Sunday, October 30, 2005

Murder ballads/songs of premature death

Halloween comes a day early. A collection of murder ballads, death laments and otherwise eerie songs.

The Butcher's Boy - Buell Kazee

Caleb Meyer - Gillian Welch

Frankie & Albert - Leadbelly

The Ballad o Hollis Brown - Bob Dylan

Oh Death - The New Lost City Ramblers

Rickity Tickity Tin - Barbara Manning

Pretty Polly - The Byrds

Ghost Waltz - Jolie Holland

Some of these are adaptations of traditional folk songs. However, Bob Dylan composed "The Ballad of Hollis Brown," Jolie Holland is the author of "Ghost Waltz" and Gillian Welch and David Rawlings wrote "Caleb Meyer" (although the last of these really sounds like a standard, doesn't it?). "Rickity Tickity Tin" was composed in the 1950s by Harvard math professor and song parodist Tom Lehrer, who called his version "An Irish Ballad." Lehrer's original is comedic; Manning's version is decidedly more creepy. While a relatively contemporary song, "Irish Ballad" has lent itself to fresher lyrical interpretations, including this one for computer geeks. That little discovery led me, in turn, to this. Now that's scary.

Buy: Anthology of American Folk Music (US, UK), Hell Among The Yearlings - Gillian Welch (US, UK), Midnight Special - Leadbelly (US, UK), The Times They Are A-Changin - Bob Dylan (US, UK), Old Time Music - The New Lost City Ramblers (US, UK), 1212 - Barbara Manning (US, UK) , Sweetheart Of the Rodeo - The Byrds (US, UK), Catalpa - Jolie Holland (US, UK)

Note: We're trying a new file-hosting plan, so leave a comment or email if you have trouble downloading anything.

2 Comments:

Blogger Baron said...

How could you miss 'West Falls' by Okkervil River?

=P

4:14 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Yeah, love OR. But I was spoiled for choice on this subject.

10:53 AM  

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