Our little country church–where we can sing I’ll fly away without irony–is putting on a nativity play, “O Savior, where art thou?,” which is based on O Brother, where art thou?, which is based on The Odyssey . I get to sing I am a man of constant sorrow as Jeremiah, the weeping prophet. I think I’m supposed to sing it as a parody of The Soggy Bottom Boys, who are a ficticious old-time band that (in the movie) record a surprise hit and that (in what is sometimes called ‘real’ life) record a surprise hit, winning both a CMA award and a Grammy. Their “I am a man of constant sorrow” is a clever parody of a Stanley Brothers hit. Ralph Stanley sings none of the four versions on the soundtrack, although he does sing O Death, which is about the hauntinest song imaginable. Bob Dylan did Sorrow. So did Skeewiff. I’m not sure what Jeremiah would think.
But, you know, why should the devil get all the good mash-ups?