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Songs about capital punishment.

The Shambles 19 Dec 98 - 08:02 AM
Dani 19 Dec 98 - 08:25 AM
Liam's Brother 19 Dec 98 - 10:28 AM
The Shambles 19 Dec 98 - 10:47 AM
Liam's Brother 19 Dec 98 - 12:34 PM
The Shambles 19 Dec 98 - 01:49 PM
rich r 19 Dec 98 - 06:38 PM
BSeed 19 Dec 98 - 10:41 PM
rich r 19 Dec 98 - 10:45 PM
Sandy Paton 19 Dec 98 - 11:29 PM
Art Thieme 19 Dec 98 - 11:40 PM
Art Thieme 19 Dec 98 - 11:53 PM
Art Thieme 20 Dec 98 - 12:08 AM
Sandy Paton 20 Dec 98 - 12:19 AM
Jon W. 20 Dec 98 - 12:43 AM
Charlie Baum 20 Dec 98 - 01:48 AM
BSeed 20 Dec 98 - 03:29 AM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 20 Dec 98 - 02:38 PM
The Shambles 20 Dec 98 - 03:52 PM
rich r 20 Dec 98 - 07:14 PM
20 Dec 98 - 07:41 PM
harpgirl 20 Dec 98 - 07:57 PM
BSeed 20 Dec 98 - 08:04 PM
Pete M 20 Dec 98 - 08:32 PM
Greg F. 20 Dec 98 - 08:39 PM
Roger in Baltimore 20 Dec 98 - 08:46 PM
harpgirl 20 Dec 98 - 09:41 PM
Barry Finn 20 Dec 98 - 09:46 PM
Barry Finn 20 Dec 98 - 11:42 PM
O'Boyle 21 Dec 98 - 02:18 AM
carverconroy@beaufort.com 01 Apr 99 - 12:28 PM
Bert 01 Apr 99 - 01:18 PM
DonMeixner 01 Apr 99 - 03:24 PM
Den 01 Apr 99 - 05:22 PM
Bob Schwarer 01 Apr 99 - 06:14 PM
Susan A-R 01 Apr 99 - 09:41 PM
Jerry Friedman 02 Apr 99 - 04:05 PM
Jerry Friedman 02 Apr 99 - 04:38 PM
MAG (inactive) 02 Apr 99 - 05:46 PM
Bruce O. 02 Apr 99 - 06:08 PM
02 Apr 99 - 06:20 PM
skw@worldmusic.de 13 Apr 99 - 05:01 AM
AlistairUK 13 Apr 99 - 07:11 AM
AlistairUK 13 Apr 99 - 07:12 AM
Sandy Paton 13 Apr 99 - 01:34 PM
Gene 13 Apr 99 - 08:44 PM
Susan A-R 13 Apr 99 - 11:02 PM
reggie miles 13 Apr 99 - 11:24 PM
Mark Clark 13 Apr 99 - 11:54 PM
northfolk/al cholger 14 Apr 99 - 12:08 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: DEAD MAN WALKING BLUES (Roger Gall)^^
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Dec 98 - 08:02 AM

There has been some discussion in various threads lately about capital punishment, rather than respond in those, I thought I would start a new thread for songs on this emotive subject. Not very seasonal but with the current situation in Iraq, I for one do not feel very seasonal.

It begs the question, would it be right to kill an individual like Saddam and others, if you knew that by doing so you could prevent the pain and suffering that people like that cause?

This song is strange, the first time I heard the title of the book/film, Dead Man Walking and before I knew what it was about, I knew I would write a song with that title. About six months later and some time after I had seen the film (which is a great film) I wrote the song. It's a blues, on the lines of 'Hootchie Cootchie Man'.



