Johnny Cash performs "Cocaine Blues"
Cocaine Blues" is a Western Swing song written by T. J. "Red" Arnall, a reworking of the traditional song "Little Sadie".
This song was originally recorded by W. A. Nichol's Western Aces (vocal by "Red" Arnall) on the S & G label, probably in 1947, and by Roy Hogsed and the Rainbow Riders May 25, 1947, at Universal Recorders in Hollywood, California. Hogsed's recording was released on Coast Records (262) and Capitol (40120), with the Capitol release reaching number 15 on the country music charts in 1948.
Johnny Cash famously performed the song at his 1968 Folsom Prison concert. He replaced the lyric "San Quentin" with "Folsom", and changed "C'mon you hypes..." to "C'mon you gotta listen unto me...", as well as using the then-provocative lyric "I can't forget the day I shot that bad bitch down." Cash also altered the last line to "Lay off the whiskey..." instead of "Drink all you want...". During the performance, which was released uncensored by Columbia Records in 1968 (though other language is censored), Cash can be heard coughing occasionally; later in the concert recording, he can be heard noting that singing the song nearly did his voice in.
Johnny Cash - Cocaine Blues lyrics
Early one mornin' while makin' the rounds
I took a shot of cocaine and shot my woman down
I went right home and I went to bed
I stuck that lovin' forty-four beneath my head.
Got up next mornin' and I grabbed that gun
Took a shot of cocaine and away I run
Made a good run but I run too slow
They overtook me down in Juarez Mexico.
Laid in the hot joint takin' the pill
In walked a sheriff from Jericho Hill
He said Willy Lee your name is not Jack Brown
You're the dirty hack that shot your woman down.
I said yes sir my name is Willie Lee
If you've got a warrant just read it to me
Shot her down cause she made me slow
I thought I was her daddy but she had five more.
When I was arrested I was dressed in black
They put me on a train and they took me back
Had no friends for to go my bail
They slapped my dried up carcass in the county jail.
Early next morning about a half past nine
I spied a sheriff comin' down the line
Coughed and coughed as he cleared his throat
He said come on you dirty hack into that district court
Into the court room my trial began
Where I was handled by twelve honest men
Just before the jury started out
I saw that little judge commence to look about.
In about five minutes in walked a man
Holding the verdict in his right hand
The verdict read in the first degree
I hollered Lordy Lordy have mercy on me
The judge he smiled as he picked up his pen
Ninety nine years in the Folsom pen
Ninety nine years underneath that ground
I can't forget the day I shot that bad bitch down
Come on you gotta listen unto me
Lay off that whiskey and let that cocaine be