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Origin: A Boy Named Sue (Shel Silverstein)

04 Apr 97 - 03:29 PM (#3820)
Subject: Info: A Boy Named Sue
From: Bo Vandenberg

Just a little note: According to _The Best of Johnny Cash_ Co. Hal Leonard Publishing 1982. A Boy Named Sue was written by that greatly overlooked writer Shel Silverstein, words and music. It lists a copywrite of 1969 Evil Eye Music , Inc. NY, NY.

It's not accredited in the DT.

04 Apr 97 - 06:05 PM (#3829)
Subject: RE: Info: A Boy Named Sue
From: Mountain Dog

Thanks, Bo, for raising the name and shining pate of old Shel in his guise as a subversive and inventive tunemonger. There's a 2 record set, including some live material, that came out on Fantasy records some 20-25 years ago called "Crouchin on the Outside" that has some wonderful Silverstein originals including the ultimate boasting song "I'm So Good That I Don't Have to Brag". I've long since lost my copy, but there are a fair number of tunes on it that someone could add to the DT archives if they had the notion.

I'll leave you with the lyrics to Shel's slightly unsettling tune, "The Bomb":

"They're testing the Bomb as I'm singing this song,

They say not to worry, cause nothing can go wrong,

Oh, they're testing the Bomb as I'm singing this song,

They say not to worry cause nothing ca.........."

05 Apr 97 - 11:13 AM (#3863)
Subject: RE: Info: A Boy Named Sue
From: dick greenhaus

Thanx for the accreditation info. It will be included in future editions.

05 Apr 97 - 10:01 PM (#3888)
Subject: RE: Info: A Boy Named Sue
From: ron k

Just a little more about Shel Silverstein.

If you remember a group called Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, he wrote some of the immortal ( some say immoral) songs that they recorded such as "Pennicillin Penny", "Acapulca Goldie", and most, if not all, (my memory fails me a little) of the songs on at least 2 albums - SLOOPY SECONDS & BELLY UP.

06 Apr 97 - 07:10 PM (#3919)
Subject: RE: Info: A Boy Named Sue
From: bo

Dr Hook is actually where I firs discoverred Silverstein's work, in those self same songs. I'm perpetually amazed by the range of the man's work. I really like his twisted mind.


06 Apr 97 - 08:07 PM (#3924)
Subject: RE: Info: A Boy Named Sue
From: Les Blank

Shel did something for everybody, and twisted though he may be, he also penned some delightful children's poetry. My three kids reveled in Light in the Attic and Where the Sidewalk Ends.So did their old man when he read them to them.

06 Apr 97 - 11:11 PM (#3927)
Subject: Lyr Add: A GIRL NAMED JOHNNY CASH (Martin Mull)

HELLO ALL! A BOY NAMED SUE - written by Shel Silverstein and recorded by Johnny Cash was no doubt a never to be forgotten song. Shortly thereafter a sorta answer type of song was penned by Martin Mull and recorded by Jane Morgan. The album: Jane Morgan In Nashville/1970/RCA LSP-4322 has the only recording I have ever found of the song.

Written by Martin Mull
As recorded by Jane Morgan on "Jane Morgan In Nashville" (1970)

INTRO: Kick off with FOLSOM PRISON BLUES (da da da dah dah dah da-da-da dah).

[G#] Started out in Tennessee in 1944.
When the [C#] doctor hollered, "It's a girl," my father hit the floor.
Then he [G#] hit the bottle and he signed his name and he drove off in the Nash.
Then [Eb] when that sun came up again he'd named me Johnny [G#] Cash. Uhh! [F#] Uhh!

[F#] So at 22 I left my home; to Nashville I did go,
To [B] try to land me a little job; had to earn myself some dough.
I was [F#] workin' in a diner in a hairnet servin' hash,
And [C#] on my little apron was embroidered "Johnny [F#] Cash." Uhh! [E] Uhh!

[E] I could 'a' had my pick o' men if I'd been named Lucille,
But [A] when they saw my uniform, they just laughed and ate their meal;
So [E] I just drink my coffee black in back behind the trash,
And [B] curse that lousy drunkard who had named me Johnny [E] Cash.


And I walked the streets of Nashville; I was feelin' low and lost.
I thought I'd go and change my name no matter what it cost.
I stood in line behind a man who turned and in a flash,
He said: "My name is Sue" and I said: "Great! I'm Johnny Cash." Uhh! [F#] Uhh!

(Same chords as 2nd verse)
Now me and Sue is married with a little boy and girl.
The boy was christened Jessica and the girl was christened Earl;
And when my Sue comes home from work it's up the stairs we dash,
'Cause I love to hear my little Susie say: "I love you, Johnny Cash."

TAG: Same ending as on FOLSOM PRISON BLUES.

08 Apr 97 - 09:48 PM (#4024)
Subject: RE: Info: A Boy Named Sue
From: ron k

Great song Gene!

Shel also has at least one, and maybe more, albums of childrens music and poetry. His sense of humor is similar to that of my 2 kids. If you're out there Shel, keep writing.

05 Dec 17 - 11:32 AM (#3892233)
Subject: Lyr Add: FATHER OF A BOY NAMED SUE (S Silverstein)
From: Jim Dixon

As recorded by Shel Silverstein on "Songs and Stories" (2011).

Okay now, years ago I wrote a song called "Boy Named Sue," and that was okay and everything, except then I started thinkin' about it, and I thought it was unfair. I am lookin' at the whole thing from the poor kid's point of view, and as I get older and more fatherly, I began to look at things from old men's point of view, so I decided to give the old man equal time. Okay, here we go:

Yeah, I left home when the kid was three,
And it sure felt good to be fancy-free,
Though I knew it wasn't quite the fatherly thing to do;
But that kid kept screamin' an' throwin' up,
And pissin' in his pants till I had enough,
So just for revenge I went and named him Sue.

It was Gatlinburg in mid-July.
I was gettin' drunk but gettin' by,
Gettin' old and goin' from bad to worse,
When through the door with an awful scream
Comes the ugliest queen I've ever seen.
He says: "My name is Sue! How do you do!" Then he hits me with his purse.

Now this ain't the way he tells the tale,
But he scratched my face with his fingernails,
And then he bit my thumb and kicked me with his high-heeled shoe.
So I hit him in the nose and he started to cry,
And he threw some perfume in my eye,
And it sure ain't easy fightin' a boy named Sue.

So I hit him in the head with a cane-back chair,
And he screamed: "Hey, Dad! You mussed my hair!"
And he hit me in the navel and knocked out a piece o' my lint.
He was spittin' blood; I was spittin' teeth,
And we crashed through the wall and out into the street,
A-kickin' an' gougin' in the mud and the blood and the cr?me de menthe.

Then out o' his garter he pulls a gun.
I'm about to get shot by my very own son!
He's screamin' 'bout Sigmund Freud and lookin' grim;
So I thought fast and I told him some stuff,
How I named him Sue just to make him tough,
And I guess he bought it 'cause now I'm livin' with him.

Yeah, he cooks and sews and cleans up the place.
He cuts my hair and shaves my face,
And irons my shirts better than a daughter could do,
And on the nights that I can't score,
Well, I can't tell you any more,
But it sure is a joy to have a boy named Sue.

Yeah, a son is fun, but it's a joy to have a boy named Sue.

05 Dec 17 - 09:02 PM (#3892336)
Subject: RE: Origin: A Boy Named Sue (Shel Silverstein)
From: GUEST,Gerry

The Jane Morgan recording of A Girl Named Johnny Cash is up on Youtube at