A Boy Named Sue Uke tab by Johnny Cash

3 Chords used in the song: a,d,e

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Original tuning : +0.5 step(s) [ ? ]
A A
My daddy left home when I was three
D D
And he didn't leave much to ma and me
E E A A
Just this old guitar and an empty bottle of booze.
A A
Now, I don't blame him cause he run and hid
D D
But the meanest thing that he ever did
E E A A
Was before he left, he went and named me "Sue."


A A
Well, he must o' thought that is quite a joke
D D
And it got a lot of laughs from a' lots of folk,
E E A A
It seems I had to fight my whole life through.
A A
Some gal would giggle and I'd get red
D D
And some guy'd laugh and I'd bust his head,
E E A A
I tell ya, life ain't easy for a boy named "Sue."


A A
Well, I grew up quick and I grew up mean,
D D
My fist got hard and my wits got keen,
E E A A
I'd roam from town to town to hide my shame.
A A
But I made a vow to the moon and stars
D D
That I'd search the honky-tonks and bars
E E A A
And kill that man who gave me that awful name.


A A
Well, it was Gatlinburg in mid-July
D D
And I just hit town and my throat was dry,
E E A A
I thought I'd stop and have myself a brew.
A A
At an old saloon on a street of mud,
D D
There at a table, dealing stud,
E E A A
Sat the dirty, mangy dog that named me "Sue."


A A
Well, I knew that snake was my own sweet dad
D D
From a worn-out picture that my mother'd had,
E E A A
And I knew that scar on his cheek and his evil eye.
A A
He was big and bent and gray and old,
D D
And I looked at him and my blood ran cold
E E A A
And I said: "My name is 'Sue!' How do you do!

Now you gonna die!!"


A A
Well, I hit him hard right between the eyes
D D
And he went down, but to my surprise,
E E A A
He come up with a knife and cut off a piece of my ear.
A A
But I busted a chair right across his teeth
D D
And we crashed through the wall and into the street
E E A A
Kicking and a' gouging in the mud and the blood and the beer.


A A
I tell ya, I've fought tougher men
D D
But I really can't remember when,
E E A A
He kicked like a mule and he bit like a crocodile.
A A
I heard him laugh and then I heard him cuss,
D D
He went for his gun and I pulled mine first,
E E A A
He stood there lookin' at me and I saw him smile.


A A
And he said: "Son, this world is rough
D D
And if a man's gonna make it, he's gotta be tough
E E A A
And I knew I wouldn't be there to help ya along.
A A
So I give ya that name and I said goodbye
D D
I knew you'd have to get tough or die
E E A A
And it's the name that helped to make you strong."


A A
He said: "Now you just fought one hell of a fight
D D
And I know you hate me, and you got the right
E E A A
To kill me now, and I wouldn't blame you if you do.
A A
But ya ought to thank me, before I die,
D D
For the gravel in ya guts and the spit in ya eye
E E A A
Cause I'm the son-of-a-bitch that named you "Sue.'"


A A
I got all choked up and I threw down my gun
D D
And I called him my pa, and he called me his son,
E E A A
And I came away with a different point of view.
A A
And I think about him, now and then,
D D
Every time I try and every time I win,
[No Chords]
And if I ever have a son, I think I'm gonna name him
A A (keep strumming)
Bill or George! Anything but Sue! I still hate that name!

 

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About this song

This version of "A Boy Named Sue" was recorded in front of a live audience. The track is a comical talking blues song written by Shel Silverstein and performed by country/blues singer Johnny Cash. It tells the first-person story of a boy named "Sue," whose father, before walking out of his life, named him that in order to make him strong. Unbeknownst to the, now, man, he meets his father and a barroom brawl ensues.