Music Monday: The Bells of Rhymney

The Bells of Rhymney is based on a poem by Welsh coal miner and author Idris Davies. American folk singer Pete Seeger turned the poem, originally titled Gwalia Deserta, into a song. Davis wrote that the poem was inspired by two major events in the Welsh coalfields: The Senghenydd disaster, and the 1926 general strike. The lyrics highlight the difficult and dangerous conditions that faced Welsh miners during the early twentieth century. The Byrds made the song into a folk rock hit in 1965. Scroll down to compare their version with the original version from Pete Seeger and a version from The Alarm, a group from Wales during the 1980s The Byrds: Pete Seeger: The Alarm:

Music Monday: Fire in the Hole

Fire in the Hole sounds like a traditional union anthem, but the song was written by filmmaker John Sayles and composer Mason Daring for the film Matewan (1987). West Virginia musician Hazel Dickens performed the song for the movie. Recently, Kentucky songwriter Brett Ratliff adapted the song to reflect present day struggles for working people. Here are video clips of two impressive versions of this vibrant song: Hazel Dickens: Brett Ratliff: