oyceter: (bleach parakeet of doom!)
[personal profile] oyceter
[livejournal.com profile] rachelmanija gave me a four-day crash course in ballads, traditional folk, alternative folk, and folk-influenced music, especially in murder ballads, while we were driving to and fro around LA. My education has largely consisted of Lyle Lovett, Nick Cave, Johnny Cash, Nick Cave being demented, Andy Stewart, Nick Cave being murderous, Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave being psychotic, Steeleye Span, Nick Cave being murderous and psychotic, Steve Earle, and finally, Nick Cave being demented, murderous, and psychotic. Then there was the bonus Johnny Cash covering Nick Cave being demented, murderous, and psychotic ("The Mercy Seat").

These songs (I am not typing out "ballads, traditional folk, alternative folk, and folk-influenced music" every time, so please just assume that that's what I'm talking about) seem to have several subgenres:

First, there is the very popular "I killed my girlfriend," which is further subdivided into "I killed my girlfriend, and now I'm really sorry," "I killed my girlfriend, and damn did she deserve it," "I killed my girlfriend and now I'm going to fry for it," and "I killed my girlfriend, now I'm going to fry for it, and I'm only sorry that I didn't kill off the entire town while I was at it."

Alas, the "I killed my boyfriend" subgenre is much smaller, although I particularly enjoyed "Henry Lee" ("Marry me, even though you have a girlfriend. Oh no? I guess I'll just kill you"), "The Elf Knight" ("I killed a psychotic elf serial killer with my needle" (really, the needle would have made it that much more awesome)), and "The Ballad of Robert Moore and Betty Coltrane" ("I hid under the table and watched all my lovers shoot each other, then ran off with their wallets").

Then there is the larger "I am a psychotic killer, and I kill people" section, which largely features.... wait for it.... psychotic killers killing people. My favorites of these included "Stagger Lee" (Rachel introduced it saying, "All you need to know is that Stagger Lee is a big, bad motherfucker."), in which Stagger Lee is a big, bad motherfucker (I know this because he said so several times). He shoots a bartender several times in the head, which prompts a woman to ask, "Oh god, he can't be dead!" to which Stagger Lee replies, "Well just count the holes in the motherfucker's head."

For some reason, this makes the woman decide to invite Stagger Lee up into her bed ("It won't cost you a dime, Mr. Stagger Lee"). Stagger Lee's reply is the romantic "I'll crawl over fifty good pussies just to get to one fat boy's asshole." Alas, she is Billy Dilly's woman, and when he discovers them together, Stagger Lee makes Billy Dilly give him a blowjob and then blows his head off.

"Did I hear that right?" I asked Rachel (the first time of many. I would later discover that every time I asked that because I could not possibly have heard what I heard, I had actually heard what I heard).

"Yes. Yes, you did."

"So. Um. He made the other guy give him a blowjob and then blew off his head?"

"Yup!" Rachel replied cheerfully.

My other favorite was "The Curse of Millhaven," in which a young girl named Loretta (Nick Cave growls it out as "Loretter") cheerfully strikes terror into the hearts of her fellow townspeople by crucifying pet dogs, setting people on fire, killing orphans ("Even twenty little children, they all had to diiiiiiie"), and generally wreaking havoc. Rachel noted that she must be related to the Yellow-Eyed Demon of Supernatural, seeing as how "My eyes ain't green and my hair ain't yeller, it's more like the other way around." I think this explains a lot.

She's also rather annoyed when someone finally rats her out and the police have the gall to come and arrest her without even phoning first. She attempts to plead her case in my favorite line, saying, "I know I'm a wicked young lady, but I've been trying hard lately -- Oh fuck it, I'm a monster, I admit it!" Also: "I gotta pretty little mouth underneath all of the foaming." And when asked if she regrets any of it, she replies, "Why yes, of course! There is so much more I could have done if they'd let me!"

Possibly Loretta is the progeny of Sweeney Todd and his chair.

