John Twist

Music

Little Billy Black

03:49
John Twist
2003
John Twist

Lyrics

Little Billy Black

Coal company man pushed the paper cross the table
Momma signed it though she’s barely able
Money for a dead man’s wife
Went to pay the company store
The day my daddy died he was one of two
But up at the mine that’s barely news
With evening coming on at the tavern
The same old whiskey poured

They call me little Billy Black
But daddy he ain’t never comin’ back
Though he come a walkin’ in my dreams
They call me little Billy Black
Catch myself counting the cracks
Running beneath the sagging beams

There’s no living without my daddy’s pay
When I took his job, I heard them laugh and say
“Black should be every miner’s name”
Now I think he’s the lucky one to die young
Coal dust works its way into your lungs
And they don’t owe you nothin’
When they leave you lame

They call me little Billy Black
But daddy he ain’t never comin’ back
Though he come a walkin’ in my dreams
They call me little Billy Black
Catch myself counting the cracks
Running beneath the sagging beams

Hear the timber
Twist and groaning
Those who do the digging
Never do the owning

Cold clothes flapping in the Colorado wind
A neighbor knocking with the news, the strike begins
Men we never seen before
Stand cradling their guns
And the stream in the ravine runs black from the mine
When they drove us off, crossed it one last time
Their faces dark as the coal
With the doing of what they done

They call me little Billy Black
But daddy he ain’t never comin’ back
Though he come a walkin’ in my dreams
They call me little Billy Black
Catch myself counting the cracks
Running beneath the sagging beams

Daddy’s bones rest uneasy on company land
His Winchester resting easy in my hand
Wagon jostles down the mountain road
The endless prairie stretched out in spring snow