I made [personal profile] oyceter a CD of murder ballads, and she has thoughtfully uploaded them for everyone's enjoyment here, complete with my original liner notes: ("Death by pirate;" "Millhaven: population: steadily decreasing.") They will not be up long, so grab them while they're there!

Also, don't miss the comments, in which people have posted downloads and youtube links, and in which there is a lively discussion of what exactly happens at the end of "Cat-Eye Willie Claims His Lover." Since both Oyce and I thought that Satan gets involved, I have uploaded more murder ballads: Special Satan Edition!

Up Jumped the Devil, by Nick Cave. (Satan kills the narrator.)

Sympathy for the Devil, by the Rolling Stones. (Satan killed the Czar, Anastasia, Kennedy, and many more.)

House Carpenter, by Joan Baez. (Satan seduces and kills the narrator.)

Play Me Backwards, by Joan Baez. (Satanists kill sweet little Baby Rose.)

Ben McCulloch, by Steve Earle. (An evil general slaughters many, ends up in the Devil's Infantry/)

More murder ballads (minus Satan). Note that there are additional ones that I didn't put in Oyce's comment post

Driveby, by Neil Young and Crazy Horse. (Girl gets randomly shot in a driveby.)

Billy and Bonnie, by Steve Earle. (Billy randomly shoots a convenience store clerk.)

Streets of Laredo, by Johnny Cash. (Someone shot a cowboy. It could have been random.)

Powderfinger, vy Neil Young. (Um... someone gets shot. I'm not sure why, or by whom, or if it was drug dealers or Civil War soldiers or the feds. Anyone have any ideas?)

The Highwayman, by Loreena McKennitt. (Bad guys shoot the highwayman. We know he's not a bad guy himself, because he has a bunch of lace at his throat.)

The Bonny Swans, by Loreena McKennitt. (Sister drowns sister.)

Matty Groves, vy Fairport Convention. (The classic angry husband song.)

The Mercy Seat, by Johnny Cash (Nick Cave cover.) (He's on death row, he must have murdered someone.)

Buffalo Skinners, by Woody Guthrie. (Sound quality poor due to being recorded in around 1940.) (They left the drover's bones to bleach out on the plains, but the SOB deserved it.)

El Paso, by Marty Robbins. (The narrator murders a wild young cowboy, then the posse murders him.)

The Band Played Waltzing Matilda, by the Pogues. (Death by war; incredibly heartbreaking.)

Please comment with appreciation, links to downloads or youtube videos of other murder (or castration) ballads, or explanations of exactly what was going on in "Powderfinger," "Cat-Eye Willie Claims His Lover," "Flinty Kind of Woman," and other ambiguous songs.
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holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)

From: [personal profile] holyschist


in which there is a lively discussion of what exactly happens at the end of "Cat-Eye Willie Claims His Lover."

YES! That has always baffled me. *goes to read*

Moar commentyness later, perhaps.
holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)

From: [personal profile] holyschist


Hmm, for some reason all your links send me to my own Box folder. :(
Edited Date: 2010-11-04 04:03 am (UTC)
holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)

From: [personal profile] holyschist


Still getting the same message. Do you have the folder set to "open"?
holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)

From: [personal profile] holyschist


I can see it as a collaborator, but I don't think it's set as open. Under "All Files", you click on the down-arrow at the right for th folder, select "Folder Properties" --> "Advanced Properties" and then the radio button for "open". They really buried it!
holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)

From: [personal profile] holyschist


The mix for [personal profile] oyceter is awesome, and I love your liner notes.
ext_3319: Goth girl outfit (Default)

From: [identity profile] rikibeth.livejournal.com


I have always found it interesting that Streets of Laredo derives from Pills of White Mercury, and that the cause-of-death was originally syphilis rather than a gunshot.

(ps. awesome links!)

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


I guess being shot is more glamorous? At least it's faster.
ext_7850: by ev_vy (Default)

From: [identity profile] giandujakiss.livejournal.com


Hee - this is hilarious! I can add off the top of my head - Miss Otis Regrets - twenty billion versions of it exist. Also, Janie's Got a Gun.

From: [identity profile] asakiyume.livejournal.com


Cat-eye Willie &hearts &hearts ♥ (not the dude; the song)

How about this terrifying version of Love Henry/Henry Lee??

Or let's hear it for doing in the rapist in "Caleb Meyer"! --whoops, that was on your original CD, I see.

