Jones Mill was composed by Larry Sandberg, a guitarist and songwriter who deserves to be better known. As soon as I heard it I knew I wanted to sing it, playing, as Larry did,  in the key of B on the guitar with no capo. The signature guitar phrase suggested itself right from the start. 

Jones Mill 

(Larry Sandberg) 

My daddy worked up on Jones Mill 
My daddy worked on the yard 
My daddy worked the crane 'till Mama ran away with another man
After that Daddy didn’t work so hard 

Daddy sat there thinkin’ ‘bout Mama 
Daddy sat there drinkin’ all the time 
Spending all night down at Keller’s bar 
Spending all the money he worked so hard for 

And he never did come home till closing time 
So I left my home to make my way out in the world 
Down the road to see what come to pass 
Down to Tulsa I met a man 
He had a gun and I had a plan 
No one gets hurt and we make a little money real fast 
And he just laughed 

Went back home and waited by Keller’s back door 
Waited for Keller an hour past closing time 
He saw the gun and he ran for his car 
He never should have run ‘cause he didn’t get far 
We took the money and left the old man dyin’ 

I rode a truck clear across the state line 
Got a room in Joplin, thought I was doin’ fine 
I was out of luck 
They picked me up 
They knew my name and how I looked 
And I think I’ll never see my home again 

My daddy worked up on Jones Mill 
My daddy worked on the yard 
I swear I never seen the green 
On a ten dollar bill till I was 16 
It’s a hard life, Lord it’s hard 
It’s a hard life, Lord it’s hard