
©2012 ~ Used with permission ~

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