Another Man Done Gone

TITLE: Another Man Done Gone
AUTHOR: Unknown
CATEGORY: Traditional, Public Domain
KEYWORDS: prison, escape, homicide
EARLIEST PRINTED OR RECORDED REFERENCE: John Avery Lomax 220px-Vera_Hallmet Vera Hall in the 1930s and recorded her for the Library of Congress. Lomax wrote that she had the” loveliest voice he had ever recorded”. The BBC played Hall’s recording of “Another Man Done Gone” in 1943 as a sample of American folk music. The Library of Congress played the song the same year in commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.

The background of the song is the penal farm system of the deep South which came about in the 1900’s. Conditions were horrible and detailed in Wake Up Dead Man: Afro-American Workings from Texas Prisons, collected and edited by Bruce Jackson and “Worse Than Slavery”: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice by David M. Oshinsky. The following excerpt explains some of the horrendous acts on prisoners that were hidden for decades in the 20th Century:

The prison doctor listed [cause of death for] the body of a young Parchman inmate, who was white, [as] heat stroke, but the local undertaker found burns and bruises covering the body, leading to an autopsy that turned up broken ribs, a crushed thorax, and massive hemorrhages in both lungs. Danny Bennett had been beaten to death. If this could happen to a white man serving “light time” for burglary, then no one was safe.

The state legislature. . .formed a committee to investigate Bennett’s death. Witness after witness said much the same thing: Bennett had fallen face down in the cotton rows while working the “long line” on a 100-degree afternoon. Unable to rise, he was shocked with cattle prods, beaten with ax handles, and tossed on to the back of an open truck, where he remained-unconscious in the broiling sun-until he died.

RECORDINGS: (mp3’s available through


BONUS YOUTUBE VIDEO: Vera Hall, plus many pictures of Jim Crow “slavery”

Another Man Done Gone

Another man done gone.
Another man done gone from the county farm.
Another man done gone.

He had a long chain on.
He had a long chain on, from the county farm.
Another man done gone.

I didn’t know his name.
I didn’t know his name, they did him just the same.
Another man done gone.

He killed another man.
He killed another man, from the county farm.
Another man done gone.

Another man done gone.
Another man done gone from the county farm.
Another man done gone.


  • Folk Song Index: A Comprehensive Guide to the Florence E. Brunnings Collection, Florence E. Brunnings, Garland Publishing, Inc., New York and London 1981—Amazon Books
  • Blues and Gospel Records 1902-1943, John Goodrich and Robert M.W. Dixon—Amazon Books
  • [Digital TraditionThe Digital Tradition (edited by Dick Greenhaus & Susan Friedman).
  •  [Roud Folk Song Index] [Roud #10065Steve Roud’s Folksong Index, a database pointing to over 170,000 song citations plus broadsides, etc. Citations by Roud Number.
  •  Traditional Ballad Index


  • [Lomax-FSNA] Alan Lomax, The Folk Songs of North America (1960).
  • [Lomax-FSUSA] John A. and Alan Lomax with music arrangements by Charles and Ruth Seeger, Folk Song U.S.A. (1947).
  • [Scott-BoA] John Anthony Scott, The Ballad of America (1966).
  • [Silber-FSWB] Silber, Irwin, and Fred Silber. Folksinger’s Wordbook. New York: Oak Publications, 1973. Print.

NOTICE: I’m not the best guitar player or vocalist, nor am I a scholar. But no one loves these songs more than I do. The tune and lyrics are in the public domain unless otherwise noted. The recording © copyright 2015 by Stephen Griffith and may be used by permission of the copyright holder. The variation of the song I’m posting is the version I perform and is not exactly replicating the sources cited, but is always in the same song family. If anyone has more details about this song, or believes I’ve stated something in error, please let me know. I’m also open to suggestions to improve the site. Thanks. sgg

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