Dark as a Dungeon is one of my personal favourites from Johnny Cash. And the story around the song is also quite interesting.
The song is not an original Johnny Cash, but was written by Merle Travis. But it was first when Cash performed it in 1968 that it became famous. The song was performed January 13, 1968 – and that’s not just any other day. This is the day of the world-famous prison concert at Folsom!
During the performance in Folsom Prison, one of the prisoners started laughing during the song, and Cash replied with a chuckle. Cash had to tell him “No laughing during the song, please”, whereas the prisoner yelled “hell” back to him. “I know hell” answered Cash.
After the song was finished, Cash commented on the dialog with the prisoner. And this is a comment which is one of the most famous Cash-quotes, used in for example “Walk the Line” with Joaquin Phoenix. And it goes like this:
I just wanted to tell you that this show is being recorded for an album released on Columbia Records, so you can’t say ‘hell’ or ‘shit’ or anything like that
Want the chords to “Dark as a Dungeon”? You’ll find it here: Chords