1976 saw the release of this curio – a health and safety 7 inch single produced by the National Coal Board (this may be the sole release of NCB Records), where the unlikely figure of Max Bygraves – who I suspect has never been down a coal mine in his life – sings a jaunty ditty telling miners that “common sense saves accidents, do it the safety way”. he’s backed by the Grimethorpe Colliery Band – sadly the only collaboration from these giants of the entertainment world.
Singalong fans will be thrilled to know that the lyrics appear on the back cover, and include gems like “Unless the roof’s supported / it’s odds on it will fall / And if you’re underneath it / it’s not very nice at all”, which frankly sounds a bit of an understatement. The lyrics were by Coal News competition winner Jack Birchall, administrave officer at Lancashire’s Bickenshaw Colliery. The bouncy music is by Ron Goodwin.
According to the sleeve notes, “the special sing-along style of Max Bygraves gives the whole arrangement hit parade appeal”. An ambitious boast, and this single didn’t trouble the charts, though copies continue to litter the charity shops of mining town to this day (which is where I found my copy).