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Song Name: Working In The Coal Mine AKA  Working In A Coalmine

Artist: DEVO (cover song)

Appears On:

Run Time: 2:48 (single version)

Year Released: 1981

Years Performed: [1] [2] 1981 - 1982, 1988

Writing Credits: Allen Toussaint

Sung By: Gerald V. Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh

Alternate Versions: "uncensored" version (unreleased)

Demo Versions:

Working In A Coalmine (3:13), (1977) on Hardcore Vol. 2 (titled Working In The Coal Mine on 2013 re-release )
A demo called "Coal Mine" by Booji Boy on a September 1980 broadcast of the Dr. Demento radio show. [1]

Song Connections: Toil Is Stupid (similar topic)

Trivia / Info:Edit

  • Musician Allen Toussaint wrote and produced the original Lee Dorsey hit in 1966. Toussaint's 1970 version appeared on his album "From a Whisper to a Scream" (released on Kent Records). Other bands such as Booker T. & the MG's had been covering it since the mid-1960's.
  • This cover song was considered for DNFTF and recorded as a demo for FOC , but was found to not fit that album's sound.  It was prevented from inclusion on NuTra by WB. Because WITCM received radio play after inclusion in the Heavy Metal movie soundtrack, it was released as a single by WB. The single was then also packaged with the NuTra LP. Some reissues of NuTra add this song as a bonus track.
  • Alternately titled Working In A Coalmine on Virgin releases .
  • Mark Mothersbaugh said that it was intended to be a deconstruction of a classic song along the same lines as Satisfaction: "It was a song that we always liked, we thought that Allen Toussaint had written a masterpiece, so to us it was like another Satisfaction; we thought it was a song that withstood the test of time and was still applicable even today."
  • Working In The Coal Mine was a minor pop hit both for Devo and for the Heavy Metal Soundtrack. In a 1981 radio interview from New York  M. Mothersbaugh claimed that "Without even seeing the movie we knew we weren't going to like it. I think that nobody in the band has ever seen that movie."
  • Gerald Casale refers to an unreleased "uncensored" version of this song in a twitter post . In a later reddit post he says that what was censored will "never be revealed."

Onstage Behavior:

  • Mark and Jerry usually add some onstage banter
  • Performed to playback on Australian TV show Countdown on an elaborate 2-level coal mine set. G.V.C. and Mark sing on their knees on top of the set. Alan swings a pick-axe, Bob1 shovels and Bob2 carts a wheelbarrow back and forth YouTube
They all stop and look up when the deep voice says "Lord - I am so tired..." G.V.C. raises his hands in amazement and Mark poses with "praying hands"
  • Also performed to audio playback on Fridays with the band as miners on the less elaborate 2-level set used on tour YouTube At the fade-out Jerry and Mark talk --
Jerry: Let's get out of here
Mark: Hey Jerry, where is that coal mine?
Jerry: Well - that coal mine could be right in front of you, ya never know
  • On 1988 tour DEVO sit on metal stools for the first songs of the set, including WITCM. G.V.C. shakes a maraca in his left hand to accompany the sound of Bob2's synthesized maracas, which open and close the song. Mark plays a keyboard on his lap (And, of course, Bob1 plays guitar and David plays drums)
1988-11-03 show YouTube
Instead of "I am so tired" Jerry says "...I am so De-volved!"
On the next verse Mark asks "say, how you doing Jerry?" Jerry replies "Marky, I am so tired. How long can this go on?"
After WITCM, Jerry says "O.K., enough of this stuff spuds, lets go to work!" DEVO walk offstage, the stools are removed, and DEVO walk back on wearing the happy/sad logo T-shirts to play Happy Guy 

Lyrics:

Well I been workin’ in a coal mine
Goin’ down, down
Workin’ in a coal mine
whew! About to slip down
Well I been workin’ in a coal mine
Goin’ down, down
Workin’ in a coal mine
Whew! About to slip down
Five o’clock in the mornin’
I’m up before the sun
When my work day is over
I’m too tired for havin’ fun
I been workin’ in a coal mine
Goin’ down, down
Workin’ in a coal mine
Whew! About to slip down
Workin’ in a coal mine
Goin’ down, down
Workin’ in a coal mine
Whew! About to slip down
Lord I am so tired
How long can this go on?
Well, I been workin’ in a coal mine
Goin’ down, down
Workin’ in a coal mine
Whew! About to slip down
Workin’ in a coal mine
Goin’ down, down
Workin’ in a coal mine
Whew! About to slip down
Five o'clock in the mornin’
I’m up before the sun
When my work day is over
I’m too tired for havin’ fun
I been workin’ in a coal mine
Goin’ down, down
Workin’ in a coal mine
Whew! About to slip down
Workin’ in a coal mine
Goin’ down, down
Workin’ in a coal mine
Whew! About to slip down
Lord I am so tired
How long can this go on?
I been workin’, goin’, workin’
Whew! About to slip down

