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What are your favorite story songs?

olddude 02 Mar 11 - 09:47 AM
scouse 02 Mar 11 - 10:57 AM
olddude 02 Mar 11 - 12:06 PM
Little Robyn 02 Mar 11 - 01:56 PM
Amos 02 Mar 11 - 02:36 PM
GUEST,Guest from Sanity 02 Mar 11 - 03:00 PM
catspaw49 02 Mar 11 - 03:13 PM
kendall 02 Mar 11 - 04:26 PM
Young Buchan 02 Mar 11 - 04:31 PM
GUEST,Tony 02 Mar 11 - 05:01 PM
Sian H 02 Mar 11 - 05:18 PM
catspaw49 02 Mar 11 - 05:56 PM
Jason Xion Wang 03 Mar 11 - 07:16 AM
mrmoe 03 Mar 11 - 07:44 AM
Brakn 03 Mar 11 - 08:05 AM
PHJim 03 Mar 11 - 08:26 AM
Tootler 03 Mar 11 - 09:41 AM
Arkie 03 Mar 11 - 12:33 PM
PHJim 03 Mar 11 - 06:17 PM
Tootler 03 Mar 11 - 06:59 PM
GUEST,Joe G 03 Mar 11 - 07:07 PM
GUEST,Neil D 03 Mar 11 - 08:43 PM
GUEST,leeneia 03 Mar 11 - 11:12 PM
Piers Cawley 04 Mar 11 - 01:17 AM
Spleen Cringe 04 Mar 11 - 02:32 AM
Jason Xion Wang 04 Mar 11 - 06:42 AM
GUEST 04 Mar 11 - 07:52 AM
PHJim 04 Mar 11 - 02:22 PM
GUEST,kendall 05 Mar 11 - 10:41 AM
Stringsinger 05 Mar 11 - 12:24 PM
The Sandman 05 Mar 11 - 02:02 PM
ChanteyLass 05 Mar 11 - 02:18 PM
Tootler 05 Mar 11 - 02:20 PM
olddude 05 Mar 11 - 03:24 PM
GUEST,John Garst 05 Mar 11 - 05:09 PM
GUEST,MaryLiz 06 Mar 11 - 05:02 AM
GUEST 06 Mar 11 - 07:07 AM
Phil Cooper 06 Mar 11 - 08:08 AM
GUEST,Elmore 06 Mar 11 - 04:54 PM
reggie miles 07 Mar 11 - 01:45 AM
Arkie 07 Mar 11 - 11:57 AM
Arkie 07 Mar 11 - 12:02 PM
Deckman 07 Mar 11 - 11:23 PM
Bob Landry 07 Mar 11 - 11:42 PM
Tim Chesterton 08 Mar 11 - 01:53 AM
J-boy 08 Mar 11 - 02:12 AM
GUEST,Paul Slade 08 Mar 11 - 04:39 AM
Smedley 08 Mar 11 - 07:28 AM
Acorn4 08 Mar 11 - 07:34 AM
Fred McCormick 08 Mar 11 - 07:56 AM
oldhippie 08 Mar 11 - 08:48 AM
GUEST,Hilary 08 Mar 11 - 04:41 PM
GUEST,Robo 08 Mar 11 - 05:15 PM
BrooklynJay 09 Mar 11 - 01:25 PM
GUEST,McoyHatfeud 09 Mar 11 - 03:41 PM
lefthanded guitar 10 Mar 11 - 02:45 PM
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Subject: What is your favorite story songs?
From: olddude
Date: 02 Mar 11 - 09:47 AM

I love songs that tell a story. There is so many but off hand some of my favorite story songs (not in any order)

Harry Chapin (taxi)
Tom Waits (Invitation to the blues)
Art Thieme (Billy Venero)
Kendall (Mrs. Ravoon)
Some of the great English Ballads I heard from the catters

How about you


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Subject: RE: What is your favorite story songs?
From: scouse
Date: 02 Mar 11 - 10:57 AM

Stan Rogers.. The Jeanie C
Townes Van Zandt... Tecumseh Valley
Kris Kristofferson... Sunday Mornin' coming down.
Nic Jones....Little Musgrave
John Prine... Sam Stone

Just to mention a few.

