Cover image for Just walkin' in the rain
Just walkin' in the rain
Warner, Jay.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Los Angeles : Renaissance Books, [2001]

Physical Description:
251 pages 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
"Foreword by Rick Dees"--Dust jacket.

Includes index.

"The true story of a convict quintet, a liberal governor, and how they changed southern history through rhythm and blues"--Dust jacket.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML421.P75 W37 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



The cold steel slam of a cell door. The soul-crushing fate of a life in prison with no possibility of parole for a crime you didn't commit. Such were the prospects facing Johnny Bragg, a humble musician from rural Tennessee who led a life that reads like a novel. Johnny and his fellow inmates in the 1950's-era R&B music group the Prisonaires had four strikes against them. They were poor, uneducated, imprisoned, and Black. They were also largely innocent of their crimes. Their gut-wrenching story is one of courage in the face of impossible odds, and salvation amidst the harsh realities of racial injustice and prison brutality.

Championed by then Tennessee governor Frank Clement as an example of the possibility of prison reform, and asked to sing at the Governor's Mansion, the Prisonaires were more than just pioneers who built the foundation of modern R&B. Behind the soulful tenor of their leader, Johnny Bragg, the group was living proof that anyone can survive and overcome nightmarish adversity.

Just Walkin' in the Rain is a book for all audiences who want to delve into one of the most inspiring chapters in musical history. You'll read how Elvis was influenced by the group's amazing sound. You may be stunned to discover that Johnny Bragg wrote the legendary song "Just Walkin' in the Rain" and the Hank Williams classic, "Your Cheatin' Heart."

Author Notes

Jay Warner is a six-time Grammy Award winning music publisher and writer. A devoted musical historian, he is the author of Billboard's Book of American Singing Groups and How to Have Your Hit Song Published . He resides in Los Angeles.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

In 1943, 16-year-old Johnny Bragg was sentenced to six consecutive life terms in the Tennessee State Prison for raping his girlfriend. Rather than wither in anger, the teenager joined the prison's gospel group, the Prisonaires, and wrote the hits "Just Walkin' in the Rain" and "Rolling Stone." (None other than Elvis Presley was a fan of the group's vocal style.) Warner, a Grammy Award-winning music publisher and author of The Billboard Book of American Singing Groups, 1940-1990, relates Bragg's tale with sensitivity. Most intriguing is his coverage of Bragg's relationship with progressive white prison warden James Edwards and former Governor of Tennessee Frank Clement, who pardoned Bragg in 1959. The two officials unabashedly believed that rehabilitation was in everyone's best interest, and Bragg's story demonstrates why. Recommended for music libraries, especially those in the South, as well as social science collections.DWilliam G. Kenz, Minnesota State Univ., Moorhead (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.