Hazel Dickens Transcript

Hazel Dickens Transcript

- She's really was one of the first I love the hard singing. She's serious about it. 'Cause she means it. And you don't question whether she means it. Yeah, she has it on 10, she's all the way up to 10.

♪ Fly, fly away little pretty bird ♪

♪ Fly, fly away ♪

♪ Fly away little pretty bird ♪

♪ And pretty you'll always stay ♪

- Hazel and Alice, this is authentic American music, folks. This is legitimate stuff. That's what we cut our teeth on. Just the acoustic sound of real instruments, real voices, really meaningful songs that celebrate ordinary people.

♪ Oh daddy don't go to the mines today ♪

♪ For dreams have so often come true ♪

♪ Oh daddy, dear daddy, please don't go away ♪

♪ For I never could live without you ♪

- I have great appreciation for what she's done. She's been a great inspiration for all of us.

♪ My daddy was a miner, he's now in the air and sun ♪

♪ He'll be with you, good workers ♪

♪ Until the battle's won ♪

♪ Which side are you on, which side are you on ♪

♪ Which side are you on, which side are you on ♪

♪ Well, I never forget you wherever I roam ♪

♪ Wherever you may be ♪

♪ For if ever I have had one friend ♪

♪ You've been a friend to me ♪

- You have Bill Monroe, singer-songwriter, you know, you have Carter Stanley, singer-songwriter, really singing about their emotions and very strong songs, Lester Flatt, and then Hazel Dickens. You know, she's just right in there.

♪ Lost and lonely ♪

♪ Longing for only ♪

♪ One ray of hope ♪

♪ In this dark well of time ♪

- She sings just whatever strikes her emotionally. And that's part of the beauty of her music, It really is heartfelt and sincere and all those things.

♪ Only the lonely ♪

♪ Only lonely ♪

♪ Only the lonely will know ♪

- She and Loretta Lynn have something in common. They wrote about subjects that most of us would think were kind of taboo, but we all secretly think, yes, you know, say it! Say what you mean! And that's what she does. And I think that, and just by being there, just by being there, she began to pave the way for people like me.

♪ Cold, cold love warmed over too ♪

♪ Ain't good for nothing when she's done with you ♪

♪ I'm tired of getting handouts and standing in your line ♪

♪ For yesterday's bad news and left over wine ♪

- There's a real political dimension to preserving culture. And Hazel is so emblematic of that. It's not just that she writes these songs and she's given voice to all of these underprivileged folks, it's that she also does that with that hard mountain edge and the old vocal styles. And she brings all of this together to address what's going on today. And traditional culture really is used to address political issues. And to me, what better way to do that?

♪ Oh, she's not an angel, so don't look for her wings ♪

♪ She's a hurtin' woman who lives the song she sings ♪

♪ Well she learned them all the hard way ♪

♪ On the streets of life alone ♪

♪ That is why it's hard to tell the singer from the song ♪

♪ Yes, that is why ♪ ♪ It's hard to tell the singer from the song ♪

- Well, I was born in Mercer County, West Virginia. I was one of 11 children, it was five girls and six boys. I was born towards the end. My mother had already had a full family by time the last three or four of us came along. My father worked in timber around Carroll County and Floyd County, Virginia. Then he went to West Virginia and settled. He got a truck and started hauling timber for the mines, haul coal for people, move people, whatever he could do to make a living. My mother never worked. She always stayed at home and worked at home. Crazy to say my mother never worked. You know, 'cause my mother did nothing but work all her life, but she never worked out in public work. We didn't live directly in a coal camp, but very close by because in order to live in them you had to be a coal miner. Most of my brothers did work in the mines and cousins and uncles. There was always music around. People sang a lot more for their own pleasure and to entertain themselves, because there really was not a lot of places to go to where you could hear the music, and you had to travel maybe a long distance. So there was a lot of getting together at neighbors' houses or them coming to your house. The Grand Ole Opry, we were very much influenced by that. And it was a big thing that we looked forward to on Saturday nights. Uncle Dave Macon was my father's favorite.

♪ Take me back ♪

♪ Take me back ♪

♪ Take me back to that old Carolina home ♪

- I was always very much interested in songs, in different songs and they always sang a lot of stuff that we didn't hear. My father was an old time banjo picker and a real powerful singer.

