Hello ghouls and goblins! Halloween celebrations in some form has a long and rich tradition in 16th century European and Scandinavia. At roughly the same time the murder ballad evolved right along with it. Both washed up on these US shores with the pilgrims and were shaped, over time, with our own uniques cultural influences and musical styles.
Gallons of blood, and scores of lifeless bodies, have been detailed in many harrowing ditties. The genres of folk, bluegrass and country music count more death and malice
than in metal and gangster rap combined (to be fair, they have had centuries to stack up bodies.)
I bring to you this spooky season some contemporary versions and variations of the murder ballad. From the Wilburn Brothers’ version of “The Knoxville Girl,” an Appalachian murder ballad, derived from the 19th-century Irish ballad The Wexford Girl. There also modern takes like Lindi Ortega’s menacing “Murder Of Crows.”
Enjoy these dark treats and leave your favorites in the comments.
Wilburn Brothers – Knoxville Girl
Rachel Brooke – The Black Bird
Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers – Where’s the Devil?
Lera Lynn – Bobby, Baby
O’Death – Lowtide – Video
Stab – The Pine Box Boys
Lindi Ortega – Murder Of Crows
Porter Wagoner – Cold Hard Facts Of Life
Bobbie Gentry – Ode To Billie Joe
Johnny Cash – Delia’s Gone
The Louvin Brothers also do a nice version of “The Knoxville Girl”
on their “Tragic Songs of Life” LP.