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What murder ballad is the saddest? [songs]

Leadfingers 19 Aug 08 - 09:17 AM
Charley Noble 19 Aug 08 - 08:42 PM
Neil D 19 Aug 08 - 10:24 PM
GUEST,Mike B. 20 Aug 08 - 05:12 PM
Jayto 20 Aug 08 - 05:31 PM
Girl Friday 20 Aug 08 - 08:28 PM
Jayto 21 Aug 08 - 12:56 AM
Art Thieme 21 Aug 08 - 05:15 PM
TalkingBird 27 Aug 08 - 06:32 PM
GUEST,Martin Farrell 27 Aug 08 - 08:27 PM
GUEST 04 Mar 09 - 08:08 AM
frogprince 04 Mar 09 - 01:18 PM
JohnB 04 Mar 09 - 01:42 PM
Rifleman (inactive) 04 Mar 09 - 01:46 PM
JedMarum 04 Mar 09 - 03:12 PM
JHW 05 Mar 09 - 03:46 PM
Artful Codger 06 Mar 09 - 12:26 AM
bseed(charleskratz) 06 Mar 09 - 04:45 AM
Brian Peters 06 Mar 09 - 05:49 AM
Susanne (skw) 07 Mar 09 - 10:22 AM
GUEST,mike 07 Mar 09 - 11:51 PM
Art Thieme 08 Mar 09 - 01:27 AM
sharyn 08 Mar 09 - 09:42 AM
GUEST,murrbob 08 Mar 09 - 06:43 PM
bseed(charleskratz) 14 Mar 09 - 03:03 AM
Andy Jackson 14 Mar 09 - 07:09 AM
kendall 14 Mar 09 - 07:37 AM
GUEST 14 Mar 09 - 07:43 AM
GUEST,Jerry O'Reilly 14 Mar 09 - 07:45 AM
bseed(charleskratz) 15 Mar 09 - 09:26 PM
JedMarum 25 Mar 09 - 12:46 AM
JedMarum 25 Mar 09 - 12:39 PM
*Laura* 25 Mar 09 - 07:27 PM
Tim Leaning 26 Mar 09 - 02:05 PM
GUEST,CupOfTea, no cookies 26 Mar 09 - 06:59 PM
GUEST,Rog Peek 27 Mar 11 - 06:11 AM
Stower 27 Mar 11 - 11:34 AM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 27 Mar 11 - 01:09 PM
GUEST,Elmore 27 Mar 11 - 01:51 PM
kendall 27 Mar 11 - 02:09 PM
HipflaskAndy 27 Mar 11 - 02:59 PM
GUEST,Paul Slade 27 Mar 11 - 04:00 PM
PHJim 27 Mar 11 - 04:24 PM
CET 27 Mar 11 - 08:50 PM
PHJim 27 Mar 11 - 09:51 PM
GUEST,Desi 28 Mar 11 - 08:24 AM
Dad Perkins 28 Mar 11 - 09:20 PM
PHJim 31 Mar 11 - 12:57 AM
GUEST,Robin Morton 27 Aug 16 - 12:48 PM
The Sandman 27 Aug 16 - 04:25 PM
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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 19 Aug 08 - 09:17 AM

And the Tim Evans case was one of the reasons Capital Punishment was taken off the books .


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 19 Aug 08 - 08:42 PM

"Poor Ellen Smith" and "Wild Bill Jones" are two more Appalachian murder ballads but maybe not the saddest. "Rain and Snow" is another one.

Then there's "Eggs and Marrowbones."

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: Neil D
Date: 19 Aug 08 - 10:24 PM

Jayto asks: Out of folk writers who do you think wrote the consistently saddest or most depressing songs?

   I have heard Leonard Cohen's songs described as "real shower rod music", meaning they are so depressing they could make you suicidal.
Personally, I love his music and it never makes me depressed, reflective maybe, but not depressed. Now Terry Jacks on the other hand...
   

