Which Side Are You On? – Coal and Blood, Part 2

Twice in recent weeks I’ve delved into Hazel Dickens’s work to find songs that walk the line between life and death in America’s coal fields. “Black Lung” is no murder ballad, but we saw how it used Primitive Baptist singing and a narrative structure similar to some cautionary murder ballads … → read more

The Yablonski Murder – Coal and Blood, Part 1

“Well it’s cold blooded murder friends, I’m talking about …” Such is the accusation that opens the angry chorus of “The Yablonski Murder.” Hazel Dickens penned the musical indictment in January of 1970 after she read the newspaper story describing what she rightly surmised was the assassination of union leader Joseph “Jock” … → read more