DEAD MAN WALKING BLUES

My lips are dry, I can't talk
I've got to steel myself for one last walk
I can't run with these chains, you see
There's no hurry, they won't start without me
Dead man walking, the star of the show
Dead man walking, away from death row
Dead man waking, walking slow

You may say, all my life I've been no good
I would have done better, if only I could
But up to now no one noticed me
Now I see myself on the TV
Dead man walking, the star of the show
Dead man walking, away from death row
Dead man waking, walking slow

My performance may make the news
But I won't be around, to read the reviews
Ain't up to me who they invite
Who will watch my first and last night?
Dead man walking, the star of the show
Dead man walking, away from death row
Dead man waking, walking slow

The good book may say it but it don't mean it's the truth
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth
I did wrong on that fateful night
But two wrongs, they won't make it right
Dead man walking, the star of the show
Dead man walking, away from death row
Dead man waking, walking slow

My deed was in the heat of that hour
But it don't excuse the abuse of my power
But the cleaner you try to make my death seem
Just seems to make it more obscene!
Dead man walking, the star of the show
Dead man walking, away from death row
Dead man waking, walking slow

Dead man walking, the star of the show
Dead man walking, away from death row
Dead man waking, walking slow

Roger Gall 1998


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Dani
Date: 19 Dec 98 - 08:25 AM

I would love to hear you do that song. I suffer from not being able to translate lyrics into songs. But your words are powerful.

They're not in the DT, but check out two songs of Pete's: Walking Down Death Row

and

Sacco's Letter to his Son.

Let me know if you don't find them surfing. I'll post them next week.

Dani


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 19 Dec 98 - 10:28 AM

I remember that Ewan MacColl wrote a very powerful song, "Go Down You Murderers," (was the chorous if not the title) on an early Topic lp. I have the record in storage. It was, as I recall, about the execution of Tim Evans... seems it was later proved that he was not the killer.

Then there is always Kipling's "Danny Deever," brilliantly record by Peter Bellamy on Barrack Room Ballads.

In addition to this serious subject, the finality of capital punishment, there is here now an unrelated but very serious issue - Capitol Punishment. Should God (or public opion and history) punish adulturers or should fellow sinners do the job?

All the best,
Dan Milner


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Dec 98 - 10:47 AM

I always thought that Capitol punishment was listening to early Kingston Trio Records?


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 19 Dec 98 - 12:34 PM

Well done, Sir Shambles, but I'm sure many of our fellow Mudcats would not agree with you.

(God! did I really make that many typos?)

All the best.


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Dec 98 - 01:49 PM

Sorry Dan, it was just an excuse for a cheap joke, I couldn't think of anyone else who recorded on the Capitol label. I liked them too.


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: rich r
Date: 19 Dec 98 - 06:38 PM

Tom Paxton's "Bring Back The Chair"

rich r


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE GREEN, GREEN GRASS OF HOME^^
From: BSeed
Date: 19 Dec 98 - 10:41 PM

One of my favorite songs to sing is the very unjudgemental country song (by Curley Putnam, I believe), recorded by Johnny Cash and others, "THE GREEN, GREEN GRASS OF HOME," which, surprisingly, seems not to be in the DT.

The old home town looks the same
As I step down from the train,
And there to greet me are my momma and my daddy.
Down the road I look and there runs Mary,
Hair of gold and lips like cherries,
It's good to touch the green, green grass of home.

(chorus)
Yes, they'll all come to see me,
Arms a-reachin', smilin' sweetly,
It's so good to touch the green, green grass of home.

The old house is still a-standin',
But the paint is cracked and worn,
And there's that old oak tree that I used to climb on.
Down the road I walk with my sweet Mary,
Hair of hold and lips like cherries,
It's good to touch the green, green grass of home.

(chorus)

Then I awake and look around me,
At the gray walls all around me,
And I realize that I was only dreamin',
'Cause there's a guard and a sad old padre,
Arm in arm we'll walk at daybreak;
Again I'll touch the green, green grass of home.

(final chorus)
Yes, they'll all come to see me,
In the shade of that old oak tree,
As they lay me 'neath the green, green grass of home.

--seed


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: rich r
Date: 19 Dec 98 - 10:45 PM

Strange form of capital punishment

rich r


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 19 Dec 98 - 11:29 PM

Speaking of the Kingston Trio, remember the capital verse in "Tom Dooley" (dula):

This time tomorrow,
Reckon where I'll be,
Down in some lonesome valley,
Hangin' from a white oak tree.

