“Busted”is a song written by Harlan Howard in 1962….which was recorded and first released by Johnny Cash + the Carter Family for Cash’s 1963 album Blood, Sweat and Tears…..as the first recording was by Burl Ives in 1962….and was subsequently recorded by several notable artists such as Ray Charles (also in 1963) and Patty Loveless (2009).
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.
“Busted” has been recorded by many musical artist over the years….to include Johnny Cash, with the Carter Family….which reached # 13 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart in 1963….as Ray Charles reached # 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1963…..whih was from his album Ingredients in a Recipe for Soul….along with a live version duet with Willie Nelson….which was included in Charles’ 2005 duets album Genius & Friends……as well as the band Nazareth covered it on their Expect No Mercy album in 1977…..then John Conlee reached # 6 on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart in 1982….there after came Patty Loveless releasing a version in 2009 from her studio album Mountain Soul II….as this version contains a lyrical change which alters the occupation of the narrator from a cotton farmer to a miner….as “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…..then came Charley Pride’s version which was covered on his Country Charley Pride album….and many many more.