“Worried Man Blues”


"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


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. Like the Carter text, Patton recorded his piece (not in the Index, since I don't think it's traditional in his form) in 1929. - RBW

Cross references


  • Carolina Ramblers String Band, "Worried Man Blues" (Romeo 5118/Perfect 12787, 1932)
  • Carter Family, "Worried Man Blues" (Victor V-40317, 1929; Montgomery Ward M-4742, 1935) (Perfect 07-05-55, 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)


  1. Botkin-AmFolklr, p. 890, "Worried Man Blues" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Scarborough-NegroFS, 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)
  3. Silber-FSWB, p. 74, "Worried Man Blues" (1 text)
  5. Roud #4753
  6. BI, BAF890


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1929 (recording, Carter Family)
Found in: US(SE)