Unchained Album Lyrics Johnny Cash




Unchained is the second album in Johnny Cash's American Recording series. On the album, Cash is backed by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Like all Cash's albums for American, it is produced by Rick Rubin.

In addition to three of Cash's own compositions, Unchained contained songs by Soundgarden ("Rusty Cage") and odd ball artist Beck ("Rowboat"), as well as a guest appearance from Flea, bassist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, on "Spiritual" and Lindsey Buckingham and Mick Fleetwood, of Fleetwood Mac, on "Sea of Heartbreak".

Unchained received a Grammy for Best Country Album which signals the high regard people were beginning to have for the late era career of Mr Cash - and arguably with the release of Solitary Man, things went even better from that time...

As became usual when Cash covered a song, the lyrics of the original took on new meaning and life. The use of Beck's Rowboat was an inspired Rubin song choice. When Beck sang it, it sounded like a classsic drunk in your beer love song. When Cash got his hands on the lyrics it became a record of a most devasting moment in his life. As they say, it's all in the delivery..

Here's the lyrics to the 14 songs found on Unchained.


"Rowboat" Lyrics by Beck. Originally recorded by Beck for Stereopathetic Soulmanure (1994)

Row me to the shore
She don't
Wanna be my friend no more
She dug a hole
In the bottom of my soul
She don't
Wanna be my friend no more

Pick me up
Gimme some food to eat
In your truck
Goin' no place
I'll be home
Talkin' to nobody
You'll be strange
You'll be far away

Big fat moon
And my body's out of tune
With my burnin' ways
She's a billion years away
Dog food on the floor
And I've been like this before
She is all
And everything else is small

Pick me up
Gimme some alcohol
In your truck
Playin' the radio
I'll be home
With the gasoline
You'll be stoned
You'll be far away

Rowboat
Row me to the shore
She don't
Wanna be my friend no more
She dug a hole
In the bottom of my soul
She is all
And everything else is small


"Sea of Heartbreak" Lyrics by Hal David/Paul Hampton. Originally a hit single for Don Gibson (1961)

The lights in the harbor,
Don't shine for me.
I'm like a lost ship,
Adrift on the sea.

The sea of heartbreak.
Lost love and loneliness,
Memories of your caress.
So divine how I wish
You were mine again my dear.
I'm on this sea of tears,
Sea of heartbreak.

Oh, how did I lose you?
Oh, where did I fail?
Why did you leave me?
Always to sail,

The sea of heartbreak.
Lost love and loneliness,
Memories of your caress.
So divine how I wish
You were mine again my dear.
I'm on this sea of tears,
Sea of heartbreak.

Oh, what I'd give just to sail back to shore,
Back to your arms once more.
Come to my rescue, oh, come here to me.
Take me and keep me away from the sea.

Sea of heartbreak.
Lost love and loneliness,
Memories of your caress.
So divine how I wish
You were mine again my dear.
I'm on this sea of tears,
Sea of heartbreak.

Sea of heartbreak.
Sea of heartbreak.
Sea of heartbreak.


You wired me awake
And hit me with a hand of broken nails
You tied my lead and pulled my chain
To watch my blood begin to boil

Rusty Cage Lyrics by Chris Cornell. Originally recorded by Soundgarden for Bad Motor Finger.

But I'm gonna break
I'm gonna break my
I'm gonna break my rusty cage and run

Too cold to start a fire
I'm burning diesel, burning dinosaur bones
I'll take the river down to still water
And ride a pack of dogs

I'm gonna break
I'm gonna break my
I'm gonna break my rusty cage and run

Hits like a Phillips head Into my brain
It's gonna be too dark
To sleep again Cutting my teeth on bars
And rusty chains,
I'm gonna break my Rusty cage and run

When the forest burns
Along the road Like God's eyes In my headlights
When the dogs are looking
For their bones
And it's raining ice picks
On your steel shore

I'm gonna break
I'm gonna break my
I'm gonna break my rusty cage and run



"The One Rose (That's Left in My Heart)" lyrics by Del Lyon/Lani McIntire. Originally published in 1936, also recorded by George Morgan and Hank Snow.

