Show #23: PAUL EVANS (Show #2 of 2)
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The following interview with Paul Evans was broadcast November 2 & 5, 1963 from New York City on worldwide short-wave radio. This historic radio interview was transmitted from the studios of Radio New York Worldwide on the show Folk Music Worldwide hosted by newsman Alan Wasser. This is interview #2 of 2 with Mr. Evans. The first interview can be found here.

Featuring folk song performances: "John Hardy"; "Allentown Jail"; "Another Town, Another Jail"; "Marie, Marie"; and "Columbus Stockade Blues". Transcript includes full song lyrics.

 

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 (24:39)

Transcript:

MEL BERNAM (ANNOUNCER): Here is Radio New York Folk Music Worldwide. A program devoted to the best in folk music throughout the world. Showcasing the top performers and authorities in the field. Now your host for Folk Music Worldwide, Alan Wasser.

ALAN WASSER (HOST): Hello again and welcome again to Folk Music Worldwide. With us today is Paul Evans (bio).

Some of you may have heard a show we did with Paul Evans, oh, quite a few months ago when he first came out with his album "Paul Evans - Folk Songs Of Many Lands".

Well, Paul has a new album called "21 years In A Tennessee Jail" and we thought we'd bring him back in again and give all of you who wrote in and said you'd liked him so much, another chance to hear him.

Why don't we start off right away with Paul Evans' rendition of, oh I guess, an American jail song that is known best of all American jail songs, "John Hardy".

[Song performance 1 of 5: "John Hardy" by Paul Evans]:

Lyrics:

John Hardy was a dirty little man
He carried a razor every day
He killed a man just to see him fall
You ought to see John Hardy, get away, get away
Yes, you ought to see John Hardy get away.

John Hardy had a pretty little girl
The dress she wore was blue
She cried out loud as he rolled outta town
Hardy Iíll be oh so true to you, true to you
She said, "Hardy, I'll be oh so true to you"

John Hardy stood in the barroom door
So drunk he could not see
The sheriff comes along with a gun in his hand
Says, "Hardy, better come along with me, with me"
He says, "Hardy, better come along with me"

The night John Hardy was to be hanged
There comes a storm and hail
It knocked the hanging scaffold down
But they locked John Hardy back in jail, back in jail
Yes they locked John Hardy right back up in jail

The next day as the sun arose
They swung John Hardy to and fro
But Hardy never shed a tear
He's going to meet his friends all down below, down below
Yes he's going to meet his friends all down below

[end of music]

ALAN WASSER: Paul Evans, "John Hardy". Paul, this whole album is all about American jails songs?

PAUL EVANS: Yes it is, every song.

ALAN WASSER: How did you get that interested? Have you ever been in jail, is that how you got interested in jail songs?

PAUL EVANS: No, but I've... I visited them and there's something, I don't know, very hard looking of course about a jail, but very interesting. Actually the idea was to come up with something different and I think we did.

ALAN WASSER: Yes, there aren't very many jail songs.

PAUL EVANS: You know, it was a problem because the idea was great, come up with 12 jail songs. As a matter fact, we had to sneak one French jail song in there and the song called "Marie, Marie" because they're just... there're a lot of chain gang songs, but that has been done so many times.

ALAN WASSER: Well now how did you get the material? Did you... you actually went around to the jails?

PAUL EVANS: No, first of all, my wife is a very big country and western fan and she used to be on the charts as a matter of fact when she sang country western music, so she knows quite a few of them.

It meant researching, calling up companies and calling up publishers and, "Please send me all the jail material you had." I didn't get the big reaction to it because they just...as I said, there aren't that many. They have maybe three or four other ones that we just didn't fit into the album.

ALAN WASSER: I'm terribly disappointed, I was...

PAUL EVANS: You were hoping.

ALAN WASSER: ...hoping that you were going to say that you'd gone to Sing Sing for three years or something to research it.

PAUL EVANS: I passed by Sing Sing one time.

ALAN WASSER: I see here that it says "21 years In A Tennessee Jail". Are there songs that refer to other jails or are these...

PAUL EVANS: Oh yeah.

ALAN WASSER: ...restricted to Tennessee?

PAUL EVANS: No, no, but most of the songs are of Southern heritage and Tennessee is as good a spot as any I guess.

ALAN WASSER: Now I'm just looking here, it says "Allentown Jail". Now that's Pennsylvania. Now that's not in the south, it's pretty far north in fact.

