Fire in the Hole

Story Behind The Song

This song was inspired by the book and movie "Rocket Boys" by Homer Hickham. Hickham grew up in a coal mining family in West Virginia in the 1950s, but managed to become an engineer for NASA instead of a coal miner despite fierce opposition from his father. His story made me think of the hundreds of others like him, who didn't escape the mines.

Song Description

A young man is trapped by a coal mine cave in and doesn't get out.

Song Length 5:19 Genre Folk - Bluegrass, Country - Americana
Tempo Slow (71 - 90) Lead Vocal Male Vocal
Mood Poignant Subject Miner, Loneliness
Similar Artists Doc Watson Era 1950 - 1959


My daddy was a miner's son, his granddad was another one.
He worked in the mines both night and day, 'til the coal dust took his lungs away.

My mother was a miner's bride, she cursed the mine 'til the day she died.
she never had a choice in life, but to be some poor coal miner's wife.

I hoped and prayed with all my soul, that I would be spared from that hole.
That I might find a job in town, instead of slaving underground.

But it's fire in the hole, I heard them say,
then the lights went out and the walls gave way.
Now I'm trapped here underground,
with the rocks and the rubble piled all around.

Before I reached my sixteenth year, my dad got hurt and it was clear.
That I would be by duty bound, to join the miners underground.

It was me and Gene and Little Ray, who went down in the mine today.
To set new timbers in a line, and shore up tunnel number nine.

We worked just as fast as anyone could, but the timbers they weren't any good.
They must have thought that we were out, for we soon heard that awful shout.

Repeat chorus

The blast it knocked me from my feet, and my face was burned by the terrible heat.
I lay there stunned for a minute or more, 'neath the cold coal dust on the coal mine floor.

Well Little Ray was buried deep, by the rocks and rubble in a ten foot heap.
and Gene was hurt somewhere nearby, for I could hear him moan and cry.

I feel the walls are closing in, I cannot hear the other men.
I know they'll find me if they can, so I can see the sky again.

My daddy was a miner's son, his granddad was another one.
It was ordained while in the womb, that the coal mine would become my tomb.

Repeat half chorus

Lyrics Andy Langford Music Andy Langford
Producer Living Easy (Joan and Andy Langford) Publisher Living Easy Music
Performance Living Easy (Joan and Andy Langford), Marianne Gibbs

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