Then there's "MacPherson's Rant," sometimes called "MacPherson's Lament." Another execution song is sometimes called "Been All Around this World."

Hang me, oh, hang me,
And I'll be dead and gone.
Hang me, oh, hang me,
And I'll be dead and gone.
I don't mind your hangin',
It's layin' in the ground so long.
Been all around this world.

Max Hunter, Springfield, Missouri, recorded that one for me back in the early 60s. Now available as a "custom cassette."

And, finally, does anyone remember the song "Come, Oh My Love," which I think was collected on Beech Mountain in North Carolina, about thirty years before I got there? Last verse, sung by the man about to hang:

Come, oh my love, and see me die.
Come, oh my love, and see me die.
Lift your innocent face,
See me dance in the sky.

Can't remember where I saw that one.

Sandy (folk fogey)


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Art Thieme
Date: 19 Dec 98 - 11:40 PM

Never was the Kingston Trio; 'Twas N. Carolinian, Frank Proffitt, who sang the song for Frank & Ann Warner. They gave it to the Lomax father & son duo who put it into print where the Kingstons found it, filed on it, and made a million bucks---no credit to anybody.


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Art Thieme
Date: 19 Dec 98 - 11:53 PM

Sandy---Sorry! Think we just crossed postings in the mail here! I could've sworn I saw the entire "TOM DULA" posted here with no mention of Mr. Proffitt--only the K.T.

Now I can't find that posting anywhere. But folks, Sandy has wonderful recordings of Frank Proffitt on Folk Legacy! And didn't you record the one for Folkways too, Sandy? Seem to recall that you did. Of course, they're all packed away!

Art


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Subject: Lyr Add: SEND ME TO THE 'LECTRIC CHAIR^^
From: Art Thieme
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 12:08 AM

Bessie Smith's "ELECTRIC CHAIR BLUES"-----That's packed away too, but I'm thinkin' I might receall it...

Judge your honor, hear my plea, before you open up your court,
I don't want no sympathy--I just cut my good man's throat,
Found him with a travellin' Jane--I warned her before,
I had my knife, and, well, it's plain,
The rest you ought to know.

CHORUS)
Judge, judge, good kind judge,
You can send me to the 'lectric chair,
Judge, judge, hear my plea,
ou can fry me 'cause I don't care.
I cut him with my Barlow (bottle?),
Stabbed him in the side,
Stood there watchin' over him,
While he wobbled 'round and died,
Judge, judge good kind judge,
Please send me to the 'lectric chair.

Judge, judge, good kind judge--send me to the 'lectric chair,
Judge, judge, let me fly away from here,
Don't want no bonded man to go my bail,
Don't wanna spend no 99 years in jail,
Judge, judge, good kind judge,
Send me to the 'lectric chair.

Judge, judge, please Mr. judge,...

I'm sure there's another verse but it's gone from m'head. Somebody else, please take over:


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 12:19 AM

Right you are, Art. I did record the Folkways album of Frank Proffitt, and got Frank Warner to write the notes, since I was recording Proffitt in 1961, and Warner had recorded him in 1938(!), I thought Warner had prior rights to the glory. I'm told that Smithsonian-Folkways will burn a special issue CD for anyone willing to pay a premium for it. Does anyone know whether or not this is true? If it is, one could get Frank Proffitt on CD. My own two albums of his music on Folk-Legacy are only available as "custom cassettes," until we can afford to assemble a CD.

How's the move going, Art? Unpack the joke file first!

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Jon W.
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 12:43 AM

Probably it is Barlow not bottle, Art. Barlow is a type of knife (I believe I learned that factoid right here on the forum).

How about the traditional song Gallows Pole (Hangman, hangman, wait a little while/I think I see my father coming, riding many a mile...)


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 01:48 AM

Sandy--the Smithsonian/Folkways folk will make custom cassettes and/or CDs similar to your Folk Legacy custom cassettes. I got one of Dock Boggs last year. (Its's just this fall that they've released all the Dock Boggs on non-custom CDs.) And the cassette comes in a handsome little box and photocopies of the original material accompany it, but of course, all the photocopied materials won;t fit into the box, no matter how carefully you fold them.

