I learned this song at Philmont
Scout Ranch while at one of the mining camps. Its an easy song to play and sing, and I still remmeber it today as vividly as I did years ago.
The song was written by Merle Travis on his way home from his girlfriend's house on the back of an old envelope while parked under a street lamp. Merle's father was a coal miner, but Merele enlisted as part of the New Deal CCC. He eventualy ended up as a singer in California.
Some of the verses below may not be exactly what he wrote - they twist and turn as with any folk song. The verse The midnight, the morning only shows up in one location that I have found and may not be part of the original.
If you ever get this old coal dust in your blood, you're going to be a plain old coal miner the rest of your days.
Its a habit, sorta like chewin' tobacco.
Come and listen you fellows so young and do fine
And seek not your fortune in the dark, dreary mines
It will form as a habit and seep in your soul
'Til the blood in your veins run as black as the coal
It's dark as a dungeon and damp as the dew
Where the danger is double and the pleasures are few
Where the rain never falls and the sun never shines
It's dark as a dungeon way down in the mine
There's many a man that I've known in my day
Who lived just to labor
his whole life away
Like a fiend with his dope
and a drunkard
A man will have lust for the lure of the mine
The midnight, the morning, or the middle of the day
It's the same to the miner who labors away
Where the demons of the death often come by surprise
One fall of the slate and youare buried alive
I hope when I'm gone and the ages
My body will blacken and turn into coal
Then I'll look out the door of my heavenly home
And I'll pity the miners A-diggin' my bones