A Boy Named Sue

Well, my daddy left home when I was three
and he didn’t leave much for ma and me,
just this old guitar and an empty bottle of booze.
Now, I don’t blame him ’cause he run and hid,
but the meanest thing that he ever did
was before he left, he went and named me Sue.

Well, he must have thought that it was quite a joke,
and it got a lot of laughs from a lots of folks.
It seems I had to fight my whole life through,
Some gal would giggle and I’d get red,
some guy would laugh and I’d bust his head,
I tell you, life ain’t easy for a boy named Sue.

Well, I grew up quick and I grew up mean;
my fist got hard and my wits got kee.
Roamed from town to town to hide my shame,
but I made me a vow to the moon and stars,
I’d search the honky-tonks and bars,
and kill that man that gave me that awful name.

Well, it was Gatlinburg in mid July,
and I had just hit town and my throat was dry.
I’d thought I’d stop by and have myself a brew.
At an old saloon on a street of mud,
there at a table dealin’ stud,
sat the dirty, mangy dog that named me Sue.

Well, I knew that the snake was my own sweet dad
from a worn-out picture that my mother’d had.
And I knew the scar on his cheek and his evil eye.
He was big and bent and gray and old,
and I looked at him and my blood ran cold,
and I said, “My name is Sue. How do you do?
Now you gonna die.” Yeah, that’s what I told him.

Well, I hit him hard right between the eyes,
and he went down, but to my surprise
he come up with a knife and cut off a piece of my ear.
But I busted a chair right across his teeth.
And we smashed through the wall and into the street,
kickin’ and a gougin’ in the mud and the blood and the beer.

I tell you, I’ve fought tougher men,
but I really can’t remember when.
He kicked like a mule and he bit like a crocodile.
I heard him laugh and then I heard him cussin’,
He went for his gun and I pulled mine first.
He stood there lookin’ at me and I saw him smile.

And he said, “Son, this world is rough,
and if a man’s gonna make it, he’s gotta be tough.
And I knew I wouldn’t be there to help you along.
So I gave you that name and I said, ‘goodbye’.
I knew you’d have to get tough or die.
And it’s that name that helped to make you strong.”

Yeah, he said, “now, you just fought one hell of a fight,
and I know you hate me and you’ve got the right
to kill me now and I wouldn’t blame you if you do.
But you ought to thank me before I die
for the gravel in your guts and the spit in your eye,
’cause I’m the son of a bitch that named you Sue.”

Yeah, what could I do? What could I do?
I got all choked up and I threw down my gun,
called him my pa and he called me his son.
And I come away with a different point of view.
And I think about him now and then,
ev’ry time I try and ev’ry time I win,
And if I ever have a son, I think I’m gonna name him…
Bill og George. Anything but Sue.
I still hate that name. Yeah!

 

2 thoughts on “A Boy Named Sue

  1. Pingback: Lyrics on the way! | Unofficial Johnny Cash dot com

  2. Pingback: More lyrics! | Unofficial Johnny Cash dot com

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