“Hard Times in the Mill (II)”


About bad conditions in the mills (e.g. "Ev'ry morning at half past five, You got to get up dead or alive"). The food is poor, money tight, "the boss is cussin' and the spinners cryin'." Chorus: "Hard times in the mill, my love, hard times in the mill."


This is obviously very similar to "Hard Times in the Mill (I)" -- but since the versions I've seen have different metrical patterns, and have no words in common except "hard times in," I tentatively classify them separately.

This version is recognized by shorter lines in the verse (see sample above) and the repeating chorus. - RBW

I'm not sure I'd split these two songs. The verses tend to be floaters (e.g., the "Barlow knife" one, which shows up in fiddle tunes), and the metrical differences aren't that big. I guess I'd want to see all the verses. There's a 1962 recording by Hedy West with the Barlow knife verse in it. - PJS

It's the usual problem of the ordinary versus the extreme versions. Sigh. - RBW

Cross references


  • Seena Helms, "Hard Times" (on HandMeDown2)


  1. Arnett, p. 145, "Hard Times in the Mill" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Greenway-AFP, p. 142, "Hard Times in the Mill" (1 text)
  3. Darling-NAS, pp. 369-370, "Hard Times in the Mill" (1 text)
  4. BI, Arn145


Author: Possibly Dorsey Dixon
Found in: US