Play Me Some Real Music

Where have all the Bass men gone

Those with deep lowdown voices

Sounding like echoes from a fifty-five gallon oil drum

Deep vibes rattling speakers and vibrating the floor?


Where are all the Baritone voices

with their rich celloed smooth tones

that entered deep into the souls of listeners?


Seems all we have these days are high pitched

parakeet voices singing in falsetto

lacking depth and sounding like untuned violins

singing so high it sounds like someone

is squeezing them just a little too tight.


Where are the real men who can sing four-part-harmony

With blends so sweet they sound like one voice

Take me back to men like Johnny Cash

and the Statler Brothers

To Tennessee Ernie Ford singing, “Big Bad John”

Songs from Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard,

and Kris Kristopherson…

and the Oak Ridge Boys and Alabama singing…

“Play Me Some Mountain Music…”


I long for real music once more

Music that stirs me deep down in my soul

Music with substance that actually says something,


Today at d’Verse we are doing stream of consciousness writing. This is something I really enjoy and do most of the time when I write. I was going to post a photo, but Word Press, for some reason, has switched me to this awful block style and I have not figured out how to load them. So all you get today is words!! Well I finally got a photo of my first guitar loaded. That was many years ago and I am still playing some!

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H.C. Frick

Company Store money

Today is Quadrille Monday at d’verse and Kim asked us to write a 44 word poem using the word earth! I chose to write about the way coal miners were treated in the corner of Pennsylvania where I grew up. Tennessee Ernie Ford’s song, 16 Tons, said it all “I loaded 16 tons and I’m deeper in debt. The Check above is one of the reasons.

Digging deep into the earth

Miners sold their bodies and soul

To the coal company of H.C. Frick

Demanding they buy only from his store

Paying with voucher checks instead of cash…

Only redeemable at his Company Store

Slavery of a different // calculated kind


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Hometown Smokin’

Coke ovens painting

Rows of beehive coke ovens dotted the hillside belching out black smoke. At night they looked like rows of jack-o-lanterns glowing orange on the hillsides above the mines. Coke is coal that is half burned to get the gasses out. When it is reburned in the steel mills, it burns much hotter than coal. Ovens burned day and night when I was a small boy, growing up in Masontown.

Masontown, Pennsylvania, nestled in the Pennsylvania Mountains, is about an hour from Pittsburgh and almost that far from Morgantown, WVA. The region around Masontown had rich bituminous coal deposits, with some veins up to nine feet thick. The town lay just above the Monongahela River, which transported the coal and coke on flat barges to the steel mills in Pittsburgh.

Around the town and along the river, were rows and rows of houses called patches. They were built by the coal company, along with a company store that sold just about everything. It was a very hard life and many people literally owed their soul to the company store.  Each patch had a coal mine and rows of block and brick ovens, where the coal was converted to coke and loaded on barges or train cars. Tennessee Ernie Ford’s song, Sixteen Tons, was about this kind of life.

Coke ovens // long gone

Black lungs residuals stay

Clean air // still they choke


Painting of Coke Ovens: Dwight L. Roth

Today we were asked by Mish, at d’Verse Poetry Pub, to write a Hai bun about our hometown. This includes up to three paragraphs of pros followed by a Haiku that compliments the pros. This is my story.

You can look up the song Sixteen Tons on YouTube.