Program #2003

"Constant Sorrow and Natural Blues" is the title of this hour-long exploration of works inspired by American roots music. Given the recent popularity of this genre--one driven by the Coen brothers' film, O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Moby's breakthrough CD Play--it's a perfect chance to explore the sources from which the various strains of country, blues, bluegrass, folk, and gospel music flow. Along with several selections from the "O Brother" soundtrack, and Moby's blues-meets-electronica, we hear two versions of the sublime standard "Man of Constant Sorrow": by Dick Connette & Last Forever and the acoustic supergroup Wayfaring Strangers. Also featured are historic selections by Leadbelly and late guitarist John Fahey, the latter of whom is being celebrated at the 92nd St. Y during the 2002 New York Guitar Festival.

PROGRAM # 2003, "Constant Sorrow and Natural Blues" (First aired on 2/4/02)







Natural Blues, excerpt [2:00]

V2/BMG Records #27049** or

O Brother, Where Art Thou?


Soggy Bottom Boys: I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow [3:00]

Mercury #170 069** also available online*


Huddie Ledbetter (2-LP set)

John Hardy, take 2, excerpt [1:00]

Fantasy Records #24715. There are now numerous CD reissues of Leadbelly performing this song.

Last Forever

Trainfare Home

John Doe #24 [4:00]

Nonesuch #79604** (PRMS*)

There Is No Eye

Music for Photographs by John Cohen

Roscoe Holcomb: Man of Constant Sorrow [3:00]

Smithsonian Folkways #40091** phone 1800-410-9815; fax 1800-853-9511

The Wayfaring Strangers

Shifting Sands of Time

Man of Constant Sorrow [3:30]

Rounder #11661 0484** or *

Last Forever

Trainfare Home

Louis Collins/Spike Driver Blues [4:00]

See above.



Honey [3:30]

See above.

David Rothenberg, Graham Boone, and Glen Velez

Live, WNYC, March 11, 1996

A Man of Constant Sorrow [5:00]

A version of this song appears on the trio's CD On The Cliffs Of The Heart, New Tone #nt6744. Italian import,, available online at

O Brother, Where Art Thou?


Chris Thomas King: Hard Time Killing Floor Blues [2:30]

See above.

John Fahey

Days Have Gone By

The Portland Cement Factory at Monolith, California [4:30]

Takoma #6509** *

Gary Lucas

Live, WNYC/BBC, January 1, 2001

Bindlestiff Blues/The Opener of the Way [4:30]

The latter tune appears on his CD Street of Lost Brothers,

O Brother, Where Art Thou?


Norman Blake: I Am A Man of Constant Sorrow [2:30]; John Hartford: I Am A Man of Constant Sorrow [1:00]

See above.

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