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The New Lost City Ramblers: “Man of Constant Sorrow” and “Ragtime Annie”

The two best YouTube clips of the influential folk revival group The New Lost City Ramblers are from Pete Seeger’s program Rainbow Quest. It’s no coincidence: The autoharp player, Mike Seeger, is Pete’s half-brother. It’s interesting that Pete just introduces him as his brother on the clip above. Another member of the band, John Cohen, is Pete and Mike’s brother-in-law or, perhaps, half-brother-in-law. Or brother-in-law-and-a-half. It’s a bit confusing, but suffice it to say that the Seeger family was intensely musical.

Here is the most important paragraph of Wikipedia’s entry on The New Lost City Ramblers:

The Ramblers distinguished themselves by focusing on the traditional playing styles they heard on old 78rpm records of musicians recorded during the 1920s and 1930s, many of whom had earlier appeared on the Anthology of American Folk Music. The New Lost City Ramblers refused to “sanitize” these southern sounds as did other folk groups of the time, such as the Weavers or Kingston Trio. Instead, the Ramblers have always strived for an authentic sound.[citation needed] However, the Ramblers did not merely copy the old recordings that inspired them. Rather, they would use the various old-time styles they encountered while at the same time not becoming slaves to imitation.

Man of Constant Sorrow is above and Ragtime Annie is below.