Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. A generous donor is matching all donations of $100 or more! So please donate now to double your punch!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Grammy of Constant Sorrow

Here’s what it has all come down to: a studio pick-up band of session players took home the Grammy for Album of the Year.

Granted, it was the Oh Brother, Where Art Thou soundtrack’s producer, T-Bone Burnett, who gave a bizarre speech in which he appeared to be accepting the award on behalf of James Joyce.

But it was a thrown-together group of bluegrass journeymen, genuine authentic no-namers, whose version of “Man of Constant Sorrow” really brought home the bacon for the album.

None of the musicians who performed music from the soundtrack was allowed to say a word. Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch and Alison Kraus, whose brief number was infinitely sexier than the half-naked young divas from Moulin Rouge, stood silent, temporary no-namers.

Was Ralph Stanley even on the stage? The bluegrass legend, whose definitive recording of “Man of Constant Sorrow” was not used on the soundtrack, performed his acapella version of “O, Death,” a song usually associated with Dock Boggs, from a spotlighted position in the audience. Fortunately he was not made to wear a Ku Klux Klan sheet (his number is lip-synched by a Klansman in the movie). In fact, Dr. Stanley looked rather dashing in a tuxedo. For a moment everyone thought he was Tony Bennett or at least Rod Steiger.

Bob Dylan almost threw the evening into complete chaos by actually playing live rock and roll music, complete with blistering guitar solo (when was the last time anyone played a guitar solo on the Grammies? Was it Dylan in 1998? The brief noodling by The Edge that started this year’s show does not count).

I don’t know about you, but I could hear people screaming all through Dylan’s performance of “Cry A While” from Love and Theft. Yet TV showed none of the audience response, other than the briefest glimpse of the standing ovation he received before the show’s producers cut the applause off brutally in mid-clap to bring on the next presenters. The abrupt segway, coupled with an inept introduction (“What can I say? Here’s Bob Dylan”), seemed a tad on the shabby side for an artist of this stature.

Dylan, whose own recording of “Man of Constant Sorrow” appeared on his first album almost forty years ago, won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Recording.

The Irish artist Enya, who has never recorded “Man of Constant Sorrow,” won for Best New Age Recording. Her CD, A Day Without Rain, was not nominated for Album of the Year. It should have been. This is an album that just lay there in the stores when it first came out, getting little air play. It built slowly, by word of mouth, until the single “Only Time” became a huge hit.

Enya is the ultimate stealth bomber. Since early 1989, when Watermark dethroned Roy Orbison’s Mystery Girl as the top-selling CD in the world, Enya has quietly sold over 10,000 CDs a day, according to her official web site. Other estimates run even higher.

David Vest writes the Rebel Angel column for CounterPunch. He is a poet and piano-player for the Pacific Northwest’s hottest blues band, The Cannonballs.

He can be reached at: davidvest@springmail.com

Visit his website at http://www.rebelangel.com

More articles by:

DAVID VEST writes the Rebel Angel column for CounterPunch. He and his band, The Willing Victims, have just released a scorching new CD, Serve Me Right to Shuffle. His essay on Tammy Wynette is featured in CounterPunch’s new collection on art, music and sex, Serpents in the Garden.

Weekend Edition
October 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jason Hirthler
The Pieties of the Liberal Class
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Day in My Life at CounterPunch
Paul Street
“Male Energy,” Authoritarian Whiteness and Creeping Fascism in the Age of Trump
Nick Pemberton
Reflections on Chomsky’s Voting Strategy: Why The Democratic Party Can’t Be Saved
John Davis
The Last History of the United States
Yigal Bronner
The Road to Khan al-Akhmar
Robert Hunziker
The Negan Syndrome
Andrew Levine
Democrats Ahead: Progressives Beware
Rannie Amiri
There is No “Proxy War” in Yemen
David Rosen
America’s Lost Souls: the 21st Century Lumpen-Proletariat?
Joseph Natoli
The Age of Misrepresentations
Ron Jacobs
History Is Not Kind
Ramzy Baroud
The UN ‘Sheriff’: Nikki Haley Elevated Israel, Damaged US Standing
Robert Fantina
Trump, Human Rights and the Middle East
Jill Richardson
Identity Crisis: Elizabeth Warren’s Claims Cherokee Heritage
Sam Husseini
The Most Strategic Midterm Race: Elder Challenges Hoyer
Maria Foscarinis – John Tharp
The Criminalization of Homelessness
Robert Fisk
The Story of the Armenian Legion: a Dark Tale of Anger and Revenge
Jacques R. Pauwels
Dinner With Marx in the House of the Swan
Dave Lindorff
US ‘Outrage’ over Slaying of US Residents Depends on the Nation Responsible
Ricardo Vaz
How Many Yemenis is a DC Pundit Worth?
Elliot Sperber
Build More Gardens, Phase out Cars
Muhammad Othman
Let Us Bray
Gerry Brown
Are Chinese Municipal $6 Trillion (40 Trillion Yuan) Hidden Debts Posing Titanic Risks?
Rev. William Alberts
Judge Kavanaugh’s Defenders Doth Protest Too Much
Ralph Nader
Unmasking Phony Values Campaigns by the Corporatists
James Bovard
Groped at the Airport: Congress Must End TSA’s Sexual Assaults on Women
Jeff Roby
Florida After Hurricane Michael: the Sad State of the Unheeded Planner
Wim Laven
Intentional or Incompetence—Voter Suppression Where We Live
Bradley Kaye
The Policy of Policing
Cesar Chelala
The Catholic Church Fails Sexual Abuse Victims
Kevin Cashman
One Year After Hurricane Maria: Employment in Puerto Rico is Down by 26,000
Dr. Hakim Young
Nonviolent Afghans Bring a Breath of Fresh Air
Karl Grossman
Irving Like vs. Big Nuke
Dan Corjescu
The New Politics of Climate Change
John Carter
The Plight of the Pyrenees: the Abandoned Guard Dogs of the West
Ted Rall
Brett Kavanaugh and the Politics of Emotion-Shaming
Graham Peebles
Sharing is Key to a New Economic and Democratic Order
Ed Rampell
The Advocates
Louis Proyect
The Education Business
October 18, 2018
Erik Molvar
The Ten Big Lies of Traditional Western Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Lockheed and Loaded: How the Maker of Junk Fighters Like the F-22 and F-35 Came to Have Full-Spectrum Dominance Over the Defense Industry
Lawrence Davidson
Israel’s “Psychological Obstacles to Peace”
Brian Platt – Brynn Roth
Black-Eyed Kids and Other Nightmares From the Suburbs
John W. Whitehead
You Want to Make America Great Again? Start by Making America Free Again
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail