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'Swannanoa Tunnel': Murder Ballad Monday


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GUEST 29 Jul 12 - 02:15 PM
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Subject: 'Swannanoa Tunnel': Murder Ballad Monday
Date: 29 Jul 12 - 02:15 PM

Murder Ballad Monday gives a listen to "Swannanoa Tunnel" in three installments this week:

Pt. 1: If you work a man to death on a chain gang, is it murder even though he swings the hammer himself? Ken starts us down the tracks this week into "Swannanoa Tunnel", a "survivor's song" with a sweet melody that veils the brutal reality of railroad work in western North Carolina after the Civil War. Bascom Lamar Lundsford and Jen Rouse make their strings ring like silver in today's post.

Pt. 2: What makes a folk song a "true song"? The question is more complicated than it might seem when it comes to "Swannanoa Tunnel", but Ken picks away at it like hard rock in a railroad tunnel - and he may be close to breaking through! Wayne Erbsen, Artus Moser, Frank Warner, and Martin Simpson all lend their muscle to the job today. Now, if we can just avoid that cave in...

Pt. 3: Ken breaks on through to the other side, and now this train is moving! Whoever's driving "Swannanoa Tunnel", it's coming down the line trailing many cars. In Hoyt Axton's, a man with a pistol is moaning out notes with Tom Dula. In the Stairwell Sisters', its an old time picking party. Les Baxter's Balladeers and Rafe Hollister each have their own thing going on too. So, all aboard - and be ready to ride it like you find it.

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Mudcat time: 17 May 4:24 PM EDT

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