I Learned How To Sing in Sing Sing

by Al Duvall



My home wasn’t happy when I was a lad
But on Saturday nights we’d get blotto
Sister sang tenor, mama sang bass
And dad had a lovely castrato
But I didn’t chime in- my mind was on crime
With a voice like a goat from the ghetto
Then I went up the river for passing bad notes
Now this forger has found his falsetto

I learned how to sing in Sing Sing
The lessons weren’t easy for me
I found I was always behind a few bars
And I couldn’t locate the key
The burglars hit flats and the junkies hit sharps
And the thugs- none could belt it out finer
The molesters would teach us the merriest songs
For they weren’t allowed near a minor
The informers would lead and we’d follow along
The guards tried to stop us, they thought it was wrong
We heard they were scared that we’d break out in song
When we’d meet in the yard for a wingding
I learned how to sing in Sing Sing

We’d run through our scales while scaling the walls
We put across songs with conviction
My cellmate and I would stay up after dark
And work on each other’s diction
At last I felt ready to win some appeal
On Broadway I planned on appearing
I wanted my record reviewed back in court
But the judge wouldn’t give me a hearing
A more captive audience you couldn’t find
I brought down the house but I left it behind
I retired from the spotlight the tower guard shined
When the warden did me in the spring spring
I learned how to sing in Sing Sing


released March 29, 2015



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Al Duvall Brooklyn, New York

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