Worried Man Blues

DESCRIPTION: "It takes a worried man to sing a worried song (x2), I'm worried now, but I won't be worried long." The singer describes how he was imprisoned and shackled. He is sentenced to (21) years. His girl takes a train and leaves him
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1920 (recording, Carter Family)
KEYWORDS: work prison train abandonment punishment
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Bush-FSofCentralWestVirginiaVol2, p. 28, "The Worry Song" (1 short text, 1 tune)
Botkin-TreasuryOfAmericanFolklore, p. 890, "Worried Man Blues" (1 text, 1 tune)
Scarborough-OnTheTrailOfNegroFolkSongs, p. 240, (no title) (1 fragment, mentioning the train that is sixteen coaches long, which might be part of this or the song it inspired)
Silber/Silber-FolksingersWordbook, p. 74, "Worried Man Blues" (1 text)

Roud #4753
[Clarence] Ashley & [Gwen] Foster, "Haunted Road Blues" (Bdy. 4076, rec. 1931; on Ashley04)
Steve Ledford & Daniel Nicholson w. Carolina Ramblers String Band, "Worried Man Blues" (Banner 32371/Oriole 8118/Perfect 12787/Romeo 5118/Melotone [Canada] 91283, 1932)
Carter Family, "Worried Man Blues" (Victor V-40317, 1930; Montgomery Ward M-4742, 1935) (ARC 07-05-55/Conqueror 8846, 1937)
J. E. Mainer's Mountaineers, "Won't Be Worried Long" (Bluebird B-6738, 1937)
New Lost City Ramblers, "Worried Man Blues" (on NLCR16)
Pete Seeger, "Worried Man Blues" (on PeteSeeger26)

cf. "Two Dollar Bill (Long Journey Home)" (tune)
cf. "Dink's Blues" (floating lyrics)
cf. "I'm a Stranger Here" (floating lyrics)
cf. "I'm Worried Now But I Won't Be Worried Long" (floating lyrics)
NOTES [64 words]: While this song was copyrighted by A. P. Carter, he probably didn't write it; he may have picked it up from an African-American prison song. - PJS
Or, perhaps, a blues; Charley Patton's "Down the Dirt Road Blues" isn't really the same song, but it has a lot of similar phrases. Patton recorded his piece (not in the Index, since I don't think it's traditional in his form) in 1929. - RBW
Last updated in version 6.0
File: BAF890

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