I hear the train a comin'
It's rollin' 'round the bend
And I ain't seen the sunshine
Since, I don't know when
I'm stuck in Folsom Prison
And time keeps draggin' on
But that train keeps a-rollin'
On down to San Antone

When I was just a baby
My Mama told me, "son
Always be a good boy
Don't ever play with guns"
But I shot a man in Reno
Just to watch him die
When I hear that whistle blowin'
I hang my head and cry

I bet there's rich folks eatin'
In a fancy dinin' car
They're probably drinkin' coffee
And smokin' big cigars
Well, I know I had it comin'
I know I can't be free
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
Far from Folsom Prison
That's where I want to stay
And I'd let that lonesome whistle
Blow my blues away

Lyrics submitted by toterkater

"Folsom Prison Blues" as written by John R. Cash

Lyrics © Peermusic Publishing, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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Folsom Prison Blues song meanings
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  • +4
    General CommentTHe majority of people miss the meaning of this song. It not just about a killer, who is tough, and wants to get out of prison.

    Its about a person who did something wrong, it could be anything. He didnt listen to what people told him (What his mother told him). And now he is suffering for doing that.
    He wishes he was like the people who didnt do anything wrong, the poeple that are enjoying life. (They're prob'ly drinkin' coffee and smokin' big cigars)

    He knows that, even though he wants to be free, he never will be free from his emotional prison. (I know i can be free)

    But he dreams about a time that he could do better, and be far away from his 'prison. (Far from folsom prison)

    And when he gets that, the train will make him happy instead of sad.

    This isnt about some hard-core gangsta, who is tough and can kill a guy. Its about a deep person, who is sad about what he did.(I hang my head and cry) And he wants to take it back, and start a real life.
    JDevon August 30, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is a great song...good sing along tune....johny cash will rock on forever
    bridget_aon May 10, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe father of psychobilly. Johnny Cash is a legend.
    roger wilcoon June 09, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMaybe the coolest song ever.
    kenf62on September 27, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentJohhny cash was the one of the first people to tell pop music to fuck off thorough his music. he sang about the down-trodden prisoner, the murderer, the lost girl, the pathetic excuse for a father. He f'ing rocks.
    mrtownzjooon March 16, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is a great song. From the opening guitar intro to the end of the song. Cash's deep mahogany baritone telling us he "shot a man in Reno.... Just to watch him die", it's impossible not to feel sorry for the character who's sorry set of circumstances led him there.
    kkhx3on June 07, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is some straight-up hardcore gangsta shit. At his hardest, even Ice Cube didn't sound this badass.
    ubermaxon December 11, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think the prisoner is this tale of angst can hear the train whistles pass by as he deservingly rots in prison. I believe that's what inspires the prisoner to yearn for escape is this song. It's a classic
    OpinionHeadon January 03, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti heard my dad sing this song before i even heard Johnny Cash sing it. While an inmate, Merle Haggard saw one of Cash's prison shows and said it inspired him to go into music.
    New Dawnon February 11, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGreat Song! Live @ San Quentin is a beautiful album. Prisoners living in a disgusting environment such as 1960's Californian Prison - and this great man gives them something to believe in - MUSIC! The Warden will give you crap. The Other prisoners may give you crap. You may want to die. But the ONE HOPE you have is MUSIC AND Johnny Cash. TRULY - GREAT MUSICIAN!
    bkat004on February 28, 2005   Link

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