Tuesday, September 23, 2008

25 Minutes To Go - Johnny Cash

Artist: Johnny Cash
Song: 25 Minutes To Go
Year: 1965
Album: Sings The Ballads Of The True West

I may have passed this song over if Pearl Jam did not cover it in concert. I tracked down the original and thought it was a great Johnny Cash type of song. It's about despair, defiance and jail. Three elements to a classic Johnny Cash song.

I like the odd structure of the song. It doesn't really have verses or a chorus. It feels more like a sing-songy countdown, which I guess it would be considered that. If one wanted to really push it, I suppose it could be construed as a one line verse and a one line chorus, alternating.

This is the kind of song that I love hearing because there aren't many songs like this around anymore. Most songs are either the standard verse/chorus/verse structure or very free form, to the point of being airy and disjointing.

Johnny Cash had such a great voice for storytelling. It really shows in his voice and in the descriptive lyrics. I can honestly say that there aren't too many of his songs that I don't like. I even found myself singing the spiritual song from his guest appearance on Columbo. That's still one of my favorite episodes of that television show.

Well they're building a gallows outside my cell I've got 25 minutes to go
And the whole town's waitin' just to hear me yell I've got 24 minutes to go
Well they gave me some beans for my last meal I've got 23 minutes to go
But nobody asked me how I feel I've got 22 minutes to go
Well I sent for the governor and the whole dern bunch with 21 minutes to go
And I sent for the mayor but he's out to lunch I've got 20 more minutes to go
Then the sheriff said boy I gonna watch you die got 19 minutes to go
So I laughed in his face and I spit in his eye got 18 minutes to go
Now hear comes the preacher for to save my soul with 13 minutes to go
And he's talking bout' burnin' but I'm so cold I've 12 more minutes to go
Now they're testin' the trap and it chills my spine 11 more minutes to go
And the trap and the rope aw they work just fine got 10 more minutes to go
Well I'm waitin' on the pardon that'll set me free with 9 more minutes to go
But this is for real so forget about me got 8 more minutes to go
With my feet on the trap and my head on the noose got 5 more minutes to go
Won't somebody come and cut me loose with 4 more minutes to go
I can see the mountains I can see the skies with 3 more minutes to go
And it's to dern pretty for a man that don't wanna die 2 more minutes to go
I can see the buzzards I can hear the crows 1 more minute to go
And now I'm swingin' and here I go-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o!

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