Re: Murder ballads
Frankenpine recorded a bunch of songs about death on their debut album, "The Crooked Mountain." The first is "Texas Outlaw" (all about revenge killings against Union soldiers for killing Confederates after they swore an oath of allegiance to the US), the second, "Never Lie," which is from the point of view of a gunman who has "never lied to [his] guns," and is going to be hung for laying one too many men low. The third is "Over Your Bones," which is more a lament for the loss of the past, but also for those who have been killed (Indians? I'm not sure, but as an archaeology student who just spent a lot of time excavating burials in Turkey, the song has special meaning for me). The fourth is "Eye of the Whale," which is a murder/suicide ballad about a whaling ship; the whale gets murdered, and the captain and his wife both commit suicide, the captain by shooting himself with a musket under the chin, the wife by drowning herself in the whale's domain.
Mason Brown and Chipper Thompson also recorded a number of old murder/death songs on "Am I Born To Die: An Appalachian Songbook." They are: "Jesse James" (killed by Robert Ford, "the dirty little coward"), "Banks of the Ohio," "Bruton Town" (all about separation of lovers, honor killings, etc.), "God Moves on the Water" (the Titanic disaster), and "The Pesky Sarpent" (boy gets bitten by a venemous snake, girl sucks it out for him, they both die).
I guess the many recordings of "O, Death" would fall in this category (thinking of Ralph Stanley's, Mavis Staples' (with Darol Anger), and others).
Also, "Katie Dear" (Louvin Brothers, Solas [as "The Silver Dagger"], Schooner Fare [as "The Butcher Boy"], and the Chieftains), "Knoxville Girl", "Mollie Bawn" (look before you shoot), "The Wind That Shakes The Barley" (as done by Solas), "Mary of the Wild Moor," "Railroad Bill," "Staggerlee"....the list goes on and on.
Oh, and lest we forget "John Barleycorne (Must Die)." Violent murder of a cereal crop, who still wins in the end.
Does Silly Wizard's "The Fisherman's Song" count?
Wah, more come to mind:
"Good Corn Liquor" by the Steeldrivers (Daddy has to run 'shine to pay for Mom's medicine, the sheriff shoots him down cold).
"Sticks That Made Thunder" also by the Steeldrivers (Civil War battle, many are killed; from a tree's perspective).
"John Wilkes Booth" by Tony Rice (Story of Booth, his killing Lincoln, Lincoln's premonitions, the hunting of Booth, the executions of the conspirators).
"Omie Wise" (Bruce Molsky has a good version on his fiddling and singing instructional video).
Last edited by Mandoviol; Jul-28-2011 at 8:09am.
Reason: More songs came to mind....
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