CLOates
24-Sep-2007
Rev.
26-Sep-2007
Added to:
1-Jun-2008
Norman, Oklahoma, USA

Coal Tattoo

With the advent of the GM strike this morning, the lyrics of "Coal Tattoo" displayed below seem apropos.  (Again it's some Kingston Trio stuff from the late 1950s / early 1960s.) 

_________________________________________

Coal Tatoo

Travelin' down that coaltown road,
Listen to those rubber tires whine;
Goodbye to Buckeye and White Sycamore,
I'm leavin' you behind.
I've been a coal man all my life
Layin' down track in the hole

Got a back like an ironwood bent by the wind
Blood veins blue as the coal.

Somebody said "That's a strange tattoo
You have on the side of your head."
I said "That's a blue print, left by the coal

Just a little more and I'd be dead"
And I love the rumble and I love the dark
I love the cool of the slate.
But it's on down the new road lookin' for a job
It's the travelin' and lookin' I hate.

I've stood for the union, walkin' the line,
Fought against the company;
Stood for the U. M. W. of A.
Now who's gonna stand for me?
I got no house and I got no job,
Just got a worried soul;
And this blue tattoo on the side of my head
Left by the number nine coal.

Someday when I'm dead and gone
To Heaven, the land of my dreams,
I won't have to worry on losin' my job
To bad times 'n big machines.
I ain't gonna pay my money away
For pensions and hospital plans.
I'm gonna pick coal where the blue heavens roll
And sing with the angel bands.
_________________________

The lyrics are available from several sources on the net, but the best is http://schlatter.org/coal_tattoo.htm with its text notes that explain much of the unfamiliar language.  The song is available on iTunes in the album The Kingston Trio--The Capitol Years for $0.99 or $1.29, take your pick.  Search the iTunes store with "Coal Tattoo".  Include the quotation marks.  There are thirty-second sound samples there, too.

_________________________

Somewhere in this, my own story may be lurking, too.  Let's see ...


Been writin' software all of my life,
Since I was seventeen.
I laid cool code for all kinds o' things,
Before there were Windows machines, 
Before there were Windows machines.

I've written compilers, and I love to code
In languages formed in a dream
I've written applications in only six days,
While leadin' a software team,
While leadin' a software team.

. . .

(to be continued--gotta sleep at least a few hours a night these days; just saw the 59.5 mile marker whiz by on the right!)

Goodnight!

HSS* Charles
a.k.a.: Prof. Oates


_________________________
*His Sanctimonious Softwareliness

 

(A later version)

CLOates
13 October 2007
Rev.: 
23 Nov 2007
Norman, Oklahoma, USA

A Few More Lines ...

The software engineer's version of "Coal Tattoo" is still a work in progress.  See the text below for a partial set of lyrics.

__________________________

Untitled, so far

Been writin' software all of my life, 
Since I was seventeen.
I laid cool code for all kinds o' things, 
Before there were Windows machines.
Wrote programs to test 'most everything,
When I worked for my Uncle Sam:
Engines, injectors, and CSDs,
Monsters with 3D cams,
Monsters with 3D cams.

I've written compilers, and I love to code
In languages formed in a dream
I've written applications in only six days,
While leadin' a software team.
Gotta learn a new language every week--
I've used a dozen or more,
And ya do absolutely whatever it takes
To get good stuff out the door,
To get good stuff out the door.

They bring you requirements bizarre and unique
With time budgets drawn up by Scrooge
And want it tomorrow without a mistake
While fixing a hardware kluge.
Programming takes a terrible toll,
Lotsa nights without goin' to bed,
It'll put lots of jingle into your jeans,
And a shock of gray hair on your head.

. . .

(to be continued)

Goodnight!

Prof. Oates

BTW, Judy Collins' recording of "Coal Tattoo" is worth mentioning.  She was a folk singer in the 1960s who did a very creditable job of the song in The Judy Collins Concert album.  Her version of "Coal Tattoo" is available on iTunes for $0.99.  --CLO