October 2 Trivia Question

This Contest is Closed
The winner is Kathy Treasure


Twenty years ago actor George Clooney starred in the Coen Brothers’ hit movie O Brother Where Art Thou. A key plot point in the movie is when three prison camp escapees and a hitch-hiking blues guitarist go to a rural radio station to make a few bucks if they “sing into a can” – that is, sing into a microphone and make a record. With a little bit of improvised guitar pickin’ from the bluesman, they launch with gusto into a terrific arrangement of I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow; calling themselves The Soggy Bottom Boys because they’re soaking wet from just being baptized in a river. In the world of bluegrass, that song had always been one of Ralph Stanley’s big numbers. (Ralph learned it from his dad who learned it from an old record by Dick Burnett.) George Clooney and his cast-mates did a terrific job performing this song a couple of times during the movie.

A subsequent recording of the song featuring prominent bluegrass musicians was a huge radio hit and is credited with giving bluegrass its “big boost” into the 21st century.

Who was actually singing “I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow” for George Clooney’s performances in the movie?

A. George Clooney!!! (His aunt was the talented and hit-making singer Rosemary Clooney, and George is a fine singer too.)
B. Dan Tyminksi (from Rutland VT, who plays guitar and sings with Allison Krauss+Union Station)
C. John Hartford
D. Ralph Stanley II (Ralph Stanley’s youngest son who inherited the Clinch Mountain Boys band from his dad)
E. IBMA Male Vocalist of the Year Russell Moore (of Quicksilver, and IIrd Tyme Out)


Additional Bowden Comments

Wow, all contestants knew this one! I’m happy Dan T. acquired all this fame. I used to run into Dan and his brother Stan, who were known as Green Mountain Bluegrass, when I was a young man performing around New England.

George Clooney actually did tell the movie directors that he wanted to sing in the movie but he was overruled.

John Hartford provided some fiddle music and a few of his band members for the movie soundtrack and resultant CD. He was invited to play the “fiddling fool” in one of the last scenes in the movie, but he declined.

Ralph Stanley II (aka “Two”) played no part in the movie or CD, but his dad Dr. Ralph Stanley got a huge jolt of fame from singing “O Death” for the flaming cross scene sound track (he was not the robed singer!).

Russell Moore is a fine singer, but had no role in the movie or sound track.

The next trivia question I send in will have to be a little harder.

Dick Bowden

Dick Bowden recently retired after a 45 year career in the paper industry, and moved from Connecticut to Big Indian NY (Ulster County) where he ekes out a precarious existence as a groundskeeper. Dick has been performing bluegrass music on banjo and guitar since 1966 in his home state of Maine, throughout New England, and internationally with The Case Brothers - Martin & Gibson. He has performed for HVBA with the Old Time Bluegrass Singers, and also sent in a squadron of Dick Bowden's Flying Circus. Most recently Dick has played Dobro (tm) with the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band. Dick has written many articles for Bluegrass Unlimited, Bluegrass Today, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass magazine) and HVBA.

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