PAUL EVANS: Well that's a famous jail and I don't know exactly why, and you notice...I didn't notice until somebody told me that the writer was a New York writer, which is very unusual for a country and western music. Most of it has come out of Nashville as a matter of fact, in Tennessee.

ALAN WASSER: Well, just to violate the trend, why don't we play "Allentown Jail"?

PAUL EVANS: All right.

[Song performance 2 of 5: "Allentown Jail" by Paul Evans]:

Lyrics:

They've locked me up darlin' in Allentown jail
Oh, oh, oh, oh
And no one has come forth to put up my bail
Oh, oh, oh, oh
They say at the courthouse that my life is through
My life is through

'Cause I stole a diamond, a beautiful diamond
To give, to give to you
Somewhere in Allentown jail
I'm waiting in Allentown jail

So dance for the people and sing them a song
La da di da
But more than that darlin' would surely be wrong
Oh more than that darlin' would surely be wrong
Oh please be true

'Cause I stole a diamond, a beautiful diamond
To give, to give to you
Somewhere in Allentown jail
I'm waiting in Allentown jail

I'll find none like you could I search the world round
Oh, oh, oh, oh
And that's why I'll need the best lawyer in town
Oh, oh, oh, oh
I must find a lawyer, the best one in town
Yes I do

'Cause I stole a diamond, a beautiful diamond
To prove my love to you
Somewhere in Allentown jail
I'm waiting in Allentown jail

[end of music]

ALAN WASSER: "Allentown Jail" sung by Paul Evans who has never been inside Allentown jail.

PAUL EVANS: Never been outside Allentown jail.

ALAN WASSER: Paul, except for one song on this album, I know everything is traditional.

PAUL EVANS: Right.

ALAN WASSER: One song, "Another Town, Another Jail" you said you wrote yourself?

PAUL EVANS: Yes I did, mm-hmm.

ALAN WASSER: Have you done much writing?

PAUL EVANS: Yes, as a matter of fact I started in the business, in the music business as a writer of popular songs and I've had some hits. I had... last year I had a very big hit called "Roses Are Red". It was Bobby Vinton had the big record on it.

As a matter of fact, he sold over two million copies, which is an awfully big seller. And well about five years ago I had my first hit, a song called "When" which the Cayman twins cut here in America in which overseas was a bigger hit than it was here.

And I'm just finding out through my ASCAP statements that they're coming in from Europe now and it was, did very well in Europe. The French version was very big, it was called "Bien" in French.

And please excuse my pronunciation. Also I have a movie coming out now that I wrote the theme song for, the movie is called "Palm Springs Weekend" and the song is called "Live Young".

ALAN WASSER: Did you get a weekend in Palm Springs outta the song?

PAUL EVANS: Golly, I really wish I could tell you yes to that, but I understand it's a cute, cute picture. I haven't seen it yet, I'm waiting to see a preview this week.

ALAN WASSER: How did you get the inspiration to write "Another Town, Another Jail?"

PAUL EVANS: Well I knew that we were putting out an album of prison songs and I actually wanted to write one and we thought that of all the selections, my co-writer and I looked at them and there was nothing really about the, the truth I guess, about somebody who's been in prison.

Of course I don't know, I haven't been in, but I do read about it that once you're in you do get a name and a reputation, and it can be tough to go through life with the stigma of having been in prison, and that's why we wrote the song "Another Town, Another Jail".

ALAN WASSER: Well, let's hear that now, done by Paul Evans.

[Song performance 3 of 5: "Another Town, Another Jail" by Paul Evans]:

Lyrics:

Most folks can look back with pride and the things they worked for and won
All I've got is a prison record to show for the things I've done

I got off the prison special in Memphis, Tennessee
The sheriff and his deputy were waiting there for me
They said, "Your kind means trouble and we don't want trouble here
Gonna lock you up till morning, son, then you better disappear"

And so I hit the trail, another town, another jail
Another town, another jail

Now I had a dozen green backs, when I hit Mobile
Lost them playing poker on a very crocked deal

I got up from the table slow
Said, "Now I want my money back"
Soon fists and chairs were flying and then everything went black
Well I guess it'll never fail

Another town, another jail
Another town, another jail

I escaped across the border, down to Mexico
There I met Conchita, she said, "I love you, Joe"
But she was someone else's and he went for me with lead
But I'm really not unhappy, though I know I'll soon be dead
There'll be no need for bail or another town, another jail

Another town, another jail
Another town, another jail

[end of music]

ALAN WASSER: "Another Town, Another Jail" by Paul Evans on Folk Music Worldwide. We'll be back with another song and another few comments right after this message.

