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Help - Mining for Gold/Taku Miners

DigiTrad:
TAKU MINERS


Related thread:
Tune Req: Alternate version of 'Mining For Gold' (2)


Stewie 11 Nov 01 - 05:42 AM
masato sakurai 11 Nov 01 - 07:59 AM
Allan C. 11 Nov 01 - 08:09 AM
nutty 11 Nov 01 - 08:34 AM
nutty 11 Nov 01 - 08:37 AM
nutty 11 Nov 01 - 09:05 AM
Mr Red 11 Nov 01 - 09:47 AM
JohnB 11 Nov 01 - 12:22 PM
catspaw49 11 Nov 01 - 12:31 PM
Amos 11 Nov 01 - 12:46 PM
Stewie 11 Nov 01 - 05:44 PM
Stewie 11 Nov 01 - 07:10 PM
Clinton Hammond 11 Nov 01 - 07:42 PM
Stewie 11 Nov 01 - 08:21 PM
GUEST 13 Nov 01 - 02:29 PM
MMario 13 Nov 01 - 02:49 PM
catspaw49 13 Nov 01 - 03:02 PM
katlaughing 13 Nov 01 - 03:05 PM
Clinton Hammond 13 Nov 01 - 03:26 PM
GUEST 13 Nov 01 - 04:28 PM
Stewie 13 Nov 01 - 05:27 PM
GUEST 14 Nov 01 - 08:47 AM
GUEST 14 Nov 01 - 02:01 PM
Joe Offer 03 Aug 07 - 02:18 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 03 Aug 07 - 03:03 PM
Jon Bartlett 04 Aug 07 - 04:33 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 04 Aug 07 - 05:24 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Aug 07 - 07:36 PM
Bob the Postman 15 Aug 07 - 09:39 PM
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Subject: Help - Mining for Gold
From: Stewie
Date: 11 Nov 01 - 05:42 AM

I have seen the lyrics of 'Mining for Gold' [Trad/J.Gordon] as recorded by the Cowboy Junkies and James Gordon on several sites and they all give the following as the last 2 lines of the first stanza:

Pour your bottles on our shoulders
We are marching to the slow

Can someone elucidate these lines for me? I can find no definition of 'slow' as a noun and am mystified by the reference to pouring bottles on shoulders. The mining glossary that was available on the Internet seems to have disappeared.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Help - Mining for Gold
From: masato sakurai
Date: 11 Nov 01 - 07:59 AM

The first verse of Taku Miners, which "Mining for Gold" is based on, is:

We are miners, Taku miners,
To the shaft-house we must go,
With our oil bottles on our shoulders,
We are marching to and fro.

The same meaning? I'm not sure.

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Help - Mining for Gold
From: Allan C.
Date: 11 Nov 01 - 08:09 AM

I am guessing that "slow" may have evolved from "slough" which makes only a little bit of sense in this context.


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Subject: RE: Help - Mining for Gold
From: nutty
Date: 11 Nov 01 - 08:34 AM

This letter may shed some light on the song click here


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Subject: RE: Help - Mining for Gold
From: nutty
Date: 11 Nov 01 - 08:37 AM

And a link to Taku Miners which is in the DT

TAKU MINERS


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Subject: RE: Help - Mining for Gold
From: nutty
Date: 11 Nov 01 - 09:05 AM

Sorry Masato .... must have still been asleep .....missed the clickie you posted . Sorry for the duplication


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Subject: RE: Help - Mining for Gold
From: Mr Red
Date: 11 Nov 01 - 09:47 AM

Hope it all pans out
**groan**


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Subject: RE: Help - Mining for Gold
From: JohnB
Date: 11 Nov 01 - 12:22 PM

Could it be, as opposed to marching to the quick. You know "Wait for it! Slowwwwww March" JohnB


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Subject: RE: Help - Mining for Gold
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 Nov 01 - 12:31 PM

I'm inclined to think that Allan has the best point here as slow for slough would have been an easy one to have changed on the basis of what is heard versus the actual word. Over time I could see it happening.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help - Mining for Gold
From: Amos
Date: 11 Nov 01 - 12:46 PM

I've mined for gold, and we never carried bottles of oil on our shoulders. Maybe they use large supplies of it on the big industrial grade drills and hammers -- pneumatic tools need frequent oiling. But that's a far fetch in my opinion.

