"One Piece at a Time" as written by and Wayne Kemp....
Well, I left Kentucky back in forty nine
An' went to Detroit workin' on a 'sembly line
The first year they had me puttin' wheels on Cadillacs

Every day I'd watch them beauties roll by
And sometimes I'd hang my head and cry
'Cause I always wanted me one that was long and black.

One day I devised myself a plan
That should be the envy of most any man
I'd sneak it out of there in a lunchbox in my hand
Now gettin' caught meant gettin' fired
But I figured I'd have it all by the time I retired
I'd have me a car worth at least a hundred grand.

I'd get it one piece at a time
And it wouldn't cost me a dime
You'll know it's me when I come through your town
I'm gonna ride around in style
I'm gonna drive everybody wild
'Cause I'll have the only one there is around.

So the very next day when I punched in
With my big lunchbox and with help from my friends
I left that day with a lunch box full of gears
I've never considered myself a thief
But GM wouldn't miss just one little piece
Especially if I strung it out over several years.

The first day I got me a fuel pump
And the next day I got me an engine and a trunk
Then I got me a transmission and all the chrome
The little things I could get in my big lunchbox
Like nuts, an' bolts, and all four shocks
But the big stuff we snuck out in my buddy's mobile home.

Now, up to now my plan went all right
'Til we tried to put it all together one night
And that's when we noticed that something was definitely wrong.

The transmission was a fifty three
And the motor turned out to be a seventy three
And when we tried to put in the bolts all the holes were gone.

So we drilled it out so that it would fit
And with a little bit of help with an adapter kit
We had that engine runnin' just like a song
Now the headlight' was another sight
We had two on the left and one on the right
But when we pulled out the switch all three of 'em come on.

The back end looked kinda funny too
But we put it together and when we got through
Well, that's when we noticed that we only had one tail-fin
About that time my wife walked out
And I could see in her eyes that she had her doubts
But she opened the door and said "Honey, take me for a spin."

So we drove up town just to get the tags
And I headed her right on down main drag
I could hear everybody laughin' for blocks around
But up there at the court house they didn't laugh
'Cause to type it up it took the whole staff
And when they got through the title weighed sixty pounds.

I got it one piece at a time
And it wouldn't cost me a dime
You'll know it's me when I come through your town
I'm gonna ride around in style
I'm gonna drive everybody wild
'Cause I'll have the only one there is around.

Ugh! Yeah, RED RYDER
This is the COTTON MOUTH
In the PSYCHO-BILLY CADILLAC Come on

Huh, This is the COTTON MOUTH
And negatory on the cost of this mow-chine there RED RYDER
You might say I went right up to the factory
And picked it up, it's cheaper that way
Ugh!, what model is it?

Well, It's a '49, '50, '51, '52, '53, '54, '55, '56
'57, '58' 59' automobile
It's a '60, '61, '62, '63, '64, '65, '66, '67
'68, '69, '70 automobile.


Lyrics submitted by Sylverfish02

"One Piece At a Time" as written by Wayne Kemp

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Lyrics powered by LyricFind


One Piece at a Time song meanings
Add your thoughts

13 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +1
    General Commentyeah, this is about a guy who builds a car from stolen pices. I love cash's sense of humour, but i also love his ability to be soulful.
    I've noticed that this song sounds very similar to boy named sue... hmmmmmm :-p
    Azraeldrahon February 08, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentJR Was the master. There will be another ... Someone write a parody about building a computer like this... So versatile
    Stefanem20904on October 06, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think its about a guy who builds a car out of parts he steals from the factory he works in?
    willardon October 20, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhoever posted these lyrics is awesome. this is great song, too. It shows the versatility of Johnny Cash- he sang Gospel, Country, Rock and even humourous songs. He's the only man aside from Elvis who had been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame AND the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame.
    New Dawnon February 12, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentfunny in a dumb kinda way
    gdoggon August 26, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentRandom FYI: You know they (GM) acutally built him this car (or as close as they could to it). Just a bit of trivia for ya.
    bottleofrainon September 04, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is great.

    the only part i dont get is-

    But the big stuff we snuck out in my buddy's mobile home
    joshs1ofakindxjon March 07, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHey, Joshs1ofakindxj, when he sings, "But the big stuff we snuck out y buddy's mobile home", he is saying that the parts that were too big to sneakout in his lunchbox, he got his friend to take home, probably by stashing it in the boot (trunk) of the car. I.e. door panels, seat, tires, etc, etc.

    Hope this helps.

    Cash is God
    ljwright88on June 03, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentJohnny Cash is an original punk rocker, and this song is one of his punk rock songs.
    GabrielDeRoseon June 17, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti love the whole damn the man feeling johnny has, especially in this song.he couldnt afford the car he wanted, but he would be damned if he wasnt gunna get one..
    RedRavenon September 18, 2007   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain