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True Lies: Bob Dylan's Hattie Carroll

DigiTrad:
THE LONESOME DEATH OF HATTIE CARROLL


Related threads:
BS: William Zantzinger dead - 10 January 2009 (35)
Whatever Happened to William Zantzinger?Obit1-09 (158) (closed)


GUEST,Paul Slade 12 Oct 09 - 10:14 AM
John MacKenzie 12 Oct 09 - 10:44 AM
open mike 12 Oct 09 - 10:53 PM
Peace 12 Oct 09 - 10:56 PM
billhudson 13 Oct 09 - 12:14 PM
Jack Campin 13 Oct 09 - 12:34 PM
GUEST,Paul Slade 13 Oct 09 - 02:44 PM
Jack Campin 13 Oct 09 - 08:22 PM
GUEST 14 Oct 09 - 12:57 AM
MGM·Lion 14 Oct 09 - 12:01 PM
GUEST,Paul Slade 14 Oct 09 - 12:25 PM
MGM·Lion 14 Oct 09 - 01:18 PM
Big Tim 15 Oct 09 - 04:44 AM
GUEST,Paul Slade 15 Oct 09 - 08:21 AM
GUEST,Mike 15 Oct 09 - 08:59 AM
Big Tim 15 Oct 09 - 12:21 PM
Mrrzy 18 Oct 09 - 04:21 PM
GUEST,Paul Slade 19 Oct 09 - 05:10 AM
Big Tim 19 Oct 09 - 09:12 AM
GUEST 19 Oct 09 - 09:38 AM
bobad 22 Oct 09 - 09:18 PM
MGM·Lion 12 Nov 09 - 08:55 PM
GUEST,LaurieLee 18 Dec 09 - 12:10 AM
Songbob 18 Dec 09 - 01:31 PM
GUEST,Clive Pownceby 17 May 10 - 08:48 AM
Leadfingers 17 May 10 - 10:14 AM
Les from Hull 17 May 10 - 02:27 PM
Rain Dog 18 Mar 16 - 04:49 AM
The Sandman 18 Mar 16 - 06:13 AM
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Subject: True Lies: Bob Dylan's Hattie Carroll
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 10:14 AM

True Lies: The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll

I've just added a brand new essay about Bob Dylan's 1963 song to my Murder Ballads website. Hattie Carroll was killed by a rich drunk called William Zantzinger, who beat her with his cane when she failed to serve him quickly enough at a Baltimore hotel dance. He received a six-month sentence for the crime, ensuring the case has remained a by-word for injustice ever since.

The essay uncovers some eye-witness accounts of the killing which have not been seen since their appearance in a black Baltimore newspaper 46 years ago. There's also an account of the property scandal which returned Zantzinger to jail in 1991, a look at some of the more unlikely cover versions Dylan's song has spawned, and a few words from Hattie's great grand daughter. Finally, we'll see how The Wire's David Simon has exercised his own fascination with the case and watch as Hattie Carroll begins its journey into history.

If any of that sounds interesting to you, then please click the link above. The site, as I've mentioned before, generates no income, so I'm hoping the moderators won't mind me mentioning it here.


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Subject: RE: True Lies: Bob Dylan's Hattie Carroll
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 10:44 AM

Seems worth appending this old Mudcat thread to this new one.

JM


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Subject: RE: True Lies: Bob Dylan's Hattie Carroll
From: open mike
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 10:53 PM

William Zantzinger died in Jan. 2009
we have discussed Hattie Carroll and
Wm. Z. here several times...and there
are a couple of threads with his obit.
http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=117725&messages=20

glad to see that you have researched this..
and brought it to light again..
it should stay in the public eye so everyone
knows.

Some of Hattie's relatives have posted here.


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Subject: RE: True Lies: Bob Dylan's Hattie Carroll
From: Peace
Date: 12 Oct 09 - 10:56 PM

"Seems worth appending this old Mudcat thread to this new one."

I was just gonna try to link to that. Thanks, John.