As Aye,

Phil.


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Subject: RE: What is your favorite story songs?
From: olddude
Date: 02 Mar 11 - 12:06 PM

Good choices Phil
May I add John Prine "Hello in there"


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Subject: RE: What is your favorite story songs?
From: Little Robyn
Date: 02 Mar 11 - 01:56 PM

Eric Bogle..... And the band played Waltzing Matilda and No man's land.
Paul Metsers... Farewell to the gold.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: What is your favorite story songs?
From: Amos
Date: 02 Mar 11 - 02:36 PM

My current favorite is "Vincent Black Lightning".


A


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Subject: RE: What is your favorite story songs?
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 02 Mar 11 - 03:00 PM

Olddude: "May I add John Prine "Hello in there" "

Great choice!

I'll give you this one, too.....

"The Blizzard" by Judy Collins

Regards,
GfS


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Subject: RE: What is your favorite story songs?
From: catspaw49
Date: 02 Mar 11 - 03:13 PM

John McCutcheon's "Christmas in the Trenches" is about as good as it gets.
Woody and Cisco's "East Texas Red" as my favorite "don't get mad get even" story.
Dylan's "Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts" for a good mystery tale.
Tom Paxton's "Talkin' Vietnam Pot Luck Blues" as my favorite of many great talkin' blues.
"Bob Dylan's Dream" which tells a story and paints a picture of the youth of many of us.
Randy Sparks' "Toledo,Ohio" which tells us all too accurately of Toledo.
Randy Newman's "Louisiana 1927" .....short but powerful.

About a hundred others..............


Spaw


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Subject: RE: What is your favorite story songs?
From: kendall
Date: 02 Mar 11 - 04:26 PM

The Band Played Waltzing Matilda is still tops.


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Subject: RE: What is your favorite story songs?
From: Young Buchan
Date: 02 Mar 11 - 04:31 PM

What about Gil Brenton? Not too many songs/stories with talking blankets in.


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Subject: RE: What is your favorite story songs?
From: GUEST,Tony
Date: 02 Mar 11 - 05:01 PM

Blue Wing (Tom Russell)
Charlie Ray McWhite (Eric Taylor)
Conversations (Hunter Moore)
Day After Tomorrow (Tom & Kathy Waits)
Dollar Matinee (Eric Taylor)
The Farewell Ball (Mark Erelli)
Gallo del Cielo (Tom Russell)
Johnny El Gato Miguel (Bell & Shore)
The Last Buccanier (Charles Kingsley)
Lock-keeper (Stan Rogers)
Motor Car Horn (Growling Tiger)
North Country Blues (Bob Dylan)
Rider on an Orphan Train (David Massengill)
Roamin' Jack (trad.)
A Sight For Sore Eyes (Tom Waits)
The Trumpeter of Fyvie (trad.)
Vera (Erin McKeown)
The Window (Tish Hinojosa)


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Subject: RE: What is your favorite story songs?
From: Sian H
Date: 02 Mar 11 - 05:18 PM

I love The Two Sisters, which comes in many forms but always such a chilling story.


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Subject: RE: What is your favorite story songs?
From: catspaw49
Date: 02 Mar 11 - 05:56 PM

"Two Sisters" is truly one of the most used bases around for many songs including Dylan's "Percy's Song"

Lots of "Two Sisters" background info


Spaw


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Subject: RE: What is your favorite story songs?
From: Jason Xion Wang
Date: 03 Mar 11 - 07:16 AM

Favorite must be Taxi (with Sequel), very moving even if only to read the lyrics. With the music it's perfect.
As a Chinese, Readjustment Blues is great, too.
Americans may enjoy Ballad of Gary Hart by Paxton. Toledo is terrrible (not in my opinion but in the singer himself's).

