Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Richard Thompson: Blackleg Miner

“Blackleg Miner,” Today’s Traditional Tuesday selection, was written at some point towards the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. It tells the story of scabs who went to work in the coal fields of Northumberland and Durham during the workers’ strike and the violence that had befallen the strikebreakers. The term “Blackleg” was an epithet heaped onto the strikebreakers.

Richard Thompson utilized this tune as part of his live show and subsequent CD – “1000 Years of Popular Music.” The CD takes songs from as early as the 1300s to the late 20th century and provides an education of the great variety of music that has surfaced during the last millennia. It is a little strange when you think that Thompson is singing songs made popular by Abba, Squeeze, Prince, and Britney Spears. A little off topic for Mr. Thompson, but it shows his versatility.

“Blackleg Miner” is more attuned to Thompson’s traditional music days.

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