A Week In A Country Jail
Tom T. Hall Lyrics


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One time I spent a week inside a little country jail
And I don't guess I'll ever live it down
I was sittin' at a red light when these two men came and got me
And said that I was speeding through their town

Well, they said,tomorrow morning you can see the judge then go.
They let me call one person on the phone
I thought I'd be there overnight so I just called my boss
To tell him I'd be off but not for long

Well, they motioned me inside a cell with seven other guys
One little barred up window in the rear
My cellmates said if they had let me bring some money in
We ought to send the jailer for some beer

Well, I had to pay him double 'cause he was the man in charge
And the jailer's job was not the best in town
Later on his wife brought hot bologna, eggs and gravy
The first day I was there I turned it down

Well, next morning they just let us sleep but I was up real early
Wonderin' when I'd get my release
Later on we got more hot bologna, eggs and gravy
And by now I wasn't quite so hard to please

Two days later when I thought that I had been forgotten
The sheriff came in chewin' on a straw
He said, where is the guy who thinks that this is indianapolis?
I'd like to talk to him about the law.
Well, I told him who I was and told him I was working steady
And I really should be gettin' on my way
That part about me bein' who I was did not impress him
He said, the judge'll be here any day.

The jailer had a wife and let me tell you she was awful
But she brought that hot bologna every day
And after seven days she got to lookin' so much better
I asked her if she'd like to run away

The next mornin' that old judge took every nickel that I had
And he said, son, let this teach you not to race.



The jailer's wife was smilin' from the window as I left
In thirty minutes I was out of state

Overall Meaning

Tom T. Hall's song "A Week In A Country Jail" tells the story of a man who spent a week in a small country jail after being caught speeding through town. The lyrics describe his experience in detail, from being put in a cell with seven other men to the jailer's wife bringing them hot bologna, eggs, and gravy every day.


The singer initially believes that he'll only be in jail overnight, so he calls his boss to let him know that he'll be off work but not for long. As the days go by, he becomes more resigned to his situation and even starts to find pleasure in the simple pleasures of life, such as the hot meals he's provided and the chance to sleep in.


Eventually, the sheriff visits him and reminds him that he's not in Indianapolis anymore, and that the judge will be coming soon. When the singer finally appears before the judge, he's relieved to learn that he'll be released, but upset that he has to forfeit all the money he has on him.


Despite the challenges he faced while in jail, the singer seems to suggest that the experience taught him something valuable. He ends the song by reflecting on his time there and the lessons he learned.


Line by Line Meaning

One time I spent a week inside a little country jail
The singer spent a week inside a country jail once in the past.


And I don't guess I'll ever live it down
The singer acknowledges that the jail incident is a lasting shame they won't likely forget.


I was sittin' at a red light when these two men came and got me
Two men arrested the singer for alleged speeding while they were at a stop light.


And said that I was speeding through their town
The two men accused the artist of speeding through a town.


Well, they said,tomorrow morning you can see the judge then go.
The authorities scheduled the artist's hearing for the following day.


They let me call one person on the phone
The singer received permission to make one phone call during their detainment.


I thought I'd be there overnight so I just called my boss
Since the singer assumed a short stay, they informed their boss of their temporary unavailability.


To tell him I'd be off but not for long
The artist reassured their boss that their absence would be brief.


Well, they motioned me inside a cell with seven other guys
The authorities locked the artist inside a cell with seven other inmates.


One little barred up window in the rear
The cell had only one small window with bars in the back.


My cellmates said if they had let me bring some money in
The singer's cellmates lamented the fact that the jail didn't let them have money inside the cell.


We ought to send the jailer for some beer
The artist's cellmates wanted to purchase some beer from the jailer if they had been allowed to bring in money.


Well, I had to pay him double 'cause he was the man in charge
The singer paid twice the amount of money because the jailer demanded a higher fee in exchange for beer.


And the jailer's job was not the best in town
The singer acknowledged that the jailer's occupation wasn't ideal.


Later on his wife brought hot bologna, eggs and gravy
The jailer's wife brought the singer food consisting of hot bologna, eggs, and gravy.


The first day I was there I turned it down
The artist refused to eat the offered food on their first day of detainment.


Well, next morning they just let us sleep but I was up real early
The artist had plenty of rest on the following day but woke up early.


Wonderin' when I'd get my release
The singer was anxious and wondering when they would be released.


And by now I wasn't quite so hard to please
The singer began to ease up and was easier to please as time went on.


Two days later when I thought that I had been forgotten
The artist felt forgotten after two days passed in jail.


The sheriff came in chewin' on a straw
The sheriff, chewing on straw, entered the cell.


He said, where is the guy who thinks that this is indianapolis?
The sheriff asked where the detainee was who claimed they were in Indianapolis.


I'd like to talk to him about the law.
The sheriff requested that the individual who mentioned the word 'Indianapolis' to speak with him about the law.


Well, I told him who I was and told him I was working steady
The artist told the sheriff their identity and their steady work.


And I really should be gettin' on my way
The singer stressed that they must leave soon.


That part about me bein' who I was did not impress him
The sheriff didn't care about the singer's identity.


He said, the judge'll be here any day.
The sheriff informed the singer that the judge would arrive soon.


The jailer had a wife and let me tell you she was awful
The jailer's wife was terrible, according to the artist.


But she brought that hot bologna every day
Despite her unpleasantness, the jailer's wife consistently brought the detainee hot bologna.


And after seven days she got to lookin' so much better
After seven days, the singer began finding the jailer's wife visually appealing.


I asked her if she'd like to run away
The singer proposed a plan to the jailer's wife to run away together.


The next mornin' that old judge took every nickel that I had
The next day, the judge levied a fine that drained the artist's wallet.


And he said, son, let this teach you not to race.
The judge admonished the artist, explaining that the penalty was a consequence of illegal racing.


The jailer's wife was smilin' from the window as I left
As the artist left, the jailer's wife smiled at them through the window.


In thirty minutes I was out of state
In less than an hour, the singer had left the state.




Lyrics Β© Warner Chappell Music, Inc.
Written by: TOM T. HALL

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Comments from YouTube:

divotdadoltz

Tom T Hall. Best story teller ever. Grew up listening to him, Red Sovine, Don Williams, etc. Thank you for this channel

Plain Ol' Beekeeping in Plano, TX

RIP, Tom. Your songs were a special part of my youth.

John Howard

This guy is a national treasure.

UntamedAussie

Love Tom T's music! Such a treat! πŸ‡¦πŸ‡Ί

Remington Riders

This is one of my favorite TTH songs. Tom T, you are a legend. Thank you for the music and the stories. You brought much sunshine to my life.

Bailey Taylor

My pawpaw passed away a couple months ago and he had these tiny records so I’ve been looking up the music and this was one of the songs. :) It bittersweet to hear the music he probably knew all of the words to. Hope if you’re reading this you’re doing well. Remember you are loved πŸ’•

shelby johnson

We all should have grandchildren like you, stay the course above all be you.

Remington Riders

That is such a sweet sentiment.

DuckDuckGo IsMuchBetter

Get a good record player and listen to them. You won't regret it.

Records are coming back. There's even a big record section in many Wal-Marts now. I never thought I'd ever see that again.

heyyyyyynow

Save the records. Better yet buy a record player and listen to them. They'll sound better than this any day.

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