Sinner Man is about a man who has turned away from God . Not only by stopping pray but also by a sinful life. Eventually he discovers that the Devil is waiting for him. The song is a warning to God to stay true. Also it's a glossed over protest song against racist violence.
Known versions are those of Les Baxter from 1956 and the folkversie of The Weavers from 1959. Most famous is the ten-minute blues-and gospel version of Nina Simone Sinnerman from 1965. In the 1960s brought the Jamaican singers Peter Tosh and Bunny Livingston several times from a reggae version . Further, the song is also used in the film the Thomas Crown Affair, with the version on the cd is published created by Bill Conti. Here it concerns the version by Nina Simone. The implementation of Nina Simone is also used is an episode of Sherlock (season 2, episode 3: The Reichenbach Fall)