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Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project

GUEST,Paul Slade 09 Feb 12 - 07:14 AM
GUEST,Paul Slade 10 Feb 12 - 08:41 AM
GUEST,999 10 Feb 12 - 01:45 PM
RTim 10 Feb 12 - 02:10 PM
Artful Codger 10 Feb 12 - 02:42 PM
GUEST,999 10 Feb 12 - 02:44 PM
GUEST,Paul Slade 10 Feb 12 - 05:08 PM
GUEST,Paul Slade 11 Feb 12 - 03:59 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 11 Feb 12 - 05:14 AM
GUEST,Paul Slade 11 Feb 12 - 06:29 AM
GUEST 12 Feb 12 - 01:47 PM
GUEST,Paul Slade 12 Feb 12 - 02:15 PM
Artful Codger 12 Feb 12 - 03:26 PM
GUEST,Paul Slade 12 Feb 12 - 05:12 PM
GUEST,Paul Slade 13 Feb 12 - 04:47 AM
matt milton 13 Feb 12 - 08:39 AM
matt milton 13 Feb 12 - 08:50 AM
GUEST,Paul Slade 13 Feb 12 - 09:16 AM
GUEST,Paul Slade 13 Feb 12 - 09:23 AM
matt milton 13 Feb 12 - 09:25 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 15 Feb 12 - 10:56 AM
GUEST,olddude 15 Feb 12 - 10:58 AM
GUEST,Paul Slade 15 Feb 12 - 01:13 PM
RTim 15 Feb 12 - 01:32 PM
Artful Codger 15 Feb 12 - 03:06 PM
GUEST,olddude 15 Feb 12 - 05:18 PM
GUEST,Paul Slade 15 Feb 12 - 06:20 PM
Charley Noble 16 Feb 12 - 08:33 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 16 Feb 12 - 09:21 AM
matt milton 16 Feb 12 - 09:37 AM
GUEST,Paul Slade 16 Feb 12 - 10:39 AM
GUEST,John Foxen 18 Feb 12 - 12:52 PM
GUEST,Paul Slade 18 Feb 12 - 01:25 PM
GUEST,John Foxen 18 Feb 12 - 02:44 PM
GUEST, Paul Slade 28 Feb 12 - 09:19 AM
RTim 28 Feb 12 - 10:40 AM
Big Al Whittle 28 Feb 12 - 11:19 AM
GUEST,Paul Slade 28 Feb 12 - 11:52 AM
GUEST,Paul Slade 03 Mar 12 - 08:52 AM
GUEST,Paul Slade 13 Mar 12 - 04:45 PM
GUEST,Paul Slade 13 Mar 12 - 04:49 PM
GUEST,Paul Slade 13 Mar 12 - 04:52 PM
Big Al Whittle 14 Mar 12 - 03:07 PM
GUEST,Paul Slade 14 Mar 12 - 06:55 PM
GUEST,CS 18 Mar 12 - 11:50 AM
GUEST,Paul Slade 18 Mar 12 - 01:02 PM
GUEST,Paul Slade 02 Apr 12 - 05:24 AM
KingBrilliant 02 Apr 12 - 09:16 AM
GUEST,Paul Slade 02 Apr 12 - 10:14 AM
KingBrilliant 09 Apr 12 - 12:59 PM
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Subject: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Pr
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 09 Feb 12 - 07:14 AM

I've just posted free audio online for the first two of PlanetSlade's genuine Victorian gallows ballads. I'm hoping these will be just the beginning of a project that eventually brings all 16 of the ballads back to life as fully-performed songs.

These are the songs knocked out by jobbing hacks in London's Seven Dials slum and sold at public hangings while the condemned man was still dangling. Each song comes with full lyrics, plus my own research on the real crime that inspired it. All the lyrics are well over 100 years old. So far, the audio available covers:

Gallows Child: Original lyrics set to the tune of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen by The Hammond School's Nicola Andrew, and performed by the cast of the school's Christmas 2011 production of Oliver Twist. It's my own field recording from the show's run last month, made and posted on-line with their permission.
Audio: http://tindeck.com/listen/spbc .
Background: http://www.planetslade.com/broadside-ballads-gallows-child.html .

