¶ 3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 Man of Constant Sorrow is an old folk song that some researchers believe can be traced back to the old hymn, I Am a Pilgrim of Constant Sorrow. The lyrics of the tune are haunting and worth a careful listen.
¶ 4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 The song was well-known among Dylan’s contemporaries. The most popular versions was done by The Stanley Brothers . Ralph Stanley’s version was also included in the popular film Down from the Mountain, a live concert based on the music from the movie, Oh Brother, Where Art Thou.
¶ 5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 Dylan gives the song a strong blues feel. According to Todd Harvey, author of the Formative Dylan: Transmission and Stylistic Influences, Dylan’s version is unique: he switches the order of the stanzas, changes the words, and alters the melody. He also points out that Dylan changes the lyrics so that the focus of the song is on the end of a relationship instead of an old man’s rumination about death.
¶ 6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 Dylan’s version doesn’t approach the gravity that his elders afford it. Better versions of this song are available on later bootleg recordings. One of the best appears on Golden Vanity, perhaps my favorite Dylan bootleg of all-time.