This month sees the completion of PlanetSlade's gallows ballads project. All 16 of the ballads I set out to cover a year ago are there online now, each with its full lyrics, my own research on the real-life crime that inspired them and a scan of the original broadsheet itself.
The final batch of songs feature what I think are four of our most remarkable killers yet:
Jones and Harwood (1851)
Hiram Smith saves his own neck by turning state's evidence to ensure his innocent friend hangs instead.
The Sister and the Serpent (1850).
Mary Reeder kills to satisfy what is little more than a teenage crush on her brother-in-law.
Jealous Annie (1848).
Annette Meyers takes revenge when her sleazy soldier boyfriend suggests she pimp herself out for cash.
The Foreigner's Downfall (1857).
Dedea Redanies loves his two victims so much that he draws tearful pictures of himself killing them.
This has been a fascinating project to reseach and write for me - but it's not finished yet. What we need now are some eager musicians to set these vintage lyrics to fresh tunes and bring them back to life as fully-performed songs. Over to you, folks...