Dark as a Dungeon

Posted by | July 23, 2007

Oh come all you young fellers so young and so fine
Seek not your fortune in a dark dreary mine
It’ll form as a habit and seep in your soul
Till the stream of your blood runs as black as the coal

Where it’s dark as a dungeon damp as the dew
danger is double pleasures are few
Where the rain never falls the sun never shines
It’s a dark as a dungeon way down in the mine

It’s a-many a man I have seen in my day,
Who lived just to labor his whole life away.
Like a fiend with his dope and a drunkard his wine,
A man will have lust for the lure of the mines.

And pray when I’m dead and my ages shall roll
That my body would blacken and turn into coal
Then I’ll look from the door of my heavenly home
and pity the miner digging my bones.

The midnight, the morning, or the middle of day,
Is the same to the miner who labors away.
There the demons of death often come by surprise,
The fall of the slate and you’re buried alive.

It’s dark as a dungeon and damp as the dew,
The danger is double and pleasures are few,
Where the rain never falls and the sun never shines
It’s dark as a dungeon way down in the mine.

“Dark as a Dungeon”
written by Merle Travis
(1917-1983)
born Rosewood, KY

Merle Travis

American country and western singer, songwriter and musician. Travis was a master at the “thumb picking” style of guitar. The song achieved much of its fame when it was performed by Johnny Cash in his Folsom Prison concert on January 13, 1968 (album: “At Folsom Prison”).

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Merle+Travis Dark+as+a+Dungeon Johnny+Cash appalachia Appalachian+ballads appalachian+culture appalachian+history history+of+appalachia

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