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Some ideas for thematic CD samplers or iPod playlists. Add your own suggestions or submit an entire list

Not all Americana songs are about trucks and trains, but the same subjects do pop up over and over again. So here's some suggestions for thematic CD samplers. The list is in no particular order and is, of course, entirely subjective and primarily based on the contents of my CD collection. Click below the list to make your own suggestions. Or submit an entire list for future publication here.

Dark as a Dungeon

March 22, 2010 Comments: 4
Dark as a Dungeon

Kathy Mattea made this coal-mining list potentially very easy by putting out an entire thematic CD of her own on the subject – the album Coal. But there are plenty of songs about mining, so here’s a list of some of the songs that Kathy didn’t use (under a title that she did).
1. Lydia – Slaid Cleaves
She never was the same
2. Crooked Road – Chris Knight
Somehow things turned out a little worse than they should
3. The Most Dangerous Woman in America – Tom Russell
There’s sirens comin’ through a dead-end minin’ town
4. Sixteen Tons – Johnny Cash (among others)
Another day older and deeper in debt
5. Paradise – John Prine
They tortured the timber and stripped all the land
6. Beat on the Mountain – Jason and the Scorchers
I learned all my lessons with a carbide light
7. The Mountain – Steve Earle
There's ghosts in the tunnels that the company sealed
8. Talking Miner Blues – Ramblin’ Jack Elliott
I can’t see too far working down in a hole in a ground
9. Mother Jones on the Line – Ben Bedford
I live or die by number nine
10. Miners Refrain – Gillian Welch
I’m down in a hole, down in a hole
Special mention: This song doesn’t make this list for the perfectly straightforward reasons that it's not quite the right genre and it's not really (or at least not primarily) about coal mining, but it’s a damn good song so listen to it anyway: Cousin Jack – Show of Hands


I would add Buddy & Julie

I would add the Buddy & Julie Miller song "Quecreek" from Buddys' 2002 album "Midnight & Lonesome".

Mining songs

Here's three more good 'uns...starting with the greatest mining song ever (in my opinion)

"You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive" (Darrell Scott....also sung by Patty Loveless)
"Henry Russell's Last Words" (Diana Jones....also sung by Joan Baez)
"Appalachia" (Diana Jones)

and a few others from the world of folk....

"Six Jolly Miners" (Coope, Boyes and Simpson)
"West Virginia Mine Disaster" (Jean Ritchie)
"Gresford Disaster" (Albion Band)
"One Miner's Life" (Bob Fox)


You're right about "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive", Gerry. It is a great song. The only reason I didn't include it is because it is also on Kathy Mattea's CD.

I'm sitting here at my day job editing a story about the mine explosion in West Virginia yesterday that killed at least 25 people. Even nowadays, it's a terrifying job. No wonder people feel the need to sing about it.

Good list. What about "Caves

Good list. What about "Caves of Jericho" by The Band:
Down in Jericho Kentucky, The mines have all caved in

And Loretta Lynn’s “Coal Miner’s Daughter”:
He shovelled coal to make a poor man’s dollar