Collection of Old Ralph Stanley Recordings Tied to O, Brother Film

Rebel Records will tap into the interest in Ralph Stanley’s music being generated by the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou?, with the Dec. 26 release of Man of Constant Sorrow, an album assembled from Stanley’s previously recorded classics.

Mercury Records is releasing Dec. 5 the film’s actual 18-track soundtrack album, which features Stanley’s voice on two cuts, “Oh Death” and “Angel Band.” The upcoming Rebel collection includes Stanley’s original recordings of those two songs. In addition, it contains the bluegrass patriarch’s early versions of “Man of Constant Sorrow,” “I Am Weary” and “Angel Band” (which are performed on the Mercury soundtrack by Dan Tyminski, The Cox Family and the Stanley Brothers, respectively).

Five of the 13 selections on Man of Constant Sorrow have not been available on CD before: “Oh Death,” “I Am Weary,” “Dream of a Miner’s Child,” “Calling My Children Home” and “I’ve Just Seen the Rock of Ages.” The remaining cuts are “Goin’ Up Home to Live in Green Pastures,” “Rocky Island,” “Old Richmond Prison,” “Hard Times,” “Little Birdie” and “Poor Rambler.” A sticker on the front of the album links it to the new Coen Brothers film.

Stanley is currently working on a studio album to be called Clinch Mountain Sweethearts. On it, he will sing duets with Dolly Parton, Lucinda Williams, Iris DeMent, Maria Muldaur, Chely Wright, Gillian Welch, Valerie Smith and others. No release date has been set for this project.

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to