So blue
Lonesome too

But still true
Rosie haunts me

Makes me think of you
You're the one rose that's left in my heart, dear I love you, adore you, I do
Each night in dreamland we wander along
Telling love stories anew
When from a blue sky a black cloud came rolling
Breaking my heart in two
Oh we ought not to part
I have said from the start
You're the one rose that's left in my heart
Oh, we ought not to part
I have said from the start
You're the one rose that's left in my heart


"Country Boy" Lyrics by Johnny Cash. Originally recorded by Cash for Sun, records and featured on With His Hot and Blue Guitar (1957). This version is a re-recording specifically for American History's Unchained.

Country boy, ain't got no shoes.
Country boy, ain't got no blues.
Well, you work all day
While you're wantin' to play
In the sun and the sand,
With a face that's tan.
At the end of the day,
When your work is done,
You ain't got nothin' but fun.

Country boy, ain't got no ills.
Country boy, don't owe no bills.

Country boy, ain't got no ills.
Country boy, don't owe no bills.
You get a wiggly worm,
And then you watch him squirm.
While you put him on a hook,
And you drop him in a brook.
If everything's gonna turn out right,
You're gonna fry fish tonight.

Country boy, got a lot to lose.
Country boy, how I wish I was in your shoes.

Country boy, you got a shaggy dog.
Country boy, up a holler log.
Well, he comes in a run,
When you pick up your gun.
And with a shell or two,
And your dog and you,
When you get your rabbit,
You'll skin his hide,
He's gonna be good fried.

Country boy, you got a lot to lose.
Country boy, how I wish I was in your shoes.

Country boy, you got work to do.
Country boy, in the morning dew,
You gotta plant the seed,
You gotta cut the weeds.
There's many a row,
You know you gotta hoe
When it's quittin' time,
And your work is through.
There's a lot of life in you

Country boy, you lucky thing.
Country boy, I wish I was you, and you were me.


"Memories Are Made of This" Lyrics Richard Dehr/Terry Gilkyson/Frank Miller. Originally a hit single by Dean Martin and The Easy Riders (1956)

Take one fresh and tender kiss
Add one stolen night of bliss
One girl, one boy, some grief, some joy
Memories are made of this.

Don't forget a small moonbeam
Fold it lightly with a dream
Your lips and mine to sip the wine
Memories are made of this

Then at the wedding bells
One house where lovers dwell
Three little kids for the flavor
Stir carefully through the day
See how the flavor stays
These are the dreams that we must savor

With His blessings from above
Serve it generously with love
One man, one wife, one love for life
Memories are made of this



"Spiritual" Lyrics by Josh Haden. Originally recorded by Spain for The Blue Moods of Spain (1995)

Jesus I don't wanna die alone Jesus oh Jesus I don't wanna die alone
My love wasn't true Now all I have is you
Jesus oh Jesus I don't wanna die alone
Jesus If you hear my last breath
Don't leave me here Left to die a lonely death I know I have sinned but Lord I'm suffering
Jesus Oh Jesus If you hear my last breath
Jesus I don't wanna die alone Jesus oh Jesus I don't wanna die alone
My love wasn't true Now all I have is you
Jesus Oh Jesus I don't wanna die alone
Jesus Jesus All my troubles All My pain Will leave me Once again
All my troubles All my pain Will leave me once again
All my troubles All my pain Will leave me once again Once again


"The Kneeling Drunkard's Plea" Lyrics by Maybelle Carter/Anita Carter/Helen Carter/June Carter Cash. Originally recorded by The Louvin Brothers for Satan Is Real (1960)

Lord have mercy on me
Was the kneeling drunkard's plea
And as he knelt there on the ground
I know that God in heaven looked down

I went down by an old country church
I saw the drunkard stagger and lurch
And as he reached his mother's grave
I saw that drunkard kneel and pray

Lord have mercy on me
Was the kneeling drunkard's plea
And as he knelt there on the ground
I know that God in heaven looked down