And on the subject:
Write me a letter
Send it by e-mail
Send it in care of
www.birminghamjail.gov


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: BSeed
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 03:29 AM

rich r., strange form of capital punishment? where do you suppose the guard and the sad old padre are headed as they walk arm in arm with the speaker in the song at daybreak, a wedding? unless I'm misinterpreting your post. --seed


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 02:38 PM

"Sing Me Back Home" by -- Merle Haggard & The Strangers? I think I have heard a wealth of capital punishment songs on rural tavern jukeboxes over the years, but this is the only one that comes to mind at the moment.

Also the trad song "Geordie", sometimes sung as "Georgie". It's a Child ballad, IIRC. Gets hanged for stealing deer.

"Bold Lovell" -- see "Whiskey In The Jar" thread, where in this variant he thinks it "bloody hard to swing for liftin' a bit of money." I think there are others about highwaymen getting hanged. One about Dick Turpin, I think.

There should be a wealth of trad songs about people getting hanged -- even that little Irish ditty about the consequences of sticking knives in babies' heads -- but I assume that you mean anti-capital punishment songs.


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 03:52 PM

Not anti-capital punishment songs but ones about the process of the state coldly setting about taking life.

It's when I see the hoops we go through to make execution clean and/or painless and the elevation from nowhere to the front pages, of sad people and their crimes and the pain of temporary reprieves, that I wonder if it is not a self-defeating process.

But again I can see some justification in removing people like Saddam, Stalin and Hitler.


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: rich r
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 07:14 PM

Seed,

Sometimes I don't speak meself so clearly as I think. I guess my problem with that song is that it is altogether too saccharine and nostalgic to be considered a legitimate attempt to grapple with seriousness of capital punishment. The guy in the song might as well be going in for some surgery that has a finite non-zero possibility of being fatal.

rich r


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From:
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 07:41 PM

"East Texas Red" by Woody Guthrie---on my LP (Folk Leacy) __That's The Ticket"__(now on cassette only) -- as well as by Arlo Guthrie on a recording--is about hobos who, harrassed by a sadistic brakeman by "kicking over their stew" at their hobo jungle camp, tell hi that they'll be back in a year to make him pay.

Is this a version of "Sir Gawain and The Green Knight??? Sure might be. (More o' my vascilating!)But that'd be amazing.

When they do come back and "Red comes down the line", with their warm clothes, now, and money in their pockets, he begs for mercy. But they kill him.

As John Steinbeck said, and I paraphrase, 'In these sub-stratas of folks who have fallen through the safety net and inhabit a world outside the mainstream, there are only a few options---ostracism or a quick, decisive fight that instantly settles the problem one way or the other. No good or evil here! Just what is--depending on your beliefs---once again!

Still, no offense intended, good people. Just am stating a point of view---a way to see this other than absolutely evil. There's always shades o' gray.

Art


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: harpgirl
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 07:57 PM

Art,
I remember a verse like this...


.judge, judge, good, kind judge
send me to the lectric chair,
judge, judge Mr. Siricca please
burn me cause I don't care
I have to take a journey to the devil down below ,
I sliced up my sweet patootie
lawd I hate to see her go..... harp


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: BSeed
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 08:04 PM

rich--true, the condemned man doesn't dwell on the mechanics of his coming death or on his possible afterlife, or on any remorse he might have for his crime--but the song's structure, message, and imagery are a bit more complex, I think, than you give it credit for: we first see the condemned man as human, connected to his family and his girlfriend, dreaming about returning to the innocent pleasures of his youth (the oak tree, the walk with Mary), yet aware of the changes time brings--the paint on the old house is now cracked and worn, and the greeting is perhaps one he received on an earlier return home. On first hearing, the first two verses are simple nostalgia for family and home and sweetheart. But when the third verse comes, the condemned man awakes surrounded by the cold grey walls, thinking of the walk to the gallows and his return home, not to be greeted but mourned, the tree of his childhood now his burial site, the green, green grass no longer a symbol of home and youth, but a grave covering.

