The Ballad of Robert Pete Williams (live @ DMP)

from by Bruce Piephoff & Scott Sawyer

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I wrote this song about the great blues singer, Robert Pete Williams, who sang himself out of the penitentiary.


Robert Williams grew up in the south
He was not known for having too much mouth
When he killed a man in a barroom brawl
It was self defense but it was his fall

They sent him down to Angola State
Put him to work making license plates
For self defense they give him life
Thought the man had come at him with a knife

Some got six months, some got a year
Me and my buddy got a lifetime here
Everybody got to die for himself
If I don't get well, it's just as well I died
If I don't get well, it's just as well I died

In a laundry room with an old guitar
He'd sit and play to heal the scars
There he wrote Angola Prison Blues
Won work release and a pardon too

He traveled Europe and the States
His playing proved there'd been a mistake
He sang his songs, people laughed and cried
They could tell this man, he had not lied


Williams' hands were worth their weight in gold
But he died poor, 66 years old
Collecting and selling scrap iron at home
Singing the blues when he died alone



from Bruce Piephoff & Scott Sawyer Live at the dotmatrix project, released August 24, 2010
Written by Bruce Piephoff




Bruce Piephoff & Scott Sawyer Greensboro, North Carolina

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