Yesterday, while shopping at the thrift store, I stumbled on the above copy of Gordon Jenkins’ Seven Dreams LP. I couldn’t pass up that cover and brought it home to listen to. It’s an interesting mix of narration about someone having seven dreams while Gordon’s lush musical arrangements play in the background.
I noticed during the third dream, a song played that sounded A LOT like Johnny Cash’s song, Folsom City Blues. The song on Seven Dreams is called Crescent City Blues:
Wait a minute…which song came first?
Seven Dreams was released in 1953 and Johnny’s song was released in 1955.
I did some further research and it turns out Johnny borrowed heavily from Crescent City Blues when he wrote Folsom City Blues.
What’s interesting to me is that Johnny is listed as the sole songwriter on Folsom City Blues and did not have to credit Gordon Jenkins as a songwriter. But, if you continue reading the song wiki, you see Jenkins’ melody borrows heavily from Little Brother Montgomery’s 1930’s song of the same name!
So maybe this is all just an example of stealing like an artist, where others are fine using pieces of previous songs to write new ones. Here’s Johnny’s version for reference…
Of course, in today’s copyright market, songs like Blurred Lines go to court over the same type of stealing, so if Folsom Prison Blues were written today, it would probably be credited as Little Brother Montgomery/Gordon Jenkins/Johnny Cash and all three would share in the profits.
What a fun discovery from a dollar record I found at the thrift store yesterday!