On the album Collins' voice and guitar are sparsely accompanied by Fred Hellerman and Walter Raim on second guitar, Erik Darling on banjo, and Bill Lee on bass. The title song is a variant of "Man of Constant Sorrow"; the original song appeared on Bob Dylan's debut album that came out the following year. The selections range from the Scottish anthem Wild Mountain Thyme to the Irish standards Bold Fenian Men and The Prickilie Bush. The album also includes more obscure numbers such as Tim Evans, Wars of Germany and John Riley.
These songs are in the style of social protest, similar to early recordings by Bob Dylan. They reveal a style from Collins different than her later, better known releases. In Tim Evans, written by Ewan MacColl (Grammy award winning writer in 1972 of "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face"), she sings of a wife-and-child killer: "Go down to hell, you murderer, go down," who is eventually exonerated after he is hanged. The album shows an ability to select material which would serve her well on later albums where the focus shifts away from traditional folk music. Her alto vocals on lively songs like O Daddy Be Gay contrast with the social message material. In 2001 the album was re-released on CD with Collins' second album, The Golden Apples of the Sun (1962).