The Factory Lad


Turning steel how do you feel

As in the chuck you spin?

If you felt like me you’d roll right out

And never go back in

When I wake up in the morning and dawn’s as black as night

And me mother’s shouting up the stairs and you know she’s winning the fight

So I'd best venture out of bed, me lads, for you know it’s getting late

It’s down the stairs and up the street and through the factory gates

It's early in the morning as I squeeze through the gate

And as I clock on, me bell will ring, eight hours is me fate

And it’s off with me coat all damp and cold and it’s “Right, lads” is the cry

With one eye on the clock and the others on me lathe, oh, I wish that time would fly

Now the gaffer’s walking down the shop and so it’s work I must

With the grinding, groaning, spinning metal running hot around the dust

And it’s oft-times thinking of me girl as we’re walking through the park

I’m gazing on that turning steel and a million flying sparks

Now old Tom Black, last Friday, his final bell did ring

With his hair as white as his face beneath and his sunken oily skin

And he made a speech and he got paid off for a lifetime working here

And as I shook his hand I felt I’d labored forty years

So when the time it comes at last for me to leave this place

I’ll walk out past the charge-hand’s desk, and I’ll never turn me face

Out of the gate into the sun, and I’ll leave it all behind

With one regret, for the mates I left to carry on the grind.

So I sang when I was young and thought me life was hard

But now the mill has been shut down and grass grows 'round the yard

All me mates are gone and it won't be long 'til I as well must go

To find more work but nevermore this place I used to know.

Modified to match as sung by Fred from Green River (written by Colin Dryden)