Murder ballads are the true crime novels of the 16th-19th centuries. Lyrics telling the story of a murder were written, printed on broadsheets, and sold within days of the crime. Paul Slade is a UK journalist with a fascination for the history of murder ballads in the US and Europe. He maintains this great resource on the topic. Above, enjoy classic murder ballad "The Knoxville Girl" as sung by the Wilburn Brothers in 1959. While "The Knoxville Girl" is an Appalachian ballad, its roots can be traced back to 17th century England. Here's Slade on his love for Murder Ballads:
Cheerfully vulgar, reveling in gore, and always with an eye on the main chance, these songs were tabloid newspapers set to music, carrying news of all the latest 'orrible murders to an insatiable public.
People get stabbed, bludgeoned or shot in every verse, but the songs telling their tale never die
Then there's the fact that murder ballads never stop mutating, morphing to suit local place names as they cross and re-cross the Atlantic, and changing with the times as they move down the decades to fascinate each generation's biggest musical stars. Victims are bludgeoned, stabbed or shot in every verse and killers are often hanged, but the songs themselves never die.
Gulzada Ryskulova’s musical version of the Manas epic — a folkloric tale usually recited by Kyrgyz men — is nothing short of amazing, as is the tale itself, which was preserved through furtive oral tradition during the Soviet era, in which it was suppressed.
Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of Donkey Kong, Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and countless other videogame masterpieces, sits in with Questlove and The Roots.
I can’t wait to finally see Gimme Danger, Jim Jarmusch’s documentary about Iggy Pop and The Stooges!
The Black Friday Mac Bundle 2.0 is one of the Boing Boing Store’s best-selling Mac bundles yet, and it’s about to come to an end. If you don’t get your copy now, here’s what you’ll be missing:This bundle comes packing 9 top-rated Mac apps in one package, at the hugely discounted price of just $23.99. […]
The Boing Boing Store’s Gift Guide is full of ideas for pretty much anyone in your life like hipster ice cub trays, Xbox controllers, Halo Boards, and even diamond necklaces. As always, all products in the Boing Boing Store come at great discounts, too. Shop by price bucket starting at under $20. Under $20:Bloxx Jumbo Ice Trays […]
Unlike traditional lighters, the SaberLight features an electronic plasma beam that’s both rechargeable and butane-free. This sleek lighter is even approved by TSA, so you’ll never be stuck buying lighters you’ll just have to throw away partially used. For some people, like me, this is a pretty big game-changer. The SaberLight’s beam is actually both hotter and cleaner […]