The Devil And The Tugman                                  Gezz Overington

Come listen to me, lads, and a tale I’ll tell to you,
You might think it rather strange, me lads, but every word is true,
It happened on the Kellingley in 1962,
When the Devil paid a call upon that brave and gallant crew.

Chorus: Stoke up your boiler, lads, don’t let the pressure fall;
We never will forget the day the devil paid a call.

The night was coming on and the stars began to glow,
The crew were supping tea in the cabin down below,
When on that cabin door there came a rat-tat-tat,
And there stood the devil in his three-cornered hat.

Now our skipper, Goff, he were a friendly sort of chap,
He said, “Come right on in, me lad, and hang up thi cap.
Now then, Mr Devil, what can we do for you ?
Would you like a mug of tea or a nice plate of stew ?”

The Devil spoke these very words, the truth to you I’ll tell,
“There ain’t no bloody coal left to stoke the fires of Hell!”
We could see by his face it really weren’t a joke,
So we offered to let him take away a couple of bags of coke.

“Thanks all the same, me lads, but it’s not enough you know;
It won’t keep ’em at it very long shoveling down below.”
The last that we saw of our old pal, Nic,
He was knocking on Lord Robens’ door with his three-pronged stick.

Now. he travelled England far and he travelled England wide;
He couldn’t get no coal, me lads, no matter how he tried.
The last that we heard he’d spent a lot of brass,
He’s had Hell converted on to North Sea gas.



While this is one of Gezz’s imaginative tongue-in-cheek songs it is also having a sly dig at Lord Robens, Chairman of the National Coal Board, who closed down many of the pits in his ten years in office from 1961 to 1971. The reference to ‘stoke up your boiler’ is a little poetic licence. The steam tugs which Goff crewed finished in 1959 when they were replaced by the diesel tugs.