Written by Alex Bach
Along with bitter love lives, stories of debt and lack of money have long been another big theme of the blues. What’s more is that many of their sorrows and laments still hold true for many people today.
Debt and poor credit can lead to many people’s financial hardships and their own “broke blues.” Don’t let that happen to you, Credit Report Problems has plenty of useful tips to help handle debt collection or errors in your credit report.
Here are the 10 Best Blues Songs About Being Broke:
1. I Ain’t Got No Home In This World Anymore–Woodie Guthrie: You can’t talk about songs of the destitute and down & out without talking about Woodie Guthrie, this folk legend used to ride the rails as a legit hobo–where he would write many of his songs.
2. Payday–Mississippi John Hurt: This bluesman’s career suffered as a result of the Great Depression hitting right when things were starting to look optimistic. Instead of moving to the Big Apple and big recording contracts, John stayed in Avalon, Mississippi. His work in 1928 only earned him $20 a song. Hardly the rockstar lifestyle of the Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin.
3. Gimme a Pigfoot–Bessie Smith: This song, like many in Smith’s catalog, is a blues song lamenting the pain of life in the south.
4. Canned Heat Blues–Tommy Johnson: though Johnson never reveals his bank account info, this song is about an alcoholic taken to drinking Sterno mixed with water. I’m guessing this cocktail wasn’t invented by someone flush with money.
5. Flood Water Blues–Casey Bill Weldon: This song is about the devastation of the Mississippi Flood of 1927, which destroyed many homes and left people penniless.
6. How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live–Ry Cooder’s cover of Blind Alfred Reed: This bluesy take on an old folk song captures all the pain and heartache of impoverished America, including things like a lack of healthcare and affordable food that still afflict many of us today.
7. Them Belly Full (But We Hungry)–Bob Marley: The Caribbean’s answer to blues, this reggae song from the genre’s master reflects on growing up poor, hungry and impoverished.
8. Working Man’s Blues–Merle Haggard: This country/blues artist croons about the financial woes of the American working man–just what you’d expect from the title.
9. I’m Busted–Ray Charles: Charles sings about being unable to buy his kids shoes, or pay the “big stacks of bills gettin bigger each day.”
10. Juicy–The Notorious B.I.G.: Though not exactly a blues song–though rap is certainly under the same umbrella–this now classic rap song reflects on the abject poverty Biggie Smalls grew up with, and how he eventually made it out.