Folsom Prison Blues Chords

Below are the Folsom Prison Blues chords and lyrics for the song as I play it in my acoustic tutorials and demo videos.

Folsom Prison Blues chords and lyrics

Intro – B7-E
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
           A                                                                                E
I'm stuck in Folsom prison, and time keeps draggin' on
                   B7                                                                   E
But that train keeps a rollin' - on down to San Antoine

When I was just a baby my mama told me son
Always be a good boy, don't ever play with guns
          A                                                                  E
But I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die
                B7                                                                                E
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
           A                                                                      E
Well I know I had it coming, I know I can't be free
                   B7                                                                                   E
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
A                                                                                E
Far from Folsom prison, that's where I want to stay
               B7                                                                        E
And I'd let that lonesome whistle blow my blues away

B7 --- E

Folsom Prison Blues History

Johnny Cash wrote the Folsom Prison Blues chords and lyrics back in 1953. He originally recorded the song two years later in 1955.

Many believe Johnny came up with the melody for this song, but in fact he lifted the melody from an earlier song by Gordon Jenkins in 1953 called Crescent City Blues. Once Johnny's version became a hit, a lawsuit was filed and Johnny paid out $75,000.

As with most early recordings from Johnny at Sun records, there was no drummer, so Johnny used a piece of paper in the strings which gave the effect of a snare drum.

In 1968 they performed the song at Folsom Prison. Unlike the recording, there were no prisoners cheering. That was added in post production. The song went to #1 on the country charts in 1968 and Johnny won a Grammy award for the song in 1969.

The Official Johnny Cash Website

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