Thursday, April 24, 2008


Listen to GIRL OF CONSTANT SORROW by Barbara Dane.

Today is a little selection from Barbara Dane, a woman who would be extremely well known if you all lived on my street and it was 1960. Dane was one of the original Greenwich Village coffeehouse folk and blues traditionalists. Her interpretations of all the old standards were meant to be authentic and meant to educate her mostly-white audience. (Not that she was unusual in that respect--the entire folk scene in the mid-fifties through mid-sixties was organized around this principle.)

Tied up with the music was an active participation in the civil rights movement, and Dane has the distinction of being the first performer to play in Cuba after the revolution.

Sorry if this sounds all a bit academic--don't let it affect your enjoyment of the song. Girl of Constant Sorrow is of course the same tune that was made semi-popular a few years ago in O Brother, Where Art Thou? But whereas the rendition(s) in that movie is all jumpy bluegrass, this version is, well, slow and moody. It's a fine rendition.

Photo: Empire State Building series (8).


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