Man of Constant Sorrow and Other Timeless Mountain Ballads

Various Artists

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Man of Constant Sorrow and Other Timeless Mountain Ballads Review

by Zac Johnson

Yazoo offers up another classic collection of mountain ballads and old-timey heartbreakers from the '20s and '30s on Man of Constant Sorrow. Chestnuts like "Ommie Wise," "John Hardy," "Darling Cora," and the title track are interspersed with lesser-known recordings from B.F. Shelton, Grayson & Whitter, Charlie Poole, and Ernest Stoneman. The Blue Sky Boys' contribution, "In the Hills of Roane County," is a chillingly beautiful high lonesome murder ballad highlighting Earl and Bill Bolick's fraternal harmonies, and the youthful Cousin Emmy's stark "Pretty Little Miss Out in the Garden" is accompanied intimately by her own gentle banjo picking. Surprisingly, the only clunkers on the album come from the usually spectacular Eck Robertson, whose singing fiddle is unusually out of tune and he spends both of the tracks competing with a female vocalist who shouts over the top of him (pre-dating Audrey Williams' offenses by a couple of decades). These 20 tracks were taken directly from rare old 78s, so some pops and crackles are to be expected, but anyone with a worn-out copy of The Anthology of American Folk Music won't mind a bit.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Lewis McDaniel & Walter Smith / Walter "Kid" Smith 02:27 SpotifyAmazon
B.F. Shelton 03:01 SpotifyAmazon
Burnett & Rutherford 03:14 SpotifyAmazon
4 Jimmie Tarlton 03:22 SpotifyAmazon
5 G.B. Grayson 03:11 SpotifyAmazon
6 The Blue Sky Boys 03:22 SpotifyAmazon
7 Earl Johnson & His Dixie Entertainers 03:12 SpotifyAmazon
Roy Harvey 02:50 SpotifyAmazon
9 Buell Kazee 03:05 SpotifyAmazon
10 Emry Arthur 03:21 SpotifyAmazon
The Hickory Nuts 02:48 SpotifyAmazon
Mack Woolbright / Parker & Woolbright 02:53 SpotifyAmazon
13 B.F. Shelton 03:49 SpotifyAmazon
14 Grayson & Whitter 03:25 SpotifyAmazon
Cousin Emmy 03:02 SpotifyAmazon
Charlie Poole & the North Carolina Ramblers 02:59 SpotifyAmazon
Green Bailey 02:40 SpotifyAmazon
Ernest Stoneman & Kahle Brewer / Kahle Brewer / Ernest V. Stoneman 02:49 SpotifyAmazon
Eck Robertson 03:11 SpotifyAmazon
Eck Robertson 02:26 SpotifyAmazon
blue highlight denotes track pick