Trad. Vs Modern – Man Of Constant Sorrow

19 Sep

This week at work, I came across a Kraak and Smaak remix of the Soggy bottom boys with Skeewiff version of the old trad. song. ‘Man Of Constant Sorrow’. After hearing this remix, the first thing I did when I got home was put on the Emry Arthur version followed by fictitious group, Soggy Bottom Boys’ version made popular by the brilliant film ‘O Brother Where Art Thou?’. I enjoyed all three so much I had to share them. Searching for these songs was like opening a can of musical worms. Like a lot of trad. songs and early Jazz Pop and RnB songs I found so many wonderfully different versions, Including a reggae version by Donna The Buffalo, plenty of bluegrass versions, a Bob Dylan take on the song and personal favourite by Alison Krauss and Union Station . I got totally lost in a lovely world of constant sorrow.

The Song is believed to have been first recorded by a partially blind fiddler from Kentucky called Dick Burnett as ‘Farewell Song’ Printed in a Richard Burnett Song book around 1913, but it is not know who originally wrote the song. The song was recorded in 1928 by Emry Arthur and it is said to have been made popular again in the 50s by the Stanley Brothers. The Stanley Brothers even claimed that If they hadn’t had such fond memories of the song it might not have been brought back into existence, although I don’t think such a great song could ever get lost, especially since Cecil Sharp was on the case and had already collected it in 1918.




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