Anyway, that's the way I try to sing it (avoiding all memory of Tom Jones' overblown version). --seed


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Pete M
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 08:32 PM

Actually Seed, I liked Rich's comment, just got a twisted mind I suppose, but I got an instant vision of someone being put to death by being made to touch grass! Alternatively you could constue it as being buried alive I suppose, either way I have difficulty in taking the song seriously for the reasons Rich gives. Your interpretation may make all the difference of course, but I'm afraid I'll probably never get to hear it.

Eiher way, I suppose I've always felt that the song did nothing to bring out the horror of institutionalized murder, but again that may be down to interpretation, and my, and probably most peoples, have been conditioned by the extant recordings.

On Shambles original question, I don't think political assasination can be justified on moral grounds, and suspect it would be far less effective than may be thought. There are very few cases where the removal of an individual would make that much change to a complex situation. To digress into jargon: the stability of a given system is directly related to both its internal complexity and richness of its links to its environment, not as most people imagine, inversely related.

Pete M


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Greg F.
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 08:39 PM

Then there's Phil Ochs' "The Iron Lady"-

Regards-


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 08:46 PM

Art,

I think you are recalling David Bromberg's version of "Send Me to the 'Lectric Chair." Not that that is bad, just giving you the information. Of course, circa 1974.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: Lyr Add: SEND ME TO THE 'LECTRIC CHAIR
From: harpgirl
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 09:41 PM

No Roger, David's is different:

So Judge, your honor, hear my plea before you open up your court.
I don't crave no sympathy, for what I have to report.
I caught her with a gamblin' Joe I had warned her about once before.
I pulled my knife and I went insane. The rest you already know.

He said, "Judge, judge, good kind judge, send me to the 'lectric chair."
He said, "Judge, judge, hear me, judge: I wanta get outa here.
I want to take a journey to the devil down below.
I sliced up my sweet patootie. I gotta reap just what I sow.
So judge, judge, hear me, judge, and send me to the 'lectric chair."

He said, "Judge, ah, listen to me, judge: please now send me to the 'lectric chair."
He said, "Judge, your honor, mister, sir, I love that girl so dear.
I don't want no bondsman to go my bail
And I don't wanta spend no 99 years stuck in your stinkin' jail.
Judge, ah, judge, hear me, judge: send me to the 'lectric chair.

He said, "Judge, ah, judge, Mr. Sirica, please, send me to the 'lectric chair.
Ah, judge, now judge, meister judge, burn me cause I don't care.
First I cut her with my Barlow, then I kicked her in the side,
Then I stood there laughin' o'er her while she buckled up and died."
I said, "Judge, judge, hear me, judge, and send me to the 'lectric chair."

The breaks aren't quite right but those are his words...harp


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Barry Finn
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 09:46 PM

As Dan mentions above "Danny Deever" is one of the great capital punishment songs along side of "The Night That Poor Larry Was Stretched". A few more well known 'Goodnight Songs' are Captain Kidd & Jack Hall. Not a death penatly song but surely one of the more haunting of all the hanging songs, from Billy Holiday ( & from those that brought us lynching) "Strange Fruit".

I believe I recently saw mention in a thread that this is the only instance where the criminal recieves the same treatment for which they had been convicted of. This form of an eye for an eye justice is supposed to be above us. We don't steal from the thief of force drugs into/onto the dealer (maybe Bill Clinton would perfer this form of reform).

Here's a true story about one of our fellow Mudcatter's, John Nolan. John used to be a cop in Glasgow before coming to the US (see his posting in the thread 'Hamish Imlach' Oct 3, 98 for a little backround) maybe 20 yrs ago when I first met him. He's been thorn to some & a relief to others by his use of the pen for the papers he writes for in southeastern New Hampshire. His writing brought him to sitting in on a criminal case where a death row inmate was trying to get his case reheard. I'm not sure on the little details, dates & how John got involved but he thought something wasn't right in the way the process had or was presently working. What was, is that an innocent man sat on death row & without John's investigating & getting to expose the way the case was originally handled, the man's fate would still remain sealed. The man was released & John is the hero. Now the crime here is that an innocent was forced to lay on death row until a stroke of luck brought about a miracle. Death row is mostly made up of the poor, the undereducated & the Blacks, those that have never seen a miracle or couldn't afford one (ask O.J. if it doesn't cost much to get away with murder). Anyway, it seems as if this death penalty system is to faulty & flawed & does not dish out justice on an equal basis, is definitly blinded to the poorer & is not a determent. If one innocent life is taken, there is no recourse. Does the victim sue the judge, the jury, the DA, the police & the court appointed attorney to regain their life? In these cases there's no room for error & if it exists then there should be no room for this form of reform. Don't hang me for going on so long, sorry. Barry


