We have heard this week that Hazel Dickens has passed away. Hazel had been suffering bad health these past few months during the US Winter.
Described as a quintessential mountain singer and daughter of a Baptist preacher who hauled timber for the coal mines, Hazel was perhaps best known her songs of coal mines, working-class rights and women’s rights. Her uncompromising songs about coal mining, such as Black Lung and They’ll Never 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. Although a native of West Virginia, Hazel was a longtime Washington DC resident and became a key influence on such later singing stars as Emmylou Harris, Allison Krauss and the Judds.
The video below provides a snapshot of her life and her one-of-a-kind voice.
The New York Times has published Hazel’s obituary.