Hazard Kentucky and Perry County: A Photo History
Home
Early Years
1930s - 1940s
1950s - 1960s
Flood Pictures
Guest Book
Message Board

Site Map

Songs About Hazard & Perry County

 

Mrs. Clara Sullivan's Letter


by Pete Seeger

Dear Mister Editor, if you choose please send me a copy of the 'Labor News'
I've got a son in the Infantry and he'd be mighty glad to see
That somebody somewhere now and then thinks of the lives of the mining men
In Perry County

In Perry County and hereabout the miners simply had to go out
It was long hours and sub-standard pay, then they took our contract away
And now fourteen months is a mighty long time to face the goons on the picket line
In Perry County

I'm twenty-six years a miners wife, there's nothing harder than a miner's life
But there's no better man than a mining man, you couldn't find better in all this land
The deal they get is a rotten deal, mountain greens and gravy meal
In Perry County

We live in shacks that the rain comes in while the operators live high as sin
Ride Cadillac cars and drink like a fool while our kids lack clothes to go to school
Sheriff Combes he has it fine, he runs the law and he owns a mine
In Perry County

I believe the truth will out some day that we're fighting for jobs at decent pay
Why, after work my man comes in with his wet clothes frozen to his skin
Digging coal so the world can run and operators can have their fun
In Perry County

The L & N Don't Stop Here Anymore


by Jean Ritchie

Oh, when I was a curly-headed baby 
My daddy set me down upon his knee 
Said, Son, you go to school and learn your letters 
Don't be no dusty miner like me 

chorus
For I was born and raised at the mouth of the Hazard Holler 
Coal cars roaring and a tumbling past my door 
Now they're standing rusty, rolling empty 
Because the L & N don't stop here any more 

I used to think my daddy was a black man 
With scrip enough to buy the company store 
But now he goes downtown with empty pockets 
And his face as white as a February snow 

chorus: For I was born...

Last night I dreamt I went down to the office 
To get my payday like I done before 
Them old cudsy vines had covered up the doorway 
And there was trees and grass, well agrowing right thru the floor 

chorus: For I was born...

I never thought I'd live to love the coal dust 
Never thought I'd pray to hear the tipple roar 
But, Lord, how I wish that grass could change to money 
Them greenbacks fill my pockets once more 

chorus: For I was born....

Nine Pound Hammer 


by Merle Travis

This nine pound hammer
Is a little too heavy
Buddy for my size
Buddy for my size
So I'm going on the mountain
Just to see my baby
And I ain't coming back
No I ain't coming back

Chorus:

Roll on buddy
Don't you roll so slow
Well, tell me how can I roll
When the wheels won't go
Roll on buddy
Pull you load of coal
Tell me how can I pull
When the wheels won't roll

It's a long way to Harlan
It's a long way to Hazard
Just to get a little brew
Just to get a little brew

And when I'm long gone
You can make my tombstone
Out of number nine coal
Out of number nine coal

High Sheriff Of Hazard


by Tom Paxton

Now the High Sheriff of Hazard is a hard working man.
To be a fine Sheriff is his only plan.
He digs in our pockets and takes what he can,
For he's the High Sheriff of Hazard.
He looked through my pockets, he's searched them with care,
But nary a nickel or penny was there.
So I got thirty days and some bumps in my hair.
God bless the High Sheriff of Hazard.

He caught me one evening and here's what he said:
"You look like a Russian, you look like a Red,
And if you are fond of your skin and your head,
Beware the high sheriff of Hazard."
I thanked him politely, I thanked him for all,
And five minutes later, I made a phone call
To have a strike meeting at our union hall,
And damn the high sheriff of Hazard.

Now, men there are plenty who sweat out their lives
To scratch out a living for children and wives.
They sweat for their pennies while the mine owner thrives
With the blessings of the high sheriff of Hazard.
When union men strike and the troubles come on,
The high sheriff's word is the mine owner's bond,
He's a mine owner, too, you know which side he's on,
He's the wealthy high sheriff of Hazard.

It seems to be so since this old world began
That some folks are willing to scheme and to plan,
To gouge out a fortune from the poor working man,
For example, the high sheriff of Hazard.
But the answer is simple, the answer is clear,
Let's all get together with nothing to fear
And throw the old bastard right out on his ear,
Farewell to the high sheriff of Hazard.

 

Hazard Kentucky


by Phil Ochs

Well, some people think that Unions are too strong,
Union leaders should go back where they belong;
But I wish that they could see a little more of poverty
And they might start to sing a different song.

