I’m a man of constant sorrow
I’ve seen trouble all my days
I’ll say, goodbye to Colorado
Where I was born and partly raised
Your mother says, I’m a stranger
My face you’ll never see, no more
But there’s one promise, darlin’
I’ll see you on Gods golden shore
Through this open world I’m bound to ramble
Through ice and snows, sleet and rain
I’m bound to ride that mornin’ railroad
Perhaps I’ll die on that train
I’m goin’ back to Colorado
The place that I’ve started from
If I’d knowed how bad you’d treat me
Honey, I never would have come
From: Wikipedia -
“Man of Constant Sorrow” is a traditional American folk song first recorded by Dick Burnett, a partially blind fiddler from Kentucky. The song was originally recorded by Burnett as “Farewell Song” printed in a Richard Burnett songbook, c. 1913. An early version was recorded by Emry Arthur in 1928 (Vocalion Vo 5208).
- 1928 – The song was recorded in 1928 by Emry Arthur.
- 1951 – It was popularized by the Stanley Brothers, on Columbia 20816, Recorded: Nov. 3, 1950, Released: May, 1951.
- 1959 – The Stanley Brothers re-recorded it on King Records 45-5269, Recorded: Sep. 15, 1959, Released: Oct. 1959. This version is probably the first with a very similar vocal arrangement as the one used in the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou?, where it is performed by the fictitious group Soggy Bottom Boys (recorded by Dan Tyminski, Harley Allen, and Pat Enright).
- 1960 – A version of the song, “Girl of Constant Sorrow”, is included on the remastered version of the album Joan Baez, first released in 1960 on the Vanguard label.
- 1961 – Recorded by Roscoe Holcomb (Daisy Kentucky) in 1961–1962 with an arrangement more like Dylan’s than that of the Stanleys.(Music of Roscoe Holcomb and Wade Ward,Smithsonian Folkways, Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.)
- 1961 – Judy Collins‘s 1961 debut album, A Maid of Constant Sorrow, took its name from a variant of the song that was performed on the album.
- 1962 – It appears on Bob Dylan‘s 1962 eponymous debut album and Dylan performed the song during his first national television appearance in 1963.
- 1962 – In their 1962 self-titled debut album Peter, Paul and Mary recorded another version as “Sorrow.”
- 1966 – It was recorded by Waylon Jennings on his 1966 major-label debut Folk-Country.
- 1969 – Rod Stewart performed the song on his debut solo album in 1969.
- 1970 – It was also recorded by Ginger Baker’s Air Force on their eponymous debut album in 1970, sung by Air Force guitarist and vocalist (and former Moody Blues, future Wingsmember) Denny Laine. The band used the same melody, and for the most part the same lyrics (but substituted ‘Birmingham’ for ‘Colorado’). The arrangement differed, though, as this was a loosely improvised live version, with violin and saxophones, that stays very much in the major scales of A, D and E, unlike its future bluesier brethren. It was the only band single; it charted #36 on the U.S. country charts and #86 in UK.
- 1972 – An a cappella version appears on The Dillards‘ 1972 LP Roots and Branches.
- 1993 – “Man of Constant Sorrow” was one of many songs recorded by Jerry Garcia, David Grisman, and Tony Rice one weekend in February 1993. Jerry’s taped copy of the session was later stolen by his pizza delivery man, eventually became an underground classic, and finally edited and released in 2000 as The Pizza Tapes. Jerry Garcia also sang an a cappella version on June 11, 1962, at the Jewish Community Center in San Carlos, California, with the Sleepy Hollow Hog Stompers. Though unreleased, it has been widely circulated among traders at least since the 1980s.
- 2000 – Jackson Browne and Irish accordionist Sharon Shannon recorded their version of the song in 2000. It also appeared in Shannon’s album The Diamond Mountain Sessions.
- 2000 – The song appears in the 2000 film O Brother, Where Art Thou?, under the title “I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow.” Performed by the fictitious Soggy Bottom Boys in the movie, it was recorded by Dan Tyminski, Harley Allen, and Pat Enright. It was a hit in the movie for the Soggy Bottom Boys and later became a hit single in real life. It received a CMA for “Single of the Year” and a Grammy for “Best Country Collaboration with Vocals” and it peaked at #35 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. Dan Tyminski performed this song at the Crossroads Guitar Festival with Ron Block and live with Alison Krauss. The version used in the film is closest in lyrics and singing style to Ralph Stanley’s.
- 2000– The folk group Donna the Buffalo did a reggae-influenced cover on their album Positive Friction.
- 2001 – A version entitled “Soul of Constant Sorrow” appears on the 2001 album Mountain Soul by country singer Patty Loveless.
- 2003 – In 2003, musicians Skeewiff remixed “Man of Constant Sorrow.” The song was so popular in Australia that it featured at #96 in the Triple J’s hottest 100 songs of 2003. That same year, the O Brother Where Art Thou? version of the song ranked #20 in CMT’s 100 Greatest Songs in Country Music.
- 2006 – Osaka Popstar recorded a punk rock cover of this song for their debut album Osaka Popstar and the American Legends of Punk.
- 2007 – Canadian hard rock group Tin Foil Phoenix released it on their 2007 second album Age of Vipers as a bonus track.
- 2009 – Norwegian all-girl pop band Katzenjammer covered the song briefly in their 2009 US tour.