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Friday, 16 October 2015

Folk Music and Murder Ballads



"Folk music is often painted as either the vehicle of political protest, or sometimes thought of as a somewhat charming relic, from a simpler, more innocent time. But it has a darker past. When over a hundred years ago, an English folklorist called Cecil Sharp headed into the Appalachian mountains to record the traditional songs of the mountain folk of Georgia, Kentucky, and Virginia... the songs he collected were as likely to tell of brutal murders".

Listen to this ABC (Australia) radio programme/podcast, full of great old ballads.

With thanks to Chris King for the link.


Track Title: Murder Ballad, part 2
Artist: Jelly Roll Morton
CD Title: The Complete Library of Congress Recordings
Composer: Jelly Roll Morton
Duration: 20s
Publisher: Rounder
Released: 2007
Track Title: Knoxville Girl
Artist: The Stanley Brothers
LP Title: The Tragic Songs of Life
Composer: Traditional
Duration: 30s
Publisher: Capitol
Released: 1956
Track Title: Fair Margaret and Sweet William
Artist: Frank Fairfield
CD Title: Frank Fairfield
Composer: Traditional arr. Fairfield
Duration: 40s
Publisher: Tompkins Square Records
Released: 2009
Track Title: Darlin Cora
Artist: B.F. Shelton
CD Title: People Take Warning! Murder Ballads & Disaster Songs 1913 - 1938
Composer: Traditional
Duration: 20s
Publisher: Tompkins Square Records
Released: 2007
Track Title: Stagolee
Artist: Lucious Curtis
CD Title: Alan Lomax: Blues Songbook (2003)
Composer: Traditional
Duration: (in the clear... <5s br="" nbsp="" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Publisher: Rounder Records Corp.
Track Title: Pretty Polly
Artist: Jeff Lang
CD Title: Not Released
Composer: Traditional.
Duration: 20s
Publisher: n/a (studio recording ABC Melbourne 2015)
Track Title: Pretty Polly
Artist: The Stanley Brothers
CD Title: Long Journey Home
Composer: Traditional
Duration: 25s
Publisher: Rebel
Released: 1990 (reissue)
Track Title: My Home's Across The Blue Ridge Mountains
Artist: Carolina Tar Heels
CD Title: In The Pines - Tar Heel Folk Songs And Fiddle Tunes - Old-Time Music Of North Carolina 1926-1936
Composer: Traditional
Duration: 15s
Publisher: Old Hat Records
Track Title: Are you washed in the blood
Artist: Red Allen and Frank Wakefield
CD Title: Classic Southern Gospel
Composer: Red Allen and Frank Wakefield
Duration: (in the clear... )
Publisher: Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
Track Title: I am a man of constant sorrow
Artist: The Soggy Bottom Boys
CD Title: O Brother Where Art Thou Soundtrack
Composer: Dick Burnett
Duration: 25s
Publisher: Lost Highway/Mercury
Track Title: Stack O’ Lee Blues
Artist: Mississippi John Hurt
CD Title: Avalon Blues: The Complete 1928 Okeh Recordings
Composer: traditional
Duration: 30s
Publisher: Legacy
Track Title: Last Kind Words Blues
Artist: Geeshie Wiley and Elvie Thomas
CD Title: Mississippi Masters: Early American Blues Classics 1927-1935
Composer: Wiley and Thomas
Duration: 15s
Publisher: Yazoo Records
Track Title: Skinny Leg Blues
Artist: Geeshie Wiley and Elvie Thomas
LP Title: Last Kind Word Blues
Composer: Wiley and Thomas
Duration: 25s
Publisher: Paramount Records
Track Title: Kokomo
Artist: The Memphis Jug Band
CD Title: Alan Lomax: Blues Songbook (Disk 1)
Composer: The Memphis Jug Band
Duration: 30s
Publisher: Rounder Select
Track Title: The House Carpenter
Artist: Bob Dylan
CD Title: The Bootleg Series, 1
Composer: Traditional
Duration: 35s
Publisher: Columbia Records
Track Title: Frankie and Johnny
Artist: Ray Rhodes
CD Title: The Art of Recording
Composer: Traditional
Duration: 30s
Publisher: Dust to Digital
Track Title: Frankie
Artist: Mississippi John Hurt
CD Title: Avalon Blues: The Complete 1928 Okeh Recordings
Composer: traditional
Duration: 28s
Publisher: Legacy
Track Title: Frankie and Johnny
Artist: Elvis Presley
CD Title: Frankie and Johnny (soundtrack to the motion picture film)
Composer: Trad. Arr by Hughie Cannon
Duration: 25s
Publisher: RCA Victor Records
Track Title: Stagger Lee
Artist: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
CD Title: Murder Ballads
Composer: Nick Cave
Duration: 1m
Publisher: Mute Records

Guests

Rennie Sparks
Singer, lyricist, and banjo/bass player for The Handsome Family Band.
Art Rosenbaum
Folk music archivist, recorder, and musician. Art has been making recordings of old time American folk songs for more than 50 years.
Chris King
Record collector, producer and writer. Chris’ collection of old 78s formed the 2007 Grammy Award winning release: ‘People Take Warning: Murder Ballads and Disaster Songs 1913-1938.
Jeff Lang
Australian musician

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