Music: Folk Hunter

The prison is tucked in a barren bend of the Mississippi, looking toward fields of Louisiana sugar cane. Inside Angola's cyclone fences are the lifers—men serving sentences for rape and murder. Periodically a short man in rumpled suit and bow tie moves into the prison toolroom, lugging a tape recorder, a six-string guitar, a twelve-string guitar and a fiddle. Around him gather the prisoners—"Guitar" Welch, "Hogman" Maxey, Robert Pete Williams—to shout out their songs.

Wonder why they electrocute a man, baby, Lord, at the one o'clock hour at night, The current much stronger; people turn out all the light.

Angola prison is...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!