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O Brother, Where Art Thou?

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

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Set in Mississippi in the 1930s and inspired by Homer's The Odyssey, Joel and Ethan Coen's new film, O Brother, Where Art Thou? features a first-rate soundtrack of period music performed largely by contemporary artists. In this context, the Alan Lomax-recorded field holler by James Carter & the Prisoners, "Po Lazarus," and Harry McClintock's original


Set in Mississippi in the 1930s and inspired by Homer's The Odyssey, Joel and Ethan Coen's new film, O Brother, Where Art Thou? features a first-rate soundtrack of period music performed largely by contemporary artists. In this context, the Alan Lomax-recorded field holler by James Carter & the Prisoners, "Po Lazarus," and Harry McClintock's original 1928 recording of his poignant hobo classic "Big Rock Candy Mountain" are of a piece with Delta blues great Skip James's "Hard Time Killing Floor Blues," interpreted authoritatively by Chris Thomas King. The pristine beauty of revered standards such as "I'll Fly Away" (with Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch harmonizing over a spare acoustic arrangement) and "Didn't Leave Nobody but the Baby," featuring Krauss, Welch, and Emmylou Harris in close, heart-tugging harmony, will bring tears to all but the hard-core heathens among us. And check out the sub-teen Peasall Sisters, who are simply fabulous on a feisty interpretation of Maybelle Carter's "In the Highways."

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Evan Cater
The critical consensus at the end of 2000 was that it had been one of the weakest film years in recent memory. Which may have been true, despite O Brother, Where Art Thou?, the Coen brothers' delightfully warm and weird Depression-era re-telling of Homer's Odyssey. But for music lovers, 2000 was an amazing year at the movies, and it produced several excellent soundtrack compilations including Almost Famous, Dancer in the Dark, Wonder Boys, and High Fidelity. Even with such steep competition, the soundtrack album for O Brother, Where Art Thou? may be the best of the year. In order to capture the sound of Mississippi circa 1932, the Coens commissioned T-Bone Burnett, a masterful producer whose work with artists like Elvis Costello, Sam Phillips, Joseph Arthur, and Counting Crows has earned him a special place in the folk-rock hall of fame, to research and re-create the country, bluegrass, folk, gospel, and blues of the era. The Coens were so taken with Burnett's discoveries that the film became a unique sort of musical revue. There are no original compositions here (though Burnett is given a "music by" credit usually reserved for composers), and the characters do not generally break into stylized song and dance numbers (as they do in, say, Everyone Says I Love You). But nearly every scene in O Brother is set to a period song, and the music frequently drives and defines the action. With two exceptions -- a stunning 1955 Alan Lomax recording of a black prison chain gang singing "Po Lazarus," and Harry McClintock's "Big Rock Candy Mountain" -- every song was recorded for the film by an impressive assembly of old-time country veterans (Fairfield Four, Ralph Stanley, the Whites) and talented newcomers (Gillian Welch, Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris). These recordings, which were made without the meddling clarity of digital technology, give the film much of its power and authenticity. A significant segment of the plot hinges on the (utterly plausible) notion that Dan Tyminksi's ebullient rendition of "I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow" could be a runaway hit. A memorable sequence involving three riverside sirens centers around an eerie version of "Didn't Leave Nobody But the Baby." And Stanley's a cappella performance of "O Death" sets a chilling tone for a climactic struggle at a Ku Klux Klan rally. Throughout, Burnett's steady guiding hand is evident. This soundtrack is a powerful tribute not only to the time-honored but commercially ignored genres of bluegrass and mountain music but also to Burnett's remarkable skills as a producer.
Rolling Stone - Barry Walters
...the Coen brothers, together with producer T Bone Burnett, have assembled a collection of folk, bluegrass, gospel and hobo country so true to the music's down-home, egalitarian roots that it's hard to distinguish the old tracks from the new and the folk heroes from screen actors.