A


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Subject: RE: Help - Mining for Gold
From: Stewie
Date: 11 Nov 01 - 05:44 PM

Many thanks to all for your assistance. I was unaware of 'Taku Miners' - thanks Masato and Nutty.

Listening again more carefully to the Cowboy Junkies, Margo Timmins could well be singing 'Oil bottles on our shoulders' - dragging out the sound of the word 'oil' so that it sounds like 'pour your'. I was put off by the fact that a number of sites have 'pour your' in the transcription and did not bother to listen carefully with headphones. This could mean that someone made an inaccurate transcription and others followed suit. On the other hand, she is definitely not singing the 'to and fro' which is in the 'Taku Miners' but makes little sense to me. 'Slough', suggested by Allan and supported by Spaw, could well be a goer as a metaphor for extracting the ore from the other material. However, I share Amos' bewilderment as to why they would need all that oil, albeit it is clearly the line in 'Taku Miners' collected from a miner.

Thanks again. I appreciate your assistance.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Help - Mining for Gold
From: Stewie
Date: 11 Nov 01 - 07:10 PM

I just found this from a trawl around the net. It is an extract from Philip J. Thomas 'Songs of the Pacific Northwest' which explains that the oil was necessary to lubricate compressed air percussion drills. The 'to and fro' of 'Taku Miners' is explained by the fact that two groups of miners were changing shift.

Historical note on 'Taku Miners'

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Help - Mining for Gold
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 11 Nov 01 - 07:42 PM

When in doubt, check the Tamrack homepge, or James Gordons for that matter...

;-)


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Subject: RE: Help - Mining for Gold
From: Stewie
Date: 11 Nov 01 - 08:21 PM

Clinton, in fact, I did that before my initial post and found zilch on this song on either site - only that it was the title track of an album. No doubts were dispelled, I'm afraid.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Help - Mining for Gold
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Nov 01 - 02:29 PM

The correct line from the Gordon lyrics is:

"Oil bottles on our shoulders,
We are marching to the stope."

The need for the oil bottles was discussed above. "Stope" is a mining term referring to an excavation in the form of steps used when mining ore from a vertical or steeply inclined vein.

sources- lyric sheet for "Mining For Gold" James Gordon (2000 Borealis Recording Co. BCD129)

English dictionary

Jargon terminology often causes problems in lyrics if you don't know the jargon. I have often been befuddled by it.

rich r


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Subject: RE: Help - Mining for Gold
From: MMario
Date: 13 Nov 01 - 02:49 PM

"stope"

*that* was the word that kept trying to be on the tip of my tongue when I read this thread.


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Subject: RE: Help - Mining for Gold
From: catspaw49
Date: 13 Nov 01 - 03:02 PM

Thank you Guest!!!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help - Mining for Gold
From: katlaughing
Date: 13 Nov 01 - 03:05 PM

Hey, Spaw, he signed it! It 'twas our own cookieless richr!

Great thread!


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Subject: RE: Help - Mining for Gold
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 13 Nov 01 - 03:26 PM

stope... cool!


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Subject: RE: Help - Mining for Gold
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Nov 01 - 04:28 PM

Just to mess things up, I just listened to the recording on the James Gordon CD. Wouldn't you know Margo Timmins sings it with Gordan. She does the first two verses and I swear she sings "slope". "slope" at least keeps the meaning somewhat similar. Let me add James Gordon's liner notes from that recroding for a little extra background.