After going through murder, psychosis, more murder, and some more murder, we went on to the subgenre of "I went to Mexico and got shot." Further subcategories include "I went to Mexico and died," "I am on my way to Mexico because my girlfriend dumped me," "I went to Mexico and got into a bar fight," "I went to Mexico and lost all my money at cards," and "I never made it to Mexico because I'm just that big of a loser." I feel that the ultimate expression of this subgenre would be a song in which the narrator is dumped by his girlfriend, attempts to go to Mexico, loses all his money at cards, gets into a bar fight, and then dies. And never makes it to Mexico, of course.

My other favorite songs were drinking songs. We went to Amoeba Records and found the Celtic folk section, which had one section that consisted solely of drinking songs (handily labeled "Drinking Songs"). The best of these was Andy Stewart's "Tak' it, mon, tak' it," in which a miller goes around stealing grain from other millers to distill into alcohol because his mill tells him to.

No, really.

"It's like the talking Gundams!" Rachel commented.

"At least the Gundams don't tell their pilots to drink more!" I said.

Aside from talking mills and murder, there is the very large subgenre of "I got shot in a bar," which frequently encompasses all the prior subgenres. For example: "I killed my girlfriend and got shot in a bar," "I killed my girlfriend at the bar," "I killed the bartender and the man who I made give me a blow job," "I am a raving psychotic mass murderer and ended up in a bar so I could get shot," and, of course, the classic "I am a raving psychotic mass murderer who got dumped by my girlfriend, killed her, ran to Mexico, and got shot in a bar."

Sadly, this entry is getting huge, so I haven't even really covered alt country and Lyle Lovett (summed up by "I suck, no one loves me, and I'm in Mexico with no money"), Nick Cave's take on alt country (summed up by Nick Cave attempting to imitate a wolf howling), and how Nick Cave's songs frequently include credits for wailing and moaning. Oh! I also had the genius idea that Nick Cave should play Sweeney Todd some day. Because you just know that would be awesome.

This rounded out a weekend full of gothic horror in the flavors of American (Johnny Cash), Victorian (Sweeney Todd), Japanese (Onmyouji), and insane (Yuki Kaori, Nick Cave, and After School Nightmare).
Page 1 of 2 << [1] [2] >>

(no subject)

Mon, Oct. 29th, 2007 07:20 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] heavenscalyx.livejournal.com
Akycha informed me the other day, "You know the album is folk music when it starts with a jolly song about a hanging."

You forgot about the duck pond

Mon, Oct. 29th, 2007 07:25 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com
I also played you the world's most emo verse, from Nick Cave's "Where Do We Go Now But Nowhere?"

Round the duck pond we grimly mope
Gloomily, mournfully, go round again
One last doomed time without much hope
Going around and around to nowhere

(no subject)

Mon, Oct. 29th, 2007 07:26 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] telophase.livejournal.com
Were you introduced to "All Purpose Folk Song (Child Ballad #1)", written by Neil Gaiman and recorded by the Flash Girls?

(no subject)

Posted by [identity profile] telophase.livejournal.com - Mon, Oct. 29th, 2007 07:40 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

Posted by [identity profile] fmanalyst.livejournal.com - Mon, Oct. 29th, 2007 09:29 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

Posted by [identity profile] telophase.livejournal.com - Mon, Oct. 29th, 2007 10:42 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

Posted by [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com - Mon, Oct. 29th, 2007 10:44 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

Posted by [identity profile] telophase.livejournal.com - Mon, Oct. 29th, 2007 10:51 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

Mon, Oct. 29th, 2007 07:41 pm (UTC)
ext_134: by ladyjax (Default)
Posted by [identity profile] ladyjax.livejournal.com
Favorite Lyle Lovett song: Church. Listen to the live version on the Live in Texas album.

Also, Shirley is a big fan of country and bluegrass. Hint, hint.

(no subject)

Mon, Oct. 29th, 2007 10:09 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] fmanalyst.livejournal.com
Church!

http://youtube.com/watch?v=mQRJMyJ4ko8

Hee!

Posted by [identity profile] ladyjax.livejournal.com - Mon, Oct. 29th, 2007 10:39 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

Mon, Oct. 29th, 2007 07:57 pm (UTC)
ext_7025: (Default)
Posted by [identity profile] buymeaclue.livejournal.com
Oh, man. My greatest loss when half my CDs mysteriously disappeared was that almost all of my Nick Cave was in the wrong half. It was very, very sad.