Mrs Dyer, the Old Baby Farmer: A 1960 music hall recording by Elsa Lanchester, the actress who played The Bride of Frankenstein, and salvaged here from a long out-of-print vinyl LP.
Audio: http://tindeck.com/listen/gqqv.
Background: http://www.planetslade.com/broadside-ballads-mrs-dyer.html .

If you'd like to help PlanetSlade bring its other 14 Gallows Ballads back to life too, why not set one of the song's public domain lyrics to your own music and record yourself performing it? I'd be delighted to use PlanetSlade as a central list of links to everyone's recordings or - if you prefer - post your track on-line myself. Bedroom musicians, pub performers, folk clubs and global megastars are all welcome to take part.

PlanetSlade Music already has exclusive free tracks from both Pete Morton and The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, so you'd be in excellent company.

Ideally, I'd like to have links to people performing all 16 of our British Broadsides up and running there, but whether I manage that or not is entirely up to you. There's no money in this for anyone - least of all me - but I think it's a worthwhile project nonetheless. If you agree, please help me spread the word. More details here: http://www.planetslade.com/broadside-ballads-songs.html .

PS) PlanetSlade also has a new Murder Ballads essay up on-line today, covering Pretty Polly and it's 18th Century roots in The Gosport Tragedy. Find it here: http://www.planetslade.com/pretty-polly01.html .


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Pr
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 08:41 AM

No takers? Oh well...


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Pr
From: GUEST,999
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 01:45 PM

Paul, don't give up so easily.

http://www.planetslade.com/broadside-ballads-songs.html


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Pr
From: RTim
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 02:10 PM

I have been singing The Old Baby Farmer for years. I learnt it many many years ago
from my old late friend Dave Williams, in South Hampshire.

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Pr
From: Artful Codger
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 02:42 PM

Are you interested in other gallows songs as well, or only those associated with true stories and broadsides, and particularly those you've researched? For instancee, I sing a version of "The Footboy" (about a man who frames his footboy for theft and has him hanged because his daughter developed a fancy for the man), but to my knowledge any specific antecedents have been lost to obscurity, despite general similarities to some other songs.

I'll take a look at the other broadsides and see if one tickles my fancy enough to set. Do you mind if the lyrics are tightened up?


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Pr
From: GUEST,999
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 02:44 PM

Ya got two good and knowledgeable people there already, Paul.


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Pr
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 10 Feb 12 - 05:08 PM

Thank you, all three.

To 999:
You're quite right, and I'm very glad I decided to bump the post up to the top for one more go-round. Thanks for the encouragement, which is always welcome.

To Tim:
Is your version of Mrs Dyer (as I call it) available on-line anywhere? If so, I'd love to add a link to the relevant PlanetSlade pages pointing people towards it. Failing that, if you'd care send me a recording of it - and give your permission, of course - I'd be delighted to post it myself alongside the two existing tracks.

To Artful Codger:
As far as this particular project's concerned, I think I'd rather keep things tidy by sticking to the 16 ballads already detailed on the site. If you'd like to tackle one of those, that'd be great. If not, feel free to drop PlanetSlade a line with the appropriate link to any other genuine old gallows ballad you may record and I'll be delighted to point people towards it on PlanetSlade's letters page. Let a thousand flowers bloom!

You can contact me via the link on this page: http://www.planetslade.com/contact.html.


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 11 Feb 12 - 03:59 AM

http://tindeck.com/listen/ftwm

I should have said earlier that I'm also quite willing to come out and do a little field recording for this project.

I've got a mini-disc and a decent mike for radio interviews, which is what I used for the Pete Morton recording at the link above. Pete and I just found an empty dining room in the pub he was playing that night, and did the recording in a single take there.

I live in London, but I've already been as far afield as Hitchins and Chester in pursuit of these recordings, so distances like that are no problem.


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 11 Feb 12 - 05:14 AM

Sounds like my sort of thing; put me down for The Silent Grove and maybe we might link it in with my Fiddlesangs project??

contact me directly: sean@sedayne.co.uk


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 11 Feb 12 - 06:29 AM

Thanks, Sean - consider that track reserved for you. I've just dropped you a line now, so please check your in-box.