Jason in China


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Subject: RE: What is your favorite story songs?
From: mrmoe
Date: 03 Mar 11 - 07:44 AM

....still very fond of Carl Watanabe's "where the uplands roll"


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Subject: RE: What is your favorite story songs?
From: Brakn
Date: 03 Mar 11 - 08:05 AM

The Man Who Couldn't Cry - Loudon Wainwright


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Subject: RE: What is your favorite story songs?
From: PHJim
Date: 03 Mar 11 - 08:26 AM

Robert Schmertz's Monongahela Sal (I like Pete Seeger's version.)
Fred Eaglesmith's High Heels In The Rain (and a bunch of other Fred songs)
A song sung (but I don't think written)by Hayes Carll called Live Free Or Die


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Subject: RE: What is your favorite story songs?
From: Tootler
Date: 03 Mar 11 - 09:41 AM

So far only one traditional song has been mentioned, yet most traditional songs in the English Language are in narrative form - ie they tell a story.

For a start there are 305 Child ballads - plenty of story songs there.

Taking a few others at random iow some personal favourites

Brigg Fair and Searching for Lambs are both love songs but both are expressed in narrative form
Lovely Joan and the Highwayman outwitted about young women getting the better of predatory males
Green bushes about a young woman enticed away from her "true love" by the promise of more wealth
Van Dieman's land about transportation to Tasmania for poaching

Come on you trad song lovers, let's have a few more!


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Subject: RE: What is your favorite story songs?
From: Arkie
Date: 03 Mar 11 - 12:33 PM

Nice to see response from Spaw. Welcome home. Amen to "East Texas Red" and "Lily, Rosemary, and Jack of Hearts".

Willie Taylor (prefer Uncle Earl version)
Fair Flower of Northumberland (prefer Sara Grey version)
Mary Hamilton
Barbara Allen
Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
Mary Ellen Carter
Milly's Café (Fred Eaglesmith)
Harris and the Mare
Casey's Last Ride (prefer versions by Dorothy Hamm or June Tabor)
Sonora's Death Row
Darcy Farrow (like version by Jimmie Dale Gilmore, but favorite so far is by Steve Gillette and others on Fast Folk CD)

Others will no doubt come to mind.


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Subject: RE: What is your favorite story songs?
From: PHJim
Date: 03 Mar 11 - 06:17 PM

Tootler,
I've heard Searching For Lambs and Lovely Joan, but never realized that either tune had words.

I like the traditional Demon Lover and the modern Demon Lover by Michael Smith. Both have great stories.


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: Tootler
Date: 03 Mar 11 - 06:59 PM

PHJim,

Yes, and excellent they are too.

Both are in the DT.

Searching for Lambs

Lovely Joan


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: GUEST,Joe G
Date: 03 Mar 11 - 07:07 PM

Brother Crow 'Tom Barton' and most songs by Tom Bliss!! Oh and lots by Robb Johnson too. And not forgetting Gerry McNeice 'Home'


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: GUEST,Neil D
Date: 03 Mar 11 - 08:43 PM

"Tangled Up In Blue" Dylan


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 03 Mar 11 - 11:12 PM

Grandfather's Clock
Seeing Nellie Home
Sweet Willie and Lady Margot

and a new one:

Megan Murphy by Pete Sutherland. Tells the story of a heroic woman who stops a runaway coach at a tourist town, and lives (barely) to tell the tale.


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: Piers Cawley
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 01:17 AM

I'm not sure I have favourites, but most of the songs that are solidly in my repertoire are story songs. A song's so much easier to remember if there's some kind of story to it. Much as I love singing Si Kahn's "Here is my Home", John Tams' "Rolling Home" or any number of great, but non-story songs, I'm never quite sure that I've sung all the verses once and only once and in the right order. No such mistakes with narrative songs.


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 02:32 AM

Chris Wood - One in a Million


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: Jason Xion Wang
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 06:42 AM

I recall one called "Two Little Boys". Once brought tears to my eyes.


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 07:52 AM

Tracking down Dave Alvin's Plastic Rose is well worth the effort. Every verse encourages you to make a slightly different interpretation of the conversation he's describing, and the story just gets sadder and sadder as it proceeds. It's beautifully crafted, and amounts to a small masterpiece, I think.


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: PHJim
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 02:22 PM

Thanks Tootler!