::mourns::

(no subject)

Mon, Oct. 29th, 2007 08:49 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ponygirl2000.livejournal.com
Oh Nick Cave! The first time I saw him perform it was at one of the Lollapaloozas. It was a miserable day and he was on early in the afternoon so there wasn't much of a crowd and we were able to get up close. He came out in white shirt with a red velvet jacket carrying a glass of red wine. It started to rain so he took off the jacket, set the wineglass on a stool and moved to the front of the stage so that he would get completely drenched while he sang "It Ain't Gonna Rain Anymore" and shook his fists to the sky and howled and growled. Did he battle the elements or did he call them down? I can't say for certain.

(no subject)

Mon, Oct. 29th, 2007 09:32 pm (UTC)
chomiji: A cartoon image of chomiji, who is holding a coffee mug and a book and wearing kitty-cat ears (Yuki-dreaming)
Posted by [personal profile] chomiji


I bet Rachel can play Tom Lehrer's "Irish Ballad" for you, too! The heroine would make a good sidekick for Loretta.



sings "rickety-tickety-tin ... "

(no subject)

Mon, Oct. 29th, 2007 09:50 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] londonkds.livejournal.com
I have often suspected that "Curse Of Millhaven" was inspired by "Irish Ballad".

(no subject)

Posted by [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com - Mon, Oct. 29th, 2007 10:44 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

Posted by [personal profile] chomiji - Mon, Oct. 29th, 2007 11:46 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

Posted by [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com - Tue, Oct. 30th, 2007 03:30 am (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

Mon, Oct. 29th, 2007 09:48 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] readsalot.livejournal.com
Steeley Span has lots of gory songs! A visiting friend was surprised to walk in on me merrily singing along with Steeleye Span's "Long Lankin", ("There was blood all in the kitchen, there was blood all in the hall, there was blood all in the parlor, where my lady she did fall.")

There's also a couple in which, after killing some young man, the killers bring his heart to his lover, just because. :)

(no subject)

Mon, Oct. 29th, 2007 11:05 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] nineweaving.livejournal.com
That's a great version for cleaning to: "There was crud all in the kitchen..."

Nine

(no subject)

Posted by [personal profile] chomiji - Mon, Oct. 29th, 2007 11:54 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

Mon, Oct. 29th, 2007 09:51 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] londonkds.livejournal.com
It is my personal opinion that every single song Nick Cave has ever written could be vidded for Spike or Angel(us), either souled or unsouled. Apart from "Robert Moore and Betty Coltrane", which is Saffron from Firefly.

(no subject)

Mon, Oct. 29th, 2007 09:54 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] james-nicoll.livejournal.com
No "I killed the boyfriend of the woman who I am convinced loves me and yet she is not grateful for this" songs?

And then I had to stand my trial, I had to make my plea.
They placed me in a pris'ner's dock and then commenced on me.
Although she swore my life away, deprived me of my rest.
Still I love my faithless Flora, the lily of the west.
(http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/FLORA-lyrics-Peter-Paul-Mary/278B3983D41A645C48256A2200256DD2)

There's an earlier bit where he claims

courted lovely Flora, she promised ne'er to go.

But I suspect a third party would have heard her say "Go away, you horrible little man."

(no subject)

Mon, Oct. 29th, 2007 10:07 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] fmanalyst.livejournal.com
Ha! I always thought the same thing about Lily of the West, and for some reason the Chieftains keep wanting to do versions of it whenever they have the guest vocalists.

(no subject)

Mon, Oct. 29th, 2007 09:57 pm (UTC)
ext_6428: (Default)
Posted by [identity profile] coffeeandink.livejournal.com
Oh! Plus there are folk songs about incest which would suit Gonou and Kanan perfectly! Make Rachel play you some!

(no subject)

Mon, Oct. 29th, 2007 10:05 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] fmanalyst.livejournal.com
Murder ballads! I collect the Appalachian versions. You have to hear Ralph Stanley sing these songs. I love his version of Little Matty Groves.