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Barry Finn
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 11:42 PM

I should've added to the above a version of the "Newry Highwayman" called "Allen Tyne Of Harrow" (not in the DT) & the hanging of the Earl of Derwentwater for treason during the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715 called Derwentwater's Farewell" (in the DT). One more for the lighter side, "Hanging Johnny". Barry


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Subject: Lyr Add: JAMES CONNOLLY ^^^
From: O'Boyle
Date: 21 Dec 98 - 02:18 AM

I've always enjoyed the song "James Connolly" and was going to link to it in the database when I found that the "James Connolly" in the database was the OTHER "James Connolly". So I had to type this thing out. I hope you find it as powerful a song as I do.

JAMES CONNOLLY

A great crowd had gathered outside of Kilmainham
Their heads all uncovered as they knelt to the ground.
For inside that grim prison lay a true Irish soldier,
His life for his country about to lay down.

He went to his death like a true son of Ireland,
The firing party, he bravely did face
Then the order rang out, "present arms! Fire!"
James Connolly fell into a ready-made grave.

The black flag was hoisted the cruel deed was over
gone was the man who loved Ireland so well,
There was many a sad heart in Dublin that morning
When they murdered James Connolly, the Irish rebel.

Gods curse on you England. you cruel-hearted monster,
Your deeds they would shame all the devils in hell
There are now flowers blooming, but the shamrock is growing
On the grave of James Connolly, the Irish rebel.

Many years have gone by since the Irish rebellion
When the guns of Britannia, they loudly did speak
And the bold IRA stood shoulder to shoulder
And the blood from their bodies flowed down Sackville street

The Four Courts of Dublin the English bombarded,
The spirit of freedom they tried hard to quell
But above all the din, came the cry, "No surrender!"
Twas the voice of James Connolly, the Irish rebel.


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: carverconroy@beaufort.com
Date: 01 Apr 99 - 12:28 PM

I've always like Tim Evans that was sung by Judy Collins back in the early 60's. Tim Evans was the last person executed in Great Britain (he also happened to be innocent-a now undisputed fact but a little late for him). cc


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Bert
Date: 01 Apr 99 - 01:18 PM

There's Anne Boleyn.
With her 'ead tucked underneath her arm.

Didn't Jimmie Rodgers do one about
I will go the gallows at sunrise?

Then there's Robert Emmet & Roddy McCorley

Bert


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: DonMeixner
Date: 01 Apr 99 - 03:24 PM

I too would recomend The Iron Lady by Phil Ochs, Sam Hall

andm/or Tallow Candles. Hang on The Bell Nellie and Long Black Veil are favorites.

Don Meixner


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Den
Date: 01 Apr 99 - 05:22 PM

There's no lights on the Christmas Tree Momma They're burning big Louie tonight.


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Bob Schwarer
Date: 01 Apr 99 - 06:14 PM

How about "Burke & Hare", a couple who get hung for their quaint way of supporting themselves.

Bob S.


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Susan A-R
Date: 01 Apr 99 - 09:41 PM

There are a bunch of songs about both Joe Hill and Sacco and Vanzetti (my spelling is supect here, I know) I particularly remember "Two Good Arms" believe it's on a Holly Near/Ronnie Gilbert album called Lifelines. Also Is it Andy Irvine who does Vanzetti's Farewell? There's also an entire compendium of Joe Hill songs out. Its interesting in these instances because the judges in question (and the "State") decided that although it wasn't clear that the fellows had committed the crimes in question, the politics of the criminals were out of line enough with society to warrant their deaths. Then there's Annathea (not trad, although it sounds it) Also, did Leadbelly do any of these? It seems that he must have. Also, there's the one verse in "We Who Believe in Freedom" "Until the Killing of a black man, black mother's son Is as important as the killing of a white man, white mother's son, we who believe in freedom shall not rest. . ." Not sure if it partains to the death penalty (the statistiics here are interesting) or not. Ah well, running out of steam.

