Never Quite Sung in this Fashion Before: Bob Dylan’s “Man of Constant Sorrow”


Many of Bob Dylan’s early compositions were drawn from pre-existing musical sources. This article traces the song “I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow,” recorded by Dylan on his first LP, from its composition in the 1910s to the point at which the song entered Dylan’s repertoire in 1961. This article proposes detailed transcription and comparison as a way for scholars to address issues of song transmission and dissemination, as well as intellectual property rights.

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