What IS that song?

Posted on 2008-11-12
Last Modified: 2012-05-05
I found it on a cassette tape I put together about 25 years ago (so the song is older than that) that I was playing in my car this morning.
Woman singer, mainly accoustic with bongo drums backing.
It describes a 'hostage situation' (doesn't use that phrase) and is sung supposedly by the prison guard.
A few phrases I can remember from it:
Starts with:  "I'm a guard in a **** prison, or at least I was till now, it was damn hard work and you wouldn't believe the pay'
Later on: "I turned to my buddy named Willy, said Willy it'll be alright ********** they'll open up a prison cell"
They all get killed in the end as "The Governer" sends in the troops in a botched rescue attempt.

I want the song title, the lyric, the singer, and if the song is based on a real life incident.

Anyone recognise it? I can get some more of the lyric later on my way home. (might be Greyhound prison, but google couldn't find it for me).

    LVL 7

    Accepted Solution

    The Hostage - Tom Paxton:


    It recounts the 1971 uprising at Attica State Prison
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    and about the uprising at Attica:
    LVL 17
    That's the song!
    Tom doesn't sound a very girly sort of name though, any idea of a female singer who covered it?
    I'm trying to work out where I would have recorded it from, it could be from a compilation album but not necessarily.
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    It was covered by Judy Collins.
    LVL 17

    Author Closing Comment

    by:Thibault St john Cholmondeley-ffeatherstonehaugh the 2nd
    Brilliant! and fast too.

    I'm sure it was Judy Collins, I recognise the name, all I need to do now is work out what I am doing with a Judy Collins song and which of my records it's on -  you probably can't help with that :7)

    Thanks for such a speedy reply.

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