(no subject)

Mon, Oct. 29th, 2007 10:08 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] jacquez.livejournal.com
Lyle Lovett, Nick Cave, Johnny Cash, Nick Cave being demented, Andy Stewart, Nick Cave being murderous, Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave being psychotic, Steeleye Span, Nick Cave being murderous and psychotic, Steve Earle, and finally, Nick Cave being demented, murderous, and psychotic. Then there was the bonus Johnny Cash covering Nick Cave being demented, murderous, and psychotic ("The Mercy Seat").

This is pretty much my "favorites (dark)" playlist. Only I think I have some Pogues in there, too.

(no subject)

Mon, Oct. 29th, 2007 10:45 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com
She forgot about the Pogues! I also played her "Turkish Song of the Damned," among others.

(no subject)

Posted by [identity profile] jacquez.livejournal.com - Tue, Oct. 30th, 2007 01:52 am (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

Mon, Oct. 29th, 2007 10:18 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] fmanalyst.livejournal.com
I nearly forgot.

Henry Lee -- Ralph Stanley's version has the verses:

Fly down fly down you little bird
And alight on my right knee
Your cage will be the purest gold
In deed of property

I can't fly down I won't fly down
And alight on your right knee
A girl would murder her own true love
Would kill a little bird like me

(no subject)

Mon, Oct. 29th, 2007 11:02 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] nineweaving.livejournal.com
I like the murderous lady's complaint to her waiting women: "There's a dead man in my bower." As if he were a cold pizza. In some versions, they drag him to the well, befouling it; in others, they drag him to the river. She then tells his people that he must having drowned on his way to that other fictitious lady's bower; then when he's dragged up with an inconvenient knife wound, she frames her maid. But the body bleeds when the lady walks by it, so they hang or burn her, and the bird comes and jeers.

I love ballads.

Nine

(no subject)

Tue, Oct. 30th, 2007 12:03 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] forodwaith.livejournal.com
Hee! If you haven't already encountered it, do check out Things I’ve learned from British folk ballads (http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/006448.html).

(no subject)

Tue, Oct. 30th, 2007 02:40 am (UTC)
ext_3386: (Default)
Posted by [identity profile] vito-excalibur.livejournal.com
I'm not sure that's my favorite Making Light post; it may simply be my favorite thing on the Internet ever.

(no subject)

Tue, Oct. 30th, 2007 12:08 am (UTC)
ext_12857: (Default)
Posted by [identity profile] octopedingenue.livejournal.com
Squeeeeee! I only know some of these, so I am happy to have more to seek out. I demand samples!

L is for LOVE baby
O is for O yes I do
V is for VIRTUE, so I ain't gonna hurt you
E is for EVEN if you want me to


A scary number of my OTPs get vidded in my head to Nick Cave.

(no subject)

Tue, Oct. 30th, 2007 12:11 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] melieltathariel.livejournal.com
Excellent summary.
There is also the "my parents don't like my boyfriend" genre. Including such categories as "my parents don't like my boyfriend so they killed him", "my parents don't like my boyfriend so they killed me", and "my parents don't like my boyfriend so I killed myself".

(no subject)

Tue, Oct. 30th, 2007 12:53 am (UTC)
ext_12512: Hinoe from Natsume Yuujinchou, elegant and smirky (Sokka: poetrybending by sporkyadrasteia)
Posted by [identity profile] smillaraaq.livejournal.com
This post is PURE LOVE. And I am seriously starting to wonder if Rachel's CD collection and my CD collection were separated at birth!

The two big favorites I'd add here that haven't already been mentioned are Oysterband's The Oxford Girl (http://64.233.169.104/search?q=cache:vKbSs-Hv1QIJ:bob.bob.bofh.org/~giolla/oysterband/OG.html+giolla+oysterband+oxford+girl&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=2&gl=us), which is an answer to all the I-murdered-my-girlfriend ballads imagined from the dead girl's POV:

O she was bound to lose
if she set her face to choose
They never could excuse her
for stirring up their fears
She was much too young
now the earth has stopped her tongue
You can hear the voices
calling down the years

She says, I never had a chance
to prove them wrong
My time was short, the story long
No I never had a chance
to prove them wrong
It's always them that write the song...


And all of Snakefarm's Songs For My Funeral (http://www.artistdirect.com/nad/music/artist/card/0,,494944,00.html), which gives classic murder ballads like "Frankie and Johnny" and "Streets of Laredo" a sort of dark, moody, trip-hop makeover.

