Many online sources say (incorrectly) that this is an anonymous chain
gang ballad, but it was actually written in 1924 by Guy and Robert
Massey. The song was first recorded in 1924 by Vernon Dalhart, and was
a hit many decades later for both Eddy Arnold and Bill Monroe. "The
Prisoner's Song" has been featured in several motion picture
The Prisoner's Song
Oh, I wish I had someone to love me,
Someone to call me their own.
Oh, I wish I had someone to live with
'Cause I'm tired of livin' alone.
Oh, please meet me tonight in the moonlight,
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 darlin' would suffer,
Oh, that ship would be anchored and sold.
Now if I had the wings of an angel
Over these prison walls I would fly,
And I'd fly to the arms of my poor darlin',
And there I'd be willing to die.
The lyrics, and quite a bit about the song's history, may be found on
Bob Dylan Roots: The Prisoner's Song
Piano, vocal, and guitar sheet music for "The Prisoner's Song" may be
found in the "Country Music Hall of Fame - Volume Three" collection,
Google: "wings of an angel" + "prisoners song"
Google: "sheet music" + "prisoner's song"
AlltheWeb.com: "guy massey"
Thanks for asking about a song with an interesting history. I hope
this answer is useful to you. Please ask for clarification if it is