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Origins: murder ballads

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quokka 27 Sep 08 - 10:00 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Sep 08 - 12:09 PM
Steve Gardham 27 Sep 08 - 07:14 PM
Girl Friday 27 Sep 08 - 07:44 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 27 Sep 08 - 09:43 PM
John O'L 27 Sep 08 - 10:39 PM
GUEST,Volgadon 28 Sep 08 - 01:40 AM
Thompson 28 Sep 08 - 04:30 AM
quokka 28 Sep 08 - 08:40 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Sep 08 - 01:18 PM
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Subject: Origins: murder ballads
From: quokka
Date: 27 Sep 08 - 10:00 AM

Just heard that the origins of murder ballads were that the stories of the particular murder were sold for a penny at the hanging... any more info?

Quokka


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Subject: RE: Origins: murder ballads
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Sep 08 - 12:09 PM

According to Bert Lloyd somewhere in the writings of Daniel Defoe (never been able to find it) there is a description of balladmakers visiting condemned men in the prisons and taking down details of their crimes (last confessions), then making ballads of them to be sold at the (public) hangings. They were referred to as 'goodnight ballads' because of the practice of the crowds at the hangings of shouting "goodnight" as the noose tightened around the prisoners neck.
Two books worth seeking our (though probably long out-of-print).
Bloody Versicles - The Rhymes of Crime by Johnathan Goodman (David and Charles 1971)
and the somewhat odd but interesting:
The Newgate Garland, W.L.Hanchant (Desmond Harmsworth 1932)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: murder ballads
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Sep 08 - 07:14 PM

To add to Jim's piece which I've always assumed to be the case mostly the confessions were written in the first person as though the condemned persons had written them. I'm also sure that many of them were written without going anywhere near the condemned person. Nobody particularly expected accuracy any more than of the gutter press nowadays. For the tricks employed by the printers and patterers Leslie Shepard's books are useful.


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Subject: RE: Origins: murder ballads
From: Girl Friday
Date: 27 Sep 08 - 07:44 PM

Would the Defoe reference be in Moll Flanders ?


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Subject: RE: Origins: murder ballads
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 27 Sep 08 - 09:43 PM

Emrich lists two books which include murder ballads (American), with discussion.

Laws, G. Malcolm, Jr. "Native American Balladry: A Descriptive Study and a Bibloigraphic Syllabus." American Folklore Society, Biblio. and Special Series vol. 1, 1950; revised ed. 1964.

Burt, Olive Wooley, 1958, American Murder Ballads and Their Stories. Oxford Univ. Press, NY.


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Subject: RE: Origins: murder ballads
From: John O'L
Date: 27 Sep 08 - 10:39 PM

Who's been watching RocKwiz, eh?


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Subject: RE: Origins: murder ballads
From: GUEST,Volgadon
Date: 28 Sep 08 - 01:40 AM

However, I don't think murder ballads sprang from these anymore than did, say, Agatha Christie novels!


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Subject: RE: Origins: murder ballads
From: Thompson
Date: 28 Sep 08 - 04:30 AM

Early redtops.


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Subject: RE: Origins: murder ballads
From: quokka
Date: 28 Sep 08 - 08:40 AM

Why, yes, John, I believe I did watch that particular show on Saturday night...obviously I wasn't the only one! They do have some interesting guest musicians...and some of the knowledge from the contestants blows my mind. And thank you to Jim, Steve and Q for your contributions to this thread. It's a subject that has always fascinated me...what does that say?(!)

Cheers,
Quokka


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Subject: RE: Origins: murder ballads
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Sep 08 - 01:18 PM

"Would the Defoe reference be in Moll Flanders ?"
Can't remember it being there, but I'll re-check.
I always suspected it was in 'Journal of The Plague Year' - but that's a big and very diverse book.
Thanks for the suggestion.
Jim Carroll


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