Busted (Harlan Howard song)

"Busted" is a song written by Harlan Howard in 1962. It was recorded by Johnny Cash (with the Carter Family) for Cash's 1963 album Blood, Sweat and Tears. It has been recorded by several notable artists, including Ray Charles (also in 1963) and Patty Loveless (2009).

Song by Harlan Howard
Released 1962
Recorded 1962
Genre Country
Length 2:20
Songwriter(s) Harlan Howard


The song is about a dirt-poor farmer struggling to support his family, bemoaning a stack of bills, his family's needs, animals that won't produce and land that is barren. He even tries to ask his brother for assistance, but his brother was actually going to come to him for help. Finally, he admits he's going to pack up his family and leave to find a better life.

Cover versions

Single by Ray Charles
from the album Ingredients in a Recipe for Soul
Released 1963 (1963)
Label ABC-Paramount
Songwriter(s) Harlan Howard
  • Johnny Cash, with the Carter Family, reached #13 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart in 1963.[1]
  • Ray Charles reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1963.[2] This was from his album Ingredients in a Recipe for Soul. A live version with Willie Nelson was included in Charles' 2005 duets album Genius & Friends.
  • Nazareth covered it on Expect No Mercy in 1977.
  • John Conlee reached #6 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart in 1982.[3]
  • Patty Loveless released a version in 2009 from her studio album Mountain Soul II. This version contains a lyrical change which alters the occupation of the narrator from a cotton farmer to a miner ("Cotton is down to a quarter a pound" is replaced with "We've had a hard time since they closed down the mine"), but the overall theme is the same.
  • Charley Pride covered it on Country Charley Pride. The album was released in 1966 on the RCA label. [4]
  • Chris LeDoux covered it on Used to Want to be a Cowboy in 1991.
  • Green On Red covered it on The BBC Sessions released in 2007.
  • Hazel Dickens covered it on her 1980 Hard Hitting Songs For Hard Hit People album.
  • Wanda Jackson covered it on her album The Party Ain't Over (2011).
  • The Waldos covered it on their album Rent Party in 1994.
  • Andre Williams covered it on his album Red Dirt in 1999.
  • Tim O'Brien covered it on his album Cornbread Nation in 2005.
  • Ray Lynam covered it as a single that charted on the Irish Charts in 1970.


  1. Whitburn, Joel (1996). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Country Hits, p.68. ISBN 0-8230-7632-6.
  2. Whitburn, Joel (2000). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, p.121. ISBN 0-8230-7690-3.
  3. Whitburn, Joel (1996). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Country Hits, p.78. ISBN 0-8230-7632-6.
  4. https://www.allmusic.com/album/country-charley-pride-mw0000864218

External links

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