Cumberland Blues

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh

I can't stay here much longer, Melinda
The sun is getting high
I can't help you with your troubles
If you won't help with mine
I gotta get down
I gotta get down
Gotta get down to the mine

You keep me up just one more night
I can't stop here no more
Little Ben clock says quarter to eight
You kept me up till four
I gotta get down
I gotta get down
Or I can't work there no more

Lotta poor man make a five dollar bill
Will keep him happy all the time
Some other fellow's making nothing at all
And you can hear him cry

Can I go, buddy, can I go down
Take your shift at the mine
Gotta get down to the Cumberland mine
That's where I mainly spend my time

Make good money, five dollars a day
If I made any more I might move away

Lotta poor man got the Cumberland Blues
He can't win for losing
Lotta poor man got to walk the line
Just to pay his union dues

I don't know now, I just don't know
If I'm going back again
I don't know now, I just don't know
If I'm going back again
Grateful Dead Recordings
     Date Album
      8 Nov 1969 Dick's Picks Vol 16
     11 Dec 1969 Dave's Picks Volume 10 (bonus disc)
     12 Dec 1969 Dave's Picks Volume 10
     20 Dec 1969 Dave's Picks Volume 6
     21 Dec 1969 Dave's Picks Volume 6 (Bonus disc)
     studio 1970 Workingman's Dead
      2 Jan 1970 Dave's Picks Volume 30
     17 Jan 1970 Workingman's Dead (note 1)
     24 Jan 1970 Dave's Picks Volume 19
      2 Feb 1970 Dave's Picks Volume 6
     15 Apr 1970 30 Trips Around The Sun
     18 Apr 1970 Family Dog at the Great Highway
      2 May 1970 Dick's Picks Vol 8
     15 May 1970 Road Trips Vol 3 No 3 (early show)
     15 May 1970 Road Trips Vol 3 No 3 (late show)
     31 Dec 1970 30 Days Of The Dead (2018)
     19 Feb 1971 Three From The Vault
     21 Feb 1971 Workingman's Dead (50th Anniversary Edition)
     18 Mar 1971 30 Trips Around The Sun
     28 Apr 1971 Ladies And Gentlemen ... The Grateful Dead
     30 May 1971 Winterland 1971
      6 Aug 1971 Road Trips Number 1, Volume 3 (bonus disc)
      7 Aug 1971 Dick's Picks Vol 35
     24 Aug 1971 Dick's Picks Vol 35
     22 Oct 1971 Dave's Picks Volume 3
     26 Oct 1971 Download Series Vol 3
     31 Oct 1971 30 Days Of The Dead (2014) (note 6)
     15 Nov 1971 Road Trips Number 3, Volume 2
     17 Nov 1971 Dave's Picks Volume 26
      7 Dec 1971 Dave's Picks Volume 22
     27 Mar 1972 Dave's Picks Vol 14 (bonus disc)
     28 Mar 1972 Dick's Picks Vol 30
      8 Apr 1972 Europe '72 (note 2)
     14 Apr 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
     16 Apr 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
     26 May 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
     21 Jul 1972 Download Series Vol 10
     21 Sep 1972 Dick's Picks Vol 36
     24 Sep 1972 30 Trips Around The Sun
     27 Sep 1972 Dick's Picks Vol 11
     17 Nov 1972 Dave's Picks Volume 11
     24 Mar 1973 Dave's Picks Volume 32
     28 Mar 1973 Dave's Picks Volume 16
     14 Nov 1973 30 Trips Around The Sun
     24 Feb 1974 Dave's Picks Volume 13
     23 Jun 1974 Dave's Picks Volume 34
     21 Oct 1983 30 Trips Around The Sun
     12 Oct 1984 30 Trips Around The Sun
     27 Mar 1988 Download Series Vol 5
      1 Apr 1988 Road Trips Volume 4, Number 2
     17 Jul 1989 Downhill From Here (video/DVD only)
     21 Mar 1990 Spring 1990 (The Other One)
     28 Mar 1990 Spring 1990 (The Other One)
      4 Jul 2015 Fare Thee Well (CD and DVD) (note 5)
(Plus live recordings by The Dead, Furthur, Dead & Company, Ratdog, Phil Lesh & Friends etc not listed here. See Grateful Dead Family Discography for a full list.)
Other Recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
     1980 Step Up To Big Pay Cache Valley Drifters (note 3)
     1993 Dead Ringers Dead Ringers
     1996 DeadBeats Acoustic DeadBeats
     1997 Pickin' On The Grateful Dead David West et al
     1998  High Adventures In Japan David Nelson Band (note 4)
     1998 Release 1 The Schwag
     1999 Swingin' To The Grateful Dead Steve Marsh et al
     2001 The Electric Roses Tour Elegy
     2001 Live At Twenty North Jake's Leg
     2005 Jerry Jams, Jerry Cares Only Footprints
     2005 Deadgrass Deadgrass
     2006 I Don't Miss Trains The Orchard Boys
     2007 Live in the Northeast Hot Buttered Rum (note 7)
     2007 At Fine Arts Center, UMass The American Beauty Project
     21 Mar 2009 Jerry Jams for Rex Hot Buttered Rum
     2010 At Page Auditorium, Duke University The American Beauty Project
     2011 The Wheel: A Musical Celebration of Jerry Garcia Jesse McReynolds, David Nelson et al
     2013 Move Me Brightly Bob Weir et al (DVD)
     2015 July 2 2015 Chicago IL The Infamous Stringdusters and Keller Williams(note 7)
     2015 Songs Of Their Own Keller Williams
     2015 Grateful Jazz Jazz Is Dead
     2016 Day Of The Dead Charles Bradley and Menahan Street Band
     2018 Dead Songs Vol 2 Barton Hills Choir
     2018 The Travellin' McCourys The Travellin' McCourys
     2019 Dead Air Gold Connections

(1) included as a bonus track on remastered album, first released as part of the box set The Golden Road (1965-1973)
(2) also on the compilation What A Long Strange Trip It's Been and on the box set Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
(3) also on the CD collection "Stolen Roses"
(4) on the video but not the soundtrack CD
(5) also on the compilation Best Of Fare Thee Well.
(6) also on 30 Days Of The Dead (2016).
(7) The list above includes only one illustrative example of the series of live recordings by these artists. For a full list see the Grateful Dead Family Discography.

Further Information
For an online discussion of the lyrics to this song see the deadsongs.vue conference on The Well.
For more information on recordings see Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography
For information on references in the lyrics see David Dodd's Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics
For David Dodd's discussion of this song on see Greatest Stories Ever Told
For online chords and TAB see
For sheet music, see:
          Grateful Dead Anthology Volume 2 (piano arrangement)
          Grateful Dead Authentic Guitar Classics Volume 1 (guitar TAB)
          Grateful Dead Songbook Volume 1 (piano arrangement)
          Garcia/Hunter Songbook (vocal line and chords/TAB)


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