The first thing I remember knowin' was a lonesome whistle blowin',
And a youngin's dream of growin' up to ride,
On a freight train leavin' town, not knowin' where I'm bound.
And no one could change my mind but Mama tried.
One and only rebel child from a family meek and mild
My mama seemed to to know what lay in store,
'Spite all my Sunday learnin' towards the bad I kept on turnin',
'Till Mama could not hold me anymore.

[Chorus] And I turned twenty-one in prison doin' life without parole,
No one could steer me right but Mama tried, Mama tried.
Mama tried to raise me better, but her pleading I denied
And that leaves only me to blame, 'cause Mama tried

Dear ole' Daddy, rest his soul left my mom a heavy load,
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She tried so very hard to feel his shoes,
Workin' hours without rest, she wanted me to have the best
She tried to raise me right but I refused.

[Chorus: x2]

And that leaves only me to blame, 'cause Mama tried.