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What murder ballad is the saddest? [songs]

PoppaGator 12 Aug 08 - 10:33 AM
Jayto 12 Aug 08 - 10:22 AM
Terry McDonald 12 Aug 08 - 10:19 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 12 Aug 08 - 10:08 AM
Jayto 12 Aug 08 - 09:57 AM
bubblyrat 12 Aug 08 - 09:56 AM
the button 12 Aug 08 - 09:54 AM
Jayto 12 Aug 08 - 09:48 AM
SharonA 12 Aug 08 - 09:42 AM
kendall 12 Aug 08 - 09:39 AM
George Papavgeris 12 Aug 08 - 09:30 AM
Jayto 12 Aug 08 - 09:10 AM
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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 10:33 AM

First thing I thought of was "Long Black Veil," not really a folk song (composed for the Nashville country-music industry in the 1950s), but deservedly popular among folksingers types and, well, singers of all stripes.

Writing the narrative from the point of view of the dead person is a time-honored angle, but in this case, the deceased voice is not the murder victim, but rather the falsely accused perpetrator who bit his tongue and died on the scaffold rather than hurt someone else by revealing his alibi ~ that's real tragedy.

Also coming to mind: Mississippi John Hurt's "Louis Collins," recently discussed here. The refrain "Angels laid him away" is pretty poignant.


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: Jayto
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 10:22 AM

I agree there is not alot of difference with some rap. Other forms of rap there is a major difference. The whole self gratification and worshipping of money is normally absent in folk songs lol. At least the ones I have heard lol. Plus folk ballads just report the event like a recorded history that would have been forgotten or never even known about otherwise. Rap tends to glorify the violence and brags about a lack of remorse or any emotion. Don't mean to be offensive but rap at times promotes sociopathic behavior. Murder is not ever glorified in folk ballads. Olmie Wise I mentioned speaks of remorse and reverance towards Olmie while it speaks of the authors disdain for Joh Lewis for committing the horrible act. Rap is often performed without moral judgement or lack of emotion and worst case glorification.


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: Terry McDonald
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 10:19 AM

Sharon - sounds like the Bitter Withy, and it was three children that Jesus caused to drown (by creating a bridge 'from the beams of the sun' that only he could cross over) for laughing at his lowly origins.


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 10:08 AM

... and the difference between this and rap is what exactly?


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: Jayto
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 09:57 AM

Man the Cheiftans did a killer version of that. No pun intended with the term killer lol.


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: bubblyrat
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 09:56 AM

"Long Black Veil " is pretty tragic, really : well, for me ,anyway.


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: the button
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 09:54 AM

Lizzie Wan. Incest, murder, exile. It's got the lot.


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: Jayto
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 09:48 AM

I know it's not murder when it's by a rattlesnake but it is still a very sad song involving death. But, you are right if I'm gonna ask about a murder ballad I guess I need to put one that has an actual murder in it. But, the rattlesnake song is over the top sad lol Ok if we are gonna be picky lol Just kidding.

Olmie Wise is probably my fav and saddest. Not just lyrically but melodically. It was a true story of John Lewis and Olmie Wise from North Carolina in the US.


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: SharonA
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 09:42 AM

Being bitten by a rattlesnake isn't murder, just death by failure to pay attention to nature. Murder ballads are "Frankie & Johnny" and "Banks of the Ohio" and "Tom Dooley" and the like..... y'know, where somebody gets murdered!

I recall a thread several years ago wherein Joe Offer mentioned a song from the Middle Ages about Jesus, as a boy, causing another little boy to die because he'd made fun of Jesus. That gets my vote as "saddest" but I'm not sure whether it was a true ballad. Joe, are you there to shed some light on this? (Pardon the pun about "light" [of the world, and all that].)


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: kendall
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 09:39 AM

Veil of white lace.


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Subject: RE: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 09:30 AM

The Two Sisters


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Subject: What murder ballad is the saddest?
From: Jayto
Date: 12 Aug 08 - 09:10 AM

In another thread we brought up murder ballads. Most of them are cautionary type tales. I brought up an old Appalchian ballad about a kid going to a woodpile to gather firewood and being bit by a Rattlesnake which led to the child's death. Yep I was scarred I think that was the worst I have ever heard. What is the worst murder ballad you have ever heard? Folk is full of these type songs so I kno we have all heard them. There has to be one that stands out to you. lol


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