Not to be confused with the Big Mama Thornton song "Ball 'N' Chain
", this Stuart Wolstenholme composition runs to 4 minutes 49 seconds and is the 3rd
track on side 2 of the Once Again
album, which was released in the UK on February 5, 1971.
It features a distorted lead vocal effected by singing through a paper cup with the bottom pushed out. The album was apparently recorded in some haste so that one verse was accidentally sung twice, there was no time to re-record it, and the missing verse was apparently lost forever, but appears in the official biography of the band.
If I could live my whole life again
I would not be on this prison train
And I'd have no trouble from my ball and chain:
"Without the prison reference, the meaning of the song is more obscure, although it still makes a convincing allegory of the human condition".
Alexander Baron - London, England