Dark as a Dungeon

Merle Travis

About Dark as a Dungeon

"Dark as a Dungeon" is a song written by singer-songwriter Merle Travis. It is a lament about the danger and drudgery of being a coal miner in a shaft mine. It has become a rallying song among miners seeking improved working conditions. The song achieved much of its fame when it was performed by Johnny Cash in his Folsom Prison concert (At Folsom Prison). During this live performance, one of the prisoners in the background was laughing, and Cash started to chuckle. He gently admonished the man, "No laughing during the song, please!" The man yelled something about "Hell!" and Cash answered, "I know, 'hell'!" When he finished the song, Cash made a comment that was largely repeated, somewhat out of context, by Joaquin Phoenix in the 2005 film Walk the Line: "I just wanted to tell you that this show is being recorded for an album released on Columbia Records, so you can't say 'hell' or 'shit' or anything like that. " 


Year:
1995
85 Views
Playlists:
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Oh come all you young fellers so young and so fine
Seek not your fortune in a dark dreary mine
It'll form as a habit and seep in your soul
Till the stream of your blood runs as black as the coal
Where it's dark as a dungeon damp as the dew danger is double pleasures are few
Where the rain never falls the sun never shines
It's a dark as a dungeon way down in the mine

Well it's many a man that I've seen in my day
(uh huh no laughin' during this song please it's bein' recorded)
Like a fiend with his dope and a drunkard with his wine
A man will have lust for the lure of the mine
And pray when I'm dead and my ages shall roll
That my body would blacken and turn into coal
Then I'll look from the door of my heavenly home 
And pity the miner digging my bones
Where it's dark as a dungeon

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Merle Travis

Merle Robert Travis (November 29, 1917 – October 20, 1983) was an American country and Western singer, songwriter, and musician born in Rosewood, Kentucky. His lyrics often discussed the life and exploitation of coal miners. Among his many well-known songs are "Sixteen Tons", "Re-Enlistment Blues" and "Dark as a Dungeon". However, it is his masterful guitar playing and his interpretations of the rich musical traditions of his native Muhlenberg County, Kentucky for which he is best known today. "Travis picking", a syncopated style of finger picking, is named after him. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970 and elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1977. more »

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Written by: Merle Travis

Lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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