♪ I met a handsome lady ♪

♪ More handsome than gay ♪

♪ She threw her arms around me ♪

♪ She ventured to say ♪

- In his earlier days, he used to play for dances. When later on, when he got religion, he became a primitive Baptist minister, he gave it up. [Old Time Preaching]

- I think most people that you find that come up that has a lot of soul in their singing, that sings in a lot of the high lonesome sound, that they have generally came up through the church. I think it had a great influence on a lot of my singing. Some of the first music that I ever heard was church music. My father a lot of times at the gatherings at the house after church, they would be singing. And at some point many times, I remember, he would say, "You should hear my daughter Hazel sing." And I would have to stand up in front of this crowd of people in there and sing. And it was always the same song. You know, he never suggested-- it was A Man of Constant Sorrow. And I remember--maybe that's how I got started, was by his suggesting that I stand up and sing for all these people. That may be where I got the bug. I don't know. Although I can remember just dying a thousand deaths, doing it. [Laughing.] I was so shy.

♪ How tedious, tasteless the hours ♪

♪ When Jesus no longer I see ♪

♪ Sweet prospects, sweet birds and sweet flow'rs ♪

♪ Have all lost their sweetness to me ♪

♪ The midsummer sun shines but dim ♪

♪ The fields strive in vain to be gay ♪

♪ O, but when I am happy in Him ♪

♪ December's as pleasant as May ♪

- Well, this is Montcalm, West Virginia, The area here, this lot used to be the old Montcalm elementary school, where I went to school. Most of my brothers and sisters went to school here and to my left is the old high school... dilapidated. And one of my friends liked to hear me sing. So he went to tell the music teacher, said, "Oh, you ought to hear Hazel sing," and the music teacher said, "Oh, does she sing?" And she says, "Oh yeah, she sings all the time," said-- and I didn't really, I didn't sing out anywhere. It was just among us kids. And so she got me up to sing a song and I picked an Ernest Tubb song. She was very disappointed. She wanted me to sing something more in keeping with what she had been teaching. And so I didn't, I was real hard core. That's what we learned at home was what we saw on the Grand Ole Opry. And I think I disappointed her. She didn't ask me to sing anymore. We didn't have anyone in my immediate family that graduated from high school. Later on, I had some nieces and nephews who did. A couple of nieces that went to college. You know, not much choice. You had to get a job and go to work as soon as you became of age. And some of us went to work before we became of age.