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: GUEST,kendall
Date: 05 Mar 11 - 10:41 AM

Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 05 Mar 11 - 12:24 PM

Woody Guthrie: Ludlow Massacre, 1913 Massacre, Pastures of Plenty,Pretty Boy Floyd,
Tom Joad
Jean Ritchie: Black Water, The L and N Don't Stop Here Anymore
Yip Harburg: Brother Can You Spare A Dime
Tommy Sands: There Were Roses
Judge Keller: Blue Mountain

Trad ballads: The Flying Cloud, Barbara Allen (different variants), Utah Carrol,
Buffalo Skinners, (many of Sam Hinton's collected songs)

More later.


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Mar 11 - 02:02 PM

barbara allenhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_PoPY-mDpA


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 05 Mar 11 - 02:18 PM

I like many of the songs already listed and find it hard to pick a favorite. Instead I'll list another one I like that I haven't already spotted here. It's David Massengill's My Name Joe.

And I am delighted to have my cookie back!


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: Tootler
Date: 05 Mar 11 - 02:20 PM

It's a pleasure, PHJim


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: olddude
Date: 05 Mar 11 - 03:24 PM

Some outstanding songs you folks listed. Some of them I haven't thought about in a long time and have to go back and play them as I love those songs. Some I haven't heard and gives me a chance to find them and have a listen

Thank you


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: GUEST,John Garst
Date: 05 Mar 11 - 05:09 PM

"John Henry"


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: GUEST,MaryLiz
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 05:02 AM

Townes Van Zandt "The Hole"


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 07:07 AM

Good to 'see' you again on here, Spaw.


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 08:08 AM

Brian Peter's rendition of Sir Aldingar, Martin Carthy's performance of Famous Flower of Serving Men. On the contemporary side Susan Urban's song Guenevere; Dave Carter's Cat-eyed Willie.


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: GUEST,Elmore
Date: 06 Mar 11 - 04:54 PM

"Sheath and Knife" sung by Helen Schneyer "Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll" by Dylan "Ballad of Weaverville" by Jim Ringer


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: reggie miles
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 01:45 AM

I've tortured the following into story forms.

"The Ballad of the Rock Island Line" is currently my longest story/song, ranging anywhere from 15-20 minutes, depending upon how patient my listeners are, or how long my train of thought can manage to stay on track and whether or not it can find a caboose. Once I get my hands on them, I can't say for certain whether the songs become more story than song, or fall somewhere in between. I'd say that my renditions of "The Bearded Lady" and "The Shopping Cart Wrangler" fall a close second in length, and then perhaps, "Ode To The A.L.F." and "51 Highway Blues".

What I've done with these gems is create some additional verbiage to intertwine with the song parts in order to more fully realize the potential, or lack thereof, of each presentation. In so doing, via my own unique form of anti-streamlining or musical drag coefficient techniques, I've managed to do more with less. Though, some might say just the opposite.


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: Arkie
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 11:57 AM

Tam Lane (Mike Cooney's epic version can run 20 minutes or more)
Tam Pierce
House Carpenter


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: Arkie
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 12:02 PM

The Queen and the Soldier
Rodger Young


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: Deckman
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 11:23 PM

I'm very much a "traditionlist". I like the olde ballads (story songs) that have stood the test of time. Here's a few that I sing regularly:
Braes of Yarrow
Mattie Groves
Barbara Allen
Brennon On the Moor
MacPherson's Lament
The Old Settler
Old Bangham
The Flying Dutchman
Do You Think I Do Not Know
Gilgarry Mt.
Little Albert Series (recitations)
Wandering Angus
Star of Bannack
Peter Amberly
The Unquiet Grave
Jesse James (versions)
John Hardy
Billy the Kid
Delia's Gone
The Walker In the Snow

on and on and on ... bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: Bob Landry
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 11:42 PM

The Sky Above, The Mud Below - Tom Russell
Canadian Whiskey, American Guns - Steve Pineo (of Calgary)
The Banks of Newfoundland (2) - In the DT. (Arichat, where the capatain died, is the very place I was born)
Partons, la mer est belle - The very first Acadian song I ever learned.


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: Tim Chesterton
Date: 08 Mar 11 - 01:53 AM

I'll second the Buffalo Skinners.