Susan


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Jerry Friedman
Date: 02 Apr 99 - 04:05 PM

There's the Irish song about "Shoot me like a soldier,/ Do not hang me like a dog,/ For I fought for Ireland's [memory fading out here]..."

Also the one to "Greensleeves" about Tyburn Tree--surely the musical and poetic high point of The Beggar's Opera.


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Jerry Friedman
Date: 02 Apr 99 - 04:38 PM

...neither one of which is in the DT. Here's the one from The Beggar's Opera (1765), by John Gay. I may have thought the poetry was good because I liked the music. This is sung by MacHeath when he's about to be hanged on the gallows at Tyburn.

Air LXVII.--Green Sleeves.

Since Laws were made for ev'ry Degree,
To curb Vice in others, as well as me,
I wonder we han't better Company,
Upon Tyburn Tree!
But Gold from Law can take out the Sting;
And if rich Men like us were to swing,
'Twould thin the Land, such Numbers to string
Upon Tyburn Tree!


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: MAG (inactive)
Date: 02 Apr 99 - 05:46 PM

Barbara Dane used to do an old blues number where the narrator is a woman whose man is about to hang. I'll see if it's on the one piece of vinyl I still own by her.

Mary Ann


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Bruce O.
Date: 02 Apr 99 - 06:08 PM

For some old ones see my broadside ballad index, Babington & Ballard, Luke Hutton, Earl of Essex, Walter Raleigh, William Grismond (William Guisman in traditional versions). Stafford, Russell, Johnson, Golden Farmer. The bloody Miller. King Charles-I, and numerous other ones (search on 'execute' and 'murder/murther' and 'traitor/traytor') www.erols.com/olsonw


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From:
Date: 02 Apr 99 - 06:20 PM

Add Gilderoy, MacPherson's Farewell, John Felton, The Cutpurse, Ann Askew, Arabella Stuart, John Careless. There's one "Behold our Saviour Crucified" in Rollins' 'Old English Ballads', and another on Anne Saunders. There's also the three part one on George Sanders,and others involved in a murder. Bannister. Faux, Catesby, and Garnet involeved in the Gunpowder Plot.


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: skw@worldmusic.de
Date: 13 Apr 99 - 05:01 AM

What about Bonnie Susie Clelland (Child #65), burned at the stake for being in love with an Englishman? And Eric Bogle wrote a moving song about South Africa, Singing the Spirit Home, from the album of the same title.
Incidentally, Tim Evans was not the last man by a long way to be hanged in Britain. He was hanged in 1950. However, MacColl's song is credited with helping towards clearing Evans' name - which was finally done in 1966.
One of the last to be hanged must have been James Hanratty, the alleged A6 murderer, in 1962. I've just read he is about to be pardoned - strange word! - 37 years after. Another irreparable miscarriage of justice. Derek Bentley is another that comes to mind.
C. P. must have been abolished about 1964, for I remember Hamish Imlach introducing 'Tim Evans' in 1989 with the words 'It was twenty-five years last month since they last hanged someone in Britain. Mrs. Thatcher wanted to celebrate by hanging several people again.'
Hamish DID have a strange sense of humour. He used to introduce 'MacPherson's Lament' by saying that there was a time when simply being a gypsy was a capital crime in Scotland. Unfortunately, this was nothing but the truth!
Who's to decide? I don't believe in C.P., especially if, as in the US, people wait for years and change greatly in the process, and if, as Barry Finn points out, the law favours better-off and better-educated people and leaves the burden to be borne by the poor and uneducated. On the other hand, reading about what sexual offenders and paedophiles do to their victims and learning that a great number of these people are considered mentally ill but untreatable - what are we to do with them? Wait till they strike again? Lock them up for life? Also, what do you do to stop the Milosevic's of this world? I don't know. - Susanne


