Friday, April 22, 2011

R.I.P. Hazel Dickens

I just learned about the death of one of the finest, most authentic and most under-rated country singers ever -- Hazel Dickens -- has died at the age of 75 in Washington, D.C. where she has lived for several years.

From The Washington Post:

Ms. Dickens grew up in dire poverty in West Virginia’s coal country and developed a raw, keening style of singing that was filled with the pain of her hardscrabble youth. She supported herself in day jobs for many years before she was heard on the soundtrack of the 1976 Oscar-winning documentary about coal mining, ”Harlan County, U.S.A.”
Her uncompromising songs about coal mining, such as “Black Lung” and “They Can’t Keep Us Down,” became anthems, and she was among the first to sing of the plight of women trying to get by in the working-class world.

I'll remember Hazel on The Santa Fe Opry tonight (10 p.m. Mountain Time on KSFR. Until then, here's a video of a Hazel song.

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