♪ I said goodbye to that plain little mining town ♪

♪ With just a few old clothes that made the rounds ♪

♪ I knew I was leavin' a lot a things that were good ♪

♪ But I thought I'd make a break while I still could ♪

♪ As I looked back to wave once more ♪

♪ To Mama cryin' in the door ♪

♪ For me and for what the world might have in store ♪

♪ For she knew I'd never be her little girl no more ♪

♪ But she was driftin' back to another time ♪

♪ When she was young and hoped to find ♪

♪ A better life than what her Mama's had been ♪

♪ And it was hard to let go of mama's hands ♪

♪ My Mama's hands ♪

♪ One old paper bag full of hand-me-downs ♪

♪ A plain old country girl raised on gospel sounds ♪

♪ With only the love she gave me and pride in what I am ♪

♪ It was hard to let go of Mama's hands, my Mama's hands ♪

♪ I thought of all the love she gave ♪

♪ Thought of all the years she slaved ♪

♪ To try and to make this run-down shack a home ♪

♪ A dream that really died 'fore it was born ♪

♪ But she pulled us thru the hardest times ♪

♪ And made us hold our head up high ♪

♪ A gift we carried with us all our lives ♪

♪ For we were oh so special in Mama's eyes ♪

♪ As I looked back that dusty road ♪

♪ To mama and her heavy load ♪

♪ I knew what I was leavin' I'd never find again ♪

♪ And it was hard to let go of Mama's hands ♪

♪ My Mama's hands ♪

♪ One old paper bag full of hand-me-downs ♪

♪ A plain old country girl raised on gospel sounds ♪

♪ With only the love she gave me and pride in what I am ♪

♪ It was hard to let go of Mama's hands, my Mama's hands ♪

- We're in the Hampden section of Baltimore. It's in the general neighborhood of where I lived many years ago, where a lot of my relatives live now, kind of a down home type neighborhood. A lot of Southern people live here. Appalachian people that have come up here to find work. A lot of them with hopes of making enough money to go back home one day, but they didn't really get the chance to do that. They kind of got trapped behind the walls of the city. In the beginning, even though there were lots of people around, it was still very lonely 'cause you didn't know anyone. So if you heard of a hillbilly or somebody being from back home, you always tried to go meet that person. So, there'd be one more person that you knew in the city. I left home when I was 16 and I had to wait till I was 17 to get a job. One of the winters before I came up I had stayed in the house all winter, 'cause I didn't have a coat. And it was really nice to be able to go out. I took my whole paycheck, every time I got it, And I went out and spent it on clothes and I bought a used guitar almost out of my first paycheck. And then I would try to buy some things and send to my younger sister and brother back home. The first job I got was in the factory and I worked about three factories. And then I got a job as a waitress. And then I went into sales work. I'd like to sing a song that I wrote some years ago I was working in this retail store in Washington. And I really wanted to go out and do the music, but I had to work a day job to support my habit. My habit was that I loved music. So that day I was doing inventory and I just turned the inventory sheet over and started writing The Working Girl Blues.

♪ I got the early Monday morning working blues ♪

♪ I put on my ragged worn out working shoes ♪

♪ Well the weekend was too short but I can't choose ♪

♪ When the lord made the working girl, he made the blues ♪

♪ I'm tired of working my life away ♪

♪ Givin' somebody else all of my pay ♪

♪ While they get rich on the profits that I lose, I lose ♪

♪ Leaving me here with the working girl blues ♪

♪ [yodeling] Working Girl Blues ♪

♪ And I can't even afford a new pair of shoes ♪

♪ But they can live in any ol' penthouse they choose ♪

♪ And all I got is the working girl blues ♪

♪ My boss said a raise is due most any day ♪

♪ But I wonder, oh will my hair be all turned gray ♪

♪ Before he turns that dollar loose and I get my dues ♪

♪ And lose a little bit of these working girl blues ♪

♪ I said I'm tired of working my life away ♪

♪ Givin' somebody else all of my pay ♪

♪ While they get rich on the profits that I lose ♪

♪ Leavin' me here with the working girl blues ♪

♪ [Yodeling] Working Girl Blues ♪

♪ And I can't even afford a new pair of shoes ♪

♪ While they can live in any ol' penthouse they choose ♪

♪ And all that I've got is the working girl blues ♪

♪ And all I've got is the working girl blues ♪

- Well, it used to be a factory out here, Continental Can. I was a inspector on beer cans. I don't think I've worked on soda cans. Beer cans. I was an inspector there-

- [Hazel] And wrapper, a wrapper.

- And I did wrap some, wrap tin cans. I spoke for her and, and got her on that way.

- Both of us did inspecting, but I put them--the ends of the cans, I looked at them and put them through the oven. And she was like on the other side of the oven and wrapped them and inspected. And I stayed three or four years. And then I left to go play music. And they sent me a telegram, either I come back or they fire me. So I didn't go back. I went ahead and did that next of weekend of work, went up into New Jersey and they sent me my notice. So that was my end of Continental Can,

- [Interviewer] Was it a good place to work?

- Absolutely. I wish I was working there yet.

- That was the first time that I'd ever encountered working people speaking up for themselves and having other people like the union, looking out for you, you know, I had never experienced that in the workforce. 'Cause I'd usually done waitress work or factories that didn't have a union, and they could fire you at will. You might think about it, but you didn't speak out. When you're involved in a union, they back you up. You can say anything you want to say, bring up any grievance that you want to. We're both strong union people.

♪ I'm making my living by the sweat of my brow ♪

♪ I couldn't be crooked cause I don't know how ♪

♪ I've lived in a shack and cooked in a can ♪

♪ Making a fortune for some other man ♪

♪ I learned early in life that that was a rule ♪

♪ A worker ain't nothing but a rich man's tool ♪

♪ Everyday he gets richer, I get poorer somehow ♪

♪ Making my living by the sweat of my brow ♪

- It was well known where I was working, that I played music. I heard about Robert playing music. And so we met--that's Hazel's older brother. And he said, well, "Why don't you come down and visit?" I thought that was pretty nice. You know? And he said, I think you said, talked about Arnold and you playing music and Guy too. I remember Hazel as being kind of quiet, but definitely looking and scoping out the situation.

