Ballad

The Iconic ‘Folsom Prison Blues’: Johnny Cash’s Rebel Anthem

Did you know?

“Folsom Prison Blues” is a classic country song written and originally performed by the iconic American musician Johnny Cash. Released in 1955, it has become one of Cash’s most famous and enduring songs. The song is known for its unique blend of country and rockabilly music styles and its vivid storytelling lyrics.

Here are some key details about the song:

Release Date: “Folsom Prison Blues” was first recorded and released by Johnny Cash in 1955. It later appeared on his 1957 album “With His Hot and Blue Guitar.”

Lyrics: The song’s lyrics are a first-person narrative from the perspective of a man imprisoned in Folsom Prison. He expresses his longing for freedom and his regret for the actions that led him to be incarcerated. The lyrics also mention the sound of a passing train, which serves as a symbol of freedom and escape.

Signature Line: The famous opening line, “I hear the train a-comin’,” is one of the most recognizable phrases in country music.

Impact: “Folsom Prison Blues” has had a significant impact on the country music genre and has been covered by numerous artists. It also played a pivotal role in Johnny Cash’s career, helping establish him as a prominent figure in country music.

Live at Folsom Prison: One of the most iconic performances of this song occurred on January 13, 1968, when Johnny Cash performed it live at Folsom State Prison in California. This live recording became immensely popular and was later released as an album, “Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison,” which contributed to Cash’s resurgence in the music industry.

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Legacy: “Folsom Prison Blues” remains a beloved and enduring song in the country music canon, often associated with Johnny Cash’s outlaw image and his connection to the lives of prisoners. It continues to be celebrated by fans and musicians alike, solidifying its place in the history of American music.

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Lyrics

“Folsom Prison Blues”

I hear the train a comin’
It’s rolling round the bend
And I ain’t seen the sunshine since I don’t know when
I’m stuck in Folsom prison, and time keeps draggin’ on
But that train keeps a rollin’ on down to San Antone

When I was just a baby my mama told me
“Son, always be a good boy, don’t ever play with guns”
But I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die
When I hear that whistle blowing, I hang my head and cry

I bet there’s rich folks eating in a fancy dining car
They’re probably drinkin’ coffee and smoking big cigars
Well I know I had it coming, I know I can’t be free
But those people keep a movin’
And that’s what tortures me

Well if they freed me from this prison
If that railroad train was mine
I bet I’d move it on a little farther down the line
Far from Folsom prison, that’s where I want to stay
And I’d let that lonesome whistle blow my blues away

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