Bring my darling boy to me
Was his mother's dying plea
And as he staggered through the gate
Alas, he came just one day too late

Three years have passed since she went away
Her son is sleeping beside her today
And I know that in heaven his mother he'll see
For God has heard that drunkard's plea

Lord have mercy on me
Was the kneeling drunkard's plea
And as he knelt there on the ground
I know that God in heaven looked down


"Southern Accents" Lyrics by Tom Petty. Originally recorded by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers for Southern Accents (1985)

There's a southern accent, where I come from The young'uns call it country The Yankees call it dumb I got my own way of talkin' But everything is done, with a southern accent Where I come from

Now that drunk tank in Atlanta's Just a motel room to me Think I might go work Orlando If them orange groves don't freeze I got my own way of workin' But everything is run, with a southern accent Where I come from

I got my own way of working When everything is wrong With a southern accent Where I come from

For just a minute there I was dreaming For just a minute it was all so real For just a minute she was standing there, with me

There's a dream I keep having Where my mama comes to me And she kneels down over by the window And says a prayer for me I got my own way of prayin' But everyone's begun With a southern accent Where I come from

We have our own way of livin' But everything is done With a southern accent Where I come from


"Mean Eyed Cat" Lyrics by Johnny Cash. Originally recorded by Cash for Sun, appears on Sings Hank Williams (1960)

I give my woman half my money at the general store I said, "Now buy a little groceries, and don't spend no more." But she gave ten dollars for a ten cent hat and bought some store bought cat food for a mean eyed cat.


When I give her ten more dollars for a one way ticket She was mad as she could be Then I bet ten more that if she ever left She'd come a-crawlin' back to me When I woke up this mornin' and I turned my head There wasn't a cotton pickin' thing on her side of the bed I found a little old note where her head belonged It said, "Dear John, honey, baby, I'm long gone."

When I heard a whistle blowin', and the big wheels a-turnin' I was scared as I could be I put on my overalls and I headed to town Gonna bring her back with me.

I asked the man down at the station if he'd seen her there I told him all about her pretty eyes and long, blonde hair He spit his tobacco, said, "I'll be dad blamed...... I believe I did see her leavin' on the east bound train."

I bought a round trip ticket on the east bound train I was broke as I could be But when I come back, gotta buy another ticket Gotta bring her back with me.

Well, I got off the train somewhere in Arkansas And I worked up the guts to call my Mother-In-Law She said, "I'll tell you where she is, if you act right." "She's workin' four to twelve at Trucker's World tonight."

When I walked in she saw me, and she took off her apron And she grabbed her goin' home hat She bought a ticket with her tips And now we're curled up on the sofa, me and her....and that mean eyed cat


"Meet Me in Heaven" Lyrics by Cash

We saw houses falling from the sky

Where the mountains lean down to the sand
We saw blackbirds circling 'round an old castle keep

And I stood on the cliff and held your hand
We walked troubles brooding wind swept hills

And we loved and we laughed the pain away
At the end of the journey, when our last song is sung

Will you meet me in Heaven someday
Can't be sure of how's it's going to be

When we walk into the light across the bar

But I'll know you and you'll know me

Out there beyond the stars

We've seen the secret things revealed by God
And we heard what the angels had to say

Should you go first, or if you follow me
Will you meet me in Heaven someday
Living in a mansion on the streets of gold
At the corner of Grace and Rapture Way
In sweet ecstasy while the ages roll
Will you meet me in Heaven someday
In sweet ecstasy while the ages roll

Will you meet in Heaven someday

"I Never Picked Cotton" Lyrics by Bobby George/Charles Williams. Originally recorded by Roy Clark for I Never Picked Cotton (1970)

I never picked cotton But my mother did And my brother did And my sister did And my daddy died young Workin' in the coal mine


When I was just a baby Too little for a cotton sack I played in the dirt While the others worked 'Til they couldn't straighten up their backs I made myself a promise When I was big enough to run That I'd never stay a single day In that Oklahoma sun

Folks said I grew up early And that the farm couldn't hold me then so I stole ten bucks and a pickup truck And I never went back again Then it was fast cars and whiskey Long haired girls and fun I had everything that money could bring And I took it all with a gun

It was Saturday night in Memphis When a redneck grabbed my shirt When he said go back to your cotton sack I left him dying in the dirt They'll take me in the morning to the gallos just outside

And in the time I got There ain't a hell of a lot that I can look back on with pride

"Unchained" Lyrics by Jude Johnstone.

