“The Saddest Face in the Mining Town”


A miner takes leave of his girl, noting that tomorrow they will be married, He goes down in the mine, which caves in. The bells, instead of tolling for a wedding, toll for his funeral. Years later, his body is found, and the white-haired bride knows it


The deft work of this song is impressive: The contrast between the "fairest face in the mining town" and the "saddest face in the mining town,' and an overall air of understatement, make it especially poignant. Logsdon is reminded of an old ballad, but it strikes me as more parlor poetry (though exceptionally good of its kind). We might note that the idea of the wedding bell that instead rings a funeral note is hardly unique to this song -- A. E. Housman used it, with equal brilliance and images even more spare, in "Bredon Hill." - RBW


  1. Logsdon 58, pp. 265-267, "The Saddest Face in the Mining Town" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Roud #10108
  3. BI, Logs058


Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1976 (collected by Logsdon from Riley Neal)
Found in: US(SW)