The Longest Song Wiki

A traditional American trade union song. Mudcat attributes it to Charles Davies Tillman, but does not credit the original words to any particular author, and says it is “an 1890ish parody on Life is Like a Mountain Railway, ca. 1870”.

The song has been reworked by numerous famous folk artists throughout the years, including Dick Gaughan who repopularized it on his 1986 album "True and Bold." In his song archive, he notes that some of the lyrics were changed to make them more specific to the NUM Strike of 1984-85.

The Longest Johns sang it with El Pony Pisador both during their joint livestream in August 2018 and as a specific video release on Youtube.


These lyrics are based on the version performed by the Longest Johns in their video with El Pony Pisador, the original lyrics can be found here.

A miner's life is like a sailor's on board a ship to cross the waves
Every day his life's in danger, many ventures being brave
Watch the rocks, they're falling daily, careless miners always fail
Keep your hands upon your wages and your eyes upon the scale

Union miners, stand together
Do not heed the owner's tale
Keep your hands upon your wages
And your eyes upon the scale

{Andy and Dave leading}
You've been docked and docked again, boys, you've been loading two for one
What have you to show for working since your mining day is done?
Worn out boots and worn out miners, lungs of stone and children pale
(Keep your hands upon your wages and your eyes upon the scale)



{Martí y Miguel leading}
In conclusion, bear in memory, keep this password in your mind
Miners' strength cannot be broken when in union we combine
Stand up all and stand together, victory for you prevails
(So keep your hands upon your wages and your eyes upon the scale)

{Chorus, Instrumental muted}

{Chorus til Finish}