Sean, for them as don't know, is half of Rapunzel & Sedayne, one of the most critically-acclaimed acts in UK folk right now. You'll find more details of the duo and their album here: http://www.folkpolicerecordings.com/rapunzel--sedayne.html .


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Feb 12 - 01:47 PM

Would I be alowed to sing my own ballads wich my grand mother she had left me all her copyrights ballads like, bonnie glenshee ballads like that


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 12 Feb 12 - 02:15 PM

See my answer to Artful Codger above (Feb 10).


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: Artful Codger
Date: 12 Feb 12 - 03:26 PM

Paul, I've done up a tune for "Streams of Crimson Blood", to which I added a refrain section for each verse, adding a touch more ..um.. color. Once I get it down a bit more, I'll make a low-tech home recording and send it to you.


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 12 Feb 12 - 05:12 PM

That's great, Artful, thanks very much. I do want to keep the focus on the 16 songs listed, as I think it'd be easy for the whole thing to loose shape otherwise. I'll mark down your name against Streams of Crimson Blood, and I can't wait to hear it.

I put a copy of this appeal up on the No Depression board too, and that's netted a chap in Chicago who wants to tackle one of the ballads, so I think we might be in with a chance here.


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 04:47 AM

The chap in Chicago, whose name is Simeon Peebler, has opted for Mary Arnold. To sum up progress so far, then, we've got Gallows Child and Mrs Dyer already up there, plus these prospects:

Mrs Dyer - RTim (additional version)
The Silent Grove - Suibhne Astray
Streams of Crimson Blood - Artful Codger
Mary Arnold - Simeon Peebler

I've no objection at all to having several versions of a single song up there - in fact, it might be quite interesting to contrast the different approaches. If later contributors want one all to themselves though, they'll have to steer clear of the list above.


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: matt milton
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 08:39 AM

They're all very interesting, and I love your site.

But you do notice the difference between them and traditional folk songs. There are plenty of clunky trad folk songs, but those broadsides really take the biscuit! Though part of the appeal of those broadsides is their very clunkiness, their bloody awful rhymes and terrible, clod-hopping repetitiousness. The author of the first, Mary Arnold, seems to know few words other than "dreadful" and "deed"!!

The ones that work best, for me, are the especially florid and bloodthirsty ones, because the crass, child-like doggerel of the words magnifies the coarseness of the subject-matter. I like the Liverpool Lodger very much, there's a lot of dark comedy to its rhymes.

On the other hand, I'd be interested to see if anyone opts to tackle 'The Gallow's Child', a sanctimonious piece of Christian-greetings-card drivel. I suppose you could adopt a "Tiger Lillies" type approach: sing it as if you were callously taking the piss. Actually, it would work quite well as a medley with "Murder at Westmill": both concern a 9-year-old child standing in the dock.


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: matt milton
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 08:50 AM

aha, I see we already have a Gallow's Child. Yes, I can see how that would fit into a production of Oliver Twist!

Funny that they sang it to the tune of God REst ye Merry Gentlemen: that tune kept on popping into my head too, when I read through several of the ballads. I guess it's one measure of iambic quadrameter followed by one life of whatever you call a curtailed measure of iambic quadrameter.


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 09:16 AM

Thanks for that, Matt, and I'm glad you like the site.

I agree that that The Hammond School's treatment of Gallows Child worked well. Partly, I think because it was for a Christmas show anyway (which made the tune doubly appropriate), and partly because it has exactly the same tone as Dickens' own more sentimental passages.

On the question of the printed sheet's sometime-clunky lyrics, I've already said to a couple of potential contributors that they should feel free to tidy up the words where that's needed to make them performable. The guys who wrote these things were not remotely precious about their work, and I'm sure much of it could benefit from the same folk process routinely applied to old ballads we learn from hearing them sung.

On that subject, my new Pretty Polly essay has lyrics for an 1850 music hall parody of The Gosport Tragedy, which mocks just the forced rhymes you mention on the old ballad sheets. Spelt out phonetically to mimic Sam Cowell's on-stage delivery, it opens with the lines: "Young William, he courted her to be his dear / And he by his trade was a ship's carpen - tier."


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 09:23 AM

Oh, and I forgot to ask, Matt: which one can I put you down for?


