Various Artists

Coal Mining Women

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A little over half of the songs here originally appeared on They'll Never Keep Us Down (Rounder). The disc is well populated with moving unionist coal mining protest songs of renowned folk artist Helen Dickens. Her bright, strong and singular delivery makes a good foundation for this record. Also present is the all-female Reel World String Band. Particularly effective is there a cappella song "Draglines." Solo artists Sarah Gunning, Phillis Boyens and the now deceased Florence Reece can be heard, too. Reece's single track is the evocative "Which Side Are You On?" This direct and powerful message of standing up against the man gave voice to solidarity worldwide in struggles of all kinds. Here, it is returned to its origination as coal miner unionization movement. This, and much other interesting information on all of the performers comes in the thick, black and white booklet. Coal Mining Women is an excellent compendium of authentic folk music and protest songs.

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