The Prisoner's Song
Peak: #791 (151,573 songs currently in Acoustic)
Peak in sub-genre: #69 (13,887 songs currently in Folk)
September 19, 2007
MP3 1.4 MB, bitrate 128 kbps.
Guy Massey © 1924
Story behind the song
The Prisoner's Song (If I Had the Wings of an Angel)
"The Prisoner's Song" is a song written in 1924, copyrighted by Guy Massey but possibly written by his brother Robert. The lyrics are in part derived from parts of old prison work songs. The song was recorded by Vernon Dalhart on Victor Records in October 1924 and marketed in the hillbilly music genre. It became one of the best-selling records of the early twentieth century, with at least two million copies sold (sales figures are uncertain; some place the sales at 7 million or more), as well as over a million copies of the sheet music to the tune.
It was later performed by, among others, Hank Snow and Bill Monroe.
Oh, I wish I had someone to love me
Yes, someone to call me their own
Oh, I wish I had someone to live with
'Cause I'm tired of living alone.
Oh, please meet me tonight in the moonlight
Oh, please meet me tonight all alone
For I have a sad story to tell you
It's a story that's never been told.
I'll be carried to the new jail tomorrow
Leaving my poor darling alone
With the cold prison bars all around me
And my head on a pillow of stone.
Now, I have a grand ship on the ocean
All mounted with silver and gold
And before my poor darling would suffer
Oh, that ship would be anchored and sold.
Now if I had the wings like an angel
Over these prison walls I would fly
And I'd fly to the arms of my darling
And there I'd be willing to die...