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.
Will Smith’s entry in the annals of catchy Thomas the Tank Engine remixes is even better than Biggie the Tank Engine. Also, “Insane in the Train” is the perfect title, but that mix isn’t quite up to the gold standard of the others: Here’s Back in Coal Black, just madness:
In Jim Jarmusch’s original short film “Coffee and Cigarettes: Somewhere in California” (1993), Iggy Pop and Tom Waits celebrate quitting smoking by having a cigarette, enjoy some awkward chit chat, and confess their love for IHOP coffee. Here’s Jim Jarmusch talking about shooting the scene: Tom was exhausted. We had just shot a video the […]
The RNC in Cleveland isn’t the only unhinged, drunken, drug-fueled marathon party going on this week. Starting today, thousands of Juggalos and Juggalettes gather in Thornville, Ohio, to participate in the 17th Annual Gathering of the Juggalos, which runs through Saturday. Each year at the Gathering, fans of Insane Clown Posse gather to celebrate the […]
Having to pack and drag your stuff through security can put quite the damper on your vacation plans. Thankfully, we’ve got your back with one way to make traveling more painless: the Jumper Overnighter Travel Bag.This compact bag is so lightweight that you can effortlessly carry it, and fit it into any overhead compartment. But just […]
Learning is a 24/7/365 proposition, and it never ends. And if you’re truly serious about leveling up your skill sets and career prospects, get a subscription to Stone River Academy’s massive course collection. This offer normally is worth over $1,400, but is now available for just $89 in the Boing Boing Store.A respected name in information technology […]
Home audio has taken some big leaps forward in recent years–not just in terms of sound quality, but also in the style department. The FRESHeBAR Leather Soundbar, now 56% off in the Boing Boing Store, is proof.The FRESHeBAR comes packing almost all the options you’d ever need for a home sound system, including Bluetooth streaming capabilities.The unit’s 90 […]