The Wall

Johnny Cash has a wealth of songs about prison, about misery, about murderers from the point of view of the person doing the killing, and about the depths of human suffering and sometimes redemption in the criminal justice system.

When I’m looking for inspiration before or during a trial I look for a song that tells my client’s story, that helps me understand my client, or, failing all else, just reminds me of why I can’t let my client go to prison.  Here’s a good one:

The Wall  Recorded by Johnny Cash  Written by Harlan Howard

There’s a lot of strange men in cell block ten
But the strangest of them all            C                                 G                        C                       G
Was a friend of mine who spent his time staring at the wall
C                       G
Staring at the wall

In his hand was a note that his gal had wrote
And it proves that crime don’t pay
C                            G                                    C                                   G
Was the very same gal he robbed and stole for naming her wedding day
C                                      G
Naming her wedding day

C                                    G
As he looked at the wall so strong
C                                     G
And tall I could hear him softly curse
C                                G                                     C                             G
Nobody at all ever climbed that wall but I’m gonna be the first
C                              G
I’m gonna be the first

Well the warden came by and said son don’t try
I’d hate to see you fall
C                                    G                                C                          G
There ain’t no doubt they’ll carry you out if you ever touch that wall
C                                      G
If you ever touch that wall

Well a year’s gone by since he made his try
But I can still recall
C                                     G                                C                            G
How hard he tried and the way he died but he never made that wall
C                                   G
He never made that wall

C                                        G
There never been a man ever shook this can
C                             G
But I know a man who tried
C                                    G                              C                             G
The newspaper called it a jailbreak plan but I know it was suicide
C                             G
I know it was suicide.

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