Singer boasts of his abilities as a coal miner, saying he can hew more coal than anyone in the region, and if anyone doubts him, they should check out his abilities -- "and haven't I often proved it in the bar-room (public bar)"
This song, written by an American anthracite miner, took up residence in the mining districts of northern England and entered the tradition almost instantaneously. For once we have an idea of the connection; apparently the person who carried it across the water was Yankee Jim Roberts, an anarchist miner from Kentucky who settled in Co. Durham and became a union activist. The song also became part of the tradition in its native Pennsylvania, and was collected there by the Archive of Folk Song. - PJS