Lyrics: Blue Tattoo / Coal Tattoo

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This Home Demo of Winter 1968 was written in 1964 by the prolific songwriter and author, Billy ‘Edd’ Wheeler. Although the lyrics read “blue tattoo” the title of the song is actually ‘Coal Tattoo’.

Travellin’ down that coaltown road,
Listen to my rubber tires whine;
Goodbye to Buckeye and White Sycamore,
I’m leavin’ you behind.

I’ve been a coal miner all my life
Layin’ down track in the hole,
Got a back like an ironwood bent by the wind
Blood veins as black as the coal.

Somebody said “That’s a strange tattoo
You have on the side of your head.”
I said “That’s the mark of number nine coal
A little more and I’d be dead”.

But I love the rumble and I love the dark
I love the cool of the slate.
But it’s travelin’ down this new road lookin’ for a job
It’s the travelin’ and lookin’ I hate.

I’ve stood for the union, I walked in the line,
I fought against the company;
I stood for the UMW of A.
Now who’s gonna stand for me?

Cause I got no job, got no pay,
I just got a worried soul;
And this blue tattoo on the side of my head
Left by that number nine coal.

Someday when I’ve died and gone
To Heaven, the land of my dreams,
I won’t have to worry about losin’ my job
To bad times ‘n big machines.

Cos I got no job and I got no pay,
I just got a worried soul;
And this blue tattoo on the side of my head
Left by that number nine coal,
Left by that number nine coal.

Billy ‘Edd’ Wheeler