Only a Miner (The Hard-Working Miner) [Laws G33]

DESCRIPTION: A miner is trapped under a falling boulder; no one can help him. Most of the world doesn't care; he's "only a miner," though he leaves a wife and children
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1927 (recording, Kentucky Thorobreds); John Garst has demonstrated that the "only a miner" verse goes back to at least 1902
KEYWORDS: mining family death
REFERENCES (7 citations):
Laws G33, "Only a Miner (The Hard-Working Miner)"
Randolph 680, "Only a Miner" (1 text, 1 tune)
Fuson, p. 141, "The Hard-Working Miner" (1 text)
Green-Miner, pp. 63-65, "Only a Miner" (5 texts, 1 tune)
Lomax-ABFS, pp. 437-438, "The Hard-Working Miner" (1 text, 1 tune)
Greenway-AFP, p. 263, "Poor Miner's Farewell" (1 text)

Roud #2197
Tilman Cadle, "The Hard Working Miner" (AFS 1401, 1937)
Ted Chestnut, "He's Only a Miner Killed in the Ground" (Gennett 6603 [as Ted Chesnut]/Champion 15587 [as Cal Turner]/Supertone 9180 [as Alvin Bunch], 1928; on KMM)
Findley Donaldson, "The Miner's Farewell" (AFS 1985, 1938)
G. C. Gartin, "The Hard Working Miner" (on LC60)
Goldie Hamilton, "The Hard Working Miner" (AFS2829, 1939)
James Howard, "The Hard Working Miner" (AFS 76, 1933)
Kentucky Thorobreds "Only a Miner" (Paramount 3071, 1928; Broadway 8070 [as Old Smokey Twins], n.d.; rec. 1927)
Lulu Lough & Selma Barker, "Only a Miner" (AFS LWO 1046, 1948)
Mike Seeger, "The Hard Working Miner" (on MSeeger02)
Susan Shepherd, "The Miner's Death" (AFS 1435, 1937)

cf. "Only a Brakeman" (theme, meter, floating lyrics)
cf. "Just a Poor Lumberjack" (theme)
NOTES [82 words]: Greenway credits this to Aunt Molly Jackson. This can hardly be accepted. The version Greenway prints is, however, noticeably different from from the other texts listed; the final verse is unique, and the others show variants. Presumably Jackson touched up the existing song. - RBW
As enumerated by Green, the song was collected many times by the Archive of Folk Song and others, with various informants placing the date they learned the song in the 19th century, the earliest being 1888. - PJS
Last updated in version 4.3
File: LG33

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