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Cops and Convicts

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Mob deep


The Ballad of Al Capone and Mr. Blue by Richard Maltby and Sea of Love by Marty Wiled and Uomo Solo by Arturo Testa.  An EP on Philips Records (Spain).  Cool cover illustration!

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Prison record


Jailhouse Jazzmen  .. Storyville City Jail – File No: SEP 358  ( (1958)  Abbi Hübner, Claus Jürgen Möller, Klaus Geldmacher, Mihai Ampoițan, Tommy Ladnier)   Storyville Records (Sweden)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (30 votes, average: 3.63 out of 5)
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Yuck the police

s-l1600 2

The Adventures of the Laughing Policeman   Charles Penrose   Columbia Records (UK)   This song is credited to Mabel Anderson under the pseudonym Billie Grey, but the music and melody come from The Laughing Song, recorded by George W. Johnson in 1898.  The song was first recorded as The Laughing Policeman by Charles Penrose under the pseudonym Charles Jolly in 1922. That version was released on Regal Records. A second version, the most common of the two, was recorded in 1926 and released on Columbia Records.  In 1957 it was released on the EP The Adventures of The Laughing Policeman. Ringo Starr bought a copy of the single in 1955 which was most likely the 1935 re-release with Laughter And Lemons on the B-side.

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Tweet me

And here are the JAILBIRD SINGERS, a Swedish “hootenanny” singing group of real prison inmates on Metronome Records (ca., 1963)  (Via Ulf)

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Back on the chain gang

“Country Hits”   Vocal by Reb Allen

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (37 votes, average: 3.32 out of 5)
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Cell portrait

“I Am An Ex-Convict From A Florida Chain Gang”   All songs written and sung by Floyd McClellan   Sagitario Records (1978)   Side One:   Title track and “Last Train to the Gallows”   Side Two:   “Toll Bridge of My Heart”, “Moon Intrigue”, “Highway of Loneliness”, “If I Owned the World”, “Truckdriver’s Prayer”,   “Rebel Superstar”, “Ironworker” and     “I just Closed the Door on Love”

From the Liner Notes:

“This record album tells the true story of my prison life in the Florida State Penitentiary in the late ’40’s.     Convicted for the crime of armed robbery, I was sentenced to serve seven years in a Florida Chain Gang.   The songs that you will hear in this album are some that I wrote while I was in prison.   They portray the brutalities and atrocities that I endured during that time.

I was born in the state of Florida and was in the United States Army and the U.S. Merchant Marines during World War II.   At this time I am married to a lovely woman, Carol, and have a three year-old son David.”

– Thank you, Floyd McClellan (Ex-convict)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (46 votes, average: 3.20 out of 5)
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“There’s good in the bad and bad in the good”

“Soul of a Convict and other great prison Songs”   Porter Wagoner   RCA Victor   1966.   Living in Stereo has this nice post about Porter funeral service.

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and sing along:

(Will he take the soul of a convict could I be one of those he choosed)

I was taught the Bible from childhood at my mother’s knee I learned to pray

I was taught of God and all his goodness and the devil and his evil ways

There’s good in the bad and bad in the good and there’s none that’s free from sin

But there’s some questions I’ve wondered about

What happens to the men who die in the pen

Just imagine yourself the judge God Almighty as you gaze over all these men

When death takes its toll what becomes of the soul of the men who die in the pen

Do you think of God that’s true and just could look from his heavenly throne

And be pleased to see men placed in chains and stripes

And tucked from their loved ones at home

Worked until they’re completely exhuasted and your soul cries out in vain

Fed like a hog and treated like a dog and at night to the bed you’re chained

Worked from sunup to sundown through all kinds of weather

And if you don’t do the things just right you get introduced to the leather

Now you see it’s not the pain I mind so much as I’m stretched out on the floor

It’s just the thought that I can’t do my part that’s what breaks my heart

You see I’m just not man enough anymore

Oh there are a lotta other things I could tell you that you’d marvel at and say

Why I didn’t know in those modern times they treated men that way but they do

That’s why I ask you do you think that God could turn with a sneer and frown

At the men who die in the pen do you think he’ll turn us down

I believe there’s a heaven and a hell and in God I put my trust

That’s why I’m askin’ these questions I believe he’s true and just

And I just imagine he’ll tell me as we meet at the golden stairs

Hell’s not just meant for some of the men who die in the pen

But for some who have mistreated them there

You see we’re payin’ for the mistakes we made in our sins

As we’ve had our troubles in life

Because we’re the underdogs of humanity and surely God won’t make us pay twice

I believe on that Day of Judgement he’ll have this convict called in

And he’ll say it’s true hell’s not for you you had your hell in the pen

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (52 votes, average: 3.19 out of 5)
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Pass the hatchet

Prison Worksongs Recorded at Angola Prison in Louisiana.   A Folkways field recording.   Collected by Harry Oster.

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Jailhouse Rock


“A little bit of LATIN, and a little bit of JAZZ” Ronnie Neuman at the Padded Cell. Rare Latin Jazz lp on Soma Records. The Padded Cell was a Minneapolis nightclub and restaurant known for it’s charburger and experimental jazz. This cover was featured in the “Incredibly Strange Music” books.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (28 votes, average: 3.93 out of 5)
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Word on the street


Word Records presents “The Addicts Sing” (Nine former addicts)

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