Johnny Cash is a man whose entire life found him hovering close to the mercy seat. He recorded a stripped back cover
of this song for his 2000 album American III: Solitary Man
. Cash's version is pointedly unambiguous, the death row inmate declares himself "totally innocent', as opposed to the original's "nearly wholly Innocent."
"Pure Johnny Cash," said Cave to Mojo
of the country legend's cover. "Been f---ed over by the system, he's an innocent man in jail, he's going to die."
"I always thought it was clear that the guy did it," he continued. "What's in question is the concept of guilt and innocence, in the sense that he may have done it but that doesn't mean he's a guilty person in a broader sense. My version is more conflicted. Which is pure Nick Cave, I suppose."