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June 15, 2019

“The Bells of Rhymney”

I’ve loved “The Bells of Rhymney” since it stood out hauntingly on my first Byrds album when I was about 14. Like any good well-rounded Indian Hill High kid, I looked up its traditional roots in my teenage years. And it meant more and more to me the more I get to hear great church bells of new cities. Anyway, the late folk great Pete Seeger borrowed the lyrics from either the Welsh or the Brits. And Jim-Roger McGuinn got it from old Pete. Some think the song is the first folk rock. I think it’s great music and lyrics. I’ll play the Byrds version later. And since I come from a musical tribe (both Holdens and Hulls) I would love to hear my talented cousin songwriter-musician-singer Diane Healey perform this. Later I’ll come back here and post the song that appears on that 1965 album.

“The Bells of Rhymney”

Oh, what will you give me?
Say the sad bells of Rhymney

Is there hope for the future?
Say the brown bells of Merther

Who made the mine open?
Say the black bells of Rhonda

And who killed the miner?
Say the grim bells of Lina

Who aband' us in court?
Say the bells of Newport

All will be well if-if-if-if-if,
Say the green bells of Cardiff

Why so worried, sister why?
Say the silver bells of Whye
And what will you give me?
Say the sad bells of Rhymney

Oh, what will you give me?
Say the sad bells of Rymney
Is there hope for the future?
Say the brown bells of Merther

Who made the mine open?
Say the black bells of Rhonda
And who killed the miner?
Say the grim bells of Lina

Songwriters: Idris Davies / Pete Seeger

The Bells of Rhymney lyrics © T.R.O. Inc.

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Posted by JD Hull at June 15, 2019 12:25 PM

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