Vote for the most angst-worthy traditional ballad! I have cited some, but forgotten the names of others, so feel free to make your own nominations and/or provide titles.

Note: Apparently strike-throughs don't work in polls. I did not mean to suggest that there is a traditional ballad where someone gets turned into a giant robot chicken, nor that there is a traditional ballad about myself.



[Poll #764867]

From: [identity profile] ide-cyan.livejournal.com


Going by the "you can't angst if you're dead" logic.

From: [identity profile] brisingamen.livejournal.com


Question 1: I'd nominate The Famous Flower of Serving Men. Mum hates my husband and decides to bump him off, and my kid. My revenge will be terrible.

Works for me, every time, I have to say, but only if Martin Carthy is singing it.

From: [identity profile] brisingamen.livejournal.com


Question 2: Matty Groves (I favour Fairport Convention, the later version with Simon Nicol singing, and the variant line which rather than than having 'Matty struck no more' substitutes 'Matty struck the floor'. it just works for me.)

From: [identity profile] coffeeem.livejournal.com


Yeah, you forgot Matty Groves. "My wife cheated on me with some pissant she met in church, and when I caught them en flagrante, I even gave the pissant the chance to kill me in a fair fight (and he did get a good lick in, which was more than I'd expected), but after I'd killed him and was willing to make it up with her, damned if she didn't verbally spit in my eye, leaving me no way to preserve my honor but to off the silly wench. I totally still miss her."

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


Drat, I did forget "Matty Groves." Even more annoyingly, I forgot "Crazy Man Michael:" "A raven kept telling me I'd kill my beloved wife, so I lost my temper and killed the raven. Oops! It was actually my wife."
the_rck: (Default)

From: [personal profile] the_rck


I have trouble taking "Matty Groves" seriously because the version I know best is the satiric one that makes fun of the story and includes bits like, "In the interests of brevity, I will omit the part where they get undressed. All thirty-seven verses of it." That version ends, "So the moral of the story is 'Be good, and if you can't be good, be careful, and if you can't be careful, try to keep it down to five or six verses.'

From: [identity profile] matociquala.livejournal.com


Crazy Man Michael is modern. You're off the hook. Ricahrd Thompson wrote it.

From: [identity profile] juliansinger.livejournal.com


On #2-- the thing is, the whole 'I was at sea" thing lets you have a) the angst of being at sea and Waiting Endlessly, b) the angst of getting back and angsting, c) the angst of living with it on /his/ part, and (possibly) d) the angst of living with it on /her/ part.

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


I detest boats, so I was very tempted by the simple "I hate being a sailor."

From: [identity profile] angevin2.livejournal.com


As far as angst-worthy ballads from the heroine's POV go, you really, really can't beat "Prince Heathen"...

From: [identity profile] angevin2.livejournal.com


Yeah. Gaaaaah.

Martin Carthy's rendition is just brilliant, too -- I mean, it's the kind of thing that just sort of grabs you and shakes you furiously...

From: [identity profile] rushthatspeaks.livejournal.com


Yeah, and Martin Carthy's has the verse where Prince Heathen kills her entire family in an effort to make her cry, too.

From: [identity profile] telophase.livejournal.com


Have you heard Neil Gaiman's All-Purpose Folk Song.

I'm assuming so, since it was done by the Flash Girls, but ya never know.

From: [identity profile] dreamburnt.livejournal.com


Is that kind of like Denis Leary's Irish drinking song?

From: [identity profile] hokelore.livejournal.com


Have you heard Childe Howlet? "I'm the local warlord. My young wife hit on my handsome nephew. He turned her down, so she stabbed herself and told me he tried to rape her. I'm not very bright and believed her. I had him taken out on the moor and torn between wild horses until every blade of grass was covered with his blood and bits of skin."

From: [identity profile] hokelore.livejournal.com


OK, so balladry is a favorite subject of mine.

From the American tradition (and a true story, to boot), Pearl Bryan: "I found myself in a 'delicate condition'. I got two dental students to perform an abortion, but they bungled it and I died. They decapitated me, and my head was never found."

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


Yikes! Which reminds me, I forgot to put, "My body was found by the railway wheel, and my body never was found."

From: [identity profile] dsgood.livejournal.com


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Don't feel like cooking tonight? Feeling peckish? Then come on down derrie-derrie-down to the Twa Corbies Diner. Our daily specials are guaranteed to stick ...
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larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: some guy (Default)

From: [personal profile] larryhammer


o/' Those eels were snakes, Henry my son / Those eels were snakes, my honey-bun. o/'

---L.

From: [identity profile] matociquala.livejournal.com

I want ten dollar gold pieces on my eyelids.


I think that's "St. James Infirmary Blues."

Stretched out on a cold white table / She'll never find another good man like me.

"Streets of Laredo" is the one with the cowboy laid out in the street "as cold as the clay."

Rachel, may I recommend "Lady Diamond" for angst and suffering? "Long Lankin" has its moments too....

From: [identity profile] hokelore.livejournal.com

Re: I want ten dollar gold pieces on my eyelids.


"Streets of Laredo" and "St James Infirmary" both started life in Ireland as "The Unfortunate Rake". There are some versions which refer to salts of mercury, an old (ineffective) remedy for syphillis. I think the "shot in the breast" came later, maybe to make it more socially acceptable.

"Lamkin" is creepy as hell.

From: [identity profile] marici.livejournal.com


I can't reallt decide on the second but I think "my son is a homocidal maniac" would be most painful, because there's no possibility of happiness, just being torn apart between love and grief and guilt.

From: [identity profile] dreamburnt.livejournal.com


I had something earlier, but now I'm drawing a complete blank.

How about The Well Below the Valley:

"My entire family rapes me and the bodies of my babies are buried all around our house, but maybe I'll get out of Hell someday."
.

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