Statesboro Blues

The Origins of Statesboro Blues

Statesboro Blues is a classic blues song that has been covered by numerous artists over the years, including The Allman Brothers Band, Taj Mahal, and Blind Willie McTell, who wrote and originally recorded the song in 1928. It is considered one of the most popular blues songs of all time and has been a staple in the blues community for almost a century.

Blind Willie McTell, whose real name was William Samuel McTier, was born in Thomson, Georgia, in 1898. He started playing the guitar when he was a child and soon became known for his unique picking style and powerful voice. McTell was a prolific songwriter, and his songs often dealt with the struggles of everyday life.

The Lyrics of Statesboro Blues

The lyrics of Statesboro Blues tell the story of a man who finds himself stranded in a small Georgia town with no money and no way to get home. The song is filled with vivid imagery and describes the man's plight in detail. The first verse goes like this:

  • Wake up mama, turn your lamp down low
  • Wake up mama, turn your lamp down low
  • You got no nerve baby, to turn Uncle John from your door

The song continues with the narrator describing his failed attempts to find work in the town and his growing frustration with his predicament. It is a powerful and emotionally charged song that resonates with anyone who has ever felt trapped and helpless.

The Allman Brothers Band's Version

The Allman Brothers Band's version of Statesboro Blues, which was recorded for their 1971 album, "At Fillmore East," is widely regarded as one of the best cover versions of the song. The band's signature twin guitars give the song a new energy, and Gregg Allman's soulful vocals add a new depth to the already powerful lyrics.

The Allman Brothers Band were known for their ability to blend different genres of music, and their version of Statesboro Blues is a perfect example of this. The song starts off as a traditional blues number but quickly morphs into a fast-paced rock song that showcases the band's improvisational skills.

The Legacy of Statesboro Blues

Statesboro Blues remains a beloved song in the blues community and has influenced countless musicians over the years. Its timeless themes of struggle and perseverance continue to resonate with listeners, while its powerful lyrics and haunting melody ensure that it will be remembered for generations to come.

The song's legacy is also evident in the many cover versions that have been recorded over the years. From Taj Mahal's soulful rendition to The Black Crowes' hard-rocking take on the song, Statesboro Blues has been reinterpreted in countless ways but remains true to its roots as a classic blues song.


Statesboro Blues is a song that has stood the test of time and remains as relevant today as it was almost a century ago. Its powerful lyrics and haunting melody continue to inspire musicians and listeners alike, and its influence can be heard in countless songs across many genres of music. Whether you are a fan of the blues or just appreciate good music, Statesboro Blues is a must-listen song that will leave a lasting impression.