Unreleased – I witnessed a crime by Johnny Cash


Unreleased – I witnessed a crime by Johnny Cash

The Unreleased series

This is our eighth song in the Unreleased series, I Witnessed a Crime sung by Johnny Cash. Written by Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) and he also does some nice electric guitar on the track.

His late years were spent under the umbrella of Rick Rubin’s American Recordings label, and with Rick at the helm, Johnny recorded some of his finest material to date. From 1993 until his death in 2003, Johnny recorded a boatload of material, and, to date, his label has released American Recordings (1994), Unchained (1996), American III: Solitary Man (2000), American IV: The Man Comes Around (2002), Unearthed (2003), American V: A Hundred Highways (2006), and American VI: Ain’t No Grave (2010).

It was inevitable that, following the success his American albums and the volume of material recorded, outtakes would appear. ‘I Witnessed A Crime’ , East Virginia Blues, Banks Of The Ohio and Mark Knopfler’s The Next Time I’m In Town, a song Cash would use to end his concerts, were just some of the tracks that found an unofficial release.

It is on several bootlegs  American Outtakes with songs recorded  in Rick Rubin’s living room in 1993. These outtakes are all similar to the original American sessions, with Johnny Cash singing with just an acoustic guitar for accompaniment. The exact date for this session was  5/17-20/1993.

Another fine bootleg that has this song is “Johnny Cash Collaborations.”


jc collabotrations
Bootleg with I Witnessed a Crime


I Witnessed A Crime:

There are speculations that the song will be included in a second Unearthed box-set.

Lyrics, I Witnessed A Crime:
I witnessed a crime, I should be tellin' you it was mine.
Cause there was nothin' worse, she got the best of me first.
And now Im alone and I, witnessed a crime.

If someone ups and walks away is that a sin?
I have no doubt she'll loo another man in.
I'd walk a mile to tell and testify I fell
I'm servin' time in hell Oh I, witnessed a crime

I wanna say it came as a surprise,
When she allowed the looks of other mens' eyes
and now Im alone and I, witnessed a crime

It's left me walkin' 'cross this empty floor,
I just dont know if I can take it anymore.
My thoughts wont let me be, my heart's abandoned me
And the memories won't deny that I witnessed a crime
And the memories won't deny that I witnessed a crime.

– Hallgeir