Aurora Lights Home     Journey Up Coal River     Lesson Plans     Resources     Scholar-Activist Alliance  

Still Moving Mountains: The Journey Home

Lyrics & Credit Info

Is there a particular song that you would like to learn more about? Included below the lyrics of each song are references to themes within the companion website to the CD, JourneyUpCoalRiver.org

Learn more about the issues raised in the songs through pictures, interviews, stories, maps, and more songs!

1. Long Journey Home

Everett Lilly and the Mountaineers
From the 2008 IBMA Recorded Event of the Year album “Everett Lilly & Everybody and Their Brother”
Produced by Charles Lilly & Bill Wolfenbarger © 2007- Music Bidniss Productions
Album available at
www.swiftrivermusic.com
Vocals: Mark Lilly, Everett Lilly
Mandolin: Everett Lilly
Guitar: Mark Lilly
Banjo: Rob McCoury
Fiddle: Jason Carter
Bass: Mike Bub


Lost all my money but a two dollar bill

Two dollar bill boys, two dollar bill
Lost all my money but a two dollar bill
I’m on my long journey home

Cloudy in the West and it looks like rain
Looks like rain, boys, looks like rain
Cloudy in the West and it looks like rain
I’m on my long journey home

It’s dark and a raining and I want to go home
Want to go home, boys, want to go home
Its dark and a raining and I want to go home
I’m on my long journey home

Homesick and lonesome and I’m feeling kind of blue
Feeling kind of blue, boys, feeling kind of blue
Homesick and lonesome and I’m feeling kind of blue
I’m on my long journey home

There’s black smoke a rising and it surely is a train
Surely is a train boys, surely is a train
There’s black smoke a rising and it surely is a train
I’m on my long journey home


Outmigration: Coal River 101
Current Land Use on Coal River Mountain

2. Mountain Song

The Del McCoury Band
Written by Larry Keel, Keel Fish Music, BMI
From the 2005 Grammy winning CD "The Company We Keep", © 2005 McCoury Music. Produced by Del and Ronnie McCoury.

www.mccourymusic.com, www.delmccouryband.com

Vocals, guitar: Del McCoury
Mandolin: Ronnie McCoury
Banjo: Rob McCoury
Fiddle: Jason Carter
Bass: Mike Bub


Way up on the mountain
In the sweet southern air
Is where I seem to lose loads I have to bear
Silence of the snow fall and the peacefulness around
I feel so blessed with all that I have found
I feel so blessed with all that I have found

Chorus:
Holler in the moonlight
Sip the mountain shine
The sound of the music playin’
Everything so fine Lookin’ up a trail for a sign as I travel there
A liquor still, an old deer trail, or the home of a big old bear

Wouldn’t wanna mess with him because it is his home
He’s like me he’s better left alone
He’s like me he’s better left alone

Fishin’ in the river at the bottom of these hills

Helps me find my peace of mind
In all these natural frills
These mountains were the first to show their face up to the sky
Lay me to rest here when I die
Lay me to rest here when I die


Community Land Use: Coal River Valley as Commons
Community Land Use: Seasonal Land Use
Community Land Use: Pond Knob as Common Land use
Watch a video about black bears being bulldozed behind MTR sites

3. Clear Cut

Blue Highway

Tim Stafford-Wayne Taylor-Shawn Lane-Jason
Burleson-Rob Ickes/Daniel House Music, BMI
Vocals, mandolin, fiddle: Shawn Lane
Vocals, bass: Wayne Taylor
Vocals, guitar: Tim Stafford
Banjo, mandolin: Jason Burleson
Dobro: Rob Ickes
from Wind to the West (Rebel Records 1996)


Way back in the mountains on the High Knob by the ridge
Grandpa built our cabin where he lived for forty years
I spent my happy childhood beneath the hardwood trees
I didn’t know what I had then was all I’d ever need

Mountain laurels blooming, it was early in the spring
Looking out my window on a sea of endless green
Rich man from the city came to buy our land today