Product Details

Release Date:
Lost Highway


Album Credits

Performance Credits

Ralph Stanley   Vocals
Jerry Douglas   Dobro
Sam Bush   Mandolin
Alison Krauss   Vocals
John Hartford   Fiddle,Vocals
Buck White   Mandolin,Vocals
Mike Compton   Mandolin
Barry Bales   Bass
Ron Block   Banjo
Curtis Burch   Dobro
Evelyn Cox   Guitar
Sidney Cox   Banjo,Vocals
Suzanne Cox   Mandolin,Vocals
Willard Cox   Vocals
Stuart Duncan   Fiddle
Pat Enright   Vocals,yodeling
Isaac Freeman   Bass,Vocals
James Hill   Vocals
Maura O'Connell   Vocals
Dan Tyminski   Guitar,Vocals
Wilson Waters   Vocals
Cheryl White   Bass,Vocals
Sharon White   Guitar,Vocals
Gillian Welch   Vocals
Dub Cornett   Vocals
Chris Thomas   Guitar,Vocals
David Rawlings   Vocals
Chris Sharp   Guitar
Robert Hamlett   Vocals
Joseph Rice   Vocals
Sarah Peasall   Vocals
Hannah Peasall   Vocals
Leah Peasall   Vocals
Sam Phillips   Vocals
Norman Blake   Guitar,Vocals
First Baptist Church of Norfolk Choir   Vocals
Soggy Bottom Boys   Track Performer
Tim Blake Nelson   Track Performer
James Carter And The Prisoners   Track Performer

Technical Credits

Alan Lomax   Arranger
T Bone Burnett   Arranger,Producer
Carter Stanley   Arranger