- [Hazel] I couldn't understand why he would be interested. We weren't raised like that to have somebody from outside of, you know, our culture to come. I had not met anybody like that. I guess I got to kind of acting out a little bit, you know, and I turned the radio-- I remember turning the radio up and saying, "This is what it should sound like." I was really testing, is what I was doing. And it didn't seem to phase Mike all that much. So after a while I joined them and then that was the beginning of the visits. And then getting together in the living rooms around and playing.

- [Mike] It was just mountain music. It didn't have a handle necessarily. And it was heavily influenced by what I would call early commercial, hillbilly music. Bluegrass, at that point, wasn't called bluegrass. They hadn't used that term yet in 1954 when we first met and we're just beginning '54 and '55.

- [Hazel] So we started creating our own scene after while. The parties grew. There's many of a night that I stood up in the floor and played bass and different people would come up to sing with me. And I stood there until seven o'clock the next morning. Well, after we graduated from the living rooms, we started playing in some of the seedy bars around. And I liked to say that I told my mother, they were clubs, it sounded a little bit better. After we got rehearsed a lot more, we got in the Pike County Boys. That was a smoother band. I had gone out and got myself a couple of these cowgirl shirts with the little bow ties and some pants to match. We were trying to look the part.

- [Mike] Little Red Shoes.

♪ Where did you get those pretty red shoes ♪

♪ Dress you wear so fine ♪

♪ Got my shoes from my own true love ♪

♪ Woo-hoo-hoo-hoo ♪

- For city people to be interested in country music at that time was pretty exotic. It just didn't happen. And so this was one of the beginnings. It was a very unique time of mutual discovery.

- [Hazel] To meet people who were interested in the music and who look at it like an art form, we had never seen any-- or heard of anything like that. In fact, we didn't think the music was really worth all that much. It was all new to us. And I don't think they ever realized, I don't think Mike ever realized that, what it meant to be validated in that sense. One of the most important things to happen to us was that somebody did say, "It's all right, we like this." And they were from a different culture. It certainly meant a lot to me, because I was somebody that cared about the music very deeply. And I had thought that I would keep it around for a long time. Some of the others didn't, they kind of left it behind. And they just went on and got wrapped up in their jobs. But it give me a whole new life in a way. And one that I had, Actually had never anticipated having. I thought it would be factory work until I retired or get married, have a family. And that was it. You know, there was not much else. And in a sense, it gave me a whole different perspective on what I could be, I could become, what my music could become.

♪ One day a mother came to a prison ♪

♪ To see an erring but precious son ♪

♪ She told the warden ♪

- [Alice] I remember my husband, don't think he was my husband yet, said, "Oh, there's this girl, she's just little bitty girl with a great big voice. And her name is Hazel." And sure enough there, they had this sort of scroungy bar, bluegrass band in Baltimore, and they'd have these parties every weekend at somebody's house, and we'd go just hang out.

- [Hazel] We got together at a party and began singing. We found that our voices matched. Actually, they matched better than my singing with a lot of men. And most of the women singers that I had known, like, Wilma Lee or Molly O'Day, the women led and the men would sing just below them. But we did it like the males were singing, where she'd sng lead and I sang tenor above her.

- The tours Anne Romaine did, she asked us to be on them and out of necessity, because there wasn't enough money to drag a whole band nor enough, you know, the logistics were just too complicated. We started working some things that just the two of us could do. And because the tours were political in nature, you know, our consciousness was raised and we began writing songs.

- Hazel and Alice were very, very influential, I think. And in a quiet way. You know, it's not like, they weren't no big commercial success, but if you were really trying to look for something that was the heart and soul of acoustic country and bluegrass music, and featured women, you were going to come up with Hazel and Alice.

