Various Artists – Destination Jail – CD

Band: Various Artists

Label: Bear Family

Format: CD

Catalogue Number: BCD17689


Incarceration is a frequent theme in American roots music. There is plenty of songs about hideous crimes, boastful escapes, self-pity, and remorseful pleading for a second chance in exchange for XYZ.

Especially in old-time and early country music, we find good examples of the jail theme. One might think
the motif may have been derived from pieces from the Anglo-Celtic tradition. Indeed, songs about murder, theft, and other sinful deeds are frequent in the British songbook, yet, jail, as a metaphor or as a place of self-reflection and transformation, is an American specialty: In the Land of the Free and the Home of the Evangelically Oppressed, incarceration serves as a mirror of the self. Jail is an implicitness, like death, heaven and hell.

With Destination Jail (BCD 17689), Bear Family Records® offers a hodgepodge of hillbilly and rock & roll obscurities and classics dealing with life behind bars. The songs feature all the various elements of the US detention system: prison – county farm, prison, and penitentiary. Among the better-known highlights, we find The Hanging Tree by Marty Robbins, Ronnie Hawkins’ tragical ballad about the “red light bandit” Caryl Chessman, One Dead Man Ago by honky tonk pioneer Jimmie Skinner, and the passionate Midnight Train by the Johnny Burnette Trio.

Top tunes of the obscure portion of the sampled goodies are Benny Hess’ morbid Walking the Last Mile,
Helen Grayco’s haunting Lilly’s Lament (Cell 29), and the amazing Shot Four Times and Dying by Bill Carter. In between, Bear Family Records® offers many goodies by Skeets McDonald, Stonewall Jackson, Webb Pierce, Bobby Darin, and many more – and no Johnny Cash (yet his spirit is evoked by several tracks on the CD). Bear Family Records®’ ‘Destination Jail’ is an exciting and wallet-friendly introduction to the gangsta tunes of rockabilly and classic country.

Various – Destination… – Destination Jail – 31 Prison Songs From Behind The Bars
(CD) CD 1
01 Folsom Prison Blues Billy Tidwell & The Chivells
02 In The Jailhouse Now Webb Pierce
03 Alabama Jailhouse Rod Morris
04 Shot Four Times And Dyin’ Bill Carter
05 The Ballad Of Caryl Chessman Ronnie Hawkins
06 Jailer, Jailer Jim Carter
07 Death Row The Pierce Brothers
08 Walla Walla State Prison Gary Williams
09 Midnight Train The Johnny Burnette Trio
10 Liliy’s Lament (Cell 29) Helen Grayco
11 Crash Out Jaycee Hill
12 Prisoner’s Song (alt. take 2) Sonny Burgess
13 Huntsville Prison Blues Troy Crane & The Three Texans
14 Fort Worth Jail Skeets McDonald
15 Chain Gang Charlie Curley Money
16 One Dead Man Ago Jimmie Skinner
17 Run Stonewall Jackson
18 The Guard On The North Wall Bobby Sykes
19 Jailer Bring Me Water Bobby Darin
20 Folsom Prison Blues Reb Allen
21 Lewisburg Prison Johnny Starr
22 Riot In Cell Block No. 9 Ron & Joe & The Crew
23 Chain Gang Jimmy Young
24 Hey Sherriff Johnny Rebb & His Rebels
25 Jailer Man Bill Carter
26 Death Row Jim Minor
27 Prisoner’s Song Bill Monroe
28 Doin’ My Time Bill Flagg
29 The Hanging Tree Marty Robbins
30 My Hanging Day George Champion
31 Walking The Last Mile Bennie Hess

GENRE: Prison Songs
BARCODE: 4000127176899