The Executioner’s Last Songs Pt. 1

Pine Valley Cosmonauts: The Executioner’s Last Songs Pt. 1
Songs of murder, cruelty, and mob-law done to benefit Artists against the Death Penalty for the Illinois Death Penalty Moratorium Project
01 “Knoxville Girl,” Brett Sparks of the Handsome Family lyrics
02 “I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive,” Rosie Flores lyrics
03 “Gary Gilmore’s Eyes,” Dean Schlabowske, Sally Timms, Kelly Hogan and Tracey Dear / Soundclip
04 “The Snakes Crawl at Night,” Janet Bean of Freakwater / Soundclip lyrics
05 “Tom Dooley,” Steve Earle / Soundclip (no, it’s no instrumental) lyrics
06 “The Hangman’s Song,” Christa Meyer and Tom Kelley of Puerto Muerto
07 “Pardon Me, I’ve Got Someone to Kill,” Lonesome Bob
08 “Poor Ellen Smith,” Neko Case
09 “Miss Otis Regrets,” Jenny Toomey lyrics
10 “Judgement Day,” Johnny Dowd and Jon Langford / Soundclip
11 “The Great State of Texas,” Chris Ligon
12 “Sing Me Back Home,” Edith Frost lyrics
13 “Oh Death,” Diane Izzo lyrics
14 “Hanged Man,” Rick Sherry of Devil in the Woodpile
15 “The Plans We Made,” Jon Langford and Sally Timms / Soundclip
16 “25 Minutes to Go,” Frankie and Johnny Navin of the Aluminum Group lyrics
17 “Idiot Whistle,” Tony Fitzpatrick
18 “Walls of Time,” Paul Burch lyrics
PVC are:
Steve Goulding: drumkit
Tom Ray: double bass (ukelele on poor ellen smith)
Jon Langford: guiotar & vocals
Drew Carson: mandolin
Celine: guitars, banjo, fiddle, dobro, lap steel, bazooki (mandolin on pardon me & judgement day)
Dan Massey: drums on tom dooley
Robert Lloyd: mandolin
Jon Rauhouse: banjo on poor ellen smith
Amy Domingues: piano & cello on miss otis regrets
Chris Scruggs: double bass
Chris Dettloff: drums on I’ll never get out of this world alive
Deanna Varagona: harmony vocals on walls of time
Ken Sluiter: backing vocals on don’t look at the hanged man
All songs recorded , mixed and mastered by ken sluiter at kingsize Sounds Labs, Chicago IL
with instrumental overdubs at Phlosswwerx, Chicago IL
Paintings by Jon Langford
The CD is dedicated to the life and work of Richard Cunningham


Knoxville Girl

I met a little girl in Knoxville
A town we all know well
And every sunday evening
In her home I’d dwell
We went to take an evening walk
About a mile from town
I picked a stick up off the ground
And I knocked that fair girl down
She fell down on her bended knees
For mercy she did cry
“Oh Willy, dear, don’t kill me yet
I’m unprepared to die”
She never spoke another word
I only beat her more
Until the ground around me
With her blood did flow
I took her by her golden curls
And I dragged her ’round and ’round
Throwing her into the river
That flows from Knoxville town
Go down, go down, you Knoxville girl
With your dark and roving eyes
Go down, go down, you Knoxville girl
You can never be my bride
I started back to Knoxville
Got there about midnight
My mother, she was worried
She woke up in a fright
Saying, “Dear son, what have you done
To bloody up your clothes?”
I told my anxious mother
That I was bleading in my nose
I called for me a candle
And I called for me a bed
And I called for me a handkerchief
To bind my aching head
I rolled and thrashed the whole night through
All horrors I did see
The devil stood at the foot of my bed
Pointing his finger at me
They carried me down to Knoxville
And put me in a cell
My friends all tried to get me out
But none could grow my bail
I’m here to waste my life away
Down in this dirty old jail
Because I murdered that Knoxville girl
The girl I loved so well
I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive

Recorded by Hank Williams
Written by Hank Williams and Fred Rose

Capo: 1st Fret Key: F# Play: F
Now you’re [F] lookin’ at a man that’s gettin’ kind-a mad
I had lot’s of luck but it’s all been bad
No [C7] matter how I struggle and strive
I’ll never get out of this world a-[F] live.

