F Fsus F C (open D string/then back on 2nd fret) Joe Hill come over from Sweden shores F Fsus F C Looking for some work to do F C Am And the Statue of Liberty waved him by C (Open D string/place finger on G st. 2nd fret/return) As Joe come a sailing through, Joe Hill C G7 C As Joe come a sailing through. Oh his clothes were coarse and his hopes were high As he headed for the promised land And it took a few weeks on the out-of-work streets Before he began to understand Before he began to understand And Joe got hired by a bowery bar sweeping up the saloon As his rag would sail over the baroom rail Sounded like he whistled on a tune You could almost hear him whistling on a tune And Joe rolled on from job to job From the docks to the railroad line And no matter how hungry the hand that wrote In his letters he was always doing fine In his letters he was always doing fine Oh, the years went by like the sun goin' down slowly turn the page And when Joe looked back at the sweat upon his tracks He had nothing to show but his age He had nothing to show but his age So he headed out for the California shore There things were just as bad So he joined the Industrial Workers of the World 'Cause, The union was the only friend he had 'Cause, The union was the only friend he had Now the strikes were bloody and the strikes were black as hard as they were long In the dark of night Joe would stay awake and write In the morning he would raise them with a song In the morning he would raise them with a song And he wrote his words to the tunes of the day To be passed along the union vine And the strikes were led and the songs were spread And Joe Hill was always on the line Yes Joe Hill was always on the line Now in Salt Lake City a murder was made There was hardly a clue to find Oh, the proof was poor, but the sheriff was sure Joe was the killer of the crime That Joe was the killer of the crime Joe raised his hands but they shot him down he had nothing but guilt to give It's a doctor I need and they left him to bleed He made it 'cause he had the will to live Yes, He made it 'cause he had the will to live Then the trial was held in a building of wood And there the killer would be named And the days weighed more than the cold copper ore Cause he feared that he was being framed Cause he found out that he was being framed Oh, strange are the ways of western law Strange are the ways of fate For the government crawled to the mine owner's call That the judge was appointed by the state Yes, The judge was appointed by the state Oh, Utah justice can be had But not for a union man And Joe was warned by summer early morn That there'd be one less singer in the land There'd be one less singer in the land Now William Spry was Governor Spry And a life was his to hold On the last appeal, fell a governor's tear May the lord have mercy on your soul May the lord have mercy on your soul Even President Wilson held up the day But even he would fail For nobody heard the soul searching words Of the soul in the Salt Lake City jail Of the soul in the Salt Lake City jail For 36 years he lived out his days And he more than played his part For his songs that he made, he was carefully paid With a rifle bullet buried in his heart With a rifle bullet buried in his heart Yes, they lined Joe Hill up against the wall Blindfold over his eyes It's the life of a rebel that he chose to live It's the death of a rebel that he died It's the death of a rebel that he died Now some say Joe was guilty as charged And some say he wasn't even there And I guess nobody will ever know 'Cause the court records all disappeared 'Cause the court records all disappeared Say wherever you go in this fair land In every union hall In the dusty dark these words are marked In between all the cracks upon the wall In between all the cracks upon the wall It's the very last line that Joe Will wrote When he knew that his days were through "Boys, this is my last and final will Good luck to all of you Good luck to all of you"
Joe Hill was an IWW (a.k.a. wobblies) member who wrote "topical" songs, much as the above lyrics say. He was executed in Utah in 1915.
This song uses the same tune as Woody Guthrie's Tom Joad, which, in turn, came from an older song called John Hardy.
Chords supplied by James Barnett and updated by John Dachik, who said: ``This isn't exact, but you can play along with the recording pretty easy this way.''Last modified 19 Jan 02 by trent