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Man Of Constant Sorrow - who wrote it?

DigiTrad:
CONSTANT SORROW 3
GIRL OF CONSTANT SORROW
MAN OF CONSTANT SORROW


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: Man of Constant Sorrow (25)
A Man of Constant Sorrow-various renditions (18)
Lyr/Chords Req: Man of Constant Sorrow (21)
Lyr Req: I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow (10)
Tune Req: Man of Constant Sorrow (7)


Bluegrass Girl 22 May 01 - 09:27 PM
Clinton Hammond 22 May 01 - 09:29 PM
Murray MacLeod 22 May 01 - 09:37 PM
Stewie 22 May 01 - 10:44 PM
Bluegrass Girl 22 May 01 - 11:16 PM
ddw 22 May 01 - 11:37 PM
Scabby Douglas 23 May 01 - 09:33 AM
Rick Fielding 23 May 01 - 11:23 AM
Bluegrass Girl 23 May 01 - 02:01 PM
Allan C. 23 May 01 - 05:35 PM
Scabby Douglas 24 May 01 - 08:26 AM
GUEST,Billy 24 May 01 - 12:56 PM
mousethief 24 May 01 - 01:29 PM
Allan C. 31 May 01 - 02:16 PM
GUEST,Baby Girl 10 Feb 13 - 08:18 AM
wordfella 10 Feb 13 - 08:28 AM
Dave Hanson 10 Feb 13 - 09:04 AM
Airymouse 10 Feb 13 - 11:28 AM
Airymouse 10 Feb 13 - 11:45 AM
GUEST,skyklan47 19 Oct 13 - 05:21 PM
GUEST,skyklan47 19 Oct 13 - 05:36 PM
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Subject: Man Of Constant Sorrow
From: Bluegrass Girl
Date: 22 May 01 - 09:27 PM

Hope you guys can help me again. Can you tell me who wrote this song? Some of my "fellow" bluegrassers are giving me a bad time about this (believe it or not, many bluegrassers are IGNORANT!). I'd sure appreciate any feedback you have on this song.

As my background for so many years was folk music, I always believed this to be a folk song. Wrong?

Thanks.

Bluegrass Girl


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Subject: RE: Man Of Constant Sorrow
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 22 May 01 - 09:29 PM

As far as I know, it's a folk song... pre-dating Bob Dylan at least!

;-)

It sure sounds like a folk song to me....


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Subject: RE: Man Of Constant Sorrow
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 22 May 01 - 09:37 PM

It certainly is traditional. Some authorities ascribe it to Richard Burnett, but he never claimed it as his own composition,

Jeez, I'm beginning to sound like Malcolm Douglas ....

Murray


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Subject: RE: Man Of Constant Sorrow
From: Stewie
Date: 22 May 01 - 10:44 PM

I posted Burnett's version previously to the forum. He 'sort of' claimed it in an interview with Charles Wolfe but, as Murray said, it is (almost) certainly traditional:

Click Here

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Man Of Constant Sorrow
From: Bluegrass Girl
Date: 22 May 01 - 11:16 PM

Thanks! I didn't think I was crazy -- and I've just about run out of patience with "the boys"!

They seem to believe it's a bluegrass song penned by the Carter family.

Any thoughts on that possibility?

Bluegrass Girl


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Subject: RE: Man Of Constant Sorrow
From: ddw
Date: 22 May 01 - 11:37 PM

BGG — I agree with others that it's almost certainly traditional, but I have to wonder about bluegrass musicians who think the Carters every had anything to do with bluegrass. Bill Monroe and his minions might have grassed up some old traditional tunes, but I don't think the flowed the other way.

david


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Subject: RE: Man Of Constant Sorrow
From: Scabby Douglas
Date: 23 May 01 - 09:33 AM

I have an old SINg OUt! magazine which attributes that version to (Ralph?) Stanley. The version it prints is very very close to the one used in "O Brother...".

It doesn't say that he wrote it however.

SD


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Subject: RE: Man Of Constant Sorrow
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 23 May 01 - 11:23 AM

Hi Bluegrass Girl. I think your "Fellow Bluegrassers" are either kiddin' you, or they think "Brother Where Are't Thou is ACTUALLY a traditional music album. Perhaps they should do a little "investing in the music" along with their pickin'. Diggin' for songs is FUN!

Rick


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Subject: RE: Man Of Constant Sorrow
From: Bluegrass Girl
Date: 23 May 01 - 02:01 PM

Hey Rick:

These guys were DEAD serious! If you just say the (four letter) word "Folk" to them, all the blood drains from their faces; whereas I realized very early on that a good deal of the music they claim as bluegrass is really grassed up folk, old time, and traditional music.