   As to the saddest murder ballad:
I say "The Well Below the Valley"
My wife says "Ballad of Hollis Brown" by Bob Dylan
My son says "When the Thunder Rolls" by Garth Brooks


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: GUEST,Mike B.
Date: 20 Aug 08 - 05:12 PM

Songs that recount some of the heinous crimes that galvanized the civil rights movement in the south - such as Pete Seeger's "Those Three Are On My Mind", Richard Farina's "Birmingham Sunday" and Bob Dylan's "The Death Of Emmett Till".


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: Jayto
Date: 20 Aug 08 - 05:31 PM

Leneord Cohen does write some dark material. I love his work and agree with you 100%. Townes still gets me harder and faster than anybody but man Cohen does rank up there with me as well.
Girl Friday that is awsome there are few things you can do to make a ballad darker than putting it in a minor key. I would love to hear your version of Banks.


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: Girl Friday
Date: 20 Aug 08 - 08:28 PM

Jayto. I have pm'd you about this one.


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: Jayto
Date: 21 Aug 08 - 12:56 AM

Thanks Girl Friday I can't wait.


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 21 Aug 08 - 05:15 PM

Arguably, this is a murder ballad. When you consider the sad state of medical care a while ago, it seems to be one to me.

The Death Of Queen Jane
as sung by Bascom Lamar Lunsford

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: TalkingBird
Date: 27 Aug 08 - 06:32 PM

The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll by Bob Dylan.
In addition to the sadness of the murder itself (a wealthy young white man, already drunk, beat a 50-year-old black waitress with his cane, for bringing his drink too slowly) there's also the sadness of the justice system which gave the killer 6 months in jail and a $500 fine. His defense was that he was drunk and didn't know what he was doing, and he was reported in a newspaper account at the time to have gloated about the lightness of the sentence.


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: GUEST,Martin Farrell
Date: 27 Aug 08 - 08:27 PM

What about "The Murder of Maria Marten" as sung by Shirley Collins?


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Mar 09 - 08:08 AM

Welcome to Mudcat - Jayto - I learn something new all the time here.

On the Topic of murder

CLASSIC - excerpt- see DT for full
Haunting in tune and lyrics is "Ash Grove." In the DT http://mudcat.org/@displaysong.cfm?SongID=3663

Her father unwilling and threatening the worst
Did shoot at the lad, but the bowstring was twisted
So crooked the arrow struck deep in her breast.
In anger, the squire, his sword at the ready,
Did thrust at the heart of the unflinching lad.
"'Tis better to die by my own lover's side
Than to live in sorrow in the Palace Ash-grove."

MODERN - excerpt - see DT for full - Billie Holiday
Haunting in tune and lyrics is "Strange Fruit" in the DT http://mudcat.org/@displaysong.cfm?SongID=5566

Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black body swinging in the Southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for a tree to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.

Just because you have not seen something does not mean it does not exist. I was VERY doubtful about this "sin-eating" thing... (Kent Davis comment in another thread led me here) I learned something of a different culture - thanks. Likewise, Mr. Jayto, it is doubtful you would have witnessed it, so regarding your statementalot of old traditions that are rare if practiced at all anymore but they once were. Foot Washing is still actively practiced and it is not rare; it is part of the three-fold-communion and one of the most sacred of celebrations within some churchs.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: frogprince
Date: 04 Mar 09 - 01:18 PM

"Killing Me Softly With His Song" ; )


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: JohnB
Date: 04 Mar 09 - 01:42 PM

Still got to go with Sheath and Knife.
Although this month I think Danny Boy gets murdered the most.
JohnB.


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 04 Mar 09 - 01:46 PM

Poor Murdered Woman, again, by The Albion Country Band, with Shirley Collins. Based upon a real event, the sad part being that the name of the victim, and anything else about her, is completely unknown to this day.

