One Piece At A Time

Album: This Is Johnny Cash (1973)
Charted: 32 29
  • Well, I left Kentucky back in forty nine
    An' went to Detroit workin' on a 'sembly line
    The first year they had me puttin' wheels on Cadillacs

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

    I'd get it one piece at a time
    And it wouldn't cost me a dime
    You'll know it's me when I come through your town
    I'm gonna ride around in style
    I'm gonna drive everybody wild
    '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
    I've 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 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 fifty three
    And the motor turned out to be a seventy three
    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 adapter 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 everybody laughin' for blocks around
    But up there at the court house they didn't laugh
    'Cause to type it up it took the whole staff
    And when they got through the title weighed sixty pounds.

    I got it one piece at a time
    And it wouldn't cost me a dime
    You'll know it's me when I come through your town
    I'm gonna ride around in style
    I'm gonna drive everybody wild
    'Cause I'll have the only one there is around.

    Ugh! Yeah, RED RYDER
    This is the COTTON MOUTH
    In the PSYCHO-BILLY CADILLAC Come on

    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?

    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. Writer/s: WAYNE KEMP
    Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 7

  • Seventhmist from 7th HeavenDarrell, thanks for sharing that. What a crazy-looking car.
  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaAlways thought it was a funny song, although I don't believe in stealing from your company.
  • Darrell from EugeneA car that resembled the description of the "Cadillac" in this song was built for publicity purposes. It really looks weird. If you want to see it, type in "One Piece At A Time Cadillac" on Google, Dogpile or another search engine.
  • Darrell from EugeneParts of this song remind me of the Rambler (AMC)-powered 1932 Studebaker coupe that I started in 1959 and finished in 1962. It had fenders from four different motorcycles, 4 headlights, MGA seats, Corvette gauges, et al. I transported most of the parts in a cattle truck, and I sold the Studebaker in 1969 to pay my income taxes. I no longer have any pictures. The part of the song that reminds me of the Studebaker is when "one piece at a time" is removed from the Cadillac plant in a lunchbox and a motorhome. In my case, it was one, maybe 4 or 5 pieces at a time from the junkyard in a 1947 Hudson Commodore or a 1941 Diamond T 5-ton-capacity cattle truck.
  • Tom from Mount Joy, Pagreat song to play live...just don't slip into "a boy named sue" cause the melody is the same
  • Ariel from Denver, CoI DIG this song. It brings to light that you may produce something but it does not neccesarily mean that you will have your own one day. I want to steal a Cadillac one piec!!!!
  • Kevin from Canada, CanadaThis is a very hard song to perform because of the phrasing and beat of the lyrics. It goes into the chorus nicely and the beat changes a bit. I like performign this song. It go tthe greatest song ending ever. "Its a 49 50...." Awesome.
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