It took two hundred years to grow, but it’s gone in thirty days

Mud slides down the mountain, there’s no way to stop the flood
Hills without their timber’s like a man without his blood
Scars upon the land, those wounds will never heal
But a greedy man will never get his fill

Repeat chorus

I can’t go back and I know I never will
I hope someday they know the way I feel


Forest Resources and Timbering: Impact of MTR on Forest Resources
Forest Resources and Timbering: Timbering on Dry Creek
Changes in Lifestyle: Flooding
Mountaintop Removal: Legislative Loopholes

4. Cabin Creek Hollow

Ben Gilmer / Interview with Sylvia Bradford, Edwight, WV

“Cabin Creek Hollow” by Ben Gilmer, copyright 2005
Vocals & guitar: Ben Gilmer,
Bass: Chris Printz,
Mandolin: Aaron Martin
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Mark Hodges, Mountain Fever Studios, Willis, VA


It’s hard livin’, down in Cabin Creek Hollow

The coal mines took my family, and now they’re takin’ my mountains.

And it’s hard livin’
But it’s all we know
And it’s hard livin’
It’s time to let somebody know

I had the chance to work the steel mills, and move to Pittsburgh instead
But I dug my money from the mountains, to keep the old homestead.
Fifteen years in the darkness, breathing the black air of night
Fifteen years I gave them, now I’ve come to organize.

And it’s hard livin’
But it’s all we know

And it’s hard livin’
It’s time to let somebody know

You come down here to take our minerals, and ship them way up north
Meanwhile my back is broken, I ain’t got nowhere in the hell to go.
Yeah I don’t want no handouts, I don’t wanna shake your hand - company man

I just want my mountains, we just wanna keep our land.

And it’s hard livin’
But it’s all we know
And it’s hard livin’
It’s time to let somebody know


Near the mouth of Hazy: Labor Unions
Absentee Land Ownership: Hazy and Shumate
Hazy and Shumate Today: People and Community
Hazy and Shumate Today: Getting run out
Hazy and Shumate Today: No Trespassing!
Hazy and Shumate Today: Standing strong
Underground Mining
Mountaintop Removal: What is mountaintop removal?

5. Made by Hand

Andrew McKnight, Chance McCoy, and Les Thompson

Words and music by Andrew McKnight, Chance McCoy and Les Thompson ©2008
Catalooch Music BMI, and Les Thompson, ASCAP.
Vocals and Guitar: Andrew McKnight
Vocals and Fiddle: Chance McCoy
Vocals and Bass: Les Thompson

Recorded and mixed by Les Thompson at Cabin Studios, Leesburg, Va.


Verse 1
Granddad was a union man, worked deep beneath the ground
said a prayer in the morning, and again to see the sun go down
day from night by lantern light, to earn enough to eat
by Saturday moon on the mountainside, the fiddle moved their feet

Verse 2
Went in the mines at fourteen, took a wife at twenty one
raised five kids in the holler, like his daddy done
the company cut costs and corners, everywhere it could
still every Sunday they gave thanks, that they had it good

Chorus
I know that times are changing, they say progress is good
but do we honor honest work, like my granddaddy would
the eagle soaring high, would he recognize this land
built upon the sturdy backs, of those who made by hand

Verse 3
my daddy left these mountains for the mills of Ohio
rolled the steel that won the war, far away from home
back in granddad’s holler, big timber stripped the land
laid railroad tracks that can’t bring back, the lives they’d made by hand

Chorus

Instrumental

Verse 4
I long for West Virginia, her hard blue rolling hills
memories of childhood, I hear those echoes still
our family stories vanished, no trace I could find
they even tore the mountain down, where Granddad used to mine

Chorus


Outmigration
History of Coal River Part 2: The beginnings of coal and timber
History of Coal River Part 2: Mechanization, Strip Mining and Outmigration
Near the mouth of Hazy: Labor Unions
History of Coal River Part 2: UMWA and the Coal Wars
Mountaintop Removal: What is mountaintop removal?