Customer Reviews

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O Brother, Where Art Thou? 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 59 reviews.
Joyachiever More than 1 year ago
O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack is a music set that my husband first purchased (around the time that the movie was released)when he was still stationed in Iceland (during his time in the navy). There are multiple songs on the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack that are elevating (my personal favorite song on this cd is Track number 8 Keep On The Sunny Side while my husband’s favorite track from this soundtrack (even with my husband’s naturally optimistic disposition)is number five I Am A Man of Constant Sorrow. Overall, the O Brother Where Are Thou soundtrack is good for either people who are eclectic music lovers and/or those who liked the O Brother Where Art Thou movie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have seen the movie a number of times and I think it is a cute movie to watch. It is very funny and enjoyable.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the movie, and ran right out and bought the soundtrack. The music is great! It is hard to pick a favorite, they all are so good. Okie Gal
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hello, I guess that my age can account for my taste and opinion, I am 15, but I thought that it was a very good movie , it made you think about life and how different people can persive life and the different paths that you can take . It was very funny and the humor was thought up very well. The actors did not only bring you into to mississippi in that era but they brought you into the life they led, being the runaways they were. I would recomend this movie to anyone that wants or needs a laugh and who enjoys southern accents.The first time that I had heard the music and I haden't seen the movie I did not enjoy it but now that I have seen the movie I am quite hooked on the soundtrack. Especialy the soggy bottom boys songs. Enjoy!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album has touched me. I am a teenager who is mostly interested in heavy metal and hard rock, but this music has made an impression on me. I can feel the emotions and struggles of the people who lived in the time of the depression vividly. It captures the spirit and history of people that I think modern generations find hard to understand. I definetly reccomend giving this album a try if you love any type of music. It has a quality and authenticity all its own.
Guest More than 1 year ago
a wonderful collection of bluegrass and other selections from the thirties. Just the perfect compliment for the sightly out of whack characters and their adventures. The movie and the score are just so perfect for one another and have come at just the right time for a smile and some good memories, even unbelievable ones! The album stands on its own as a real treasure
Guest More than 1 year ago
The music from this movie brings back so many memories of listening to my ''Granmaw'' singing on the front porch, I haven't stopped smiling for a week. It is the beautiful harmony that will bring tears to your eyes and leave you begging for more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Much could be written about this soundtrack. It suffices to say that this is traditional American country music at its very best, sung by some of its finest practitioners. They include the Cox Family, The Whites, Alison Krauss, and, yes, even the Soggy Bottom Boys! While the film in some respects is nondescript the music is unforgetable and will stay with you long after you've seen the film.
Guest More than 1 year ago
About one week ago I read a review about the CD O Brother, Where Art Though? It said this CD was flying off the shelves in record and book stores. I was curious and bought it before I saw the movie. I was instantly intranced by this music. I had never heard this kind of music before last week. There is something so honest an American about these songs that I have already come to love. I went to see the movie and was equally charmed by the Coen brothers script and how the music came into play in every scene of the movie. Apparently every one else in the theatre felt the same way I did because people where singing along with the songs and laughing out loud! My son who lives 500 miles away in Georgia saw the movie last week and said people up there where singing along too! All this week I have been singing and humming these songs! Thank you Coen brothers and T-Bone Burnett and all the artists on this CD for opening up a whole new world of music to me. I wish I could hear these songs on the radio!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This cd is amazing. You can feel the power and soul of the songs. Great song great lyrics great vocals. Just just great.
Guest More than 1 year ago
We saw the movie and before the credits stopped rolling we were online ordering the soundtrack from Barnes & Noble! This is a TERRIFIC CD! Sing along, tap your toe, slap your knee - fun fun fun!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The music and harmonies are touching and chilling at the same time.....especially if you have bluegrass in your soul.....and if you don't you will have after hearing this!! I highly recommend this one.....
Guest More than 1 year ago
I knew that this film was special within the first few scenes. Other than the obvious quality writing and directing, the ensemble cast worked as though they were really living out their individual lives as influenced by their surroundings and the larger than life characters they encountered throughout the story. Only when I read the comment here that Nicholas Cage should have played Tim Blake Nelson's part did I realize just how important Nelson was in this Three Stooges morality play. After watching Cage carry off his alcoholic suicide in Vegas role (in which he did quite well, thank you), I'm still waiting for his next portrayal of any consequence. The thought of him in "O Brother..." brings shivers (the wrong kind) to my spine. By the way, the soundtrack is a blessing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After hearing everyone and their mother talk wonders about the O Brother Soundtrak, I finally went out and bought it. I must admit that I am pleasantly surprised!! This is a wonderful album for someone who's new to bluegrass and looking to explore the genre. The songs are absolutely magnificent, emotion filled and easy on the soul. I am most impressed with Alison Krauss. Her beautiful voice brings immense depth to soundtrak itself. (Also, Alison Krauss + Union Station's New Favorite is wonderful too, check it out!!) All in all, the O Brother soundtrak is a wonderful starter CD for anyone interested in checking out bluegrass music.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The absolute best music I've experienced in years! Brought tears & smiles as I rememebered my Mom & Dad singing ''Big Rock Candy Mountain'' back on ''Sandia Military Base'' in Alburqueque, NM. I was just a little kid, but even then, I knew the magic of that song. It was the one and only song I ever heard them sing together, and they were married for over 50 years. ''You Are My Sunshine'', the song my sister and I harmonized to in the Elementary School Talent Show way back in those younger years. All the songs seem somehow familiar; they take me by the heart and hand, and once again, I find myself singing out loud; dancing down memory lane, completely hooked on ''Hillbilly Fever''!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was really disappointed in this album, because I really liked the music in the movie. The best track was McClintock's original 1928 version of ''Big Rock Candy Mountain'', but I would have been much happier buying a Dr. Demento collection with that on it. The ''Nobody But the Baby'' track sung by the sirens had a much better job of mixing which made it more evocative in the movie, and that may have been the problem with ''Man of Constant Sorrow'' too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This soundtrack is so beautiful! The voices of these singers ring into your ears and ooze down to your soul... I LOVE IT, when i heard this soundtrack I almost teared! have the movie and i love this soundtrack! I RECOMMENDED it for anyone that is ready to hear the graceful melodies of folk and soft country...
Guest More than 1 year ago
Though the subject of most of the songs is grim and could be depressing - the music and the melodies have such a way of lifting your spirit. Listening takes me back to my earliest memories of the music from my childhood. Authentic arangements, great harmonies, good times!
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you've never heard the original Lomax recordings you would probably think this was pretty good. I think, however, if you want really, really god stuff like this get "The Bristol Sessions", which are the original recordings or "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. That is the stuff. This is a tad too polished for me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a really great story, and the title fits it perfectly. The soundtrack is great, too! If you haven't seen the movie yet, you're missing out!
tomj More than 1 year ago
I did not notice that it was an enhanced cd when I ordered it. In truth I did not know what "enhanced" meant until I bought this cd. It means that you cannot copy it. Which prevents loading it on your computer, so no playlists, no copy to mp3 player etc. The music is great, but you must have the cd in your possesion to listen to it. I travel a lot so this "enhancement" prevents me from fully enjoying the music.
Guest More than 1 year ago
To fully appreciate this CD is to think back what folk music is all about; ordinary people leading ordinary life. Contemporary bluegrass has thus amalgamate folk music and traditional mountain music here.haunting voices do it for me, send chills of fear and raw emotion down my spine with voices of Stanley Brother on'' O Death'', Ms' Emmylou Harris, Allison Krauss, Gillian Welsh,Skip James,The carter Family [ yes, June Carter's family!]. If I was a betting man I will say that this is a sure bet for a Grammy Award and probably an Oscar for the raw emotion the songs potray.Enjoy this Cd because if you never buy another bluegrass CD, you already have an epitome in your hand [ now let me wipe the tears from my misty eyes]:=).