Martin Carthy said in the
But Two Came By sleeve notes:

"The Poor Murdered Woman Laid on the Cold Ground is a fairly short and simple song which describes what I can only describe as a non-event, but it is the kind of song to which I am attracted, as having a lot more underneath it than is at first obvious. No one know who this woman is, nor where she comes from, but everyone nonetheless is stirred to action."


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: JedMarum
Date: 04 Mar 09 - 03:12 PM

Mama's Lily


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Subject: Lyr Add: BORDER WIDOW'S LAMENT
From: JHW
Date: 05 Mar 09 - 03:46 PM

I posted all the text of Poor Murdered Woman earlier but it seems not to have landed though as its now had a mention how about

Border Widow's Lament

My love built me a bonny bower
And clad it over with Lily flower,
A brawer bower ye ne'er would see
Than my true love, he built for me

There came a man by middle day
Who spied his sport and went away,
He came again at dead of night,
Both brak ma bower and slew ma night

He slew my knight, tae me sae dear,
He slew my knight aye and poined his gear,
My servants all for life did flee
And left me in extremity

I washed his corse, makin ma main,
I sewed his sheet myself alane,
I watched his body, night and day,
Nae living creature came that way

I took his body on my back
And times I walked and times I sat,
I dug a grave and I laid him in
And topped him with the sod sae green

Wid ye nay think my heart was sare
When I laid the soil on his yellow hair
And wid ye nay think my heart was wae
When I turned about away tae gae

Nae living man I'll loo again
Since that my handsome knight is slain
With aye a lock of his yellow hair
I'll chain ma heart for evermare.


Apologies for the spelling attempts.
This is I think something like I heard it and sing it.
There are versions from both sides of the England/Scotland border though tragically the song might well be for many a widow of many another border.

Oh and 'Long Black Veil', sad as it is, has no murder.


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: Artful Codger
Date: 06 Mar 09 - 12:26 AM

Wouldn't the saddest be the one about you?


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Subject: Lyr Add: MISS OTIS REGRETS
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 06 Mar 09 - 04:45 AM

Not exactly a folk ballad, but one of the saddest murder songs I know is the following, by Cole Porter:

MISS OTIS REGRETS

Miss Otis regrets she's unable to lunch today, madam,
Miss Otis regrets she's unable to lunch today.
She is sorry to be delayed,
But last evening down in Lover's Lane she strayed, madam,
Miss Otis regrets she's unable to lunch today.

When she woke up and found her dream of love was gone, madam,
She ran to the man who had led her so far astray,
And from under her velvet gown,
She drew a gun and shot her lover down, madam,
Miss Otis regrets she's unable to lunch today

When the mob came and got her and dragged her from the jail, madam,
They strung her up on the old willow across the way
And the moment before she died,
She lifted up her lovely head and cried, madam,
Miss Otis regrets she's unable to lunch today
(spoken tearfully) Miss Otis regrets she's unable to lunch today

These are the lyrics as sung by Marian Anderson (not the version I remember, which was more bluesy and had instrumental breaks between the verses). I like to play it on a fretless banjo--and I'm currently filing the frets down to the board of one of my banjos--primarily for this song--I'm having to file them down because they are too rounded for me to get ahold of them with my cheapo imitation of a fret pulling tool which I used to pull the frets from the neck of a Rover--which I later sold.

Charles


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 06 Mar 09 - 05:49 AM

A lot of the choices in this interesting thread seem to me to be 'grisly' rather than simply 'sad'. I'd second Carthy's 'Bill Norrie' and 'The Banks of Green Willow', though.

No-one has yet mentioned 'The Banks of Red Roses' as sung by Sara Makem (and later by Pete Coe). It's only one song amongst many describing the murder of a young woman by her lover, with unwanted pregnancy implied, but it's powerfully told and set to beautifully plaintive tune. The murder is described in cold-blooded detail, but it's the recurrence after the event of the refrain "Oh my Johnny, lovely Johnny, don't you leave me" that really gets to me. She loves him even as he plans her death, and believes until the last minute that they're just going for a country stroll. Heartbreaking.


