Travelin' down that coal-town road,
Listenin' to my rubber tires whine.
Goodbye to Buckeye and white Sycamore;
I'm leavin' you behind.
I've been coal miner all of my life—
Layin' down track in the hole.
Gotta back like an ironwood, bit by the wind;
Blood veins blue as the coal.
Somebody said, "That's a strange tattoo
You have on the side of your head."
I said, "That's the blueprint left by the coal.
A little more and I'd been dead."
Well, I love the rumble and I love the dark.
I love the cool of the slade,
And it's on down the new road, lookin' for a job.
This travelin' nook in my head.
I stood for the union and walked in the line
And fought against the company.
I stood for the U. M. W. of A.
Now, who's gonna stand for me?
I've got no house and I got no job,
Just got a worried soul;
And a blue tattoo on the side of my head
Left by the number nine coal.
Some day when I'm dead and gone to heaven,
The land of my dreams;
I won't have to worry on losin' my job,
On bad times and big machines.
I ain't gonna pay
My money away
On dues or hospital plans.
I'm gonna pick coal
Where the blue heavens roll
And sing with the angel band . . .
A song about the impacts of working as a coal miner. Coal tattoo is a metaphor for occupational diseases, common in coal miners, some of them are chronic or lead to premature death.
You can hear a cover of this song by Kathy Mattea in youtube
You can hear some songs by The Kingston Trio in myspace