Johnny Cash performs “Don’t Take Your Guns to Town” Live on Hee Haw 1989.

The single was his fifth release to reach the number one position on the country chart, where it stayed for six weeks. Members of the Western Writers of America chose it as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time.

YouTube When The Cowboy Sings Channel
YouTube When The Cowboy Sings Channel

Don’t Take Your Guns to Town:

Johnny Cash - Don't Take Your Guns to Town (Cover Single Columbia 1959)
Johnny Cash – Don’t Take Your Guns to Town (Cover Single Columbia 1959)

Is a 1958 single by Johnny Cash. The single was his fifth release to reach the number one position on the country chart, where it stayed for six weeks. “Don’t Take Your Guns to Town” was also a crossover hit peaking at number thirty-two on the pop chart. The song is also included in the live album VH1 Storytellers: Johnny Cash & Willie Nelson. The song was covered by U2 on their 2001 single “Elevation”.

Members of the Western Writers of America chose it as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time.

The song tells the story of a young cowboy who, ignoring the titular advice from his mother, gets into a gunfight at a saloon and is killed.

On the original 45 record, it was paired with another good song: The B-Side was “I Still Miss Someone” from the pen of Johnny Cash and Roy Cash.

Johnny Cash ‎– The Fabulous Johnny Cash (Cover LP CBS 1958)
Johnny Cash ‎– The Fabulous Johnny Cash (Cover LP CBS 1958)

 

Some Versions:
Johnny Cash December 1958
Dick Nolan 1961
Faron Young September 1963
Burl Ives February 1968
Ry Cooder 1986
Johnny Cash / Willie Nelson 1998
Charlie Robison September 24, 2002
Floyd Red Crow Westerman 2006
The Cashbags August 1, 2015

Johnny Cash – Don’t Take Your Guns to Town Lyrics

A young cowboy named Billy Joe grew restless on the farm
A boy filled with wonderlust who really meant no harm
He changed his clothes and shined his boots
And combed his dark hair down
And his mother cried as he walked out

[Chorus]
Don’t take your guns to town son
Leave your guns at home Bill
Don’t take your guns to town

He laughed and kissed his mom
And said your Billy Joe’s a man
I can shoot as quick and straight as anybody can
But I wouldn’t shoot without a cause
I’d gun nobody down
But she cried again as he rode away

[Chorus]
Don’t take your guns to town son
Leave your guns at home Bill
Don’t take your guns to town

He sang a song as on he rode
His guns hung at his hips
He rode into a cattle town
A smile upon his lips
He stopped and walked into a bar
And laid his money down
But his mother’s words echoed again

[Chorus]
Don’t take your guns to town son
Leave your guns at home Bill
Don’t take your guns to town

He drank his first strong liquor then to calm his shaking hand
And tried to tell himself at last, he had become a man
A dusty cowpoke at his side began to laugh him down
And he heard again his mothers words

[Chorus]
Don’t take your guns to town son
Leave your guns at home Bill
Don’t take your guns to town

Filled with rage then
Billy Joe reached for his gun to draw
But the stranger drew his gun and fired
Before he even saw
As Billy Joe fell to the floor
The crowd all gathered ’round
And wondered at his final words

[Chorus]
Don’t take your guns to town son
Leave your guns at home Bill
Don’t take your guns to town

Johnny Cash - Don't Take Your Guns to Town (Single Columbia 1959)
Johnny Cash – Don’t Take Your Guns to Town (Single Columbia 1959)