O Brother Where Art Thou? Mus SACD, Soundtrack
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Bluegrass became pop music for a while when the soundtrack to this 2000 Coen Brothers film became one of the 10 top-selling soundtracks ever. Here's the complete T-Bone Burnett-produced soundtrack plus a CD with 14 more tracks, 12 of which are unissued re
Joel and Ethan Coen have long established themselves as film stylists without peer: from Blood Simple to Fargo, their movies have never been less than fascinating, and there has never been any question that their films could not have been made by anyone else. In T-Bone Burnett, the producer of the soundtrack for O Brother, Where Art Thou?, they have finally met their match: Burnett's work in assembling a collection of pieces for the Depression-set film is as skilled and entrancing as the film itself.
Despite the presence of Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch, Alison Krauss and bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley, the stars here are the songs themselves, a host of traditional songs augmented by archival recordings. The collection is also a showcase for a host of lesser known and forgotten bluegrass masters: The Cox Family, collaborators with Krauss; Norman Blake, a sideman for Bob Dylan and June Carter Cash; country gospel group The Whites, who once counted Ricky Skaggs as a member (and who, here, cover the Carter Family); and young bluesman Chris Thomas King among them. All bring life to their songs, and the results are sublime--and, at times (Krauss and a choir's take on "Down To The River to Pray", Blake's instrumental version of the oft-repeated "I Am A Man of Constant Sorrow"), downright entrancing.
Some of these songs can be found on Alan Lomax collections. If you enjoy this album, we also highly recommend the Harry Smith Anthology of American Folk Music and Woody Guthrie's Asch Recordings series. --Randy Silver --This text refers to an alternate Audio CD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Highlights include the Big Rock Candy Mountains, Man of Constant Sorrow, In the Jailhouse Now and O Death. If you have ever wondered what bluegrass sounded like but have been afraid to try, this is the CD for you. It will show you the magic that this genre of music can provide.
The legend, Ralph Stanley, appears a couple of times here, although his "Man of Constant Sorrow" is here too, but covered by Dan Tyminski. Stanley's "O Death" is a haunting tune sung without accompaniment. His voice is sorrowful and full of pain, and will send shivers up your spine. Tyminski's cover is well done and becomes the centerpiece for the movie. The sultry voices of Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch provide a rising rendition of "Didn't Leave Nobody But the Baby." Alison Krauss also lends her voice to the spiritual "Down to the River to Pray," and joins up again with Gillian Welch for "I'll Fly Away". The surprise here is Tim Blake Nelson on lead vocals as the dimwitted Delmar on "In the Jailhouse Now."
Overall, this is a great soundtrack, and well worth owning if you like this type of music. I think the Coen brothers have done a lot with the release of this movie to turn the spotlight onto blue-grass music. This is great music that deserves more than the fifteen minutes of fame it's received.
I gave this 3 stars because of the variety and it is a good quality album overall. On the other hand, so many others do these songs in a much richer, more interesting way, that I can't help but recommend anyone to just get albums of the Stanley Brothers or Bill Monroe and ignore this altogether! Flatt & Scruggs, the Stonemans and the Osborne Brothers blow this album out of the running any day. Unfortunately, this is bluegrass dumbed-down to a great degree. No wonder so many used copies are up for sale! If you're not sure what to buy a good album instead is "Will the Circle be Unbroken" by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, where they have many old-time stars sitting in.
Though not in the same league as Fargo or Raising Arizona, the Coen brothers have once again woven a tale full of characters, each outrageous in his or her own right, and each teetering on the edge of caricature and believability. Their dense and rich dialogue serves as a wonderful counterpoint to the sparse and simple music that offered hope to those living with little else in the post-depression era.
Like Robert Duvall's "The Apostle", this soundtrack has exposed me to different kinds of traditional music that I otherwise would never have heard, and I am constantly amazed and delighted to learn that it exists.
Most recent customer reviews
There is no case. Obviously the record is amazing, but there is a clear case that the record is inPublished 12 months ago by Tamara Timbers
What can I say? I'm a blues lover and this collection of songs from the 1930s is a real treat.Published 12 months ago by Louise Salter
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