6. Blue Diamond Mines

Kathy Mattea

© 1964, 1971 Jean Ritchie, Geordie Music Publishing Co. ASCAP

From the 2008 CD "Coal," produced by Marty Stuart, released by Captain Potato Records. www.mattea.com
Mandolin, harmony vocals: Marty Stuart
Vocals, Acoustic guitar: Kathy Mattea
Acoustic guitar: Bill Cooley
Upright bass: Byron House
Fiddle, banjo: Stuart Duncan
Harmony vocals: Patty Loveless

Harmony vocals recorded by: Emory Gordy, Jr., at Cave 2 Studio, Atlanta, GA.

Recorded by Mick Conley at The Playground, Nashville, TN.


I remember the ways in the bygone days
when we was all in our prime
When us and John L. we give the old man hell
down in the Blue Diamond Mine

Well the whistle would blow ‘for the rooster crow
full two hours before daylight
When a man done his best and earned his good rest
at seven dollars a night

In the mines in the mines
in the Blue Diamond Mines
I worked my life away
In the mines in the mines
In the Blue Diamond Mines
I fall on my knees and pray.

You old black gold you’ve taken my lung
your dust has darkened my home
And now I am old and you’ve turned your back
where else can an old miner go

Well it’s Algomer Block and Big Leather Woods
now its Blue Diamond too
The bits are all closed get another job
what else can an old miner do?

Now the union is dead and they shake their heads
well mining has had it’s day
But they’re stripping off my mountain top
and they pay me eight dollars a day

Now you might get a little poke of welfare meal
get a little poke of welfare flour
But I tell you right now your won’t qualify
’till you work for a quarter an hour.


History of Coal River Part 2: UMWA and the Coal Wars
History of Coal River Part 2: Mechanization, Strip Mining and Outmigration
Near the mouth of Hazy: Labor Unions
Underground Mining

7. Who Brought the Flood?

Debra Cowan

© 2009 by Michael J. Barry (BMI) and Julie Pruitt Barry (BMI).
Vocal, guitar: Debra Cowan
Guitar, piano, vocal: Mike Barry
Mandola: Duke Levine
Percussion: Dave Mattacks

http//:www.DebraCowan.com ; Recorded at Babyland Studio, Medford, MA. Produced by Mike Barry. Mixed by Huck Bennert. Published by Ignatius J. Publishing.


Who brought the flood, Mama?
What did I do that was wrong?
Did I bring the flood, and the rivers of mud?
Mama, what did I do that was wrong?


You said faith could move mountains.
You taught me right from wrong.
But mountains come down, and black waters drown.
Mama, what did I do that was wrong?

Who brought the flood, Mama?
What did I do that was wrong?
Was I wicked and bad
Did I make God mad?

Mama, what did I do that was wrong?

You held my hand, Mama
So I’d lie down and sleep all night long.
But as I closed my eyes I heard you cry.
Oh, Mama, what did I do that was wrong?

Mountains come down; black waters drown.

Mama, what did I do that was wrong?

You said we live off this mountain
And the mountain takes care of its own
Finding ginseng and ramps in the cool green and damp
Mama, what will we do when it’s gone?

Who brought the flood, Mama?

What did I do that was wrong?
Our mountain so strong is torn down and gone
Mama, what did I do that was wrong?

Our mountain so strong
Is torn down and gone
Mama, what did I do that was wrong?


Changes in Lifestyle: Flooding
The Brushy Fork Slurry Impoundment
Marsh Fork Elementary: What evacuation plan?
Mountaintop Removal:Case Studies: Buffalo Creek, Inez KY, and the TVA spill
Community Land Use: Coal River Valley as Commons
Community Land Use: Seasonal Land Use

8. Shumate Dam

Osha, Samples and Farsetta / Interview with Debbie Jarrell, Rock Creek, WV

Music and Lyrics by Jen Osha
Vocals, Piano: Jen Osha
Vocals, Guitar: Grayson Samples
Banjo: Vince Farsetta
Bass: T.J. Larkin
Snare Drum: Mark Poole

Recorded and mixed by Mark Poole at Zone 8 Studio, Morgantown, WV. Banjo and Bass recorded by T.J. Larkin at Larkin Sound, Nashville, TN.


