COTTON MILL MAN
by Joe Langston
*****************************
I was born in the shadow
of a cotton mill smokestack
down in Alabama's bottom land
where my Grandpappy broke his back
pullin' on a cotton sack
to raise my pa to be a cotton mill man.

I've got lots of memories
of government commodities
when all our meat came in a can
while the bossman on the hill
bought his steak and ate his fill
and called upon to clean his grill
a cotton mill man.

Lord, don't let my son grow up
to be a sweaty cotton mill man.

I grew up in the gloom
of a cotton mill weave room
with weaver's glue and callouses
all over my hands.
I didn't have a honeymoon
I couldn't leave my cotton loom
I swore my son would never be
a cotton mill man.
I watched my woman cry
when our baby daughter died
I couldn't make her understand
why a doctor never came
the lack of money was to blame
and I cussed the day that I became
a cotton mill man.

Lord, don't let my son grow up
to be a sweaty cotton mill man.

The company taught us all the rules
on how to work with spinning spools
so the bosses' son could drive a big black sedan.
The company owned the houses
and the compnay owned the grammar school
you'll never see an educated cotton mill man.
They figure you don't need to learn
anything but how to earn
the money that you pay upon demand
to the general store they own
or else they'll take away your home
and give it to some other homeless
cotton mill man.

Lord, don't let my son grow up
to be a sweaty cotton mill man.
(repeat)