Black Bird

from by Andy Revkin

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about

A ballad inspired by the true tale of a miner's death foretold.

lyrics

That Dreadful Bird lyrics and music © Andrew Revkin

Black bird sits on our windowsill
In a cage of twigs and twine.
My sweet Marie says she’ll never set it free.
I’ll tell you the reason why. I’ll tell you the reason why.
One morning as we woke before the dawn
A fluttering sound we heard.
Circling round our kitchen lamp,
There came that dreadful bird. There came that dreadful bird.
My sweet Marie grabbed hold of me,
Said don’t go to the mine.
When a blackbird flies before the dawn
By dusk someone will die. By dusk someone will die.
I said my dear, please have no fear.
I’ll be home by suppertime.
But a coal car crushed the life from me
In the darkness of that mine, In the darkness of that mine.
Oh winged death why’d you come for me
Before it was my time.
You took me from my family,
Left nothing but tears behind. Left nothing but tears behind.
My sweet Marie she caged that bird
So no one else will hear
The flutter of black wings at dawn.
No one should know that fear. No one should know that fear.
Oh winged death why’d you come for me
Before it was my time.
You took me from my family,
Left nothing but tears behind. Left nothing but tears behind.

credits

from A Very Fine Line, released November 28, 2013
Black Bird was initially recorded by Joe Johnson as a solo live performance by me at a Cold Spring songwriters’ circle, with Ken Veltz providing light percussion on cajon. I invited the great fiddler Bruce Molsky and bassist Mark Murphy to enrich it in the studio.

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about

Andy Revkin Garrison, New York

Best known for his environmental journalism and books, Andy Revkin has long been a performing songwriter (here seen on the Clearwater; photo by Susan English).

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