Well, minin' is a hazard in Hazard, Kentucky,
And if you ain't minin' there,
Well, my friends, you're awful lucky,
'Cause if you don't get silicosis or pay that's just atrocious
You'll be screamin' for a Union that will care.

Well, let's look at old Kentucky for a while.
It's hard to find a miner who will smile.
Well, the Constitution's fine, but it's hard reading in the mines,
and when welfare stops, the trouble starts to pile.

Well, minin' is a hazard in Hazard, Kentucky,
And if you ain't minin' there,
Well, my friends, you're awful lucky,
'Cause if you don't get silicosis or pay that's just atrocious
You'll be screamin' for a Union that will care.

Well, the Depression was ended with the war,
But nobody told Kentucky, that is sure.
Some are living in a sewer while the jobs are getting fewer
But more coal is mined than ever was before.

Well, minin' is a hazard in Hazard, Kentucky,
And if you ain't minin' there,
Well, my friends, you're awful lucky,
'Cause if you don't get silicosis or pay that's just atrocious
You'll be screamin' for a Union that will care.

Well, the badge of Sheriff Combs always shines
And when duty calls he seldom ever whines.
Well, I don't like raisin' thunder, but it sort of makes you wonder
When he runs the law and also runs the mines.

Well, minin' is a hazard in Hazard, Kentucky,
And if you ain't minin' there,
Well, my friends, you're awful lucky,
'Cause if you don't get silicosis or pay that's just atrocious
You'll be screamin for a Union that will care.

Well, our standard of living is highest all around,
But our standard of giving is the lowest when you're down,
So give a yell and a whistle when they light that Union missile
And we'll lift our feet up off the ground.

Well, minin' is a hazard in Hazard, Kentucky,
And if you ain't minin' there,
Well, my friends, you're awful lucky,
'Cause if you don't get silicosis or pay that's just atrocious
You'll be screamin for a Union that will care.

Funky Grass Band 


by Porter Wagoner

A small town in Kentucky that's called Hazard,
has been known to lay some talent on this land.
Gave birth to a group that's really happening,
Eli Stubbs and his Funky Grass Band.
The Funky Grass Band hits the stage a grinnin.'
Their pickin' really turns a body on.
Now I wouldn't say the band makes too much money,
cause they've been seen a smokin' roll-you-own.
Yellow bus come reelin' down the highway,
headin' for another one night stand.
The women scream & faint & throw their babies,
at Eli Stubbs and his Funky Grass Band.

Now Eli's a little older and short and stubby,
and he's bald as an eagle in the back.
But he kept it hid from all the friends and neighbors,
the one night the band got high and smoked his hat.
Now Eli bought himself a brand new toupee,
It was long and shaggy and sort of orangey red.
One night the fiddle player was a dancin' to the microphone
And pulled the rug clean off of Eli's head.

One night they was a traveling through the Ozarks,
and Eli had to answer nature's call.
He told the driver to find a filling station,
I gotta see a man about a dog.
He drove on for miles around the mountain, 
Eli hollered, "hey stop right here."
Driver pulled too close to the canyon, 
and Eli almost ended his career.

From Hillbilly Heaven To Honky Tonk Hell


by Kenny Chesney

On a hillside in Hazard
Sets a new double-wide
God's little acre
Your paradise

A poor boy found heaven
With a good country girl
He had all he wanted
She was his whole world

But working the coal mine
Can wear a man down
He started spending
Too much time in town

He found temptation
Fell under it's spell
And Hillbilly Heaven
Went to Honky Tonk Hell

From Hillbilly Heaven
To Honky Tonk Hell
From a warm home fire burning
To a cold, cheap motel
And an angel is crying
'Cause her good man fell
From Hillbilly Heaven
To Honky Tonk Hell

Somewhere in Hazard
On a dark, dead-end street
Where whiskey and heartache
And old memories meet

He looks for salvation
In a bottle each night
And just goes on livin'
Though he's lost his life

Now there's a job in the coal mine
That needs to be filled
And a heartache in Hazard
That won't ever heal

He had it all
Now it's all for sale
And Hillbilly Heaven's
Gone to Honky Tonk Hell
From Hillbilly Heaven
To Honky Tonk Hell
From a warm home fire burning
To a cold, cheap motel
And an angel is crying
'Cause her good man fell
From Hillbilly Heaven
To Honky Tonk Hell

He's gone from Hillbilly Heaven
To Honky Tonk Hell