Goin' Down The Road Feeling Bad

Lyrics: Traditional
Music: Traditional

Played by the Grateful Dead from 1970 right through to the 1990s. Jerry Garcia apparently learnt it from Delaney Bramlett during the "Festival Express" train ride across Canada in 1970.

Chorus
Going down the road feeling bad
Going down the road feeling bad
Going down the road feeling bad, hey hey hey, yeah
Don't wanna be treated this a way

Going where the climate suits my clothes
I'm going where the climate suits my clothes
Going where the climate suits my clothes
Don't wanna be treated this a way

[chorus]

Going where the water tastes like wine
Well I'm going where the water tastes like wine
Going where the water tastes like wine
I don't wanna be treated this a way

[chorus]
[chorus]
[chorus]
When the song was being developed in the early 1970s, Jerry Garcia sang a number of additional verses. This from 6 November 1970:
My mother told me, "Son don't go down there"
Momma told "Don't go way down there"
Momma told "Don't go way down there, down there"
Don't wanna be treated this a way
And this from 29 April 1971 (thanks to Brad Dilli for pointing it out):
I'm going where those chilly winds don't blow
I'm going where those chilly winds don't blow
Going where those chilly winds don't blow
Don't want to be treated this way

Grateful Dead Recordings

Other Dead-related Recordings
Notes
(1) also in Spring 1990 (The Other One)



Roots
The origins of this song go back a long way. This, for example is one account:
"Going Down the Road Feeling Bad was frequently recorded in the 1920s and 1930s by hillbilly artists such as Henry Whitter, Ernest Stoneman, and Fiddlin' John Carson. While the earliest commercial release dates only to 1923, these numerous recordings suggest currency in the oral tradition. Floating lyrics common to the song appear in other folksongs. Big Bill Broonzy also included it in his repertoire, and the song may have roots in the African-American tradition. So it is likely that this 'real migration song' of the Okies derived from material common to both black and white balladeers in the South and the Southwest."
The earliest recording I have found is a 78 by Henry Whitter, under the title "Lonseome Road Blues", with lyrics:
Oh I'm going down that road feeling bad
Oh I'm going down that road feeling bad
Oh I'm going down that road feeling bad
And I ain't gonna be treated this way

Oh I'm going where that chilly wind never blows
Oh I'm going where that chilly wind never blows
Oh I'm going where that chilly wind never blows
And I ain't gonna be treated this way

Oh way down in jail on my knees
Oh way down in jail on my knees
Oh way down in jail on my knees
And I ain't gonna be treated this way

Oh feed me on cornbread and peas
Oh feed me on cornbread and peas
Oh feed me on cornbread and peas
And I ain't gonna be treated this way

Yes I'm going where the climate suits my clothes
Yes I'm going where the climate suits my clothes
Yes I'm going where the climate suits my clothes
And I ain't gonna be treated this way

Oh I going if I never come back
Oh I going if I never come back
Oh I going if I never come back
And I ain't gonna be treated this way
There are numerous other recordings and variants, under titles including "Blowing Down The Road", "Chilly Winds", "Ain't Gonna Be Treated This Way" etc. This is the Woody Guthrie version included on "The Music Never Stopped: The Roots Of The Grateful Dead":
I'm going down this road feeling bad
I'm going down this road feeling bad
I'm going down this road feeling bad, bad, bad
And I ain't gonna be treated this way

I'm going where the water tastes like wine
I'm going where the water tastes like wine
I'm going where the water tastes like wine, wine, wine
And I ain't gonna be treated this way

Takes a ten-dollar shoe to fit my feet
Takes a ten-dollar shoe to fit my feet
Takes a ten-dollar shoe to fit my feet, Lord, Lord
And I ain't gonna be treated this way

Your two-dollar shoe hurts my feet
Your two-dollar shoe hurts my feet
Your two-dollar shoe hurts my feet, Lord Lord
And I ain't gonna be treated this way

I ain't gonna be treated this way
I ain't gonna be treated this way
I ain't gonna be treated this way, Lord, God
And I ain't gonna be treated this way
Bob Dylan recorded a version with The Band on the "Basement Tapes", though it has never been released. It circulates under the title "No Shoes On My Feet":
I'm blowing down that old dusty road
Yes I'm blowing down that old dusty road
I'm just blowing down that old dusty road, Lord, Lord
And I ain't gonna be treated this way

Yes it's a ten dollar shoe on my feet
Yes a ten dollar shoe on my feet
Yes it's a ten dollar shoe on my feet, Lord, Lord
And I ain't gonna be treated this way

I'm going where the water tastes like wine
I'm going where the water tastes like wine
I'm going where the water tastes like wine, Lord
And I ain't gonna be treated this way

I'm going down the road feeling bad
I'm going down the road feeling bad
I'm going down the road feeling bad, Lord, Lord
And I ain't gonna be treated this way

I'm going where the chilly winds don't blow
I'm going where the chilly winds don't blow
I'm going where the chilly winds don't blow
And I ain't gonna be treated this way

I'm going down the road feeling bad
I'm going down the road feeling bad
I'm going down the road feeling bad, Lord, Lord
And I ain't gonna be treated this way
No I ain't gonna be treated this way
Jerry Garcia himself said that he learnt the song from Delaney Bramlett during the "Festival Express" train ride across Canada in 1970. This is the version that Delaney Bramlett recorded with Bonnie on their album "Motel Shot" in 1971:
Goin' down that road feelin' bad
Lord, I'm goin' down the road feelin' bad
Goin' down the road feelin' bad, Lord, Lord
Ain't gonna be treated this way

Mama said, "son, don't go way down there"
She said, "don't go way down there"
She told me, "don't go way down there", Lord, Lord
Don't want to be treated this way

Goin' down the road feelin' bad
Lord, I'm goin' down the road feelin' bad
Goin' down the road feelin' bad, Lord, Lord
Ain't gonna be treated this way

Somebody help me get on away from here
Lord, help me get on away from here
Won't you help me get on away from here, Lord, Lord
I don't want to be treated this way

'Cause I'm goin' down the road feelin' bad
Yes I'm goin' down the road feelin' bad
Goin' down the road feelin' bad, Lord, Lord
Don't want to be treated this way
Elizabeth Cotten recorded a version, that is lyrically very different:
Going down the road feeling bad, honey babe, Lord
Going down the road feeling bad, honey babe, Lord
Going down the road feeling bad
And I don't want to be treated this a way

Girl I love done turned her back on me, honey babe, Lord
Girl I love done turned her back on me, honey babe, Lord
Girl I love done turned her back on me
And I don't want to be treated this a way

Thought I heard a lonesome whistle blow, honey babe, Lord
Thought I heard a lonesome whistle blow, honey babe, Lord
Thought I heard a lonesome whistle blow
And I don't want to be treated this a way