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: matt milton
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 09:25 AM

well don't put me down for anything, as I rarely have time to do any recording, but if I do I think it'll be that there Liverpool Lodger.


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 10:56 AM

Okay - here's my version of The Silent Grove. Hardly perfect, but I hope it'll do...

http://soundcloud.com/sedayne-fiddlesangs/the-silent-grove


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: GUEST,olddude
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 10:58 AM

My friends
I really like British folk music. I have never heard a "gallows song"
can you give a newbie some examples

Thank you
Dan


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 01:13 PM

I've already dropped Sean - or Suibhne, if you prefer - a line to thank him for this recording, which is a real cracker. The fiddle-playing has a wildness to it which really conjures up the vision of demons swirling round Henry's head and pressing him on to the fatal deed. I've only listened to it three times so far, but the tune's already lodged in my head. Go and listen to it. Go and listen to it NOW.

I'm not sure whether you're after written lyrics or audio recordings, Dan, but you can find examples of both at the links I gave in my original post. I'm sure other people here will be able to point you to plenty of other gallows ballads you could sample on-line.

Right: we're off to a great start! who's next?


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: RTim
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 01:32 PM

At last I was able to load my version of The Old Baby Farmer to my SoundCloud site.
See below.
http://soundcloud.com/tim-radford/the-old-baby-farmer

I also took the opportunity to load another Murder Ballad collected in the New Forest, Hampshire (my home county) called The Murder of John James.


Enjoy.

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: Artful Codger
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 03:06 PM

To olddude: A good place to start is to search for "goodnight ballads". The "good night" referred to is a prisoner's last night on earth before his execution. These ballads are usually related in the first person, as if reporting the miscreant's last words upon the gallows. Some famous examples:

The Flash Lad/Adieu, Adieu
Valentine O'Hara/Allen Tyne of Harrow
Captain Kidd


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: GUEST,olddude
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 05:18 PM

Thank you, I am going to search and listen right now


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 15 Feb 12 - 06:20 PM

Thanks very much to Tim for making his version of The Old Baby Farmer available, which I'll link up to from PlanetSlade as soon as I can.

He sings it unaccompanied in a strong, resonant voice with a trace of his native Hampshire accent, and I'd encourage everyone give it a listen. Elsa Lanchester makes the mistake of turning the song into a joke half-way through, but Tim steers well clear of that error and his version's all the better for it. Great stuff.


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: Charley Noble
Date: 16 Feb 12 - 08:33 AM

Sean-

You've certainly done a fine job of delivering this chilling ballad to the 21st century. It's just the kind of song to "brighten up" a session!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 16 Feb 12 - 09:21 AM

Cheery indeed, Charley...

Giving it a bit more thought - mostly in order to justify my approach to my wife last night who quizzed me about the ostensible jollity of the thing (though I agree with Paul about the psychotic element) I was thinking very much of the 19th Century street singer performing to a mixed audience in terms of age / social class so the song is merry enough for the dancing tots (whose concentration spans would have given up on the narrative by verse 4) but it carries the darkness at its core for the attentive adults, perhaps being made all the more appalling to the more sensitive Bourgeoisie by the brightness of the tune; beguiled by so subversive a dichotomy (and thus beguiled does the Dodger dip their pockets). You don't have to over egg these things in terms of pathos; the formulaic morphology (both in narrative as well as structure) works as basic reportage in an age when Broadside Ballads were mass media. Of course a more Grand Guignol approach would do just as well, but I've been immersed in Broadsides, Edward Gorey (interviews as well as books) and Poe all year, so maybe that's just where my head is at right now.

I think one thing we've lost these days is that crimes are reported, but we never get the full story, much less a song about them (though there were at least two going the rounds about Raoul Moat). In folklore, you still get stories, gossip, and jokes (in especially extreme cases). I remember barely legible photocopies doing the rounds in factories and offices, though these days it's more likely to be texts. People love crime drama - they revel in the details by way of a very genuine catharthis - they need the MMO to contextualise the horror - which is something the Gallows Ballads give us in spades.

Where's Pip on this one anyway? As our resident Folk Singing Criminologist one would have thought it would have right up his dark back alley...