♪ You pull the string ♪

♪ She's your plaything ♪

♪ You can make her or break her, it's true ♪

♪ You abuse her, accuse her ♪

♪ Turn her round and use her ♪

♪ Then forsake her any time it suits you ♪

♪ Well, there's more to her than powder and paint ♪

♪ Than her peroxided bleached-out hair ♪

♪ Well if she acts that way ♪

♪ It's 'cause you've had your day ♪

♪ Don't put her down, you helped put her there ♪

♪ Well, she hangs around ♪

♪ Playing the clown ♪

♪ While her soul is aching inside ♪

♪ She's heartbreak's child ♪

♪ 'Cause she lives for your smile ♪

♪ To build her up in a world made by man ♪

♪ Well, there's more to her than powder and paint ♪

♪ Than her peroxided bleached-out hair ♪

♪ Well if she acts that way ♪

♪ It's 'cause you've had your day ♪

♪ Don't put her down, you helped put her there ♪

♪ At the house down the way ♪

♪ You sneak and you pay ♪

♪ For her love, her body or her shame ♪

♪ Then you call yourself a man ♪

♪ You say you just don't understand ♪

♪ How a woman could turn out that way ♪

♪ Well there's more to her than powder and paint ♪

♪ And the men she picks up at the bar ♪

♪ Well if she acts that way ♪

♪ It's 'cause you've had your day ♪

♪ Don't put her down, you helped put her there ♪

♪ Well if she acts that way ♪

♪ It's 'cause you've had your day ♪

♪ Don't put her down, you helped put her there ♪

- I would go down to the town of Berea and get used albums from the old bin. And I came upon this grainy black and white photo of Hazel and Alice. And I thought, hmm, what a concept, two women who sang together. And I just couldn't stand it. I had to plunk down my dollar 25, my egg money, and take this home. And the moment Wynonna and I heard these two women singing together... There was something so familiar, like looking in the mirrors and seeing our own faces and the songs were just enthralling. And we got everything those two girls did. We ate 'em up.

- I think we inspired a lot of people, you know. It was kind of the beginning of the women's movement and we kind of hooked onto what was sort of happening at some grassroots level. We were kind of riding this wave. And to some extent leading the way a little bit and providing inspiration for a lot of women, I think. To me, Hazel is one of the strongest people I know. I mean, she's incredibly strong. She's such a survivor. She came up in a hard life and she's taken it and made something really fantastic out of it.

- Arnold's playing background music. You've heard of dinner music, and this is cooking music, I think.

- We got enough beans here to feed an army.

- What I remember most is, we were so tiny, such tiny little children. And when we got there and Hazel had this big bass fiddle, and she looked so small behind it anyway, but we were way down here, looking up at that. And we couldn't believe Hazel was playing that

- Well, I couldn't remember it, and she will remembered at once. I told her where we were and she said, I remember that.

- Our heavenly father, we just thank you so much for this wonderful family gathering that you've brought us all together again. We just thank you for everything. Amen.

- [All] Amen.

- [Woman In Green] Dig in.

- Don't have to ask me twice.

- He's gon' sing lead, you sing tenor and I'll sing high third, I'll try to.

- [Mike] And you were singing low third on yodel part.

- [Mike] Gotta shift into under drive.

♪ Little girl, little girl what have I done ♪

♪ That makes you treat me so ♪

♪ You caused me to weep, you caused me to mourn ♪

♪ You caused me to leave my home ♪

♪ In the pines, in the pines ♪

♪ Where the sun never shines ♪

♪ And we shiver when the cold wind blows ♪

♪ Who who hoo hoo hoo, who who hoo hoo hoo ♪

- It takes a long time to get the feel of writing a song, you know, and putting it to music and getting down what you really want to say. And I think it's sort of like a painting. You never really do get it as perfect as you want it. But I had been doing it for many years. I just didn't let anyone see it. And in retrospect, looking back on them, I think I made a wise choice not to let people see it. Having gone out into the world and getting into the workforce myself, I began to see how that working class people were exploited and that here I am out there and I'm one of them now, it just made me have a whole different view of what working people had to go through. I looked back then on my people and what they had come from and how hard they had worked all their lives. And then I looked at the ones that had left to find a better way of life. And I didn't see that they had any pot of gold, you know, at the end of that rainbow, that they thought that they were going to find. They still had to work just as hard, even though they were in the city. Observing all this, I just always had a lot of sympathy, a lot of compassion for working people. I think it was natural that I began writing about it. "Black Lung" might have been the first song that I wrote like that. And I really liked it, I really liked speaking out and saying what was on my mind and what I was feeling. I felt like I was being more honest that way. I began writing like two kinds of songs. I wrote some that were political and I wrote some that were more traditional. And that way I could satisfy everybody, and also satisfy both sides of myself.

