The Ballad of Springhill

The band U2 pays tribute to The Dubliners’ late Luke Kelly in this great performance from 1987. This ballad was written by American folksinger Peggy Seeger and English singer Ewan McColl and recounts the story of the “1958 Bump” in Springhill, Nova Scotia.

The Ballad of Springhill

In the town of Springhill, Nova Scotia,
Down in the dark of the Cumberland Mine,
There’s blood on the coal,
And the miners lie,
In roads that never saw sun or sky,
Roads that never saw sun or sky

In the town of Springhill you don’t sleep easy,
Often the earth will tremble and roll,
When the earth is restless miners die,
Bone and blood is the price of coal,
Bone and blood is the price of coal.

In the town of Springhill, Nova Scotia,
Late in the year of ’58,
The day still comes and the sun still shines,
But it’s dark as the grave in the Cumberland mine,
Dark as the grave in the Cumberland Mine.

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Hughie Graeme

Back to Scotland, finally, for a very early ballad. It’s performed here by the great June Tabor. 

Here is the full set of verses according to

Hughie Graeme

Gude Lord Scroope’s to the hunting gane,
He has ridden o’er moss and muir,
And he has grippit Hughie the Graeme,
For stealing o’ the Bishop’s mear.

“Now good Lord Scroope this may not be,
Here hangs a broad sword by my side,
And if that then canst conquer me,
The matter it may soon be tryed.”

“I ne’er was afraid of a traitor thief,
Although thy name be Hughie the Graeme,
I’ll make thee repent thee of thy deeds,
If God but grant me life and time.”

“Then do your worst now, good Lord Scroope,
And deal your blows as hard as you can,
It shall be tried within an hour
Which of us two is the better man.”

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