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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Paul Slade Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project (127* d) RE: Musicians Wanted: The Gallows Ballads Project 16 Feb 12

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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