Ee aye Ah cud hew

Coal_mining

A song by Ed Pickford, who wrote many mining ballads. This particularly moving song laments the ageing miner, broken by his work and failing in his health. Ed writes; ‘Hewing is cutting coal with a pick. Miners, under the private colliery owners had to buy their own picks. They even had to pay to have them sharpened. This song can be found on Topic Records. It has also been recorded by the opera singer Thomas Allen. Someone has written a parody about old age called I Could Chew!’.

What remains one of the most insightful and descriptive commentaries on mining conditions is George Orwell’s ‘Down the Mine’, available here;

http://www.orwell.ru/library/essays/mine/english/e_dtm

When Ah was young and in me prime
Ee aye Ah cud hew
Ah was hewin’ aal the time
Noo me hewin’ days are throo, throo
Noo me hewin’ days are through.

At the face the dust did flee
Ee aye Ah cud hew
But now that dust is killin’ me
Noo me hewin’ days are throo, throo
Noo me hewin’ days are throo.

Ah’ve lain down flat and shovelled coal
Ee aye Ah cud hew
Me eyes did smart in the dust filled hole
Noo me hewin’ days are throo, throo
Noo me hewin’ days are throo.

Ah’ve worked with marras and they were men
Ee aye Ah cud hew
They were men and sons of men
Noo me hewin’ days are throo, throo
Noo me hewin’ days are throo.

Ah knaa that work was made by men
Ee aye Ah cud hew
But wee made dust Ah’ll nivver ken
Noo me hewin’ days are throo, throo
Noo me hewin’ days are throo.

It’s soon that pit nee mair Ah’ll see
Ee aye Ah cud hew
But Ah’ll carry it round inside of me
Noo me hewin’ days are throo, throo
Noo me hewin’ days are throo.

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