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Subject: Lyr Add: Clūn Malla^^^
From: AlistairUK
Date: 13 Apr 99 - 07:11 AM

There's the beautiful Irish ballad "Clūn Malla" (sic) which goes:

CLŪN MALLA

How hard is my fortune
How vain my repining
The strong rope of fate
For my young neck is twining
My strength has departed
My cheeks sunk and sallow
As I languish in chains
In the gaol of Clūn Malla

No boy in the village
Was ever yet milder
I could play with a child
And my sport be no wilder
I could dance without tiring
From morning til evening
And my goal ball I'd strike
To the lightning of heaven

At my bedfoot decaying
My hurley is lying
Through the lads of the village
My goal ball is flying
My horse 'mongst the neighbours
Neglected may fallow
While this heart young and gay
Lies cold in Clūn Malla

Next sunday the pattern
At home will be keeping
The lads of the village
The fields will be sweeping
And the dance of fair maidens
The evening will hallow
While this heart
Young and gay
lies cold in Clūn Malla

Repeat First Verse.

I love singing this song, I think I got it from a Dubliners Album many years ago, the name of the album I can't remember.


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: AlistairUK
Date: 13 Apr 99 - 07:12 AM

It doesn't seem to be in the DT can someone add it.


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 13 Apr 99 - 01:34 PM

Has no one mentioned "Captain Kidd" or "Maid Freed from the Gallows," or "Mary Hamilton" (The Four Marys)or "The Cruel Mother?" I may have overlooked them in the thread. If so, sorrry!

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Gene
Date: 13 Apr 99 - 08:44 PM

Marty Robbins recorded 'THE CHAIR'


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Susan A-R
Date: 13 Apr 99 - 11:02 PM

I also remember Margaret McArthur doing one about a man who kills his sweetheart, and is caught.

Something lke this (dredged out of 15 year storage in an increasingly leaky memory)

Come all you wicked young men and hear what I do tell
My name is William Smael and in London I did dwell
I've lately done some murder there, and that is known full well
For my offense I must die

The last line of the verse repeats, and some of the images are pretty chilling. Anyone else have it so I can fill in the gaps in my poror memory?


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: reggie miles
Date: 13 Apr 99 - 11:24 PM

Don't know if this was mentioned previously but there's a book that I have collecting dust here called "American Murder Ballads And Their Stories". This edition is from 1958 by Olive Woolley Burt, Oxford University Press. It seems to touch on some of this. Reggie


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Subject: Lyr Add: I'm On My Way^^
From: Mark Clark
Date: 13 Apr 99 - 11:54 PM

Logan English recorded a song with a chorus that went:

Hang me oh hang me I'll be dead and gone,
Hang me oh hang me I'll be dead and gone,
I wouldn't mind the hangin' but to lay in the grave so long,
Lay in the grave so long.

An old friend, Dwight Saunders, once taught me a song he learned in an Alabama jail called "I'm On My Way." The verses are:

I'm on my way, and I won't be long (three times)
Great God a'mighty, I'm on my way.

I killed a man, beat in his head (three times)
Great God a'mighty, I'm glad he's dead.

Sheriff Colson come, throw'd me in jail (thrice)
Great God a'mighty, I ain't got no bail.

This Durant jail, no jail at all, (thrice)
Great God a'mighty, been here since fall.

That ofay judge, gonna see me fry, (thrice)
Great God a'mighty, I don't wanta die.

But I'm on my way... (repeat first verse)

I've never run across it anywhere else and thought some of you might be interested.

- Mark


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Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: northfolk/al cholger
Date: 14 Apr 99 - 12:08 AM

I appreciate all of the history of Capital Punishment songs...to put it into perspective, the ILWU, International Longshore Workers Union has pledged to shut down all shipping on the West Coast, to bring awareness to the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, on April 24...demanding a new/fair trial....the good part of the music we all love is that it doesn't happen in a vacuum, but is rooted in the issues of the times.


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