"My first 'original historical song.' I owe a lot to the Cowboy Junkies for its endurance. I based it on a traditional British Columbia ballad called "Taku Miners" collected by Phil Thomas in his great book "Songs of the Pacific North West". Tamaarack recorded it in 1983 on our "Pleasant Gale" album, and I think it was the first time an original song appeared on our otherwise traditional recordings. When Jeff Bird left the band in 1988 he joined the Cowboy Junkies, and he brought this song with him. Margo Timmins' haunting version of it on the Junkies' famous "Trinity Sessions" album made it a hit, and I have to say that it's paid a lot of bills fro me! I once heard the song performed live in Newfoundland by some traditional singers who thought I was mad when I came up and introduced myself as its author. Some years later the song became, oddly enough, the soundtrack for a NIKE running shoe TV commercial. Margo only sang the first part of the song. This version features the two of us singing the whole thing together, which was a thrill for me. Recorded live at Tamarack's 15th anniversary concert."

Gordan's full song has 9 quatrains, I don't know how much of it is in the lyrics some of you have looked at.

cookielessme


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Subject: RE: Help - Mining for Gold
From: Stewie
Date: 13 Nov 01 - 05:27 PM

Thanks, Rich.

--Stewie.


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Subject: ADD: Mining for Gold (James Gordon)
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Nov 01 - 08:47 AM

MINING FOR GOLD
(James Gordon)

We are miners, hard rock miners,
To the shaft house we must go;
Oil bottles on our shoulders,
We are marching to the stope.

On the line boys, on the line boys,
Catch the cage and stand in line.
Till the shift boss comes to tell you,
You must drill her off on time.

And it's loose the swing and jack the bar,
Come in on the arm you're out way to far,
Drill her in to the dump and we call her a hole,
And I feel like I'm dying from mining for gold.

Watch that light boys, watch that light boys,
The mine captain's in the mine.
He will come and he will ask you,
Can you drill her off on time.

Drill your holes boys, load 'em gentle;
Light the first hole in the burn,
Light your cut holes and your kickers,
And your knee holes in their turn.

Can't you feel the rock dust in your lungs?
It'll cut down a miner when he is still young.
Two years and the silicosis takes hold,
And I feel like I'm dying from mining for gold.

Light your breast holes, light your breast holes,
Light your lifters along center line,
Light your back holes, c'mon let's get going,
Make the corner boys on time.

There's your shots boys, count 'em careful,
There's your blast boys, we're in luck.
There's the lifter softly going,
Soft explosions under muck.

Don't take the widowmaker in hand,
It'll cut down the best hard rock-mioning man,
Was there ever a miner who grew to be old?
And I fell like I'm dying from mining for gold.


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Subject: RE: Help - Mining for Gold
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Nov 01 - 02:01 PM

Sorry, The messed up verse should read -

Watch that light boys, watch that light boys,
The mine captain's in the mine.
He will come and he will ask you,
Can you drill her off on time.


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Subject: ADD Version: Mining for Gold
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Aug 07 - 02:18 PM

This Cowboy Junkies fansite has lyrics for "mining for Gold." I can't vouch for their accuracy, but I thought I'd post them for comparison. Obviously, the song isn't traditional. There's a relation to the James Gordon song, but it's not completely clear if Gordon wrote it, and when. There's also a tire to Taky Miners which the Digital Tradition attributes to Bill Lore - but again, no date. Can we get more definitive lyrics and history for this song?
-Joe-


Mining for Gold
(traditional: arranged by James Gordon)

We are miners, hard rock miners,
To the shaft house we must go;
Oil bottles on our shoulders,
We are marching to the stope.

On the line boys, on the line boys,
Drill your holes and stand in line.
Till the shift boss comes to tell you,
you must drill her out on top.

Can't you feel the rock dust in your lungs?
It'll cut down a miner when he is still young.
Two years and the silicosis takes hold,
and I feel like I'm dying from mining for gold.
Yes, I feel like I'm dying from mining for gold.