Chorus

Danger above where our children play
that dam of coal sludge could bust any day
If this dam should break, like in Buffalo Creek
All of our children are the first in its reach

We’ve asked Gov Joe to move our children away
But he's bought and paid for, he won’t stand in their way
So when the heavy rains come, mountain momma will wait
To hear from her husband to evacuate

So sing for the children in their mountain homes
Who hear rain on the roof and go to sleep in their clothes
While their parents watch the water, cause nobody knows
If tonight is the night the slurry dam will blow
If tonight is the night the slurry dam will blow

After the storm a mountain dad
Bulldozed earth to fix a break in the dam
Worked 16 hours so the dam wouldn't break
Called home to his wife, said the children are safe

He was almost done, one more hole to fill
when he saw two bear cubs in their den in the hill
Radioed his boss, said bears in the way
Boss said, "stop working and you won't get your pay!"

So he dozed them in, heard them little bears cry
Thought hard bout his kids and how they had to get by
His body shook that night so he couldn't sleep
For the first time his wife saw him break down and weep

So sing for the bear cubs snuggled safe underground
In their dens with their mommas when the mountain comes down
I say what is it worth, this cheap fuel we’ve found
When her babies are buried, and our children might drown

Maybe it was the worry (water's rising)
His wife sounded scared on the phone
Maybe it was the long night (I'll be home soon)
Up on the dozer alone
Maybe it was the knowing (What have I done)
He'd killed those bears in their den
But something moved inside him
He knew he had reached his end
He'd never work on that slurry dam again

Chorus x 2


Near the mouth of Hazy: Marshfork Elementary
Watch avideo about black bears being bulldozed behind MTR sites
Marsh Fork Elementary: Geography
Marsh Fork Elementary: What evacuation plan?
Marsh Fork Elementary: Activities and Taking Action
Changes in Lifestyle: Flooding and Toxic Lakes

9. Buffalo Creek

Mike Morningstar

Music by Mike Morningstar
Lyrics by Steve Morningstar
Vocals, guitar, harmonica- Mike Morningstar
Mandolin- Rick Roberts
Recorded by Jeff Bosley


Buffalo Creek swelled and broke and all it’s water came roaring down
Sweeping away the homes and lives in a West Virginia town
And in that cold and raging flood more than a hundred people drowned

Some say the flood was caused by rain and some say melting snow
But deep down in my heart I think the coal mine bosses know

They strip off all the topsoil and uproot all the trees
They killed those folks in Buffalo Creek now shrug the blame with ease
Don’t give a damn for life or land they just roll on like they please

The Governor said the flood was just an act of God’s own will
But the strippers tear these mountains down it’s enough to make me ill
The rape of Appalachia for a greenback dollar bill

Buffalo Creek Buffalo Creek, a coal mine bosses’ show
Buffalo Creek Buffalo Creek, how could thay sink so low

How can we let this kind of thing go on before our eyes
When coal mine bosses trade our lives for nickels and for dimes
I beg you folks to stop these men, don’t let this happen twice
Can’t you see those people drowning there, can’t you hear their mournful cries

I hear them in the falling rain they haunt me in the snow
Buffalo Creek Buffalo Creek, a coal mine bosses’ show
Buffalo Creek Buffalo Creek, when will you people know
And when will you folks tell these boys to pack their gear and go


Changes in Lifestyle: Flooding
The Brushy Fork Slurry Impoundment
Marsh Fork Elementary: What evacuation plan?
Mountaintop Removal:Case Studies: Buffalo Creek, Inez KY, and the TVA spill

10. State of the Art

The Lonetones / Interview with Bo Webb, Peachtree, WV

© 2006 Steph Gunnoe and Sean McCollough
Music and lyrics: Sean McCollough
From the album "Nature Hatin’ Blues"

