“Talking Hard Luck”


Talking blues, describing the singer's hard times in surrealistic terms: "I've been bawled out and balled up, held down and held up... lost all I had and part of my furniture...and if that ain't hard luck, folks, then you tell me what is."


This is a group of recitations on similar themes, basically grouped around the Bouchillon, Glosson, and Starcher pieces, all part of minstrel, circus and medicine-show traditions. The Ashley piece combines Bouchillon's and Starcher's with a couple of verses from "Don't Let Your Deal Go Down," while the New Lost City Ramblers stitch together Bouchillon's and Glosson's. Much of the material also shows up in the work of medicine-show artist Harmonica Frank Floyd. - PJS


  • Clarence Ashley & Tex Isley, "Tom's Talking Blues (Hard Luck Blues)" (Ashley01)
  • Chris Bouchillon, "Born in Hard Luck" (Columbia 15151-D, 1927)
  • Clay Chapman, "Born in Hard Luck" (Velvet Tone 2498-V, 1932)
  • Lonnie Glosson, "Talking Hard Luck" (Conqueror 8732, 1936)
  • New Lost City Ramblers, "Talking Hard Luck" (on NLCR03, NLCR12, NLCREP1, NLCRCD1)
  • Buddy Starcher, "After I Lost That Job" (Starday SEP 158, c. 1960)


  1. Cohen/Seeger/Wood, pp. 214-215, "Talking Hard Luck" (1 text with musical accompaniment)
  3. BI, CSW214


Alternate titles: “Born In Hard Luck”; “Good Place to Be From, Anyway”
Author: Chris Bouchillon & Lonnie Glosson (each supplying part)
Earliest date: 1927 (recording, Chris Bouchillon)+1936 (recording, Lonnie Glosson)