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Loading Coal

Johnny Cash

Ride this train up and down and across a strange wonderful land
It's almost like a fairyland when you to think about it
You go through places with names like Tuscaloosa, Kokomo, Muskogee, Oshkosh, Saginaw
Eureka, Bandera, Battle Creek, Sioux City, Chattanooga
Hattiesburg, Lynchburg and Baltinare, Arkansas
You see I'm a million different people from all over the world
And I've been coming to this country for hundreds of years
This was the Promised Land for me

But let's not forget that when I came here
There were already millions of people living in teepees along the rivers
And hunting deer and buffalo for food and shelter
And it's with a little regret, that I think of how I pushed them back
And crowded them out to claim this land for myself or for another country
But the Indians' hearts must have been full of music
For they left names with me that seem to sing

Names like Mohawk, Mandan, Kickapoo Cree, Yacoma, Seminole, Crow, Shawnee
Choctaw, Delaware, Fox, Paiute, Winnebago, Cheyenne, Blackfoot
Navajo, Ute, Comanche, Quapaw Creek, Apache, Sioux, Chippewa
Ardua, Hupa, Shoshone, Mow, Hicano, Sage, Menomini
Shinouk, Arapaho, Nez, Perce, Iroquois, Pony, Cutenai
Flathead, Chickasaw, Pueblo, Yuma, Pima, Pomo, Caddo

Well a lot of them are still with me and I'm glad
It's for sure their names will always be with me
But let's look a little at the heart and muscle of this land
Few things you don't read in books, things that aren't taught in school

Now, you take this little town we're goin' through here this is Beach Creek Kentucky
And right down, there in the valley, that's where our house used to be
It was a little shotgun shack with a spring out back
And a smokehouse, and another little bitty house, and that's about all

My pa was a coalminer like most everybody in Mulengerg County
Worked in the mines all his life
I guess he didn't have much ambition to do anything else
Cause they say coalmining kinda gets in your blood
Matter of fact, pa said if they ever drained the blood out of him
It would be blacker than blackstrap molasses

When I was a kid I used to sit at the fireplace there with mom
And wait on pa to get in from the mine
And we'd sure get anxious if he was ever late
Ma would rock back and forth and watch the clock listin' for pa to hit the front porch

Then he'd come in nothin' clean but the whites of his eyes
And he'd reach for that lie-soap and starts scrubbin'
And I'd stand back and watch him and say to myself
Boy, I'll be glad when I get big enough to work in the mines

My pappy said when I was seventeen
You're six feet tall and your face is clean
And it don't look right for a boy that old
To not make a livin' loadin' coal

Loadin' coal loadin' coal
I'm a double first cousin to a dad blamed mole
Never get rich for to save my soul
And forty 'leven years a loadin' coal
Loadin' coal

Ain't never got acquainted with a dollar bill
And I don't ever reckon that I ever will
A dollar ain't made for a fellar I'm told
That scoops up a livin' loadin' coal

Loadin' coal loadin' coal
I'm a double first cousin to a dad blamed mole
Never get rich for to save my soul
And forty 'leven years a loadin' coal
Loadin' coal

I cussed everything in the mining camp
From a shovel and my pick to my carbide lamp
But I know mighty well till I grow old
I'll still be a cussin' but loadin' coal

Loadin' coal loadin' coal
I'm a double first cousin to a dad blamed mole
Never get rich for to save my soul
And forty 'leven years a loadin' coal
Loadin' coal

I know just as well as coal is black
One of these days the mines were strike
And I'll sit around starvin' till I'm finally told
There's a nickel more a ton for loadin' coal

Loadin' coal loadin' coal
I'm a double first cousin to a dad blamed mole
Never get rich for to save my soul
And forty 'leven years a loadin' coal
Loadin' coal

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