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: matt milton
Date: 16 Feb 12 - 09:37 AM

"I think one thing we've lost these days is that crimes are reported, but we never get the full story, much less a song about them (though there were at least two going the rounds about Raoul Moat). In folklore, you still get stories, gossip, and jokes (in especially extreme cases)."

The closest thing to that these days would be the cult of True Crime. Websites, magazines and dashed-off "airport" paperbacks. The latter being very much a modern, novelistic equivalent of a broadside or a penny-dreadful.

I had to edit a dashed-off, hastily written True Crime book once and it was a very strange experience: having to find out all about serial killers like Jeffrey Dahmer, Peter Sutcliffe et al in order to fact-check and edit what had been written about them. A weird couple of months: I'd frequently feel quite literally nauseous. I remember doing the picture research for the book, and looking at these newspaper photographs online from press photographers of the crime scenes of the Sutcliffe murders: they were really well-constructed, beautiful examples of the photographer's craft, and you had to keep reminding yourself that they were documentary depictions of something truly horrible.


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 16 Feb 12 - 10:39 AM

I've just written a piece about Pretty Polly, including comments from both Kristin Hersh and Jon Boden. They both remarked (quite independently) how that song benefits from the contrast between its gory subject matter and its very jolly tune.

My own view is that you can easily squeeze all the life out of these songs by approaching them in too pious a way. They were written in a spirit of cheerful vulgarity, and I think they're generally at their best when a bit of that attitude creeps into the performance too.

On Matt's point, I always wonder what it must be like for writers who produce a weighty tome on a particularly squalid murderer such as Fred West. Researching and writing a long, conscientious book on that subject - as Gordon Burn did in 1998 - means inviting West into your head for as long as a couple of years, and I don't suppose it's all that easy to expunge his presence afterwards.

I spent only a week researching and writing my own short Mrs Dyer piece, but even then I wanted to take my brain out and give it a good scrub with disinfectant and a wire brush afterwards.

Oh, and Matt? I realise I'm in danger of stepping over the line from enthusiast to stalker here, but if it's any help, I'd be delighted to come and meet you anywhere in the UK to record you doing The Liverpool Lodger on my BBC-approved mini-disc recorder. I could take care of everything from there and, as my Feb 11 Pete Morton link above shows, even this fuss-free method can produce surprisingly good results!


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: GUEST,John Foxen
Date: 18 Feb 12 - 12:52 PM

I'd like to have a go at The Unnatural Murder.
The story must be quite widespread as Camus based his play Le Malentendu on it and I seem to remember it crops up in L'Etranger.


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 18 Feb 12 - 01:25 PM

That'd be great, John - thank you very much.

As I say in my background piece about this song, there are quite a few theatrical versions knocking around, including George Lillo's The Fatal Curiosity in 1736, Camus' play of 1944 and Donald Rawe's Murder at Bohelland in 1991. I think it's just one of those rattling good yarns that bobs to the surface every few decades, sometimes presented as fact, sometimes as fiction.

I've just looked up the L'Etranger episode you mention, and Wikipedia has this: "The plot of Le Malentendu partially resembles the article of a newspaper that the protagonist of The Stranger finds and excessively reads in his prison cell: the story of a man who became rich abroad and comes home to his village where his sister and mother have a hotel. He doesn't unveil his personality (in order to surprise them later), and books a room as a guest. Because he is wealthy, his mother and sister murder him while sleeping."

Perhaps Camus saw a real newspaper clipping like this, and took his inspiration for the play from that report? Mary Arnold seems to have produced some very similar press coverage, so that's certainly one route by which the ballad's tale may have been transmitted. It's one of those stories that's too good to check, and I bet the newspapers would have found a way of recycling it somehow.

I'm working on a new PlanetSlade page now to pull together links to all this project's new music in a single tidy list, but it's going to take a few days to get that organised properly, so please bear with me.


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: GUEST,John Foxen
Date: 18 Feb 12 - 02:44 PM

Re: The Unnatural Murder
I'll try to get something sorted in the next week or so.
If you need to you can contact me at
Foxenfolkmusic@gmail.com


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: GUEST, Paul Slade
Date: 28 Feb 12 - 09:19 AM

OK, the two new PlanetSlade pages are up there now. The first is a tracklist giving links to all the recordings received so far, and the second has a set of sleevenotes drawn from the contributor's own comments.

