Author: Willie Nelson
I was sittin’ beside the road in Black Jack County.
Not knowing that the Sheriff paid a bounty,
For men like me that hadn’t got a penny to their name.
So he locked my leg to 35 pounds of Black Jack County Chains.
And all we had to eat was bread and water,
Each day we built the road a mile and a quarter,
A Black Snake Whip would cut the back of any man who complained,
But we couldn’t fight back wearing 35 pounds of Black Jack County Chains.
One night while the Sheriff he was sleeping,
We all gathered round him slowly creeping,
Heaven help me to forget that night in the cold cold rain,
When we beat him to death with 35 pounds of Black Jack County Chains.
Now the whip marks have all healed and I am thankful,
There’s nothing left but a scar around my ankle.
But most of all I’m glad no man will be a slave again,
To a Black Snake Whip and 35 pounds of Black Jack County Chains.
This is on the album “Smoke and Strong Whiskey” which has its admirers. It was a difficult album for me and remains so many years on. It suffered from various mishaps and setbacks. I was out of my depth and there was a distinct lack of air in my waterwings.
This song was an out-take from a previous album. I don’t recall its origin nor where I first heard it sung.