- One of the most powerful song writers is a woman whose father was a preacher from Bluefield, West Virginia, Virginia border. And who's written more songs that are more powerful, speaking of struggle and change than any other person we know here at Highlander. And her name is Hazel Dickens. Let's make her welcome.

- It was very astounding to me to learn later on, after I got away from home-- I left when I was 16 to go to work-- that one of my brothers, my oldest brother had lived his entire life and never got any further than he did when he first started out as a teenager in the mines. And he lived, his whole life, had six children and he died with not enough to even bury himself. And we had to go to the welfare to get enough to bury him. And it just seemed like that in a country like this, that people shouldn't have to live and be buried as poor as when they came into the world. And that was the first that I began questioning the way the economy is in this world. And in the way that poor people are treated. So this is the song that I wrote for my brother, so that he would have some kind of a voice in this world.

♪ He's had more hard luck than most men could stand ♪

♪ The mines was his first love but never his friend ♪

♪ He's lived a hard life and hard he'll die ♪

♪ Black lung's done got him ♪

♪ His time is nigh ♪

♪ Black lung, black lung ♪

♪ You're just bidin' your time ♪

♪ Soon all of this sufferin' I'll leave behind ♪

♪ But I can't help but wonder what God had in mind ♪

♪ To send such a devil to claim this soul of mine ♪

♪ He went to the boss man but he closed the door ♪

♪ Well, it seems you're not wanted ♪

♪ When you're sick and you're poor ♪

♪ You're not even covered in their medical plans ♪

♪ And your life depends on the favors of man ♪

♪ Down in the poor house on starvation's plan ♪

♪ Where pride is a stranger and doomed is a man ♪

♪ His soul full of coal dust till his body's decayed ♪

♪ And everyone but black lung's done turned him away ♪

♪ Black lung, black lung, you're just bidin' your time ♪

♪ Soon all of this sufferin' I'll leave behind ♪

♪ But I can't help but wonder what God had in mind ♪

♪ To send such a devil to claim this soul of mine ♪

♪ Down at the graveyard the boss man came ♪

♪ With his little bunch of flowers, dear God what a shame ♪

♪ Take back those flowers, don't you sing no sad songs ♪

♪ The die has been cast now, a good man is gone ♪

Thank you.

- I'm a fifth generation coal miner. We first heard songs from Hazel after the '68 disaster at Farmington. And then, of course, the Black Lung inspirational songs from her and then the organizing songs during the Harlan County efforts at Brooks. Her music carried that message out of the areas where the strike was ongoing to others and inspired other labor leaders and other unions to get involved and other progressive people across the country to say, what's going on? And it helped educate to government officials and maybe inspire people who were of goodwill and might be sympathetic to the miners' cause to go forward and help pass legislation to protect coal miners.

♪ We read in the paper and the radio tells ♪

♪ Us to to raise our children to be miners as well. ♪

♪ Tell them how safe the mines are today ♪

♪ And to be like Daddy, bring home a big pay ♪

♪ Now don't you believe them, my boy ♪

♪ That story's a lie ♪

♪ Remember the disaster at the Mannington mine ♪

♪ Where seventy-eight miners were buried alive ♪

♪ Because of unsafe conditions your daddy died ♪

♪ They lure you with money, it sure is a sight ♪

♪ When you may never live to see daylight ♪

♪ With your name among the big headlines ♪

♪ Like that awful disaster at the Mannington mine ♪

♪ There's a man in a big house way up on the hill ♪

♪ Far, far from the place where the poor miners live ♪

♪ He's got plenty of money, Lord, everything's fine ♪

♪ And he has forgotten the Mannington mine ♪

♪ Forgotten, forgotten the Mannington mine ♪

♪ There is a grave way down in the Mannington mine ♪

♪ There is the grave way down in the Mannington mine ♪

♪ Oh, what were their last thoughts, what were their cries ♪

♪ As the flames overtook them in the Mannington mine ♪

♪ So don't you believe them, my boy ♪

♪ That story's a lie ♪

♪ Remember the disaster at the Mannington mine ♪

♪ Where seventy-eight good men so uselessly died ♪

♪ Oh, don't follow your daddy to the Mannington mine ♪

♪ How can God forgive you, you do know what you've done ♪

♪ You've killed my husband, now you want my son ♪

There were 78 miners that got trapped in the mines and their widows were just hanging around the mouth of the mines, you know, hoping that they would come out. And of course, they never did. They had to seal the mines off. And afterwards there were people doing benefits for them. And so we went down to sing for them in the community center. And in the song, it mentions this, the son, the mother talking to the son about the daddy being killed. And I looked out in the audience and there was this--one of the widows that had one of her little sons with her. And it was all I could do to get through the song. It was just a real traumatic time for me.

