Song of the Day, January 4: He Fades Away by June Tabor

TaborAgainstFadesToday’s song is a stark portrait of loss. Alistair Hulett wrote He Fades Away as a tribute to the asbestos miners in Wittenoom, Australia. Once a thriving industrial city, it’s now a ghost town, rendered toxic by the impact of the mines. Hulett uses the story of a couple as a focus for that tragedy. The narrator is a woman who is watching her miner husband succumb to mesothelioma, the life seeping from him day by day.

June Tabor included the song on her 1994 album Against the Streams. With only regular collaborator Mark Emerson’s accordion accompanying her incomparable voice, she captures blend of mundane detail, legal wrangling, and quiet despair perfectly.

Enjoy this moving song today.

About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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