Grateful Dead

Viola Lee Blues

Lyrics By: Noah Lewis
Music By: Noah Lewis

The judge decreed it, the clerk he wrote it.
Clerk he wrote it down indeed-e
Judge decreed it, clerk he wrote it down
Give you this jail sentence you'll be Nashville bound

Some got six month some got one solid.
Some got one solid year indeed-e
Some got six month some got one solid.
But me and my buddies all got lifetime here

I wrote a letter I mailed in the air, Mailed it on the air indeed-e
I wrote a letter I mailed in the air.
You may know by that I've got a friend somewhere

(1) Gus Cannon's version sounds like "The judge he pleaded" but I think the Dead sing "decreed it" (2) it's not clear whether it's "If you miss jail sinner" or "If you miss jail sentence." I think the Dead sing the latter, though Gus Cannon's version sounds more like the former. (3) the Dead sometimes sang "You may know by that ..." (Thanks to Brian Schnapp and others for pointing this out) (4) the lyrics of the Dead's version are often hard to make out, and Bob Weir made a joke of this when asked in the "Grateful Dead Documentary" what the lyrics were: "Read it and eat it, turkey crowed it Down de levee, candy coated Read it and eat it, candy coated down If you miss jail sentence, it's your own damn fault"

Viola Lee Blues