I have been ungrateful,
I've been unwise.
Restless from the cradle,
Now I realize,
It's so hard to see the rainbow,
Through glasses dark as these.
Maybe I'll be able,
From now on, on my knees.

Oh, I am weak.
Oh, I know I am vain.
Take this weight from me,
Let my spirit be unchained.

Old man swearin' at the sidewalk,
I'm overcome.
Seems that we've both forgotten,
Forgotten to go home.
Have I seen an angel?
Oh, have I seen a ghost?
Where's that rock of ages,
When I need it most?

Oh, I am weak.
Oh, I know I am vain.
Take this weight from me,
Let my spirit be unchained.

"I've Been Everywhere" Lyrics by Geoff Mack. Originally a hit single by Lucky Starr (1959) and Hank Snow (1962)

I was totin' my pack along the dusty Winnemucca road
When along came a semi with a high and canvas covered load
If you're going to Winnemucca, mack, with me you can ride
So I climbed into the cab and then I settled down inside
He asked me if I'd seen a road with so much dust and sand
And I said, "Listen, I've traveled every road in this here land"

I've been everywhere, man
I've been everywhere, man
Across the deserts bare, man
I've breathed the mountain air, man
Of travel I've had my share, man
I've been everywhere

I've been to Reno, Chicago, Fargo
Minnesota, Buffalo, Toronto, Winslow
Sarasota, Wichita, Tulsa, Ottawa
Oklahoma, Tampa, Panama
Mattawa, La Paloma, Bangor
Baltimore, Salvador, Amarillo
Tocopilla, Barranquilla and
Padilla, I'm a killer

I've been everywhere, man
I've been everywhere, man
Across the deserts bare, man
I've breathed the mountain air, man
Of travel I've had my share, man
I've been everywhere

I've been to Boston, Charleston, Dayton
Louisiana, Washington, Houston
Kingston, Texarkana, Monterey, Ferriday
Santa Fe, Tallahoosa, Glen Rock
Black Rock, Little Rock, Oskaloosa
Tennessee, Hennessey, Chicopee Spirit Lake
Grand Lake, Devil's Lake, Crater Lake, for Pete's sake

I've been everywhere, man
I've been everywhere, man
Across the deserts bare, man
I've breathed the mountain air, man
Of travel I've had my share, man
I've been everywhere

I've been to Louisville, Nashville
Knoxville, Ombabika, Shefferville
Jacksonville, Water ville, Costa Rica
Pittsfield, Springfield, Bakersfield
Shreveport, Hackensack, Cadillac
Fond Du Lac, Davenport, Idaho, Jellicoe
Argentina, Diamontina, Pasadena
Catalina, see what I mean'a

I've been everywhere, man
I've been everywhere, man
Across the deserts bare, man
I've breathed the mountain air, man
Of travel I've had my share, man
I've been everywhere

Pittsburgh, Parkersburg, Gravellburg
Colorado, Ellensburg, Rexburg Vicksburg
El Dorado, Larrimore, Atmore, Haverstraw
Chattanika, Chaska Nebraska, Alaska
Opelika, Baraboo, Waterloo, Kalamazoo
Kansas City Sioux City, Cedar City
Dodge City, what a pity

I've been everywhere, man
I've been everywhere, man
Across the deserts bare, man
I've breathed the mountain air, man
Of travel I've had my share, man
I've been everywhere
I've been everywhere

Check out the lyrics to The Man Comes Around

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It's a home to the lyrics of the songs that Mr Cash recorded in his popular 'later' years period. We promise some of these lyrics will leave you Hurt.

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