Ed Sturgill was born in Appalachia, Virginia in 1910 and worked as a miner when he was young. This song, which he wrote, addresses many of the mining issues at the time such as cheating done at scales by mine operators (miners were paid by the ton) the illegal use of script for payment and the efforts to organize the UMW. It was the passage of the NRA that secured union representation but, as the song mentions, it was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court (“and the big Supreme Court judge then he said it wasn’t right”). Sturgill did not get around to record the song until 1964, one year before his death.


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