My fishin’ pole’s broke the creek is full of sand
My woman run away with another man
No matter how I struggle and strive
I’ll never get out of this world alive.

A [Bb] distant uncle passed away [Bb7] and [F] left me quite a batch [F7]
And [Bb] I was livin’g high until that fatal [Bb7] day
A lawyer [C7] proved I wasn’t born
I was only hatched.—[F]

Ev’rything’s agin’ me and it’s got me down
If I jumped in the river I would prob’ly drown
No matter how I struggle and strive
I’ll never get out of this world alive.

These shabby shoes I’m wearin’ all the time
Are full of holes and nails
And brother if I stepped on a worn out dime
I bet a nickel I could tell you if it was heads or tails.

I’m not gonna worry wrinkles in my brow
‘Cause nothin’s ever gonna be alright nohow
No matter how I struggle and strive
I’ll never get out of this world alive.

I could buy a Sunday suit and it would leave me broke
If it had two pair of pants I would burn the coat
No matter how I struggle and strive
I’ll never get out of this world alive.

If it was rainin’ gold I wouldn’t stand a chance
I wouldn’t have a pocket in my patched up pants
No matter how I struggle and strive
I’ll never get out of this world alive.

by Charlie Pride

Oh the snakes crawl at night,that’s what they say
When the sun goes down.Oh the snakes will play

I watched that car pull right up into my driveway
Saw the shadow slip away from my house
So I hurried straight and looked into her room
And I found out that it was my loving spouse

repeat chorus

So I waited in the shadows until morning
And the gun that I held was trembling in my hand
No I did not mean to give them any warning
For the devil on my shoulder had command

repeat chorus

Oh the trial in a little while was over
And they sentenced me to die right away
But before I leave this courtroom please your honour
There is something more that I would like to say

Tom Dooley

Hang your head, Tom Dooley
Hang your head and cry
Killed poor Laura Foster (note 1)
And you know you’re bound to die

You took her on the hillside (note 2)
And begged to be excused
You took her on the hillside
Then hid her clothes and shoes

You dug her grave four feet wide
Dug it three feet deep
Rolled the cold clay over her
And tromped it with your feet


Took her on the hillside
Stabbed with a knife (note 3)
Took her on the hillside
And then you took her life


This time tomorrow morning
Where do you reckon I’ll be
Down in some lonesome valley
Just swinging from a white oak tree

You can take down my old violin
And play it all you please
For at this time tomorrow morning
It’ll be of no use to me


Miss Otis Regrets
(Cole Porter)

Miss Otis regrets, she’s unable to lunch today, madam,
Miss Otis regrets, she’s unable to lunch today.
She is sorry to be delayed,
but last evening down in Lover’s Lane she strayed, madam,
Miss Otis regrets, she’s unable to lunch today.
When she woke up and found that her dream of love was gone, madam,
She ran to the man who had led her so far astray,
And from under her velvet gown,
She drew a gun and shot her love down, madam,
Miss Otis regrets, she’s unable to lunch today.
When the mob came and got her and dragged her from the jail, madam,
They strung her upon the old willow across the way,
And the moment before she died,
She lifted up her lovely head and cried, madam……
Miss Otis regrets, she’s unable to lunch today

Written by Merle Hagard

The warden led a prisoner down a hallway to his doom.
I stood up to say goodbye like all the rest.
And I heard him tell the warden, just before he reached my cell:
“Let my guitar playing friend do my request.”


“Let him sing me back home, with a song I used to hear.
“And make my old mem’ries come alive.
“And take me away and turn back the years.
“And sing me back home before I die.”

I recall last Sunday morning, a choir from off the streets,
Came in to sing a few old gospel songs.
And I heard him tell the singers: “There’s a song my Mama sang.
“Could I hear it once before you move along?”


