The Discman Part Deux

After reading an article in Rolling Stone magazine, “Between the Bars: 20 Great Songs About Prison,” you know what I did. “OK Discman, offa the toppa your noggin’…Name the best prison song of all time!”
http://www.rollingstone.com/music/pictures/between-the-bars-20-great-songs-about-prison-20140512

This time a reply was received from the Discman so soon it left me wondering if he, too, had read the article and had an answer prepared for me!
“Here’s my top 25 plus some Honorable Mentions:

1) Folsom Prison Blues (Johnny Cash)

2) Jail House Rock (Elvis Pressley)

3) Ellis Unit One (Steve Earl)

4) You Never Even Call Me By My Name (David Allan Coe)

5) Hurricane (Bob Dylan)

6) Wichita Jail (Charlie Daniels Band)

7) Fish in the Jailhouse (Tom Waits)

8) Care of Cell 44 (The Zombies)
9) Jailbreak (Thin Lizzy)

10) 30 Days in the Hole (Humble Pie)

11) I’m In the Jailhouse Now (Webb Pierce)

12) Life in Prison (Merle Haggard)

13) County Jail Blues (Eric Clapton)

14) Jailer (J.J. Cale)

15) Riot in Cell Block #9 (Johnny Winter)

16) Prison Blues (Guitar Slim)

17) Judge Boushay Blues (Furry Lewis)

18) Cincinatti Jail (Ronnie Earl)

19) Maxwell’s Silver Hammer (The Beatles)

20) Murder in My Heart for the Judge (Moby Grape)

21) Give My Love to Rose (Johnny Cash)

22) Prison Trilogy (Joan Baez)

23) Christmas in Prison (John Prine)

24) 25 Minutes to Go (Johnny Cash)

25) I Got Stripes (Johnny Cash)

Honorable Mention:

Good Morning Judge (Furry Lewis)

30 Days in Jail (Bessie Smith)

Jail House Blues (Bessie Smith)

Death Cell Blues (Blind Willie McTell)

The Cell (Leslie West)

What a Lowdown Place this Jailhouse Is (Blind Blake)

Prison Bound (Sonny Boy Williamson & Memphis Slim)

Tijuana Jail (Kingston Trio)

Go To Jail (R.L. Burnside)

The Wall (Johnny Cash)

Greystone Chapel (Johnny Cash)

Rusty Cage (Johnny Cash)

The Cage (Elton John)

Doin’ My Time (Johnny Cash & Marty Stuart)

Weighted Down (Skip Spence)”

The man knows his music! A little later another email arrived from the Man of the Disc, “You should take a listen to Ellis Unit One by Steve Earl – it’s a haunting song about capital punishment and the electric chair told from the perspective of a jailer guarding murder row.”
chambiz

To which I replied,
“I have and it is…I’m a HUGE fan of Steve Earl. I’ve caught him on Austin City Limits and various other programs on the tube…”
To which he replied, “Yeah I’m with ya – LOVE Steve Earle.”

After informing the post had been published, he sent me this:
Cool!

One of the benefits of the internet is virtually unlimited space – there are no arbitrary restrictions like you have with printed media…

On another note, I was listening to Disc #190 yesterday and ran into a great Jail song I neglected to include on my list: Trudy by the CDB off the outstanding 1975 album Fire On the Mountain.

Definitely would have been in the Top 10, as it combines Jail and Poker.

I assume you know what a “mechanic” is at the card table – it’s somebody who is very good at shuffling/dealing to give himself (or somebody else) specific cards (i.e. CHEATING). A good mechanic is always good at “base-dealing” (i.e. dealing from the bottom of the deck…)

Now Johnny Lee Walker was a card mechanic…

and how good is this lyric:

Then I took off a running like a motorcycle
Heard the bullets whining and sirens wail
But it took half the cops in Dallas County
Just to put one coon-ass boy in jail

“Trudy”

Call up Trudy on the telephone
Send a letter in the mail
Tell her I’m hung up in Dallas
And they won’t let me outta this jail

And if she asks you how I’m fairing
Tell her I’m just about to lose my mind
Worried about old Johnny Lee Walker
And the girl I left behind

Now Johnny Lee Walker was a card mechanic
Had a hand for trouble and a eye for cash
Luckiest man in Dallas County
He had a gold watch chain and a black mustache

And he loved his whiskey and he loved his women
Drove a big long Cadillac limosine
Kept a big fine fancy townhouse in Dallas
And a hotel suite in New Orleans

Carried a switchblade knife in his left hip pocket
And a .44 hog leg up under his coat
Cut you down in a New York minute
If he catch you cheating that was all she wrote

So call up Trudy on the telephone
Send her a letter in the mail
Tell her I’m hung up in Dallas
And they won’t let me outta this jail

If she asks you how I’m fairing
Tell her I’m just about to lose my mind
Worried about old Johnny Lee Walker
And the girl I left behind

I just got to town last Friday evening
Sure as hell didn’t mean to stay
I was on my way back to Louisiana
Had a powerful thirst and six months pay

I met a peroxide blonde in a bar on D-ville
I was flying high and feeling mean
Poured down a bottle and a half of red eye
I dropped 35 dollars in the slot machine

And the boys in the back was dealing 7 card
I set down and won me a 110
I was raking in chips like Grant took Richmond
Till big Johnny Lee come a strolling in

He ripped off the table like a 707
Pretty soon he done won all of my bread
I accused him of cheating he reached for a pistol
I grabbed a chair and went upside of his head

Then I took off a running like a motorcycle
Heard the bullets whining and sirens wail
But it took half the cops in Dallas County
Just to put one coon-ass boy in jail

So call up Trudy on the telephone
Send her a letter in the mail
Tell her I’m hung up in Dallas
And they won’t let me outta this jail

And if she asks you how I’m fairing
Tell her I’m just about to lose my mind
Worried about old Johnny Lee Walker
And the girl I left behind

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