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 07 Mar 09 - 10:22 AM

I suppose the ones I'm thinking about also might be classed as 'gruesome' rather than 'sad': The Cruel Ship's Captain and a German song about three robbers abducting a young girl, and because they can't agree about who is going to get her they 'cut her up like a fish'. Always gives me the shivers.


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: GUEST,mike
Date: 07 Mar 09 - 11:51 PM

Rose Connally, performed by Everly Bros or Art Garfunkle


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 08 Mar 09 - 01:27 AM

"Sad Day In Texas" as done by the writer o' it, Otis Spann on the composite record called Can't Keep From Crying---Topical Blues on the Death Of President John F. Kennedy.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: sharyn
Date: 08 Mar 09 - 09:42 AM

I sing nearly all of the sad ballads mentioned, For me, Sheath and Knife is the saddest: the brother shoots his sister when she is in the act of giving birth and buries her and the baby and then goes back to a family party. This is hard to sing.


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: GUEST,murrbob
Date: 08 Mar 09 - 06:43 PM

Two songs by Woody Guthrie that I guess could be called "industrial/labor" murders. Both invole the deaths of innocent small children, which has to give rise to the saddest songs of all!
    The first song commerates actions by the Colorado National Guard against striking mine workers -- The Ludlow Massacre.
    The second, that name of which I can't remember, took place in the Upper Penninsula of Michigan on Christmas Eve, when scabs blocked the meeting house door and yelled "Fire."


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 14 Mar 09 - 03:03 AM

That would be "The 1913 Massacre," murrbob. Definitely a sad one.

Here's a link to the lyrics, and Woody's recording of it.

Charles


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 14 Mar 09 - 07:09 AM

The Old Baby Farmer   Mrs Amelia Dyer
Couldn't find oin data base but confer with google.

I got the words from the singing of Dave Williams on A forest tracks record.


Andy


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: kendall
Date: 14 Mar 09 - 07:37 AM

I can't stand to hear "Poor Elaine Smith" Too graphic, too inane and totally unbelievable.The Bluegrass pickers do this one, apparently the lyrics don't matter in Bluegrass.


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Mar 09 - 07:43 AM

The one that had huge circulation in Ireland was The Old Oak Tree. Most of the older source singers had a version of it, Sarah Makem, Tom Lenihan, Mary Anne Carolan, Michael Flanagan, Brigid Tunney etc.
For me, one of the saddest and bloodiest. The images conjured up are stark!


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: GUEST,Jerry O'Reilly
Date: 14 Mar 09 - 07:45 AM

Oops, thats me above by the way!


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 15 Mar 09 - 09:26 PM

This is the link to "The 1913 Massacre" that I forgot to include in my post of a day or so ago:

    http://mudcat.org/@displaysong.cfm?SongID=5743

Also, another song I don't think I've seen on the list but which is a real tearjerker:

"Haroo, Haroo" aka "Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye."

Charles


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: JedMarum
Date: 25 Mar 09 - 12:46 AM

This is the saddest true story I know, and put to song:

Mama's Lily


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: JedMarum
Date: 25 Mar 09 - 12:39 PM

... not the best video, but hopefully it doesn't interfere with the music too much!


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: *Laura*
Date: 25 Mar 09 - 07:27 PM

There are many that are very sad, but it's another vote for Sheath and Knife from me.


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 26 Mar 09 - 02:05 PM

The well below the valley
Awful story


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: GUEST,CupOfTea, no cookies
Date: 26 Mar 09 - 06:59 PM

My top vote would be Bonnie Susie Cleland - murdered by father and brother, by burning her at the stake over bigotry, all while she's being staunch and true and encouraging her beloved to find someone else.

> rates 3 hankies.

Others are creepier, more violent or have a higher body count... but for sad, this is my pick

Joanne In Cleveland


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: GUEST,Rog Peek
Date: 27 Mar 11 - 06:11 AM

Goodman, Schwerner & Chaney by Tom Paxton.

