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West Virginia Mine Disaster – Great Song by the ‘Mother of Folk’ [music video]

Miners on vigil during rescue efforts after Hominy Falls mishap in Nicholas County, May 1968. Photo by Emil Varney Emil Varney Collection 3055 13

Just a generation ago, coal mining was one of the biggest industries in the world. Virtually every native Brit, plus many millions of Americans, Germans and others will find coal miners in their family line if they go back just a few generations more. It was a hard and dangerous life, and here one the the greatest folk singers of all time makes this very clear.

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Jean Ritchie was born in Kentucky in 1922. The Ritchies of Perry County were one of the two “great ballad-singing families” of Kentucky, descended from Scots-Irish ‘Hillbillies’ who fought in the Revolutionary War and then for the Cofederacy.

This is one of Jean’s later mining songs, based on the flooding of a coal mine in Hominy Falls, WV. A woman’s reaction- and heartbreak. What a voice!

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