Album available at: www.thelonetones.com
Lead vocals and banjo: Sean McCollough
Vocals and guitar: Steph Gunnoe
Vocals and bass: Maria Williams
Drums: Phil Pollard


Drunk my water from the well, grown my food upon this land

But the changes I see comin’ are tearin’ at my heart
Cause there ain’t nothin’ better than the original plan
And these mountains are state of the art
State of the art, state of the art
These changes I see comin’ are tearin’ at my heart

Cause these mountain’s are state of the art
They come with their draglines to strip out the coal
They ruin our water, tear our homeland apart
They say they’ll put it back better than before
But these mountains are state of the art
State of the art…
They come by the truckload to bury their waste
Tell me when will it stop, once the poisoning starts

They say they’ll protect us with technology’s grace
But these mountains are state of the art
State of the art…
When the trees are all gone and the mountains are flat
I guess they’ll build some new condos or a bigger Walmart
They say this is progress, but I don’t know about that
Cause these mountains are state of the art
State of the art…


Prenter Hollow:Water Quality
Prenter Hollow: Health impacts
Mountaintop Removal: What is mountaintop removal?
Mountaintop Removal: Coal Formation and Extraction Process
Mountaintop Removal: Environmental Impacts
Mountaintop Removal: Legislative Loopholes

11. Sweet Appalachia

Alan Johnston and South 52

Music and Lyrics by Alan Johnston, DOC © 2006 by Alan Johnston
Lead vocal, upright bass, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, mandolin: Alan Johnston
Banjo, dobro: Charlie Davis
Harmony vocal: Stacy Grubb
Harmony vocal: Jessi Shumate
Published by Weaver of Words Music

http://www.geocities.com/cathead77


I’ve got that sweet mountain soul down in my bones
And I can feel it when I sing them lonesome songs

And I can tell by the way I feel
That it comes from somewhere real
Got that sweet mountain soul down in my bones
I’ve got that sweet mountain spirit in my veins
And it flows through my heart like a mountain rain
And no matter where I might roam
These hills and hollers are still my home
Got that sweet mountain spirit in my veins

(CHO)
Some people call me Hillbilly
Some people call me Mountain Man
Well, you can call me Appalachia
'Cause Appalachia is what I am

I’ve got that sweet Appalachia all over me
Look at me and Appalachia is what you see

And no matter where I might roam
Appalachia is still my home
Got that sweet Appalachia all over me
I’ve got that sweet mountain soul down in my bones
Got that sweet mountain spirit down in my veins
Got that sweet Appalachia all over me


Current Land Use on Coal River Mountain
Community Land Use: Coal River Valley as Commons
Community Land Use: Seasonal Land Use
Community Land Use: Pond Knob as Common Land use

12. Mountains of Blues

Keith and Joan Pitzer / Interview with Danny Williams, Clay’s Branch, WV

Music & lyrics by Keith Pitzer
Vocals, guitar: Keith Pitzer
Vocals, bass: Joan Pitzer
Mandolin: Jake Pitzer
Banjo: Bob Shank
Recorded by Bob Shank at Otter Slide Studio, mastered by Jeff Bosley

From the CD “Gathering Stones” on Falling Mountain Music, www.fallingmountain.com


No use wondering all the time where the money went
Made a little but it’s always spent
No use worrying how we’ll pay to fix that old car
That old thing never did get us too far
I don’t care, no I don’t care, living in these mountains of blues (2x)

No use working all day long for that dollar bill
Work a few years and you’re over the hill
No use crying all night long for what can’t be done
Live tomorrow when tomorrow comes
I don’t care, no I don’t care, living in these mountains of blues (2x)

Think I’ll take my fishing pole to the wild trout stream

There to let my spirit float and dream

Think I’ll take my walking stick to the trail so high
There to let my spirit float on by

I don’t care, no I don’t care, living in these mountains of blues (2x)


Hazy and Shumate Today: People and Community
Community Land Use: Coal River Valley as Commons
Changes in Lifestyle: The Closing of the Mountain Commons

