The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #95720   Message #3672178
Posted By: Jim Dixon
26-Oct-14 - 01:44 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req/Add: The Prison Fire
Subject: Lyr Add: THE OHIO PRISON FIRE (Bob Miller)
Here's another song with the same title and subject matter. I heard it via Spotify, from an album called "Self-Destruction Blues: Drinkin', Smokin' & Murder." The song has a rather bizarre dramatic interlude:

Words and music by Miller and Mahoney
As performed by Bob & Charlotte Miller on Okeh 45442, recorded ca. 24 April 1930.

Cries of "Fire!" filled the air.
Maddened men ran everywhere,
In that big Ohio prison tragedy.
Ways to safety were all blocked.
Many cells were barred and locked,
And the raging flames brought death and agony.

Frantic convicts begged for air.
Many were cremated there.
Oh, the horror of that scene! The moans and pleas!
While the red inferno raged,
Human beings, trapped and caged,
How they prayed and cried to God on bended knees!

Picture an old lady there,
Climbing up the smold'ring stair,
Looking for her boy, a victim of the flames.
Now her tears are falling fast,
And she finds her son at last.
All a-tremble she looks on his charred remains.

(Sound of woman crying--violin in background)

Man's gruff voice: Is this your son's body, lady?

Woman's voice: (crying all the while) Oh, this might be him.—Oh, he's little and frail like that.—Oh, Jimmy, Jimmy, it's Mother, Honey, Mother.—Oh, Mother knows you were good.—You were always good to Mother, weren't you dear?

Man's voice: Can you identify this body?

Woman: (still weeping) Oh, sure, sure, I'll take him.—I'll take my boy back now.—The state's finished with him.—The state's finished with all of these bodies, these poor charred bodies.—Oh, who's to blame for this awful, awful thing? Who's to blame?--(now hysterical) Oh, bodies, bodies, bodies! I can't stand it! I can't stand it! I can't stand it! (Fade out)

Now the state so graciously
Gives his body back to her,
After life has flown and he has paid the toll.
Prison bars kept them apart,
Kept him from her lonely heart,
But they can't imprison his immortal soul.

Oh, society may sneer
At these convicts lying here.
After all, they're human, be they what they may.
Judge not each man for his crime,
For we'll all be judged sometime,
When the Master calls us on the Judgment Day.