“Man of Constant Sorrow” had been around for about a century before George Clooney stepped up to the microphone as lead singer for the Soggy Bottom Boys in O Brother, Where Art Thou?, the 2000 Coen brothers film. That version features Dan Tyminski of Alison Krauss & Union Station on vocals, lip-synced by Clooney.
The Stanley Brothers popularized the song with their 1950 recording for Columbia, but it had been published as sheet music in 1913 by blind Kentucky fiddler Dick Burnett. Burnett had almost certainly picked up the song from his elders in southern Appalachia.
When urbanites began to take an interest in “hillbilly music” in the late 1950s, they invited the Stanley Brothers to the inaugural Newport Folk Festival. An 18-year-old Joan Baez was on hand to hear them perform the song, and recorded it herself a year later. Bob Dylan also recorded a version, changing the state where he was born and raised from Kentucky to Colorado. Dylan grew up in Minnesota.
“Man of Constant Sorrow” lyrics and chords
Click the button below if you’d like to download a higher quality, printable PDF version of the lyrics and chords for “Man of Constant Sorrow”.
Download lyrics and chords for "Man of Constant Sorrow"
Send download link to:
Iconic: The Stanley Brothers
Ironic: The Soggy Bottom Boys
Also good: Jerry Garcia, David Grisman and Tony Rice