Also will add:
Sir Patrick Spens (I like Martin Carthy's rendition best)
Clyde Water (Nic Jones' live versions)
The Cruel Brother (I like Martin Simpson's version on 'Kind Letters')
The various versions of 'Locks and Bolts'
Clerk Sanders
The Warlike Lads of Russia
House Carpenter
The Flying Cloud

My all time favourite is 'Fair Annie' which I learned from Martin Simpson on 'The Bramble Briar'


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: J-boy
Date: 08 Mar 11 - 02:12 AM

"A Day in the Life"-Lennon/Mccartney.


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 08 Mar 11 - 04:39 AM

Nice to see so much love for Tom Russell dotted around here. He really is one of the greatest writers of story songs out there - as his cockfight song Gallo del Cielo also proves.

I forgot ro sign my Dave Alvin post above, but it was actually Alvin who led me to Russell. Alvin said something to the effect that the acid test he applied to his own songs before deciding if they were good enough was always: "Is this song up to Tom Russell's standards?" That seemed pretty good evidence to me that Russell was someone I should check out, and I'm very glad I did.


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: Smedley
Date: 08 Mar 11 - 07:28 AM

The Holland Handkerchief - especially Mary McPartlan's version

Bay of Biscay - Waterson Carthy / Nightvisiting - Jim Moray / Grey Gallito - Salsa Celtics with Eliza Carhty (all variants on the same story)

El Paso - Marty Robbins (yee-ha!!)

Down From Dover - Dolly Parton

Reynardine - Fairport's for preference


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: Acorn4
Date: 08 Mar 11 - 07:34 AM

"McGoohan's Blues" - Roy Harper


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 08 Mar 11 - 07:56 AM

Actually, they're called ballads. Here's a few from my selection.

Ewan MacColl. Clyde's Water.
Dillard Chandler. Matty Groves.
Elizabeth Cronin. Lord Gregory.
Sheila Stewart. Andrew Lammie.
Clarence Ashley. The House Carpenter.
Woody Guthrie. Buffalo Skinners.
Betsy Whyte. Young Johnston.
Basil May. The Lady of Carlisle.
The Cherry Tree Carol. Jean Ritchie.
Hedy West. The Wife of Ushers Well.

Absolutely brilliant, every last one of them.


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: oldhippie
Date: 08 Mar 11 - 08:48 AM

I'm surprised no one has mentioned my favorites: California Joe by Jim Ringer, and its sequel, California Faith by Debby McClatchy.
(I place them right up there with Taxi/Sequel)

I'd also recommend.....

Anna & Tim - Susan Urban
Here Lies Lenora Jennings - Ron Hynes
A Better Place To Be - Harry Chapin


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: GUEST,Hilary
Date: 08 Mar 11 - 04:41 PM

"King Orfeo," "Barbara Allen," "Thomas the Rhymer," "Geordie," "The Maid on the Shore," "The Death of Queen Jane," "Riddles Wisely Expounded," "Queen Eleanor's Confession," "Hind Horn," "The Silkie," and, my all-time favorite, "The Outlandish Knight."


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: GUEST,Robo
Date: 08 Mar 11 - 05:15 PM

John Riley, for one. Lady Came from Baltimore . . .


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: BrooklynJay
Date: 09 Mar 11 - 01:25 PM

Some of my favorites:

Tom Joad
Pretty Boy Floyd
Gilgarry Mountain
The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
Broomfield Hill (version by Clam Chowder)
The Queen of Air and Darkness (also by Clam Chowder)
I'm Goin' Back To Where I Come From (Glenn Yarbrough version)
Two Magicians (Steeleye Span version)

Of course, there are lots of others, but these immediately came to mind.

Jay


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: GUEST,McoyHatfeud
Date: 09 Mar 11 - 03:41 PM

"Legend of the Pale-Eyed Companion" -Lawrence Hammond


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Subject: RE: What are your favorite story songs?
From: lefthanded guitar
Date: 10 Mar 11 - 02:45 PM

Great thread.

I've always loved the story in Pretty Peggy-O, especially the ironic kick in the end, where the spurned lover says he'll burn down all the cities of his fair lady for rejecting him. lol.

Some more:

Miners Song/Sourdough- by Bill Staines (underrated, haunting song)
Desolation Row- Dylan -a story in dream sequences
Whisky in The Jar
Barbara Allen (although I'm a singersongwriter lover first,
             the trad songs really excel at story telling)


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