Man of Constant Sorrow - Chords, Lyrics and Origins

Origins

Man of Constant Sorrow (or "I am a Man of Constant Sorrow") is an American bluegrass ballad.  It may be of traditional origin.  It was first recorded in 1913 by Dick Burnett, a fiddler from Kentucky.  He himself couldn't remember whether he had written the song, or had heard somebody else sing it. Bob Dylan recorded a version of Man of Constant Sorrow, with adapted lyrics, on his very first album, back in 1962.  The song enjoyed a renewed lease of popularity when it was performed by the Soggy Bottom Boys in the film, 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?'.  The chords for Man of Constant Sorrow are straight-forward, and offer a good opportunity to work on your fingerpicking technique.

Chords

Capo at 5th Fret

Introdution:
C   F  G7 C

C                    G          G7                     C
(In constant sorrow    through his days)


C                                               F
Well I am a man of constant sorrow,
       
                 G7                    C

I've seen trouble all my days.

C                                        F
I bid farewell to old Kentucky -

                             G7                       C
The place where I was born and bred.

C                             G  G7                       C
(The place where he    was born and bred)


C   F  G7 C




C                                                   F
For six long years I've been in trouble,
       
                      G7                           C

No pleasure here on Earth I've found,

C                                                    F
For in this world I'm bound to ramble;

                 G7                            C
I have no friends to help me now.

C                 G     G7                      C
(He has no friends to help him now)


C   F  G7 C



C                                                              F
For I'm bound to ride that Northern railroad;

                    G7                   C
Perhaps I'll die upon this train.

C                      G  G7                  C
(Perhaps he'll die    upon this train)


C   F  G7 C



C                                                            F
Maybe your friends think I'm just a stranger,
       
                   G7                         C

A face you never will see no more.

C                                                      F
But there is one promise that is given:

                       G7                        C
I'll meet you on god's golden shore.

C                         G  G7                        C
(He'll meet you on     god's golden shore)

Lyrics

(In constant sorrow through his days)

Well I am a man of constant sorrow,
I've seen trouble all my days.
I bid farewell to old Kentucky -
The place where I was born and bred.
(The place where he was born and bred)


For six long years I've been in trouble,
No pleasure here on Earth I've found,
For in this world I'm bound to ramble;
I have no friends to help me now.
(He has no friends to help him now)

Well, it's fare thee well my old true lover,
I never expect to see you again,
For I'm bound to ride that Northern railroad;
Perhaps I'll die upon this train.
(Perhaps he'll die upon this train)

Well you can bury me in some deep valley,
For many years where I may dwell.
Well, then you may learn to love another
While I am sleeping in my grave.
(While he is sleeping in his grave)

Well, maybe your friends think I'm just a stranger,
A face you never will see no more.
But there is one promise that is given:
I'll meet you on god's golden shore.
(He'll meet you on god's golden shore)

Other American Folk Songs
Other Traditional Folk Songs