Compilation album: Pure Genius, Atlantic/WEA, 20 September 2005.
Compilation album: Singular Genius, Concord Records, 15 November 2011.
Worried Life Blues is one of the most 'waxed' blues songs of all time, first recorded by Major "Big Maceo" Merriweather in 1941 (Bluebird 8827). It was inspired by Someday Baby Blues, recorded by Sleepy John Estes in 1935 (Decca 7279). Over the years the differences between the numbers blurred into something new through various cover versions, which - in the best tradition of the blues - used elements from both, often with new lyrics and variations in the music.
Ray knew the song well. His interpretation was first only known because he put it out as a B-side to his hit single Sticks And Stones, which in 1961 scored #40 on the Billboard Pop Chart, and #2 on the R&B chart. When Atlantic in 2005 compiled Pure Genius, and added a few early rehearsal files to that box set, it became clear that he had already played (with) it in 1953.
The (talking) voice in the ABC version was producer Sid Feller's (also see comments).
ABC (Los Angeles, 1960):
Atlantic (New York 1953):
According to a concert souvenir booklet from c. 1962, this number was part of the live repertoire then, but no recordings have surfaced.