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This song is by Calvin Russell and appears on the album Soldier (1992) and on the live album Le voyageur (1993).

Sometime ago two people I know
They were sittin' in a prison cell
Just talkin' of life of its joys of its strifes
Of the the good times that life held

The kid he told of the jewels and gold
To be had while he played the game
I'm worried not about the sentence I've got
You see my future it's strictly fame

Well I used to lay tricks to baffle the dicks
I would leave them a clue to find
Then I'd beat my retreat on back to easy street
All my thoughts of this jail behind

Only the characters know what I'm sayin'
Only the characters know what I mean
Only the characters have any idea
Only the characters have seen what I've seen

Well the old man listened till his dim eyes glistened
He said when the kid got through
Son you're young and you've only begun
But old men have a story too

It was late one day on a get-away
I had to shoot a young man down
It was a jewelry store and I was at the door
When the police came around

Well I made a draw and so did the law
Both our rods spit lead
When the smoke had cleared and the scene reappeared
One poor young dude lay dead

...

Well I was thrown in jail held without bail
Chalked up with first degree
I wasn't so game when my trial day came
Electric chair in front of me

So I tried to grin but it was useless then
My nerves were like the edge of a knife
And I held my breath for that verdict of death
But they sentenced me here for my life

Only the characters know what I'm sayin'
Only the characters know what I mean
Only the characters have any idea
Only the characters have seen what I've seen

So here I sit son I got my life near done
All my hopes and joys have fled
And it won't be long before I join the throng
That's numbered with the dead

Yeah that's numbered with the dead
Yeah that's numbered with the dead

Yeah yeah