Mama Tried

Lyrics: Merle Haggard
Music: Merle Haggard

Played regularly by the Grateful Dead from its introduction in 1969.

First thing I remember knowing was that lonesome whistle blowing
And a young man's dream of growing up to ride
On a freight train leaving town, not knowing where I'm bound
No-one could change my mind but mama tried

One and only rebel child, from a family meek and mild
Mama seemed to know what lay in store
In spite of all my Sunday learning towards the bad I kept on turning
Mama couldn't hold me any more

Chorus
And I turned twenty one in prison doing life without parole
No-one could steer me right but mama tried
Mama tried to raise me better but her pleading I denied
That leaves only me to blame 'cause mama tried (note 1)

Dear old daddy, rest his soul, left my mom a heavy load
She tried so very hard to fill his shoes
Working hours without rest, wanted me to have the best
She tried to raise me right but I refused

[chorus]
Notes
(1) at some point Bobby switched this line to "That leaves no one but me to blame 'cause mama tried"

Grateful Dead Recordings
     Date Album
      8 Nov 1969 Dick's Picks Vol 16
     12 Dec 1969 Dave's Picks Volume 10
      2 Feb 1970 Dave's Picks Volume 6
     18 Apr 1970 Family Dog at the Great Highway
     26 Apr 1971 Grateful Dead (Skull & Roses)
      7 Aug 1971 Dick's Picks Vol 35
     18 Jun 1976 Download Series Vol 4
     25 Sep 1976 Dick's Picks Vol 20
     10 Oct 1976 Dick's Picks Vol 33
     31 Dec 1976 Live At The Cow Palace
     30 Apr 1977 Download Series Vol 1
      5 Nov 1977 Dick's Picks Vol 34
     19 Dec 1977 Dick's Picks Vol 10
     28 Dec 1979 Road Trips Vol 3, No 1
      3 Sep 1980 Download Series Vol 7
      6 Apr 1982 Road Trips Volume 4, Number 4
     14 Oct 1983 Dick's Picks Vol 6
     16 Jun 1990 View From The Vault III (video/DVD & CD soundtrack)
      8 Jul 1990 View From The Vault (video/DVD & CD soundtrack)

Recordings from dead.net Tapers Section

"The Dead" Concert Recordings

Furthur Digital Downloads and CDs

Ratdoglive CDs and downloads

Bob Weir Solo Acoustic Live!
 
Other Dead-related Recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
     2001 Blues Tribute To The Grateful Dead Various (Langhorne Slim)
     2012 Bryan Stow Benefit Concert Tim Flannery with Bob Weir (DVD)


Futher 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 online chords and TAB see www.rukind.com

 


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