It Was Gatlinburg in Mid-July

Tony at Flying Pigs inspired me to post this song.

Johnny Cash
A Boy Named Sue

My daddy left home when I was three
And he didn’t leave much to ma and me
Just this old guitar and an empty bottle of booze
Now, I don’t blame him cause he ran and hid
But the meanest thing that he ever did
Was before he left, he went and named me sue

Well, he must of thought that is quite a joke
And it got a lot of laughs from a’ lots of folk
It seems I had to fight my whole life through
Some gal would giggle and I’d get red
And some guy’d laugh and I’d bust his head
I tell ya, life ain’t easy for a boy named sue

Well, I grew up quick and I grew up mean
My fist got hard and my wits got keen
I’d roam from town to town to hide my shame
But I made a vow to the moon and stars
That I’d search the honky-tonks and bars
And kill that man who gave me that awful name

Well, it was Gatlinburg in mid-July
And I just hit town and my throat was dry
I thought I’d stop and have myself a brew
At an old saloon on a street of mud
There at a table, dealing stud
Sat the dirty, mangy dog that named me sue

Well, I knew that snake was my own sweet dad
From a worn-out picture that my mother’d had
And I knew that scar on his cheek and his evil eye
He was big and bent and gray and old
And I looked at him and my blood ran cold
And I said: ‘my name is sue how do you do?
Now you gonna die!” that’s what I told him

Well, I hit him hard right between the eyes
And he went down, but to my surprise
He come up with a knife and cut off a piece of my ear
But I busted a chair right across his teeth
And we crashed through the wall and into the street
Kicking and a’ gouging in the mud and the blood and the beer

I tell ya, I’ve fought tougher men
But I really can’t remember when
He kicked like a mule and he bit like a crocodile
I heard him laugh and then I heard him cuss
He went for his gun and I pulled mine first
He stood there lookin’ at me and I saw him smile

And he said: “son, this world is rough
And if a man’s gonna make it, he’s gotta be tough
And I knew I wouldn’t be there to help ya along
So I give ya that name and I said goodbye
I knew you’d have to get tough or die
And it’s the name that helped to make you strong.”

He said: “now you just fought one hell of a fight
And I know you hate me, and you got the right
To kill me now, and I wouldn’t blame you if you do
But ya ought to thank me, before I die
For the gravel in ya guts and the spit in ya eye
Cause I’m the son of a bitch that named you sue.”

I got all choked up and I threw down my gun
And I called him my pa, and he called me his son
And I came away with a different point of view
And I think about him, now and then
Every time I try and every time I win
And if I ever have a son, I think I’m gonna name him
Bill or george! any damn thing but sue! I still hate that name!

This song was written by one of my favorite authors~Shel Silverstein-how cool is that!
Cash recorded this live at San Quentin Prison in February, 1969.

10 Responses

  1. and a damn good song it is! Johnny Cash is cool ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I really wasn’t that crazy about Johnny Cash until he died and I learned more about him. I always thought he couldn’t sing. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I guess that’s why he made millions. ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. I love Cash, the movie about his life was awesome too.
    If you haven’t seen it, rent it or get it at the library.

    thanks for this post Mercedes

  4. “Walk the Line” was the name of the movie.

  5. Hey! What’s happin’ girl!?

  6. Way back in my Navy days I used to always sing this song everytime I got drunk ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Love it! I’ve always liked Cash!

  8. I didn’t realize Shell S. wrote it! I always read his poems to my kids at school.

  9. We love Johnny Cash!!! Like insanely LOVE him. One of my pets is named Cash and I even had friends call me when Johnny passed away to make sure I was ok. LOL

    I regret I never got to see him live. That would have been amazing.

    Have you ever heard of The Highwaymen?

  10. Corking song. Great man. Sadly missed.

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