TB blue
Jimmie Rodgers Lyrics


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My good gal's trying
To make a fool out of me
Lord, my gal's trying
To make a fool out of me

Trying to make me believe
I ain't got that old T.B.
I've got the T.B. blues

When it rained down sorrow
It rained all over me
When it rained down sorrow
It rained all over me

'Cause my body rattles
Like a train on that old S.P.
I've got the T.B. blues

I've got that old T.B.
I can't eat a bite
Got that old T.B.
I can't eat a bite

Got me worried soul
I can't even sleep at night
I've got the T.B. blues

I've been fightin' like a lion
Looks like I'm going to lose
I'm fightin' like a lion
Looks like I'm going to lose

'Cause there ain't nobody
Ever whipped the T.B. blues
I've got the T.B. blues

Gee but the graveyard
Is a lonesome place
Lord that graveyard
Is a lonesome place

They put you on your back




Throw that mud down in your face
I've got the T.B. blues

Overall Meaning

The Jimmie Rodgers song "T.B. Blues" is a poignant expression of the feelings of someone suffering from tuberculosis. TB was a major public-health issue in the early 20th century and was a frequent subject for country and blues songs. The lyrics describe the singer's sense of isolation and fear as they struggle with the disease. The singer's gal is trying to convince him that he doesn't have TB, but he knows he does, and it's causing him to feel despair. He complains he can't eat and can't sleep, and that his body is rattling like a train.


The chorus is repeated throughout the song, "I've got the T.B. blues." The focus on the body is a recurring theme. The singer paints a gloomy picture of the end of life in the final line of the song when they speak of the lonesome place of the graveyard where one is laid on their back and dirt is thrown on their face. The song overall deals with the physical and mental suffering that comes with deadly diseases and the sense of isolation and hopelessness that it brings.


Line by Line Meaning

My good gal's trying
My girlfriend is attempting


To make a fool out of me
To deceive me and take advantage of me


Trying to make me believe
Attempting to convince me of something that is not true


I ain't got that old T.B.
I am not afflicted with the old T.B.


I've got the T.B. blues
I am feeling down and depressed due to being afflicted with T.B.


When it rained down sorrow
During a time of extreme hardship


It rained all over me
The hardship affected me greatly


'Cause my body rattles
My body shakes violently


Like a train on that old S.P.
Similar to a train on the Southern Pacific railway


I've got that old T.B.
I have been diagnosed with the old T.B.


I can't eat a bite
I have no appetite


Got me worried soul
I am deeply concerned


I can't even sleep at night
I am unable to sleep through the night


I've been fightin' like a lion
I have been fighting with great effort


Looks like I'm going to lose
I appear to be losing the fight against T.B.


'Cause there ain't nobody
Because there is no one


Ever whipped the T.B. blues
Who has ever defeated the feeling of hopelessness caused by T.B.


Gee but the graveyard
The graveyard is very lonely


Is a lonesome place
It is a desolate location


They put you on your back
After death, one is placed on their back


Throw that mud down in your face
The dry dirt is thrown into the grave, hitting your face


I've got the T.B. blues
Once again expressing deep sadness and despair due to being afflicted with T.B.




Lyrics © Peermusic Publishing
Written by: JIMMIE RODGERS, RAYMOND E. HALL

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Comments from YouTube:

W. Rusty Lane

One of my favorite Jimmie Rodgers' songs. I'm surprised he cut this song knowing that he was surely gonna die of the TB. Fighting like a lion, he knew he was gonna lose. RIP my brother.

Muffs 55mercury

A very courageous guy for sure. He cut his last songs while bedridden.

Marvin Thayer

This and Whippin that ole TB, have some good lines. Some of his best music.

Pedro Piñón

What's TB Blues? I'm sorry my english is so "Spanhised", cause there's where I'm from.

W. Rusty Lane

@Pedro Piñón Tuberculosis is abbreviated as TB. In Jimmie Rogers' time there was not a cure for tuberculosis.

Pedro Piñón

@W. Rusty Lane, thanks...
that's fucked up! I knew what tuberculousis mean, but I didn't know it could be shortened to T.B.
A useful piece of information

26 More Replies...

Joel caves

I never knew my grandma because of this terrible disease. Jimmie touched alot of hearts with this song. How a man could face his own death in this way. It's like Lou Gehrig's farewell speech at Yankee Stadium 8 years later. WHAT BRAVE MEN!

39thala

Runs chills through me hearing him sing about the disease that would eventually kill him

Tony Harden

He was more man than I'll ever be! Jimmie had already been diagnosed with TB before he recorded this. This wasn't just a song about the disease, but about death itself. I don't know, but I can imagine this song was contraversial in its day.

39thala

@Ghost_of_ Nomad You got the wrong Jimmie Rodgers. The one that died of kidney disease was the pop singer, Jimmie Rodgers who died in 2021 at age 87. The Jimmie Rodgers in this video is the older one who was the famous country singer who died in 1933 of TB at age 35

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