• With ‘Destination Jail, Vol. 2’, Bear Family Records® offers another intriguing collection of blues and rhythm & blues obscurities and classics from the ’40s to the ’60s about life behind bars.
• • It deals with the various elements of the US justice system: prison = county farm, chain gang; jail and penitentiary.
• • Among the better-known highlights are Jailhouse Rock by Frankie Lymon, the heartbreaking Please Mr. Jailer by Wynona Carr, the Prisoner’s Song by Fats Domino – in this case a classic from the Anglo-Celtic tradition – and the tongue-in-cheek Good Morning Judge by Wynonie Harris.
• • An exciting introduction to an important topic of Afro-American roots music, with liner notes by Roland Heinrich Rumtreiber and originals remastered with finesse.
Incarceration is a frequent theme in American roots music, especially in blues and rhythm & blues.
African American life in the New World started in chains and endured slavery and segregation.
Despite significant changes initiated during the second half of the 20th century, equality has not yet
reached all strata of society.
The percentage of African Americans sentenced to time in prison is considerably higher than that of
other demographic groups. Frequent analysis also reveals statistics that African Americans most
likely receive longer prison sentences than white Americans. This is a sensitive topic, and one might wonder how this compilation of African American popular music from the 40s to 60s fits into the lighter and novelty-laden ‘Destination’ Series. See and listen for yourself.
In contrast to old-time and early country music, where the theme continued the Anglo-Celtic tradition
of the murder ballad, jail, in the African American tradition, is no metaphor for self-reflection and
transformation. Incarceration does not serve as a mirror of one’s self; it is the mirror image of a
With ‘Destination Jail, Vol. 2’, Bear Family Records® offers an intriguing collection of blues and
rhythm & blues – obscurities and classics dealing with life behind bars. The songs feature all the
various elements of the US detention system: prison – county farm, chain gang, prison, and
penitentiary. Among the better-known highlights, we find Jailhouse Rock by Frankie Lymon (who pleaded not to be a juvenile delinquent), Wynona Carr’s heart-breaking Please Mr. Jailer, Prisoner’s Song by Fats Domino – in this case, a classic form the Anglo Celtic tradition, and the tongue-in-cheek Good Morning Judge by Wynonie Harris.
This compilation offers various styles. It also presents multiple viewpoints – from gallows humor, the
laughing-to-keep-from-crying approach, the cry for help, and the promise of redemption.
Sonny Knight: But Officer Wynonie Harris: Good Morning Judge Frankie Lymon: Jailhouse Rock Smiley Lewis: Jailbird Danny Cobb: Hey, Mr. Warden Lonsesome Sundown: My Home Is A Prison Eddie Boyd: I’m A Prisoner Ottilie Patterson: Jailhouse Blues Roosevelt Sykes: Jailbait Billy Boy Arnold: Prisoner’s Plea El Pauling and Royal Abbit: Jail Bird Josh White: Ball And Chain Blues T-Bone Walker: Prison Blues Wynona Carr: Please Mr. Jailer André Williams: Jail Bait The Robins: Riot In Cell Block No. 9 Joe Jones: The Prisoner’s Song Sonny Knight: Jail Bird Willie Nix: Prison Bound Blues Magic Sam: 21 Days In Jail Theola Kilgore: Chain Gang – The Sound Of My Man Fats Domino: Prisoner’s Song The Prisonaires: A Prisoner’s Prayer The Larks: When I Leave These Prison Walls
GENRE: Rock ‘N’ Roll
RELEASE DATE: 23/02/2024