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~ ONEY ~

This is one of the few songs that I have actually written for a particular Artist. Larry Butler came to me and said he had a chance to produce Johnny Cash if he could find him a Hit Song.
Years before, I had worked for the Florida East Coast Railroad shops and had a foreman named Frank Oney that stood over and pushed his men to the point of slavery. I thought a song about him and what I'd liked to have done to him would be right down Cash's alley. I wrote it and took it to Butler. He recorded it on Johnny Cash, and I got letters from the Wall Street Journal requesting the lyrics on it to print in their paper. They said it was the first song they had ever heard about the working man. This was a Number 1, BMI award winning record, that I thought Johnny Cash performed to perfection!


After 29 long years of workin' in this shop
With Oney standing over me
Today when that old whistle blows
I'll check in all my gear an I'll retire
The superintendent just dropped by
And said they'd planned my little get together
Then he said I'd never made it
If old Oney hadn't held me to the fire

I've seen him in my dreams at night
Then woke up in the morning feeling tired
Old Oney don't remember when I came here
How he tried to get me fired
With his folded hands hehind him
Every morning Oney waited at the gate
Where he'd rant and rave like I'd comitted murder
Clocking in five minutes late

But today they'll gather round me
Like I've seen em' do when any man retires
Then old Oney's gonna tell me
From now on I'm free to do what I desire
He'll present me with that little old gold watch
They give a man at times like this
But there's one thing he's not countin' on
Today's the day I give old Oney his...

I've been workin' buildin' muscles
Oney's just been standin' round and getting soft
And today about four thirty
I'll make up for every good night's sleep I've lost
When I'm gone I'll be remembered
As the working man that put his point across
WIth a right hand full of knuckles
Cause today I show old Oney, who's the boss

What time is it? Four thirty?
Hey Oney, Oney......
Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha

(Words and Music by JERRY CHESNUT)
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