Original Lyrics: (As sung by Lee Dorsey) YouTube

Working in the coal mine
Going down down down
Working in the coal mine
Whoops, about to slip down
Working in the coal mine
Going down down down
Working in the coal mine
Whoops, about to slip down
Five o'clock in the morning
I'm already up and gone
Lordy I'm so tired
How long can this go on
That I'm working in the coal mine
Going down down down
Working in the coal mine
Whoops about to slip down
Working in the coal mine
Going
down down down
Working
in the coal mine
Whoops, about to slip down
'Cause I make a little money
Hauling coal by the ton,
But when Saturday rolls around
I'm too tired for having fun
Too tired for havin'
I'm just working in the coal mine
Going down down down
Working in the coal mine
Whoops, about to slip down
Working
in the coal mine
Going
down down down
Working
in the coal mine
Whoops, about to slip down
(Spoken) Lord, I'm so tired. How long can this go on?
That I'm working in the coal mine
Going down down down
Working
in the coal mine
Whoops, about to slip down
Working
in the coal mine
Going
down down down
Working
in the coal mine
Oops, about to slip down
Five o'clock in the morning
I'm already up and gone
Lordy I'm so tired
How long can this go on
That I'm working in the coal mine
Going down down down
Working in the coal mine
Whoops about to slip down
Working
in the coal mine
Going
down down down
Working
in the coal mine
Whoops, about to slip down
'Cause eager 'the morning
Hauling coal by the ton,
But when Saturday rolls around
I'm too tired for having fun
I'm just Working in the coal mine
Going down down down
Working in the coal mine
Whoops, about to slip down
Working
in the coal mine
Going
down down down
Working
in the coal mine
Whoops, about to slip down
(Spoken) Lord, I'm so tired.
(fade-out)

References:

  1. DEVO Live Guide. search for "workin' in a coal mine".
  2. DEVO Live Guide. search for "working in a coalmine".

External Links:

Working in a Coalmine (Releases) -- MusicBrainz
New Traditionalists: "Working in the Coal Mine" -- Wikipedia
Working in the Coal Mine -- Wikipedia


DEVO
Mark Mothersbaugh | Gerry Casale | Bob Mothersbaugh
Bob Lewis | Bob Casale | Jim Mothersbaugh | Alan Myers
David Kendrick | Josh Freese & Jeff Friedl | Josh Hager
Record Labels / Publishers
Booji Boy Records | Warner Brothers | Enigma | Devo, Inc. 
Stiff | Virgin | Rykodisk | Infinite Zero | Restless | Discovery | Rhino 
MVD Audio | The Orchard | Superior Viaduct | Futurismo
Production
Brian Eno | Ken Scott | Robert Margouleff | Roy Thomas Baker | DEVO 
The Teddybears | Greg Kurstin | Santi White | John King | John Hill | Mark Nishita 
Official Studio Albums
Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! (1978) | Duty Now For The Future (1979) | Freedom of Choice (1980) | New Traditionalists (1981) | oh, no! it's DEVO (1982) | Shout (1984) | Total DEVO (1988) | SmoothNoodleMaps (1990) | Something for Everybody   (2010)
Other Albums
Be Stiff EP (1977) | E-Z Listening Disc (1987) | Now It Can Be Told: DEVO at the Palace (1989) | Hardcore DEVO Vol. 1 74-77 (1990) | Hardcore DEVO Vol. 2 1974-1977 (1991) | DEVO Live: The Mongoloid Years (1992) | DEV-O Live (1999) | Recombo DNA (2000) | Live In Central Park (2004) | DEVO Live 1980 (2005) | New Traditionalists: Live 1981 Seattle (2012) | Something ELSE for Everybody  (2013) | Miracle Witness Hour  (2014) | Live at Max's Kansas City - November 15, 1977  (2014) | Butch Devo and the Sundance Gig  (2014) | Hardcore DEVO Live!  (2015)
Filmography
The Men Who Make The Music (1981) | Human Highway (1982) | We're All DEVO (1984) | The Complete Truth About De-Evolution (1993) | DEVO Live (2004) | DEVO Live In The Land Of The Rising Sun (2004) | DEVO Live 1980 (2005) | Hardcore DEVO Live!  (2015)
Related Articles
History | Bootlegs | Booji Boy | Devolution | Influence | The Wipeouters | Jihad Jerry & The Evildoers | Devo 2.0 | Akron, Ohio | Music Videos | Versions | Outfits

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