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Robert Rial wrote this gothic country ballad about the worst coal mining disaster in U.S. history, which occurred in Monongah, West Virginia on Dec. 6, 1907.

lyrics

Five hundred miners went to heaven,
December Sixth, Nineteen-O-Seven...

Well, Monongah was the coal town's name.
From the native tongue is where it came.
For it was the Indian word for blood,
Which would prove quite fitting soon enough.

Well, the miners knew the ground was haunted.
With the name "Monongah" the natives taunted.
Who knows what evil those boys found
While digging deep down in the ground?

The rescuers- they couldn't breathe.
After fifteen minutes they had to leave.
'Cause you just can't breathe in the afterdamp. (gasp)
Carbon Monoxide- have a sample
Well Shaft#6 and Shaft#8
are connected by ducts that ventilate
but which also act as a path of breath for a
coal-dust methane hellish fiery death! (scream)

As I toil through the firedamp,
Well, I can't afford a Davy Lamp.
I smell the gas, I see the spark.
Then scorched, I choke in the drowning dark.
The earthen tomb is mighty cold
For a dozen boys of twelve years old.
How could a nightmare like this happen?
I guess I should've stuck to trappin'.

No, it wasn't a Native American curse--
The real situation is certainly worse.
Complicit in the mine's creation
Was Fairmont Coal, and Consolidation.
And rest assured that the company mine
Would be reopened in one month's time
By boys like me, scrapin' tooth and nail,
While Two-Hundred-Fifty widows moan and wail!

And Monongah was the coal town's name.
From the native tongue is where it came.
For it was the Indian word for blood.
Which would prove quite fitting soon enough.

Five hundred miners went to heaven...
December Sixth, Nineteen-O-Seven.

credits

from Bakelite 78- What The Moon Has Done, released April 13, 2012

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Bakelite 78 Seattle, Washington

Bakelite 78′s repertoire is a mix of swing, dixieland, blues, proto-country, and cabaret, as well as originals in hybrids of these styles. The original lineup of Bakelite 78 performed in Chicago from 2003 to 2008. In 2009, founder Robert Rial departed for Seattle. The new line-up of Bakelite 78 releases the new album, What The Moon Has Done, April 13, 2012, at The Columbia City Theater in Seattle. ... more

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