I was just a lad nearly twenty-one
When they put me on the chain gang for things I had done
Swinging that pick and shovel all day long
And wondering if my baby was a-doing me wrong

The sun was shining down, the sweat a-rolling off of me
chains on my legs keep a-pulling at me
Guards a-watching me with a big shot gun
Just a-waiting on me to take a chance and run

Well the boss man went on a drunk one day
I pulled my chain to where that old axe lay
I took that axe and I cut my chain
And I said bye, bye to the old chain gang