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Body-Snatching Songs

17 Nov 02 - 02:44 PM (#828514)
Subject: Body-Snatching Songs
From: KJ

I've set a Thomas Hood poem about body-snatching to music. Are there any other songs out there? A quick google search didn't throw up an awful lot.

17 Nov 02 - 03:35 PM (#828552)
Subject: RE: Body-Snatching Songs
From: Kenny B (inactive)

Burke & Hare (DT)
Burke & Hare by Robin Laing

There is a pub in Edinburgh called the Burke and Hare where bodies can be viewed for a price but not touched.
So I am led to believe. :>}

17 Nov 02 - 08:51 PM (#828695)
Subject: RE: Body-Snatching Songs
From: Margaret V

Richard Thompson references Burke and Hare in his song "Long Dead Love" which is on his 1986 album "Daring Adventures." But they're just used as a metaphor for dredging up dead love affairs, the song isn't really about grave-robbing.

18 Nov 02 - 02:01 PM (#829138)
Subject: RE: Body-Snatching Songs
From: Hollowfox

I've heard a couple of songs about body snatching gone awry. The Black Cook is in the Digital Tradition. Margaret MacArthur does one about a scolding wife who seemingly passes away and her "grieving" widower sells her remains to the local doctor, where she revives more caustic than before. I'll see if I can remember the name.

18 Nov 02 - 02:17 PM (#829148)
Subject: RE: Body-Snatching Songs
From: GUEST,Claymore

What about "I Hold your Hand in Mine" by Tom Leher? As in:

I hold your hand in mine, Dear
I press it to my lips,
But now each time I kiss it,
I get blood stains on my lips...

The night you died, I cut it off
I really don't know why,
'cause now each time I hold it,
I get blood stains on my tie... (and so forth)

Also, many of the songs in "Sweeny Todd".

18 Nov 02 - 02:23 PM (#829155)
Subject: RE: Body-Snatching Songs
From: SussexCarole

I found the Thomas Hood poem set to music in a book printed in the 1920's - not sure when the music was written - will check if wanted. I prefer to sing this to the tune of Barbara Allen.

19 Nov 02 - 11:00 AM (#829872)
Subject: RE: Body-Snatching Songs
From: gnomad

The Ripley Wayfarers used to have one called (as I recall) The Resurectionists, recorded on an LP called Five Wells or something like that. My impression is that it was a home-grown song, rather than trad.

Sorry to be vague, I'm a few miles from my LP collection just now.

19 Nov 02 - 03:22 PM (#830122)
Subject: RE: Body-Snatching Songs
From: GUEST,Nerd

Robin Laing (I think) wrote a song about "Burke and Hare." The lyrics began:

Burke and Hare were a terrible pair
Their deeds were beyon belief

I'll o a web search and see what turns up.

19 Nov 02 - 07:49 PM (#830262)
Subject: RE: Body-Snatching Songs
From: Dita

Burke's Confession

William Burke it is my name
In Ireland I was born
My place and habitation
I'm forced to leave with scorn
And o'er to Scotland I did go
Employment for to find
Thoughts of cruel murder
Were very far from mind.

Now Edinburgh trade being dull
No work there could be found
I started on my travels
For Glasgow I was bound
I fetched up at the West Port
To seek refreshment there
I now repent the evil hour
I met with William Hare.

Being a stranger in the place
I thought him very kind
And little knew the hard thoughts
That Hare had in his mind
He showed me to his lodging house
It was upon the way
This man he kept poor lodgers
and stole their lives away

To join these cruel murders
At first I was afraid
But soon my mind got hardened
I joined in their trade
I kept a loging house myself
To fortify this man
For the price the Doctors gave us
We murdered many a one

But soon we were discovered
And both led into jail
I knew that I was guilty
My heart began to fail
Twas him that first ensnared me
And led me first astray
Against me turned King's evidence
And swore my life away

William Burke it is my name
In Ireland I was born.

Five versions of this can be found in Greig-Duncan Vol 2 (song 192)
The above version is not any of them but is either a composite or from another source.

From the singing of Avril Cleland (At least V.1,2,4&5 are)

love, john

20 Nov 02 - 05:52 PM (#831078)
Subject: RE: Body-Snatching Songs
From: Dave the Gnome

What about 'Bring back my body to me...' ;-)

More seriously, and out of interest (well, to me anyway!) Swinton Folk Club was held for a short while at the Bulls Head in Swinton, Manchester, facing St Peters church. St Peters churchyard had been robbed a couple of times in the grim and distant past and a group of worthy locals decided to form a club to watch over the graveyard at night. It was in the very room we held the folk club and our residents at the time decided to give themselves the same name as those worthy gentlemen all those years ago - The Watchers!

The club had a wonderful atmosphere but, alas, it fell to progress and while the pub is now a plastic palace full of alcopop drinking youths the upstairs rooms are in ruin...

Ah well.


Dave the Gnome

21 Nov 02 - 09:40 AM (#831581)
Subject: RE: Body-Snatching Songs
From: GUEST,Mr Red

there is always the "Butcher's Song" (gets coat before brickbats fly)

Butcher Arms around me Honey - hold me close..............

21 Nov 02 - 11:01 AM (#831653)
Subject: RE: Body-Snatching Songs
From: Mrrzy

That above Tom Lehrer line is "I take a healthy bite of your dainty fingertips"...

In many love songs where one lover dies and the other does the year-and-a-day thing on the grave till the dead lover rises, the live lover always wants a last kiss and the dead lover always says something like If you take one kiss from my cold clay lips your time will not be long, meaning a kiss from the corpse or ghost would be deadly. But then in The Suffolk Miracle, the risen corpse is with his lady-love who doesn't know he's dead, and at one point "she kissed his lips and then did say, My dear you're colder than the clay" - and the song ends when the grave is opened to prove to her that he really has been dead for a year. But I always figured that after the end of the song, she would have to die, no? So would that count?

21 Nov 02 - 08:32 PM (#832095)
Subject: RE: Body-Snatching Songs
From: Charley Noble

There's "Sweeney Todd the Barber" but that's more of a recycling song...

"Over the Ground & Under the Ground" but that involves falling into a newly dug grave and no snatch to speak of...

There's "Stormalong" but that's pretty much burial, no verses about digging him back up...

Charley Noble