OTOH, straying wives don't do to well in this one.
Edited Date: 2010-11-03 07:42 pm (UTC)
skygiants: Princess Tutu, facing darkness with a green light in the distance (selim says LOL)

From: [personal profile] skygiants


I am still not sure what exactly happens in Noe Venable's "Jamie Goes Home", but somebody definitely dies. Possibly it's a guy shooting his girlfriend! It may or may not be a tragic accident! Or possibly a suicide? (Lyrics)

Jesca Hoop's Tulip, on the other hand, is pretty explicitly about a guy drowning the wife he bought with a tulip bulb, although it took me until I looked at the lyrics to figure it out because I was distracted by all the flowers. (Lyrics)

I will upload both of these for actual download once I'm home and at my own computer!
Edited Date: 2010-11-03 07:53 pm (UTC)

From: [identity profile] marzipan-pig.livejournal.com


The Violent Femmes song where the guy pushes his daughter down a well. They have a bunch of disturbing songs, but I think that's the only MURDER one ("Country Death Song").

From: [identity profile] mamculuna.livejournal.com


Oh, dear. Lots of those are on my iPod. Maybe it's because I hang out with those criminals in prison...

I like "Folsom Prison" a lot, too: "I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die."

From: [identity profile] sleary.livejournal.com


The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia. I don't know WTF is going on with the voiceover in the video.

Pepper, which is not what I'd call a ballad but gets points for the sheer number of victims in it.

From: [identity profile] saladinahmed.livejournal.com


"I Used To Love Her" by Guns N' Roses (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBorwKJ_Ibw) slimily treats domestic murder of women as a joke (though Axl later half-seriously claimed it was about a dog). It's reprehensible, no doubt, but musically a jam. I also think it's interesting b/c a lot of people who would readily and understandably dog GNR for penning such a vicious bit of redneckery are happy to giggle at hipster Stephen Merrit making a joke of the same thing b/c, y'know, he's so clever and neo-Cole Porter like.

"Mayor" by Pharoahe Monch, a brilliant Giuliani-era assassination fantasyhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcmqktc_060

"Let Him Dangle" by Elvis Costello - the State as murderer, but I can't find it on youtube...

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


Did I need to put a disclaimer on this post stating that many of the songs, however artistically excellent, are misogynist and/or make a joke of serious issues, including but not limited to domestic violence? If so, disclaimer up here!

Thanks for the music!

From: [identity profile] jennifergale.livejournal.com


Nick Cave had an entire album of murder ballads out about a decade ago...it was epic and totally screwed with your head if you listened to it too much.

Favorite of the Steeleye Span murder ballads: Two Butchers. I used to dance to it with my daughters (until they started asking too many questions...). The fiddle action is just damn eerie.

From: [identity profile] jennifergale.livejournal.com


(:headdesk: Which is obviously where she snagged the Nick Cave songs from...)
ext_124701: negativised photo of me (the sky)

From: [identity profile] kitryan.livejournal.com


Domestic violence version: "Woman in the Wall" The Beautiful South

From: [identity profile] gaudior.livejournal.com


Can I trade my explanation of what happens in "Flinty Kind of Woman" for an explanation of how to make Box work? I set up a folder, but now it automatically takes me there when I click on one of the above links instead of letting me download it.

In "Flinty Kind of Woman," a young man moves to a small town, where he commits rather horrible sexual murders. The local women decide that rather than involve the law or their husbands (who would simply kill him quickly), they will go out, catch him with a dog and fishing line, and (I believe) castrate him (with Marge's gardening clips).

I am very, very fond of this song.

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


Try again now? I think the problem was on my end.

The confusion was over whether he was killed or castrated. I suppose he could have been castrated, then killed (presumably slowly.)

From: [identity profile] gaudior.livejournal.com


Oh, interesting. I base my belief that he was castrated, not killed, because of the line "we didn't drag him and jail him/'cause you don't have to take it so far." Killing being farther than jailing. But I could be wrong!

Also, Box is still not working for me, but I really don't know how it's meant to work... (And I'm sad, because I've wanted to hear the Pogues' "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda" again for years, but I didn't know it was them who sang it!)

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


...try this link? http://www.box.net/shared/kpu4ax9viq

If that doesn't work, I am completely baffled! I cannot figure out how to get this to work as a link.

From: [identity profile] rushthatspeaks.livejournal.com


I have never been able to figure out whether Elvis Costello's 'Watching the Detectives' is a murder ballad, but it's definitely film noir in song format.

From: [identity profile] amyaderman.livejournal.com


Murder ballads, yay! I love your comment on lace and "The Highwayman." I would think that McKennitt's song "The English Ladye and the Knight" also fits (brother kills sister's lover, lover kills the brother and goes off to die in the Crusades). I haven't read the comments at Image (http://oyceter.dreamwidth.org/profile)oyceter (http://oyceter.dreamwidth.org/) post yet, but I would also recommend at least half of the songs by The Decemberists. People in their music tend not to live happily ever after.

(I've also friended you because I always enjoy reading your blog.)
.

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