“Logan County Jail (Dallas County Jail)”


The singer has been a criminal (robber and pickpocket) from his youth. Eventually he lands in prison, facing an extended sentence.


Most of the Laws ballads have clearly defined boundaries and distinct plots. This one is rather an exception. By its nature, it has attracted a lot of extra verses, and (perhaps as a result) also sometimes has pieces fall off. Laws himself discusses this point in NAB, pp. 77-79. - RBW

Cross references


  • Allen Brothers "Prisoner's Dream" (Victor V-40210, 1930) (Vocalion 02874, 1934) (one of these is on RoughWays1, but it's not clear which; the liner notes date it "1928")
  • Carl & Harty, "The Prisoner's Dream" (Melotone 7-01-53, 1937)
  • Gooby Jenkins, "The Prisoner's Dream" (OKeh 45082, 1927; rec. 1926)
  • Glenn Ohrlin, "The Sporting Cowboy" (on Ohrlin01)
  • Shelton Brothers, "The Prisoner's Dream" (Decca 5381, 1937)
  • Hobart Smith, "Hawkins County Jail" (on LomaxCD1700, LomaxCD1705)
  • Weaver and Wiggins (pseudonyms for Wilmer Watts & Frank Wilson), "The Sporting Cowboy" (Broadway 8112, c. 1931; on WhenIWas1 [as Watts & Wilson])


  1. Laws E17, "Logan County Jail (Dallas County Jail)" (sample text in NAB, pp. 76-77)
  2. Randolph 135, "The Dallas County Jail" (4 texts plus an excerpt, 3 tunes)
  3. Combs/Wilgus 59, pp. 185-186, "Bob Sims" (1 text)
  4. Ohrlin-HBT 57, "Sporting Cowboy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. JHCox 42, "Logan County Court House" (3 texts plus mention of 1 more)
  6. Darling-NAS, pp. 285-286, "The Prisoner's Dream" (1 text); also pp. 286-287, "Jack o' Diamonds" (1 text, mostly the "Jack of Diamonds" variant of "Rye Whiskey," but with material from this song)
  7. Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 130, "At the Jail" (2 texts, 1 tune; the result looks to me to be a mix between this and "Danville Girl," though it's one of those vague cases....)
  9. Roud #691
  10. BI, LE17


Alternate titles: “Moundsville Prisoner”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1916 (Cox)
Keywords: crime prison youth
Found in: US(Ap,So)