The Ballad Of Johnny Strozier Lyrics

In the red clay Georgia hills
Among the busted whiskey stills
Lies a wretched school with barb wire stranded high
Where boys of every age
Spend their life inside a cage
And they never even learn the reason why

As the twilight meets the dawn
The iron bar jailhouse doors are drawn
And the sound of tin cups clangin's in the air
But Johnny Strozier stays behind
In his dungeon cell confined
Unconditional twenty-four hour solitar'

Has anybody got an hour of your precious time to spare?
Or will you hide your face pretending that it ain't your place to care?
Are we really all so cruel?
I guess only time will tell
For a Georgia boy who's locked up in a lonesome Alto cell

Well he ain't never used a gun
And he ain't never hurt no one
As he stares out through the cold steel prison bars
The life inside his eyes
Is more empty than the skies
When they're drained of all the heavens and the stars

Now he'd like to learn to read
Out of your pretty books and things
But the warden cannot possibly allow
For such things to take their place
In the facts of Johnny's case
So nobody's even tried to teach him how

Has anybody got an hour...

Sure he's taken from your store
And yes, he's broken through your door
So you bound him with your shackle and your chain
And you expect this boy to pay
Forever and a day
So what right, my friend, do you have to complain?

There's a wealthy man a struttin'
Down that crowded street so fine
Who makes his money stealin' from the helpless and the blind
But for a boy whose only crime
Was bein' born without a dime
It's forty years inside that prison, maybe even a whole lifetime

Has anybody got an hour...

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Record Label(s): 2004 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings Folkways Records
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