One Piece At A Time

Words & Music:

Wayne Kemp

As recorded by Johnny Cash


F                                   Bb

Well, I left Kentucky back in '49 & went to Detroit workin' on a 'sembly line.

    C                                            F

The first year they had me puttin' wheels on Cadillacs.

F                                           Bb

Every day I'd watch them beauties roll by & sometimes I'd hang my head and cry.

         C                                      F

'Cause I always wanted me one that was long and black.


One day I devised myself a plan that should be the envy of most any man:

I'd sneak it out of there in a lunchbox in my hand.

Now, gettin' caught meant gettin' fired.

But, I figured I'd have it all by the time I retired,

I'd have me a car worth at least a hundred grand.



F                                   Bb

I'd get it one piece at a time & it wouldn't cost me a dime.

       C                                     F

You'll know it's me when I come through your town.

F                                         Bb

I'm gonna ride around in style, I'm gonna drive ever'body wild.

            C                            F

'Cause I'll have the only one there is around.


So, the very next day when I punched in

With my big lunchbox and with help from my friends.

I left that day with a lunch box full of gears.

Now, I never considered myself a thief,

But, GM wouldn't miss just one little piece.

Especially if I strung it out over several years.


The first day I got me a fuel pump.

And the next day I got me an engine and a trunk.

Then I got me a transmission and all of the chrome.

The little things I could get in my big lunchbox.

Like nuts, an' bolts, and all four shocks.

But the big stuff we snuck out in my buddy's mobile home.


Now, up to now my plan went all right,

'Til we tried to put it all together one night.

And that's when we noticed that something was definitely wrong.

The transmission was a '53 and the motor turned out to be a '73.

And when we tried to put in the bolts all the holes were gone.


So, we drilled it out so that it would fit,

And with a little bit of help with an Adaptor Kit,

We had that engine runnin' just like a song.

Now, the headlight' was another sight;

We had two on the left and one on the right.

But, when we pulled out the switch all three of 'em come on.


The back end looked kinda funny, too.

But, we put it together and when we got through

Well, that's when we noticed that we only had one tail-fin.

About that time my wife walked out

And I could see in her eyes that she had her doubts.

But, she opened the door and said "Honey, take me for a spin."


So, we drove up town just to get the tags

And I headed her right on down main drag.

I could hear ever'body laughin' for blocks around.

But up there at the courthouse they didn't laugh

'Cause to type it up it took the whole staff.

And when they got through the title weighed sixty pounds.




(Spoken) Ugh! Yow, RED RYDER This is the COTTON MOUTH.


Huh, This is the COTTON MOUTH.

And negatory on the cost of this mow-chine, there, RED RYDER.

You might say I went right up to the factory

And picked it up, it's cheaper that way.

Ugh!  What model is it?


F                                 Bb                  C                 B

Well, It's a '49, '50, '51, '52, '53, '54, '55, '56, '57, '58' 59' Automobile.

It's a '60, '61, '62, '63, '64, '65, '66, '67, '68, '69, '70 Automobile.

[continue through the years & fade out]


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