An American novelty blues song that first dominated the airwaves in the early 1920’s is “In the Jailhouse Now.” The song was credited to no other than “The Father of Country Music” Jimmie Rodgers. Nearly two decades later, American honky tonk vocalist Webb Pierce recorded what would become the best-known cover of the song. Pierce’s recording went on to become the biggest hit of his career.
Webb Pierce recorded “In the Jailhouse Now” in 1955. That same year, the song charted on the country music chart for a total of 37 weeks. Twenty-one of which was spent at No. 1. Such achievement propelled Pierce to join Eddy Arnold and Hank Snow as holders of the record for a song sitting the longest week at No. 1. Each of the songs of the three country legends occupied the chart’s No. 1 spot for 21 weeks. Such was the longest recorded in the chart’s 58-year history. It remained so until Florida Georgia Line finally broke it with their era-defining record “Cruise” in 2013.
Below is a live performance of “In the Jailhouse Now” by Webb Pierce and two other companions you’ll surely love.
“In the Jailhouse Now” and Its Other Covers
Jimmie Rogers recorded the original version of “In the Jailhouse Now” on February 15, 1928. Displaying a humorous vibe, the song tells the story of Ramblin’ Bob who cheats at cards. Such vice of his put him to jail. The story likewise includes a woman named Susie with whom the narrator had a crazy affair with. Both then ended up in jail as well. Throughout the song, Rodgers’ famous yodeling can be heard. Two years later, he came up with a sequel of the song. He called it “In the Jailhouse Now – No.2.”
Aside from Webb Pierce, there are many other artists who have covered this Rodgers’ original. Among them were Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Doc Watson, Tommy Duncan, Sussy Bogguss (with Chet Atkins), and Joan Baez, to name a few.
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in the jailhouse now, jimmy rodgers, Webb Pierce