Rolling Mill Blues



Here’s a pretty song, that has tinges of longing in it, the way the nice chords descend. It’s by Peg Leg Howell, who’s definitely among the lesser known of country blues singers.

Right off the bat, one interesting part about this song is how the chord progression just falls really naturally from the starting 12th fret barre, to slowly falling downwards to the 4 chord and back to the 1 chord. The chord shapes too are pretty different, like the 2nd chord that gets played after that 12th fret barre. They’re chords in Vestapol tuning that you really might not see anywhere else haha, other than his songs, but they’re good to know because they sound nice.

To be honest, I made a mistake in this video, saying that the song doesn’t get played with alternating basslines consitently - it does have basslines consistently, only not in the intro - so this lesson is most accurate for the intro. In any case, to throw in the basslines the way he plays it for the rest of the song (and hopefully this is clear over text and not video) is to play (Beat 1) 4th string as it happens to be fretted with the normal chords (Beat 2) 3rd string as it happens to be fretted with the normal chords (Beat 3) 5th string open, and (Beat 4) 3rd string as it happens to be fretted with the normal chords.

Hope you enjoy this one! It’s really nice with that descending chord line and his booming voice to tie the song together.

Standard — EADGBE
Capo Position
Original Recording
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Song Lyrics

The rolling mill, baby, done broke down
They're shipping no iron to town

The longest train I ever seen
Ran 'round Joe Brown's coal mine

The engine was at the Four Mile Hill
And the cab had never left town

Corinne, Corinne, my lovin' Corinne
Honey, let your bangs grow long

The train rolled of the tracks last night
And killed my lovin' Corinne

Her head was found in the driving wheel
And her body have never been seen

I didn't bring nothing to this old world
And I won't carry nothing away

It was late last night when my honey come home
I heard a rapping on her door

She got up in her stocking feet
Went tipping across the floor

Tell me, pretty mama, what evil have I done
To make you treat me so?

I've killed no man and I've robbed no train
And I've done no hangin' crime

The lastest words I heard my baby say
"What more, babe, can I do?"

"I've done more for you than I'll ever do again
Goodbye, my love, goodbye"

Year of Recording
10 April 1929
Atlanta, Georgia
Record Label
Columbia 14438-D

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