Perhaps more than any type of other song, “Folsom jail Blues” cemented Johnny Cash’s standing as the outlaw nation archetype. Back he never ever actually go time in the California… read More 
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I hear the train a comin', it's rojo 'round the bendAnd ns ain't seen the sunshine since I don't recognize whenI'm stuck in Folsom prison, and also time keeps draggin' onBut that train keeps a rollin' on under to mountain AntoneWhen ns was just a baby my mama called me, "SonAlways be a an excellent boy, don't ever play v guns"But i shot a man in Reno just to watch him dieWhen ns hear that whistle blowing, ns hang mine head and cryI gambling there's wealthy folks eating in a an elaborate dining carThey're most likely drinkin' coffee and also smoking huge cigarsWell I understand I had actually it coming, I know I can't it is in freeBut those people keep a-movin'And that's what tortures meWell if they freed me from this prisonIf the railroad train to be mineI gambling I'd move it top top a small farther down the lineFar native Folsom prison, that's where I want to stayAnd I'd let that lonesome whistle punch my blues away
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Perhaps much more than any other song, “Folsom prison Blues” cemented Johnny Cash’s standing as the outlaw country archetype. Although he never actually go time in the California jail for which it is named, songs like this and also his live shows for inmates made that an symbol of reckless bad-assery. The song’s title is a clever recommendation to two species of Blues: the song’s genre and also the blue Folsom prison uniforms.

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Cash created “Folsom jail Blues” while stationed in Germany through the Air force in 1952. He stated he he was motivated by a crime drama the was played because that the troops top top base referred to as Inside The walls of Folsom Prison. “It was a violent movie,” psychic Cash. “And I simply wanted to write a song that would tell what I believed it would be prefer in prison.”

German poster for the film:


The track was likewise heavily affected (some would say plagiarized) through “Crescent City Blues”, originally recorded by Beverly Mahr and written by she husband Gordon Jenkins, who managed to win a settlement from Cash in 1969.

The tune combines elements from two famous folk genres, the train song and also the prison song, both of which Cash would proceed to usage for the remainder of his career. While the first release of the track was in 1955, the 1968 At Folsom Prison variation is a rare instance of a live track which is considered much more definitive than its studio-recorded counterpart.

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Cash’s original 1955 sunlight Studios solitary release peaked in ~ #4, but the 1968 version videotaped live in former of detainees went come #1 on the Billboard country chart and became one of Cash’s signature songs. ~ above the live record the prisoners can be heard cheering after the “I shooting a man in Reno” line. Their cheers were added in post-production: in reality, the detainees hesitated come cheer the track out of are afraid of penalty from the guards.