In fact, last week at "band practice" I had to stop and try to teach them the difference between 3/4 and 4/4 time. (Which they play but do not acknowledge).

Now I've found two separate sources which attribute "Man Of Constant Sorrow" to someone named LaRue. I'm pretty darn sure he wasn't a bluegrass player!!!!! (joke).

Thanks again to all who responded.

BGG


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Subject: RE: Man Of Constant Sorrow
From: Allan C.
Date: 23 May 01 - 05:35 PM

Scabby Doug, the reason the lyrics you found (attributed to Ralph Stanley) were similar to those sung in "O Brother..." is because it was his arrangement that was used in that movie. But as mentioned above, he was not the author of the original.


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Subject: RE: Man Of Constant Sorrow
From: Scabby Douglas
Date: 24 May 01 - 08:26 AM

That's pretty much what I assumed. However, when I posted I was cautious about asserting anything that I could not at that point back up with any harder evidence...

Cheers

SD


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Subject: RE: Man Of Constant Sorrow
From: GUEST,Billy
Date: 24 May 01 - 12:56 PM

If you are playing with people who don't know the difference between 3/4 time and 4/4 time you need to find someone else to play with.


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Subject: RE: Man Of Constant Sorrow
From: mousethief
Date: 24 May 01 - 01:29 PM

Either that or you can get some really crazy polyrhythms going without even meaning to!

Alex


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Subject: RE: Man Of Constant Sorrow
From: Allan C.
Date: 31 May 01 - 02:16 PM

This seems as good a place as any to say, WELCOME TO BLUEGRASS GIRL!! And congratulations on posting your first thread.


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Subject: RE: Man Of Constant Sorrow - who wrote it?
From: GUEST,Baby Girl
Date: 10 Feb 13 - 08:18 AM

Carter Stanley in 1950.


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Subject: RE: Man Of Constant Sorrow - who wrote it?
From: wordfella
Date: 10 Feb 13 - 08:28 AM

...first recorded by Emry Arthur ['28\ http://history-of-songs.wikispaces.com/Judy+Collins


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Subject: RE: Man Of Constant Sorrow - who wrote it?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 10 Feb 13 - 09:04 AM

According to Ralph Stanley, he and Cater learned it from their father but he didn't know all the words so they added some to make the song, so it's, traditional/R and C Stanley.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Man Of Constant Sorrow - who wrote it?
From: Airymouse
Date: 10 Feb 13 - 11:28 AM

Caveat: I know some old songs, but I don't know anything about their history. I think "Man of Constant Sorrow" is derived from what people call "East Virginia."(We sing "old Virginia") Barnett said to Wolfe that he didn't think he wrote the song, and I believe him. Here are the lyrics I know.
I was borned in old Virginia
To North Caroliner I did go
There I met a pretty girl
But her name I did not know.

Her hair was of a darksome color
Her lips her of a cherry red
Her breasts were of a snowwhite color
Where many a night I lay my head.

I'd rather be on top Black Mountain
Where I know the sun refuse to shine
Than see you be another man's darling
And know that you would not be mine.

I am a man of constant sorrow (Pronounced more like "sorrer")
And I seen trouble all my days
I'm going back to old Virginy
The place where I was partly raised
Learned in 1966 or 1967 in Durham NC from Forest Covington
The tune is somewhat similar to the "O brother" rendering but it is simpler, much slower and softer. I think of it as a lament, not a bluegrass song.


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Subject: RE: Man Of Constant Sorrow - who wrote it?
From: Airymouse
Date: 10 Feb 13 - 11:45 AM

Oops, I learned this version in 1962 or 1963, but I got the location and the singer right.


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Subject: RE: Man Of Constant Sorrow - who wrote it?
From: GUEST,skyklan47
Date: 19 Oct 13 - 05:21 PM

the earliest recording i've found was done by roscoe holcomb in the 1950's that he'd learned to play from a record by ralph stanley.

i, in addition, have recorded my own version and included a video..youtube/skyklan47


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Subject: RE: Man Of Constant Sorrow - who wrote it?
From: GUEST,skyklan47
Date: 19 Oct 13 - 05:36 PM

as it turns out Tami LaRue is not the writer of this ballad. It first turned up in the mainstream ..1913 by Dick Burnett, and he couldn't remember if he wrote it or not.. so it could be even earlier than 1913..


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