Paul Crump

In the state of Illinois ’bout nine years ago
A cold blooded killer, he went against the law
He killed a factory guard when his robbery did fail
And they caught him and they threw him into jail

He lay there in his cell, locked up with his hate
Not many men knew of him and less cared for his fate
And he knew no peace of mind when his trial was comin’ by
The judge said, “You are guilty you must die”

But Paul Crump is alive today
He’s a sittin’ in a cell, he’s got somethin’ to say
Every man has got something to give
And if a man can change, then a man should live

They sent him to Cook County Jail, a jail known far and wide
Where pity was a stranger and brave men often cry
They locked him in the death row to count the days before
To the day they came a knockin’ at his door

But another warden came along, Jack Johnson was his name
He knew how prison living could drive a man to shame
He had no need of pistols in a solitary cell
When a word of trust would help him just as well

Now Paul Crump is alive today
He’s a sittin’ in a cell, he’s got somethin’ to say
Every man has got something to give
And if a man can change, then a man should live

Between the warden and the convict, a friendship slowly grew
And one learned from the other that a man can live anew
Then the warden called the convict, “You must leave the devil’s plan
The time has come for you to be a man”

Then the convict found religion and he started him to learn
He wrote himself a novel called ‘Burn, Killer, Burn’
And as his dying day grew near, to the warden he did cry
“You must pull the switch and I must die”

But Paul Crump is alive today
He’s a sittin’ in a cell, he’s got somethin’ to say
Every man has got something to give
And if a man can change, then a man should live

It was up to Governor Kerner to keep him from the grave
Was rehabilitation a reason to be saved?
The hour was comin’ closer, the word was spread around
A new and better answer must be found

Well, the electric chair was cheated, the convict didn’t pay
A new concept of justice was born and raised that day
Now throughout this peaceful land there are others set to die
What better time than now to question why?

But Paul Crump is alive today
He’s a sittin’ in a cell, he’s got somethin’ to say
Every man has got something to give
And if a man can change, then a man should live

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