13. Appalachian Soul

Great American Taxi

Written by V. Herman and Chad Staehly; Hermdog Music, BMI
Vocals, acoustic guitar: Vince Herman
Keyboards: Chad Staehly
Bass: Brian Schey
Drums, vocals: Jake Coffin
Electric guitar, vocals: Jefferson Hamer
Pedal Steel: Eben Grace


Mountains are falling getting pushed aside
I cant find that stream that ran cool and wide
Now its all been covered up by that old mountainside
Where they’re looking for old black coal

I thought my kids found a way to work in these mountain towns
When they took jobs down in the mines underground

Now the jobs and the money and the mountainsides are all gone
‘Cause it just takes one machine now, to tear a mountain down

Well you can tear at a mountain
You can wash it down below
But you cant take the heart out of this
Appalachian Appalachian soul

I love West Virginia, old Kentucky and Tennessee

Those old mountains boys have been home sweet home to me
When I see them tearing ‘em down, I find it just too hard to believe
It’s just for that old black coal

Wish that I could walk beside that cool mountain stream once more
But once they’re gone you know they’re gone forevermore
So I’m going back home I’m gonna speak my mind

I aint gonna let ‘em take no more
Well you cant tear out a mountain when a mountain’s in your soul

Well you can tear at a mountain
Try to wash it down below
But you can’t take the heart out of this
Appalachian Appalachian soul

Oh this Appalachian soul


Changes in Lifestyle: The Closing of the Mountain Commons
Mountaintop Removal: What is mountaintop removal?
Mountaintop Removal: Environmental Impacts
Mountaintop Removal: Legislative Loopholes
Prenter Hollow: Community responses and the Prenter Water Fund
Prenter Hollow: Stories and family pictures from Prenter
A "Just" Transition
Resources for getting involved

14. Debbie Jarrell, Rock Creek, and Gary Anderson, Colcord

15. Ed Wiley, Rock Creek

16. Kathy Mattea

17. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr

18. Scale Down

R.I.S.E. (formerly Rising Appalachia)
Composed by Leah Smith, arranged by R.I.S.E. © 2007

Vocals: Leah and Chloe Smith
Beat box- Forrest Kelly
www.myspace.com/risingappalachia


Stand up look around and
then scale back down too

See I believe in a revolution, I believe it is a hell,
I believe in it, take care of it daily daily on demand because...
I am a blacksmith of metal and words and a sheep that pitch black too,
and in this life spun short in the span of things I believe there's a bit more that we ought to be trying
Cause 500 hundred years ago, when these trees were more dense,
and the colors pristine, so the chaos made sense.
There was no knowing of loss of a mountain,
the whole mountain that I call home and these same hills roll on and on,
without mention of vanish or where fools belong and these same mountains that go to peace
long before the noose, and now that soon is really gone, now that too is nearly gone
so tell me what have we done as a civilization to destroy in our own wake that
metaphorical hand that feeds us we are trashing our own birthday cake
and I consider myself a skeptic but I'm optimist in soul and we are all getting force fed,
we are led around like the bull and he is huge and rageful and somehow subdued and hauled by those thick rings
so don't you too shut out the filthy, nasty, sticky truth of things
So here we go, get the fuck out your car, walk, it's good for you stop consuming blindly,
get by on what you do have and then scale that down too

Take a long hard look at you
It starts there, we all got a lot to say about everybody else its our own transgression that always tends to melt into
who's fault who's blame who's wrong, but each and everyone of us is doing something
its too hard, too fast, too long and there's
none but ourselves to make this thing last, none but ourselves to make this thing last...
Stand up look around and
scale that down too

It starts there, take a long hard look at you, you stand up, look around and then you scale that down too


Prenter Hollow: Residents' Accounts
Prenter Hollow: Community responses and the Prenter Water Fund
Introduction to Coal River Wind
The Threat of MTR on Coal River Mountain
The Coal River Mountain Wind Campaign
Wind vs MTR for Coal River Mountain: The Economic Debate
Wind versus MTR for Coal River Mountain: Energy and Climate
A "Just" Transition
Resources for getting involved