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Subject: RE: True Lies: Bob Dylan's Hattie Carroll
From: billhudson
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 12:14 PM

I have been to Paul's site and you would not believe the detail info he has as to this case and song.
Not only this song but other songs which I could not help myself in reading all of his info on other songs.
Damn good research.


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Subject: RE: True Lies: Bob Dylan's Hattie Carroll
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 12:34 PM

One problem with the site: the articles are broken up into "pages", in the same way that newspaper archive sites do it - with no indication of what the content of each page will be, they just have numbers. The reason the newspaper sites do this is to force you see a whole new set of adverts for every driblet of information. But if you're doing this on a non-commercial site, you've got no reason to adopt that model. It's pure inconvenience for the reader and isn't making you any money, so why? Better to either have one large page or split the content up into logically separate topics.

Otherwise it's very well done.


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Subject: RE: True Lies: Bob Dylan's Hattie Carroll
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 02:44 PM

I honestly think you're mistaken in your comments about PlanetSlade's format, Jack, and here's why:

The feature pages on the site each run to about 1,000 words, or roughly the length of a full newspaper feature. Include the box copy, and Hattie Carroll's 13 pages add up to about 18,000 words in all, or enough to fill 72 pages of the average paperback book. That's a hell of a lot of copy to present in one single lump and, even on-line, I think most people would find it very unwieldy.   

In my view, the change you suggest would actually make each article harder to read, harder to navigate your way around and far less appealing as a reading experience. After all it's not that hard just to click the little number at the bottom of each page when you're done, now is it? Especially as the numbers guide bolds up the page you're currently on as a convenient reminder. A thousand words per page is considerably more than the "driblet" of information you imply, and I don't think it's unreasonable to ask people to turn a page after that amount of copy.

The format as it stands divides the site's content first into three category headings - Murder Ballads, Secret London and Miscellany - each of which is colour-coded throughout. Within that, there's the individual features, each clearly identified in every page's headline, complete with periodic section headings to provide a breather when you need one. Where there's a tangental topic I want to cover that doesn't fit within the main feature, it goes in one of the boxes where people can read it later if they choose. I'm sure it's not perfect, but that does seem like a reasonably logical structure to me.

You ascribe the popularity of the "pages" format purely to advertising demands, but it may have just as much to do with the fact that magazines like The New Yorker clearly find it a good way to make their on-line content accessible to readers. I'm sorry you found some aspects of the site difficult to use, but unless I get a LOT more evidence that this is a widespread view, I'm afraid PlanetSlade will be staying exactly as it is.


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Subject: RE: True Lies: Bob Dylan's Hattie Carroll
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 08:22 PM

Your site is, thank god, *much* better done than the New Yorker's. Since I often use a rather slow machine for the web, the excruciating delays in crawling from one page to the next on their site means I have simply given up on it. A paper copy will probably be in the village library, which is only 5 minutes walk away - a lot faster than trawling through the New Yorker website for a sizable article.

If you don't want to put everything on one page (as many sites do when providing what they call a "printer-friendly" alternative), it is more helpful to the reader to use topics rather than numbers. "A Scaffold for Marionettes" or "Hattie Carroll on the Stage" are a bit more informative than "9".

Still, the speed makes up for it to a large extent.


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Subject: RE: True Lies: Bob Dylan's Hattie Carroll
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Oct 09 - 12:57 AM

One probably shouldn't complain about free content, but since the author has shown an interest in discussing the format, and also as a general observation on posting sincerely informative articles such as the one in question:

I agree with Jack that the article would be much more readable and popular as a single web page, preferably with a list of sections at the top of the page, the section names being links to the top of each section (similar to the links to posts at the top of each Mudcat page).

13,000 words on a web page wouldn't be unwieldy in the least with today's hardware and browsers, and in addition to not having the annoyance and distraction of having to change pages repeatedly there would be the considerable advantage of being able to use the scroll wheel, scroll bar, arrow keys, PgUp/PgDown, and especially Ctrl-F search, on the whole article at once.

The side boxes are almost as much of a nuisance as breaking the article up into meaningless numbered pages. They're another tactic better left to commercial enterprises whose primary purpose is to bewilder the reader and make him/her more vulnerable to advertising pressure.


