Prisons The Best Country Songs About Prison  

Ranker Music
859 votes 138 voters 5k views 41 items

List Rules Upvote your favorite country songs about being in jail or prison.

Country songs about prison have a rich history in the genre. So many famous country tunes talk about prison, whether the singer speaks as someone who is in jail, just out of jail, or going to jail. These are some of the best examples, so be sure to vote for your top choices.

Without question, one of the most famous country prison songs is Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.” Cash, considered by many to be the ultimate country “outlaw,” was actually very involved in prison reform issues. This song was originally recorded by Cash at Sun Records in 1956 – but the version that became iconic was recorded live at California’s Folsom Prison in January of 1968. Cash played multiple shows for years at some of the largest and toughest prisons in the country, including Folsom and San Quentin. If there was ever a truly authentic country song about jail, “Folsom Prison Blues” is it.

And yes, there are some country jail songs by female artists, about women behind bars. One of the most notable is Loretta Lynn’s “Women’s Prison,” a track from her 2004 album “Van Lear Rose.” In it, a woman tells of the unfortunate circumstances that landed her on death row: she shot and killed a cheating spouse.

True, these country prison songs are often bleak, with stories of great hardship and suffering. But isn’t that what some of the greatest country songs are about? Take a listen to these tunes, and vote your favorites up to the top of the list.

list ordered by

1
64 7
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Johnny Cash

2
56 8
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Merle Haggard

3
36 9
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Johnny Cash

4
40 13
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Blake Shelton

5
32 11
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6
20 8
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Jimmie Rogers

7
21 9
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Merle Haggard

8
15 7
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Merle Haggard

9
10 8
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10
10 8
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11
10 8
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Marty Robbins

12
9 7
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Merle Haggard

13
11 10
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Waylon Jennings

14
9 8
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Johnny Cash

15
9 9
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Johnny Paycheck

16
8 8
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17
8 9
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Willie Nelson

18
8 9
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19
10 12
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The Charlie Daniels Band

20
6 8
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Lucinda Williams

21
5 7
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Bill Monroe and His Bluegrass Boys

22
7 10
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Loretta Lynn

23
5 8
Colombus Stockade Blues is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Country Songs About Prison
lrmawg added Doc Watson

24
5 8
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The Stanley Brothers

25
5 8
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Todd Snider

26
5 9
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Vernon Dalhart

27
4 8
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Freddie Hart

28
4 8
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Drive-By Truckers

29
4 8
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30
5 10
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Emmylou Harris

31
5 10
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John Prine

32
5 10
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Lucinda Williams

33
5 10
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Steve Earle

34
5 10
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Hank Williams III

35
5 10
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Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs

36
3 9
Ellis Unit One is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Country Songs About Prison
lrmawg added Steve Earle

37
2 8
Billy Austin is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Country Songs About Prison
lrmawg added Steve Earle

38
5 12
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Chatham County Line

39
4 11
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Bobby Sykes

40
3 10
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The Osborne Brothers, Mac Wiseman

41
3 11
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Bobby Bare