Posts Tagged ‘folk music’

Monday Medley

What we read while borrowing Joe Namath’s coat…

Ranking Bob Dylan Songs, #97: Man of Constant Sorrow

I want to like this song more than I actually do. Of all the songs Dylan recorded on this album, “Man of Constant Sorrow” is one of the most notable and most recognizable. Listeners of today are most likely to recognize the Soggy Bottom Boys rendition from the Coen Brothers’ 2000 film, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, but there are dozens of other famous versions recorded since it was (allegedly) written by Dick Burnett in about 1913. It’s easy to understand why this song has been performed so many times—there is a playful poetry and malleability to its lyrics. Even the phrase “man of constant sorrow” is particularly lyrical, falling naturally into trochaic feet. And the story told by the song—about a man of humble origins venturing out into the cruel, cold world—is the kind of archetypal material that folk musicians flock to. Continue reading

Bob Dylan Rankings, #107: Highway 51 Blues

There’s not a whole lot to say about this song: Highway 51 will never be the highway Dylan is best remembered for. As I mentioned last week, Bob Dylan only wrote two of the tracks on his debut album—“Song to Woody” and “Talkin’ New York.” On some of the folk standards that he includes, Dylan took a songwriting credit for the musical arrangement he came up with, but on this song, only Curtis Jones is credited. The song itself is rather simple—Dylan recorded it in one take while recording the album. Continue reading