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Subject: RE: True Lies: Bob Dylan's Hattie Carroll
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 14 Oct 09 - 12:01 PM

Seems a shame this thread is being diverted from the song under question to discussions of techniques of posting articles online which are threatening to take over to the extent of needing a separate thread.
Nobody seems to have commented on the appropriateness in actual fact of Dylan's line "She never sat once at the head ot the table". I found this very poignant when first I heard the song: what an example of downtrodden-ness. But it seems that in fact Mrs Carroll was a respectable, reasonably prosperous, family woman, as the full-length pic of her demonstrates; and a respected member of the community. Why did Bob Dylan put in this rather demeaning and gratuitous tear-jerking detail, does anyone think?


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Subject: RE: True Lies: Bob Dylan's Hattie Carroll
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 14 Oct 09 - 12:25 PM

I think the "head of the table" thing was probably part of Dylan's process of dramatising the song, ramping up Hattie's victim status to make his point a little more powerfully. He also calls Hattie "a maid of the kitchen" rather than (as she really was) a barmaid. As I say in the essay, I always suspect that she would have found that demotion quite mortifying.

There's quite a few factual discrepancies in Dylan's lyric - not least the "first degree murder" charge which he wrongly specifies - but the song as a whole is a magnificent success, and that's what counts in the end.


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Subject: RE: True Lies: Bob Dylan's Hattie Carroll
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 14 Oct 09 - 01:18 PM

Agreed, Paul ? a very powerful piece of polemic. I greatly admired your analytical and informative essay, for which very many thanks.

Michael


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Subject: RE: True Lies: Bob Dylan's Hattie Carroll
From: Big Tim
Date: 15 Oct 09 - 04:44 AM

I think Dylan just read about Hattie Carroll's death in a newspaper. His brilliant song was a gut reaction, an instinctive emotional response to the awfulness of the situation - tho probably a little short on factual accuracy as newspaper reports often are.

My daughter was in Baltimore recently and I asked her to check out the hotel but seems like it was demolished in the 70s.

Any accurate biographical info on Hattie Carroll would be much appreciated.


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Subject: RE: True Lies: Bob Dylan's Hattie Carroll
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 15 Oct 09 - 08:21 AM

Actually, Dylan didn't get round to writing Hattie Carroll until six months after the killing, which he'd probably seen reported soon after it happened. We have the clipping he worked from - it was reproduced in Broadside - and it's clear from that that he introduced some factual errors which were entirely his own.

As for accurate biographical info on Hattie Carroll, why my essay is stuffed with it! See the link at the top of this thread.


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Subject: RE: True Lies: Bob Dylan's Hattie Carroll
From: GUEST,Mike
Date: 15 Oct 09 - 08:59 AM

I thing any inaccuracies in the song and the actual event or status of Hattie Carroll can be put down as Poetic Licence.

It is for me one of Dylan's finest songs.


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Subject: RE: True Lies: Bob Dylan's Hattie Carroll
From: Big Tim
Date: 15 Oct 09 - 12:21 PM

Thanks Paul!


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Subject: RE: True Lies: Bob Dylan's Hattie Carroll
From: Mrrzy
Date: 18 Oct 09 - 04:21 PM

Very interesting!

Erratum: "Maryland's must charming couple were back on the street. " I think you mean "most" - FYI.


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Subject: RE: True Lies: Bob Dylan's Hattie Carroll
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 19 Oct 09 - 05:10 AM

Thanks, Mrrzy - I'll correct that later today. I do proof-read this stuff before posting, but there's always something I miss.


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Subject: RE: True Lies: Bob Dylan's Hattie Carroll
From: Big Tim
Date: 19 Oct 09 - 09:12 AM

Is it worth pointing out that Dylan does not use the name 'Zantzinger' (with a 't') either on his original album, in any of his books of 'lyrics' or on his current offical website. He always uses the name 'Zanzinger' (no 't').