All we need now is some more of the promised recordings. Artful? Simeon? John? Any progress to report?

Oh, and Tim: would you consider adding a download button to your recording, as Sedayne has done on his own Soundcloud page? I'd love to add your track it to the personal GBP compilation I'm building up in my iTunes file, and I imagine quite a lot of other people would like to have that option too. Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: RTim
Date: 28 Feb 12 - 10:40 AM

Paul - I have made the change you requested.

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Feb 12 - 11:19 AM

Have you got anything left you'd like me to have a go at?


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 28 Feb 12 - 11:52 AM

Thanks very much, Tim - that's much appreciated. I've just had a note from Simeon in Chicago too, who confirms he's cracking on with his version of Mary Arnold, so we're still ticking along nicely.

There's still loads of songs up for grabs, Al. You'll find links to all the 16 ballads' lyrics and stories here.

So far, no-one's offered to tackle these:
The Execution of Nataniel Mobbs (Whitechapel, 1853)
The Life & Trial of Palmer (Staffordshire, 1856)
The Liverpool Lodger (Liverpool, 1849)
Murder at Westmill (Hertfordshire, 1848)
The Murdered Maid (Devon, 1832)
Cruel Lizzie Vickers (Brixton, 1853)
Jones & Harwood (Surrey, 1851)
The Sister & The Serpent (Cambridgeshire, 1850)
The Foreigner's Downfall (Kent, 1857)

If you've got your heart set on one of the others, I've no objection to including two rival versions of the same song, so go right ahead. If you want a song all to yourself, though, those listed above are your best bet. I wouldn't presume to advise anyone which song to choose, so please just pick whichever one suits your style and interests best.


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 03 Mar 12 - 08:52 AM

Streams of Crimson Blood

Many thanks to Artful Codger, whose splendid recording of Streams of Crimson Blood can now be heard at the Tindeck link above. He sings it unaccompanied, adding just the right touch of Victorian horror and melodrama to the tale in his delivery. Music copyright © 2012 by Robert Wahl. All rights reserved.


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 13 Mar 12 - 04:45 PM

No more new audio to report just yet, I'm afraid – although I have received a work-in-progress demo of The Unnatural Murder which John and Margaret Foxen are hoping to finish ready for posting soon.

What I do have is an intriguing bit of trivia. Cassandra Clare is the author of the best-selling teen fiction series The Mortal Instrumemts and its prequel trilogy The Infernal Devices. The books follow the reliable Twilight formula of mixing supernatural creatures with hormone-soaked teen romance, and are shifting by the truckload as a result.

Book two of The Infernal Devices is 2011's The Clockwork Prince, and it's set in Victorian London. On page 191, we find this paragraph: "The carriage came to a stop at an unprepossessing corner. Across the street, the lights of an open public house spilled out onto the street, along with a steady stream of drunkards, some with women leaning on their arms, the women's brightly colored dresses stained and dirty and their cheeks highly rouged. Somewhere someone was singing 'Cruel Lizzie Vickers'."

Now, Cruel Lizzie Vickers is a title I bestowed on that particular song, the original sheet being simply headed "Horrid Murder". I posted my page about it in October 2010, by which time Clare must have been well on her way to completing The Clockwork Prince's manuscript, but it seems safe to assume from the title she's used that she found the song on PlanetSlade. I'm impressed she went the extra mile to find a real Victorian song for her characters to overhear at this point, and chuffed to see it score a passing mention in such a popular book.

The Jetsonics have already offered to do a modern cover version of Cruel Lizzie Vickers, and I'm going to drop them a line with news of the Clockwork Prince connection in a moment. All we need now is a time machine written into the plot, and one of Clare's future volumes could reveal it was them singing it outside her Victorian pub all along.


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 13 Mar 12 - 04:49 PM

No more new audio to report just yet, I'm afraid – although I have received a work-in-progress demo of The Unnatural Murder which John and Margaret Foxen are hoping to finish ready for posting soon.