- One of the things that's so difficult in times of struggle, whether it's people on strike or people going through a tragedy, is how hard it is to continue going to the next day. So when someone of the talent and the magnitude of Hazel would come and be just... People would draw strength from that and inspiration to go forward.

- It's our jobs, our town, the union is here to stay!

♪ United we stand, divided we fall ♪

♪ For every dime they give us a battle must be fought ♪

♪ So working people use your power the key to liberty ♪

♪ Don't support the rich man's style of luxury ♪

♪ There ain't no way they can ever keep us down, oh no ♪

♪ There ain't no way they can ever keep us down ♪

♪ We won't be bought, we won't be sold ♪

♪ To be treated right, well that's our goal ♪

♪ There ain't no way they can ever keep us down ♪

- Well, Hazel basically sings songs that says, look, rich folks are getting richer and the folks down below aren't sharing in that and that it's a basic message that the people we represent and see every day care a lot more about the supermarket than the stock market. And I think that's more true today than ever.

- I don't want to find you on behalf of the UMWA for your expression of solidarity with them in their struggle. Thank you.

♪ Well, down in Russell County no neutrals can be found ♪

♪ You'll either be a union man ♪

♪ or one of those Pittston clowns ♪

♪ Which side are you on ♪

♪ Which side are you on ♪

Tell me!

♪ Which side are you on ♪

♪ Which side are you on ♪

♪ Which side are you on ♪

♪ Which side are you on ♪

- [Hazel] Tell me!

♪ Which side are you on ♪

♪ Which side are you on ♪

- Thank you very much for your time and for your money. UMWA, ladies and gentlemen.

- I never thought of myself as a writer. And I remember seeing it in print once and I thought, my goodness, I'm a writer. Someone said, I'm a writer. So I must be a writer. I can remember when I wrote "Don't put her down, you help put her there." And I thought nobody's going to sing this song, you know, because it was so hard. And I remember thinking, my goodness, am I really getting to the point where I'm thinking things like this, or when I wrote some of the more political songs. And I really didn't realize it was coming out of me, until I saw it on paper. I was learning about my own self and what was inside, because I had never had an opportunity to express myself. And so I didn't know what was in there. You know, we really, I think we all go through life and I doubt that we ever know who we really are or what all we have inside. And we just have to, at some point, get to the point where you can let go and let go enough that you give something back to the world or you end up, you can tell somebody exactly how you feel.

♪ West Virginia, oh my home ♪

♪ West Virginia, where I belong ♪

♪ In the dead of the night, in the still and the quiet ♪

♪ I slip away like a bird in flight ♪

♪ Back to those hills, the place that I call home ♪

♪ It's been years now since I left there ♪

♪ And this city life's about got the best of me ♪

♪ I can't remember why I left so free ♪

♪ What I wanted to do, what I wanted to see ♪

♪ But I can sure remember where I come from ♪

♪ West Virginia, oh my home ♪

♪ West Virginia, where I belong ♪

♪ In the dead of the night, in the still and the quiet ♪

♪ I slip away like a bird in flight ♪

♪ Back to those hills, the place that I call home ♪

♪ Well I paid the price for the leavin' ♪

♪ And this life I have is not one I thought I'd find ♪

♪ Just let me live, love, let me cry ♪

♪ But when I go just let me die ♪

♪ Among the friends who'll remember when I'm gone ♪

♪ West Virginia, oh my home ♪

♪ West Virginia, where I belong ♪

♪ In the dead of the night, in the still and the quiet ♪

♪ I slip away like a bird in flight ♪

♪ Back to those hills, the place that I call home ♪

♪ Home, home, home ♪

♪ Oh I can see it so clear in my mind ♪

♪ Home, home, home ♪

♪ I can almost smell the honeysuckle vines ♪

♪ In the dead of the night, in the still and the quiet ♪

♪ I slip away like a bird in flight ♪

♪ Back to those hills, the place that I call home ♪

♪ Home ♪