WORRIED MAN BLUES

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs

WORRIED MAN BLUES

“Worried Man Blues” is a folk song in the roots music repertoire. In the late 1920s A.P.
Carter became friends with Lesley “Esley” Riddle, a singer and guitar player, who
introduced Carter to a wealth of spirituals and blues. Riddle, a black man with one leg,
and A.P. Carter, a very tall man with a constant tremor, made quite a pair as they travelled
together through the “Jim Crow South” knocking on doors asking for songs. The Carter
Family had tapped into another popular strain of music. Worried Man Blues was their
biggest selling record of 1930. The Carter Family recorded this song for the Victor
Talking Machine Company. It has also been recorded by Woody Guthrie in 1940, the
Kingston Trio in 1959, Devo in 1979 and The Big Fash in 2008.
It takes a worried man to sing a worried song,
It takes a worried man to sing a worried song,
I’m worried now, but I won’t be worried long.
I went across the river, and I lay down to sleep,
I went across the river, and I lay down to sleep,
When I woke up with the shackles on my feet.
Twenty-nine links of chain around my leg,
Twenty-nine links of chain around my leg,
And on each link is initial of my name.
I asked the judge what might be my fine,
I asked the judge what might be my fine,
“Twenty-one years on the Rocky Mountain line.”
The train arrived, sixteen coaches long,
The train arrived, sixteen coaches long,
The girl I love is on that train and gone.
If any one asks you who composed this song,
If any one asks you who composed this song,
Tell him it was I and I sing it all day long