What I do have is an intriguing bit of trivia. Cassandra Clare is the author of the best-selling teen fiction series The Mortal Instrumemts and its prequel trilogy The Infernal Devices. The books follow the reliable Twilight formula of mixing supernatural creatures with hormone-soaked teen romance, and are shifting by the truckload as a result.

Book two of The Infernal Devices is 2011's The Clockwork Prince, and it's set in Victorian London. On page 191, we find this paragraph: "The carriage came to a stop at an unprepossessing corner. Across the street, the lights of an open public house spilled out onto the street, along with a steady stream of drunkards, some with women leaning on their arms, the women's brightly colored dresses stained and dirty and their cheeks highly rouged. Somewhere someone was singing 'Cruel Lizzie Vickers'."

Now, Cruel Lizzie Vickers is a title I bestowed on that particular song, the original sheet being simply headed "Horrid Murder". I posted my page about it in October 2010, by which time Clare must have been well on her way to completing The Clockwork Prince's manuscript, but it seems safe to assume from the title she's used that she found the song on PlanetSlade. I'm impressed she went the extra mile to find a real Victorian song for her characters to overhear at this point, and chuffed to see it score a passing mention in such a popular book.

The Jetsonics have already offered to do a modern cover version of Cruel Lizzie Vickers, and I'm going to drop them a line with news of the Clockwork Prince connection in a moment. All we need now is a time machine written into the plot, and one of Clare's future volumes could reveal it was them singing it outside her Victorian pub all along.


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 13 Mar 12 - 04:52 PM

Apologies for the double post - could one of the mods please rectify it. Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 14 Mar 12 - 03:07 PM

Okay I'll have a blast at the William Palmer song if no one else has nabbed it. I' ll record a version in about two weeks - my sister is coming to see me tomorrow - so I'll be occupied while she's here for a few days but I can rehearse it - record it when she's gone.


Does that seem okay?


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 14 Mar 12 - 06:55 PM

Sounds great to me, Al - I'll mark The Life & Trial of Palmer down against your name, and look forward to hearing your recording very much.


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 18 Mar 12 - 11:50 AM

What's left Paul?
I could record one of the untaken songs on my little Zoom but might have to ask advice of Mudcatter's for some guidance about tune as I only sing.


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 18 Mar 12 - 01:02 PM

Hi, CS. The current state of play is as follows:

Now on-line
1.        Mrs Dyer (x2)
2.        Gallows Child.
3.        The Old Baby Farmer.
4.        The Silent Grove.
5.        Streams of Crimson Blood.

Tunes selected, recording on the way
6.        Mary Arnold.
7.        Jealous Annie.
8.        The Unnatural Murder.
9.        Cruel Lizzy Vickers.
10.        The Sister & The Serpent.
11.        The Murdered Maid.
12.        Life & Trial of Palmer.

Unclaimed so far
14.        The Execution of Nataniel Mobbs.
15.        The Liverpool Lodger.
16.        Murder at Westmill.
17.        Jones & Harwood.
18.        The Foreigner's Downfall.

Please drop me a line care of PlanetSlade or add another note here when you've decided which one you'd like to tackle. I'm trying to keep a central list of songs and contributors together so we know where we are.

There's lots of talented people here, so I'm sure you'll have no trouble finding a collaborator. Failing that, why not add an existing ballad or hymn tune to one of the lyrics - as The Hammond School did with Gallows Child?


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 02 Apr 12 - 05:24 AM

We have some more fresh audio, this time featuring John and Margaret Foxen performing The Unnatural Murder.

The lyrics are taken from the original ballad sheet, but the tune is John's own. He wrote it with Margaret's soprano vocals very much in mind, and adds his own guitar, fiddle and concertina to accompany her.

You'll find the audio at the Tindeck page here, and the background story on the PlanetSlade page here.


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: KingBrilliant
Date: 02 Apr 12 - 09:16 AM

I'd love to have a go at The Foreigner's Downfall if I may?


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 02 Apr 12 - 10:14 AM

No-one's yet claimed The Foreigner's Downfall, KingBrilliant, so do go ahead and tackle it by all means. You'll find all the details here.


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Subject: RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project
From: KingBrilliant
Date: 09 Apr 12 - 12:59 PM

I know its a murder - but its also a bit of a love story, so I've set it to the Nightingale tune (ish).

The Foreigner's Downfall


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