Dan Antion of No Facilities is hosting Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week and his prompt words are, “oooh, aaah.” This made me think of the song “Chain Gang” by Sam Cooke. So here goes:

“Ooh, aah, ooh, aah! That’s the sound of the men working on the chain gang…”-song lyrics from Chain Gang by Sam Cooke

Really liked many of Sam Cooke‘s songs. He was popular in the 1950’s and 60’s. The story surrounding his death tarnished his reputation. I wanted focus on the title of the song. The song was inspired after a chance meeting with an actual chain-gang of prisoners on a highway, seen while Sam was on tour.  Chain Gangs refers to the practice of using prison work gangs that were chained together by their ankles, forced to work for local governments and businesses for long hours under brutal conditions. There have still been some chained prison work gangs used in current times.  Maricopa County’s “tent city” prison is slated to close now that there is a new sheriff in town. As you can read in the linked articles, it turns out it is not only men who worked on chain gangs or under terrible conditions as part of prison labor, women prisoners have done it too. Terrible history to be thinking of before our country celebrates our independence day next week.


Featured image of ‘Convicts singing in wood yard, Reed County South Carolina 1934’ by Alan Lomax via Wikimedia.

4 thoughts on “Chains

  1. Dan Antion

    Thanks for participating, Deborah. I remember that song, and I remember passing chain gangs as my family drove to an aunt and uncle’s farm in Virginia on vacation. It did seem to be pretty harsh punishment. I remember my dad always using it to make an impression on me regarding the value of staying on the straight and narrow path. I thought they were a thing of the distant past. I think they should be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deborah Drucker Post author

      That would be upsetting to see the chain gangs. And when you realize that many times these people were put in prison for minor offenses. I can’t believe that some in law enforcement want to bring it back in any form. Thank you, Dan. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. JoAnna

    I heard that song as a child, but only remembered the chorus, so I looked up the lyrics just now. It’s a moving song:
    “Can’t ya hear them singin’
    Mm, I’m goin’ home one of these days
    I’m goin’ home see my woman
    Whom I love so dear ….”
    Thanks for bringing it back around.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deborah Drucker Post author

      Sam Cooke saw this real chain gang and wrote the song. I was a young girl when this song was a hit. This is all from Dan’s prompt and because the beginning lyrics of the song are stuck in my head somewhere. Thanks, JoAnna. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person



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