"James Chaney, your body exploded in pain
And the beating they gave you is pounding my brain
For they murdered much more with their dark, bloody chains
And the body of pity lies bleeding."

Rog


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: Stower
Date: 27 Mar 11 - 11:34 AM

Without a doubt, for me, Lady Diamond. It took me months to learn to sing it. It wasn't the words I was having trouble with - it was holding steady while I sang it. Whew.


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 27 Mar 11 - 01:09 PM

But are we downhearted......?


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: GUEST,Elmore
Date: 27 Mar 11 - 01:51 PM

Leather Glove by Carol Noonan


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: kendall
Date: 27 Mar 11 - 02:09 PM

Lost Jimmy Whalen.
The ghost of a murdered lover comes to the lady for one last meeting before he leaves for the after life.

"Oh Jimmy why can't you tarry here with me
Not leave me alone so distracted in pain?
Since death is the dagger that cut us asunder,
Wide is the gulf love between you and I."

Not clear if he was murdered or not but, it is folk so he probably was.

Joan Sprung recorded this on Folk Legacy.

It's in the DT.


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: HipflaskAndy
Date: 27 Mar 11 - 02:59 PM

I find these sad...
Bonnie Banks o' Fordie
Molly Bond

But as somone alluded to up above, I'm one that never got over the chilling effect of hearing and understanding Cruel Mother (Lady of York) for the first time.


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 27 Mar 11 - 04:00 PM

Death of the Lawson Family takes some beating, detailing as it does the true case of a poor farmer in 1929 North Carolina who became mentally disturbed after a head injury. He waited till Christmas Day came around, and then killed his wife and six young children before shooting himself dead in a fit of remorse.

Townes van Zandt's Marie isn't a murder ballad, but it may just be the bleakest song ever written. The narrator loses his job and his home, then starts living rough with his girfriend under a bridge. He runs out of welfare payments, his last blood relative dies, then he's viciously beaten for a handful of change and discovers his girlfriend's pregnant. She dies in despair ("She just rolled over and went to heaven / With my little boy safe inside") and all he can do for her is to drag her out to the side of the highway and leave her there in the hope someone will discover her and his unborn son before a hungry animal gets them.

I read somewhere that Cole Porter wrote Miss Otis Regrets to draw some ironic attention to the lynchings then common in the American South. If it was rich white women getting lynched instead of poor black men, he wanted to say, then maybe we'd be making more fuss about it. Porter wasn't exactly known for his social conscience, mind, so maybe that's just a myth.

I have to agree with Miskin Man about Mrs Dyer the Old Baby Farmer too. The song itself - at least in the version I know - is a fairly jolly affair, full of the crowd's good-natured regret that they weren't allowed to burn her alive, but the true story behind it is a remarkably sad and squalid affair. I spent a couple of weeks immersed in Dyer's story for the piece I wrote about her balled here , and at the end of it I felt like taking my brain out and washing it in disinfectant. You'll find my essays about Hattie Carroll and many other murder ballads on the same site.


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: PHJim
Date: 27 Mar 11 - 04:24 PM

Since you didn't specify Folk Ballads, how about Miss Otis Regrets?   

The mob came and got her and dragged her from the jail, Madame,
And strung her from that old oak tree along the trail.
And the moment before she died
She lifted up her lovely head and cried,
"Miss Otis regrets she's unable to lunch today."

Amy Millan wrote a great song about the Black Donnelys which she used to perform when she played with Sixteen Tons, but I can't recall the title.


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: CET
Date: 27 Mar 11 - 08:50 PM

Early in the thread, people mentioned Omie Wise and Tom Dooley, and for me these are the two that spring to mind first if the topic is songs that are sad, even if there are other events that are even more horrible.

For example:

"John Lewis, John Lewis I'm afraid of your ways
I'm afraid you will lead my poor body astray."

"Little Omie, little Omie, you guessed that about right
I've dug on your grave the best part of last night."

