“Happy or Lonesome”


"Come back to me in my dreaming, come back to me once more.... When the spring roses are blooming, I'll come back to you." "Absence makes my heart fonder, Is it the same for you? Are you still happy, I wonder, or are you lonesome too?"


Charles K. Wolfe calls this a parlor song which gained favor with old-time musicians, but does not list the author.

The Burnett and Rutherford recording is the earliest mention I can find of the piece. Curiously, the duo recorded only two songs in that session: "Happy or Lonesome" and "My Sweetheart in Tennessee" -- with nearly-identical tunes. One suspects the latter of being something Burnett just fixed up to have something to put on the flip side of the disk. - RBW

Same tune

  • "My Sweetheart in Tennessee" (recorded by Burnett & Rutherford, Columbia 15187-D, 1927; on BurnRuth01)


  • Burnett & Rutherford, "Are You Happy or Lonesome" (Columbia 15187-D, 1927; on BurnRuth01)
  • The Carter Family, "Happy or Lonesome" (Bluebird 5650=Victor ???, 1934)
  • Steve Ledford, "Happy or Lonesome" (Bluebird 7742, 1938)


  1. ST RcHOL (Full)
  2. Roud #11518
  3. BI, RcHOL


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1927 (recording, Burnett & Rutherford)
Keywords: love separation
Found in: US