Oh Death

Oh death
Oh death
Won’t you spare me over til another year

Well what is this that I can’t see
With ice cold hands taking hold of me
Well I am death none can excel
I’ll open the door to heaven or hell

Whoa death someone would pray
Could you wait to call me til another day
The children pray the preacher preached
Time and mercy is out of your reach

I’ll fix your feet til you can’t walk
I’ll lock your jaw til you can’t talk
I’ll close your eyes so you can’t see
This very hour come and go with me

In death I come to take the soul
Leave the body and leave it cold
To drop the flesh off of the frame
The earth and worms both have a claim

Oh death
Oh death
Won’t you spare me over til another year

My mother came to my bed
Place a cold towel upon my head
My head is warm my feet are cold
Death is a movin upon my soul

Oh death how you’re treatin me
You close my eyes so I can’t see
Well you’re hurtin my body you make me cold
You run my life right out of my soul

Oh death please consider my age
Please don’t take me at this stage
My wealth is all at your command
If you’ll remove your icy hands

Oh the young the rich or poor
All alike to me you know
No wealth no land no silver or gold
Nothin satisfies my but your soul

Oh death
Oh death
Won’t you spare me over til another year
Won’t you spare me over til another year
Won’t you spare me over til another year

25 MINUTES TO GO (Shel Silverstein)

They’re buildin’ the gallows outside my cell.
I got 25 minutes to go.

And in 25 minutes I’ll be in Hell.
I got 24 minutes to go.

Well, they give me some beans for my last meal.
23 minutes to go.

And you know… nobody asked me how I feel.
I got 22 minutes to go.

So, I wrote to the Gov’nor… the whole damned bunch.
Ahhh… 21 minutes to go.

And I call up the Mayor, and he’s out to lunch.

I got 20 more minutes to go.

Well, the Sheriff says, “Boy, I wanna watch you die”.
19 minutes to go.

I laugh in his face… and I spit in his eye.
I got 18 minutes to go.

Well…I call out to the Warden to hear my plea.
17 minute to go.

He says, “Call me back in a week or three.
You’ve got 16 minutes to go.”

Well, my lawyer says he’s sorry he missed my case.
Mmmm….15 minutes to go.

Yeah, well if you’re so sorry, come up and take my place.
I got 14 minutes to go.

Well, now here comes the padre to save my soul
With 13 minutes to go.

And he’s talkin’ about burnin’, but I’m so damned cold.
I got 12 more minutes to go.

Now they’re testin’ the trap. It chills my spine.
I got 11 minutes to go.

‘Cuz the goddamned thing it works just fine.
I got 10 more minutes to go.

I’m waitin’ for the pardon… gonna set me free
With 9 more minutes to go.

But this ain’t the movies, so to hell with me.
I got 8 more minutes to go.

And now I’m climbin up the ladder with a scaffold peg
With 7 more minutes to go.

I’ve betta’ watch my step or else I’ll break my leg.
I got 6 more minutes to go.

Yeah… with my feet on the trap and my head in the noose…
5 more minutes to go.

Well, c’mon somethin’ and cut me loose.
I got 4 more minutes to go.

I can see the mountains. I see the sky.
3 more minutes to go.

And it’s too damned pretty for a man to die.
i got 2 more minutes to go

I can hear the buzzards… hear the crows.
1 more minute to go.

And now I’m swingin’ and here I gooooooooo….

Walls Of Time

The wind is blowing ‘cross the mountains
And down on the valley way below
It sweeps the grave of my darling
When I die that’s where I want to go

Lord send the angels for my darling
And take her to that home on high
I’ll wait my time out here on earth love
And come to you when I die

I hear a voice out in the darkness
It moans and whispers through the pines
I know it’s my sweetheart a calling
I hear her through the walls of time

Our names are carved upon the tombstone
I promised you before you died
Our love will bloom forever darling
When we rest side
Read about the 2000 concert and a letter from Jon Langford

Posted in Discography.

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