(short pause for commercial)

This is Alan Wasser again back at Folk Music Worldwide. Let me just take a moment out here to ask again that you write in and let us know if you heard the show. It's the only way we have of telling how many listeners we have, how many people are hearing us, what they want to hear.

Make some suggestions, requests, areas of music you want to hear. But one way or another just write.

Paul, you've mentioned earlier that one of the songs on this album is a French song?

PAUL EVANS: Yes, I did, the song is "Marie, Marie" and it's an original French song that... there have been one of two records here in the United States and there were no hit records on it, but I think it's pretty pathetic plea from somebody who's in jail and he's worried about what... how people are taking his being in jail on the outside.

ALAN WASSER: Well, why don't we cross the Atlantic now, we've come from the south into the north of the United States and then going to another town. Why don't we cross the Atlantic and go to France for "Marie, Marie"?

[Song performance 4 of 5: "Marie, Marie" by Paul Evans]:

Lyrics:

Marie, Marie, write to me, write to me
Marie, Marie, my number's 67903
Next spring they tell me I'll be free

I can hardly wait till then
Just think, the waiting will be over
We can start to live again

There's not a single day goes by
That I haven't thought of you
But too much thinking can be painful
Yet that's all that I can do

Marie, Marie, write to me, write to me
Marie, Marie, my number's 67903
Marie there's something you can do

Call my mother now and then
I know she'll only sit and worry
Till I come home again
Till I come home again

[end of music]

ALAN WASSER: "Marie, Marie" done by Paul Evans on Folk Music Worldwide.

Paul, it occurs to me, we haven't actually...we've been kidding around about the fact that the album is an album of Southern jails songs and the big joke all through, not that it's very funny, but the big joke all through the show has been the fact that you've played songs from everywhere else.

Is there a song on here that's really from a good deep South state that you know and it's pinned down? I mean, like South Carolina, or Georgia, or Mississippi or Alabama?

PAUL EVANS: I think we passed it already. Yes there is one, there's one from Georgia and it's called "Columbus Stockade Blues". It's from... It's a song about Columbus, Georgia.

And this is a typical, typical country song that every good country artist should have in his repertoire.

ALAN WASSER: Well, why don't we get in this quickly before we run out, a genuine Georgia jail song, "Columbus Stockade Blues".

[Song performance 5 of 5: "Columbus Stockade Blues" by Paul Evans]:

Lyrics:

Way down in Columbus, Georgia
Want to be back in Tennessee
Way down in Columbus Stockade
Friends have turned their backs on me

Why don't you go and leave me if you wish to
Never let me cross your mind
In your heart you love another
Leave me darlin', I don't mind

Last night as I lay sleeping
Dreamed that you were in my arms
Then I found I was mistaken
I was peeping through the bars

Why don't you go and leave me if you wish to
Never let me cross your mind
In your heart you love another
Leave me darlin', I don't mind

Why don't you go and leave me if you wish to
Never let me cross your mind
In your heart you love another
Leave me darlin', I don't mind

Way down in Columbus, Georgia
Want to be back in Tennessee
Way down in Columbus Stockade
Friends have turned their backs on me

[end of music]

ALAN WASSER: Paul, we have about 30 seconds left. Do you have anything else you want to say to our listeners before we go?

PAUL EVANS: Yes, as a matter of fact I do, I take advantage of your worldwide facilities and I would really enjoy getting some letters from people in different countries and telling me about, oh how things are there and, you know, all about their countries.

And I don't know if I can answer many personally, but I sure would like to receive them. I have received one or two from foreign countries and I really enjoyed it. So I'll take advantage and I will ask for them.

ALAN WASSER: Well, all right. As you've noticed already I am in the same boat, always anxious to get mail. So if they would write in, anyone out there would like to write in to me, Alan Wasser, Folk Music Worldwide.

Or actually why don't you write in to Paul Evans, care of Alan Wasser, Folk Music Worldwide, I'll pass them on to you.

PAUL EVANS: Fine, I would really enjoy. Really.

ALAN WASSER: Excellent. Mel'll give you the address again at the end the show and it is the end of the show. So thank you very much, Paul.

PAUL EVANS: So long, Al. Thank you very much.

MEL BERNAM (ANNOUNCER): This has been Folk Music Worldwide. Devoted to the best in folk music throughout the world and spotlighting top performers and authorities in the field.

If you have any suggestions, request requests or comments why not write in to Folk Music Worldwide, Radio New York WRUL, New York City 19 USA. This has been a Music Worldwide presentation of Radio New York Worldwide.

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