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Subject: RE: Help - Mining for Gold/Taku Miners
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 03 Aug 07 - 03:03 PM

Definition of stope-
a. usu. a steplike excavation underground for the removal of ore that is formed as the ore is mined in successive layers.

It is an old term, 1747 in English, akin to OE staepe step.
Mirriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. The Oxford English Dictionary has much more, if anyone is interested.


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Subject: RE: Help - Mining for Gold/Taku Miners
From: Jon Bartlett
Date: 04 Aug 07 - 04:33 AM

"Stope" is good, but it's not what Bill Lore sang when Phil Thomas recorded him: he sang "to and fro". I put "Taku Miners" into the DT (in Apr 96 (it says). It's in Phil's book, the second edition of which, revised and enlarged will be out, say the publishers, in the fall. Phil did not live to see the day. He died this February.

Rika Ruebsaat and I have recorded the song (complete with some underground actuality and a conversation with a miner at the olf Britannia Mine in BC) on our CD "The Young Man from Canada: BC Songs from the PJ Thomas Collection", Vol. 2 of "Our Singing Heritage". Our website has ordering info.

Jon Bartlett


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Subject: RE: Help - Mining for Gold/Taku Miners
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 04 Aug 07 - 05:24 PM

James Gordon issued the 2cd set, "Mining for Gold: Twenty Years of Song Writing," Borealis, 2000. Nineteen were recorded with the Tamarack trio. Thirty-eight selections.
An excellent survey of his songs. "Frobisher Bay" is included.

James Gordon wrote "Mining for Gold."
It is featured in a Kristopherson movie.

website http://jamesgordon.ca
James Gordon


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Subject: RE: Help - Mining for Gold/Taku Miners
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Aug 07 - 07:36 PM

Guest posted the lyrics for James Gordon, "Mining for Gold, 14 Nov 01.
There are two small errors:

Light your breast holes, light your side holes,
Light your lifters along center line.
Light your back holes, c'mon let's get going
Make the corner boys on time.
(Note 'side' holes in line 1)

Last verse, 2nd line:
...hard rock-mining man.

Note by James Gordon in booklet provided for the 2-cd set, "Mining for Gold, Twenty Years of Song Writing."
"My first 'original historical song.' I owe a lot to the Cowboy Junkies for its endurance. I based it on a traditional British Columbia ballad called "Take Miners" collected by Phil Thomas in his great book "Songs of the Pacific North West." Tamerack recorded it in 1983 on our "Pleasant Gale" album, and I think it was the first time an original song appeared on our otherwise traditional recordings. When Jeff Bird left the band in 1988 he joined the Cowboy Junkies, and he brought this song with him. Margo Timmons' haunting version of it on the Junkies famous "Trinity Session" album made it a hit, and I have to say that it paid a lot of bills for me! I once heard the song performed live in Newfoundland by some traditional singers who thought I was mad when I came up and introduced myself as its author. Some years later the song became, oddly enough, the soundtrack for a NIKE running shoe TV commercial. Margo only sang the first part of the song. This version features the two of us singing the whole thing together, which was a thrill for me. Recorded live at Tamerack's 15th anniversary concert.


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Subject: RE: Help - Mining for Gold/Taku Miners
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 15 Aug 07 - 09:39 PM

I've just finished reading Alistair MacLeod's novel "No Great Mischief" (McClelland and Stewart 1999)which deals in part with the way of life of a group of hard rock miners from Cape Breton. Chapter 21 recalled for me "Taku Miners" and the write-up and diagram in Phil
Thomas' "Songs of the Pacific Northwest". MacLeod describes the process of drilling blast holes, the necessity of detonating the charges in the proper order (breast holes, side holes, lifters, etc.), and the importance of keeping track of the number of explosions.

Catters might also be interested in the episode in which the Cape Breton miners get involved in a day-long jam session with some Franco-Ontarians, catalysed by a Cree fiddler from James Bay.


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