Those four lines put you right there on the banks of the river in North Carolina. Little Omie is going to die, you're going to see it happen, and there's not a damn thing you can do about it.

Tom Dooley, however much it's been done and overdone over the years, is still chilling:

"This time tomorrow, reckon where I'll be
If it hadn't been for Grayson, I'd have been in Tennessee."

According to the narrative of the song, of course, Tom Dooley did murder Laura Foster and so deserved what he got. However, there's some reason to believe he was wrongly convicted, and if you sing it with that in mind those lines are incredibly powerful.


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: PHJim
Date: 27 Mar 11 - 09:51 PM

Johnny Cash's version of Delia's Gone was very blood-thirsty. He does show a bit of remorse in this verse, but...

First time I shot her I shot her in the side
Couldn't watch her suffer
But with the second shot she died
Delia's gone, one more round, Delia's gone

Willie McTell's version tries to justify his actions:

Delia oh Delia, how could it be
You loved all those rounders Gal,
But you never really did love me
Delia's gone, one more round, Delia's gone


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: GUEST,Desi
Date: 28 Mar 11 - 08:24 AM


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: Dad Perkins
Date: 28 Mar 11 - 09:20 PM

saddest hell. what about the scariest?

My vote: the Daemon Lover aka House Carpenter.

narrative tropes include:

child abandonment
infidelity
cruise on a haunted ship
demon/ghost as lover
eternal damnation

it's a cinch.


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Subject: Lyr Add: DEMON LOVER (Michael Smith)
From: PHJim
Date: 31 Mar 11 - 12:57 AM

I love that Demon Lover song. I also love Michael Smith's Demon Lover:

I knew a girl who came from Little Falls
Her name was Agnes Hines
She fell in love with a boy named Jimmy Harris
But he had a short life-line
A year after Jimmy was killed in a car crash
She married a man from Cornell
They had three little kids and a big house
In upper Montclair

The gypsy wind it says to me
Things are not what they seem to be
Beware

One day her husband's at work and the kids are at school
And who comes toolin' up the drive
Looks just like Jimmy Harris
And he says he's just got back from Paris
And he's lookin' very much alive
Ooh, Jimmy she cried
I thought you had died
He laughed and he said So did I cherie
And if it was not for your love
I would not be here

The gypsy wind it says to me
Things are not what they seem to be
Beware

The neighbors say that as they pulled away in his Chevrolet
His face began to change
And in the middle of that bright suburban morning
They disappeared in flames
Maybe you have a demon lover
Who might have been your husband or your wife
Watch out for people who belong in your past
Don't let 'em back in your life.


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: GUEST,Robin Morton
Date: 27 Aug 16 - 12:48 PM

I was searching the web for other versions of the Old Oak Tree, a murder ballad I collected from JOHN MAGUIRE in 1967?,(a great singer and man from Rosslea, Co. Fermanagh - - Check out his life story and songs collated by my privileged self. I can happily boast about it because I collated it in John's own words, and as I have already said he was a great singer and man. It has recently been republished by Routledge.

Anyway google came up with lots of versions including mention of the song in a thread asking for suggestions for the Saddest Murder Ballads and found mention of the song put forward for the crown by Guest,Chris B
on 16 Aug 2008 and noting that he had hears on Boys of the Lough, sung by Cathal McConnell. As a proud co-founder, with Cathal, of the BotL it was pleased. I was doubly pleased, as it was me who was the singer, to be mistaken for Cathal - I quite simply view him as one of the best ballad singers (along with the late John Maguire)that I have known.! I hope you enjoyed the rest of the album Chris.


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Aug 16 - 04:25 PM

"According to the narrative of the song, of course, Tom Dooley did murder Laura Foster and so deserved what he got. However, there's some reason to believe he was wrongly convicted, and if you sing it with that in mind those lines are incredibly powerful."
indeed, he was apparently not the murderer but an accessory after the fact


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