Although if you want to move on to a more modern subgenre of folky tragedies, I may still have a saved post where I reccing a friend tons of jaunty, catchy songs about horrible mining disasters.

(I love this stuff so, so much. It's an entire GENRE full of ROCKS FALL, EVERYONE DIES!)

(no subject)

Tue, Oct. 30th, 2007 01:57 am (UTC)
chomiji: Hotaru from Samurai Deeper Kyp, looking horrified, with the caption OMGZWYF?! Translate plz (hotaru - OMGWTF?)
Posted by [personal profile] chomiji


>> catchy songs about horrible mining disasters <<



Eh? The only one that comes to mind is "Springhill Mining Disaster," which isn't very jaunty ... (I'm sure there are plenty more ... I'm just wondering about the "catchy").


Did I mention I have the complete Child Ballads in paperback? They were my late father's ... I grew up listening to this stuff, along with Broadway musicals. I suspect this explains a great deal ... .

(no subject)

Posted by [identity profile] smillaraaq.livejournal.com - Tue, Oct. 30th, 2007 03:21 am (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

Posted by [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com - Tue, Oct. 30th, 2007 03:35 am (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

Posted by [identity profile] smillaraaq.livejournal.com - Tue, Oct. 30th, 2007 04:09 am (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

Posted by [identity profile] coffeeandink.livejournal.com - Tue, Oct. 30th, 2007 03:33 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

Posted by [identity profile] smillaraaq.livejournal.com - Wed, Oct. 31st, 2007 02:46 am (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

Posted by [identity profile] smillaraaq.livejournal.com - Wed, Oct. 31st, 2007 01:14 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

Posted by [identity profile] coffeeandink.livejournal.com - Wed, Oct. 31st, 2007 02:23 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

Posted by [identity profile] smillaraaq.livejournal.com - Wed, Oct. 31st, 2007 02:53 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

Posted by [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com - Wed, Oct. 31st, 2007 05:27 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

Posted by [identity profile] smillaraaq.livejournal.com - Wed, Oct. 31st, 2007 02:42 am (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

Tue, Oct. 30th, 2007 03:37 am (UTC)
ext_2208: image of romaine brooks self-portrait, text "Lila Futuransky" (Default)
Posted by [identity profile] heyiya.livejournal.com
I am now listening to Nick Cave and wishing there was more old-school folk on my ipod. :)

(no subject)

Tue, Oct. 30th, 2007 04:23 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] daedala.livejournal.com
*giggles hysterically*

(no subject)

Tue, Oct. 30th, 2007 04:30 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] dsgood.livejournal.com
For real darkness, I recommend ballads from the Scottish Border. If country songs can be summarized as "My wife left me, my dog left me," Border ballads are more "My wife poisoned me, my dog shot me in the back."

And there's quite a bit about taking from the rich, but almost nothing about giving to the poor.

(no subject)

Tue, Oct. 30th, 2007 12:33 pm (UTC)
Posted by (Anonymous)
Kris Kristofferson?

(no subject)

Tue, Oct. 30th, 2007 01:00 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] baldanders.livejournal.com
Richard Thompson's description of his own songwriting: "Boy meets girl. Blood everywhere."

(no subject)

Tue, Oct. 30th, 2007 07:00 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] rushthatspeaks.livejournal.com
My favorite WTF Nick Cave moment was when I was watching the movie Wings of Desire, and then suddenly there he was. And I mean, it was nice and all, but it was rather sudden.

(no subject)

Tue, Oct. 30th, 2007 07:01 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] rushthatspeaks.livejournal.com
Oh, and the (quite good) movie Black Snake Moan has Samuel L. Jackson singing 'Stagger Lee'.

(no subject)

Tue, Oct. 30th, 2007 08:55 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] pinkdormouse.livejournal.com
I love your summaries there. 'Murder Ballads' seems all the more awesome because of them.
Page 1 of 2 << [1] [2] >>

Profile

oyceter: teruterubouzu default icon (Default)
Oyceter

February 2017

S M T W T F S
   1234
567891011
12 131415161718
19202122232425
262728    

Most Popular Tags

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags