Guitar: Coal Tattoo (Including lyrics and chords)



This is another song from Tony Oppegard’s mining songs collection. He sent me a version performed by Chuck Ragan and Jon Gaunt which piqued my interest. On searching for more information about the song I found that it had been performed by The Kingston Trio, a group I particularly liked when I was first becoming interested in ‘folk and country’. The song was written by Billy Edd Wheeler.
From the music hall of fame comes this paragraph about the song: This song is mentioned in Billy Edd’s story, “The company owned everything,” about life in a coal camp. A coal tattoo is a blue mark left on a miner’s skin when a piece of coal hits him,
Chuck Ragan strums the guitar on his version, but I have decided to finger-pick my interpretation.
Tony Oppegard has just pointed out to me that at the end of the second verse the lyrics are not quite correct. As I discovered after recording The Springhill Disaster copying lyrics from sites on the internet often leads to errors. This is another such case. The line in question should read ‘This travelin’ and lookin’ I hate’, not as I copied and therefore sang; ‘This travellin’ nook in my head’!!

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