Do you think that this was just an error (possibly taken from a misprint in a 1963 newspaper report) or was it a legal ploy to avoid being sued by William Zantzinger (with a 't') ?


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Subject: RE: True Lies: Bob Dylan's Hattie Carroll
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Oct 09 - 09:38 AM

I tackle both these possibilities in my essay. The main newspaper sources which Dylan used both spell Zantzinger's name correctly, so that can't be it. If it was supposed to be a ploy which Dylan thought would shield him from legal action, then it's a laughably naive one. Given all the other details Dylan sets out in the song, who else were listeners supposed to think he was singing about?

It's interesting also that the first published version of Dylan's lyrics that we have (those from Broadside's April 1964 edition) spell Zantzinger's name with a "t" too. I'd love to know whether Dylan had it spelt that way in the lyrics he submitted or whether some helpful Broadside staffer "corrected" his spelling while preparing the magazine for press. You can see the Broadside lyrics here.


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Subject: RE: True Lies: Bob Dylan's Hattie Carroll
From: bobad
Date: 22 Oct 09 - 09:18 PM

I bet he just thought that "Zanzinger" sounded better than "Zantzinger" in the song.


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Subject: RE: True Lies: Bob Dylan's Hattie Carroll
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 08:55 PM

Yes - 'Zan-Zing' makes a more effective piece of alliteration - more 'zing', in fact' & I don't mean that facetiously: with perhaps a sort of overtone [perhaps not altogether conscious, but isn't that how poets work?] of "Sing Sing', the famous prison at Osining.


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Subject: RE: True Lies: Bob Dylan's Hattie Carroll
From: GUEST,LaurieLee
Date: 18 Dec 09 - 12:10 AM

I'm just a teenage girl, and throughout my life I've been taught that racism is as simple as a wrong look. I went to public school and have been surrounded by black people and have had best friends of all races. Maybe you all would rather look upon the insight of someone who sang about someone who read something about someone doing something racist in a time when just about every southerner was "racist". But me, I remember Billy as a sweet old man who told some of the best stories as we sailed around on his boat. Just realize that some of you all are condemning somebodys brother, father, cousin or grandpa to rot in he'll because of something that a famous person heard about in the news 40 some odd years ago.


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Subject: RE: True Lies: Bob Dylan's Hattie Carroll
From: Songbob
Date: 18 Dec 09 - 01:31 PM

My guess on the spelling in Dylan's lyric books is that he didn't do the spelling, or the writing-out of the lyrics. Record-company and publishing-company copyists would do that, from the singing, it seems. And when sung, "Zantzinger" pretty much becomes "Zanzinger," so the copyist wrote what he/she heard.

I know Dylan didn't write his lyric sheets or songbook entries, because "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" in the liner notes or music book published at the time had this:

"The highway is for gamblers, better use your sins,
Take what you have gathered from coincidence..."

That fake Okie accent and nasal singing led to that mondegreen, I'm sure.

Bob


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Subject: RE: True Lies: Bob Dylan's Hattie Carroll
From: GUEST,Clive Pownceby
Date: 17 May 10 - 08:48 AM

Interesting programme on BBC Radio 4 this AM on the event - worth a 'listen again.'


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Subject: RE: True Lies: Bob Dylan's Hattie Carroll
From: Leadfingers
Date: 17 May 10 - 10:14 AM

And they listed the Three errors in the song !!


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Subject: RE: True Lies: Bob Dylan's Hattie Carroll
From: Les from Hull
Date: 17 May 10 - 02:27 PM

Coincidence? I thought it was cow incidents!


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Subject: RE: True Lies: Bob Dylan's Hattie Carroll
From: Rain Dog
Date: 18 Mar 16 - 04:49 AM

The programme mentioned on 17 May 2010 was repeated on BBC Radio 4 Extra yesterday and is available to listen to on the BBC iplayer

The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll


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Subject: RE: True Lies: Bob Dylan's Hattie Carroll
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Mar 16 - 06:13 AM

thanks rain dog. surely? the most important thing is the story of injustice, not his fake accent, or his mis pronunciaton of as name


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