Babies in these mountains
Song about mountain top removal
Peak: #54   (150,318 songs currently in Acoustic)
Peak in sub-genre: #10   (13,363 songs currently in Folk)
Upload date
June 29, 2015
Meta data
MP3 3.5 MB, bitrate 128 kbps.
3:51 minutes
Tom Neilson © Tom Neilson
Story behind the song
I used to live and work in Harlan, KY in the 1970s so was familiar with the culture of coal mining. Plus, my mom was born in the coal fields of WV. At the Blue Hills folk festival, I met Teri Blanton who updated me on what was happening in Eastern KY and I told her I would write this song for the people there. It is based on the stories of pit miners and other community members in Eastern KY.
Grandfather lost his leg in the Leslie County mines My Uncle Sam had a coal tattoo on his cheek bone for all time All of us been branded in our bones, our skin, & lungs But we’re proud to be coal miners in these mountains where we’re from. Then over in Knott County, they blew off a mountain top The redbuds gone forever & the running water stopped. We’ve lost 100,000 acres, as our mountains are blown away. Water runnin red as blood from toxic sludge decay Little Jeremy Davidson with dreams inside his head Had a boulder blown off a mountaintop crush him in his bed. Company dug up the coffin of Bidge Ritchie’s infant son Pitched him down the mountain side into oblivion Bush’s law says it’s ok to dump waste into our streams. As smoke fills up the holler from Bill Caylor’s profit schemes. Well I wonder if Bill Caylor ever had a place he loved Then watch it disappear under a flood of tons of mud. Jim Gooch (McConnell) of Kentucky is on the company dole. & Obama in the white house likes to talk about clean coal Over 40 years of presidents say strip mining is ok But none of them ever had clean coal strip their home away. We’ve made babies in these mountains, on our ancestral ground Gone to church and slept in peace for generations on (Dug the coal & raised our families – now union jobs are gone) Coal companies got their thugs, and cops, and politicians they own We've got families, farms, and history that make this holler home. (Took our jobs, destroyed the land that made this holler home.)