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murder songs

GUEST,emmie 02 May 13 - 04:44 PM
nboldock 02 May 13 - 05:06 PM
Susan of DT 02 May 13 - 05:56 PM
GUEST 02 May 13 - 06:03 PM
Joe Offer 03 May 13 - 01:18 AM
Richard from Liverpool 03 May 13 - 01:46 AM
GUEST, Paul Slade 03 May 13 - 03:05 AM
GUEST 03 May 13 - 05:28 AM
RWilhelm 03 May 13 - 01:05 PM
greg stephens 03 May 13 - 01:12 PM
dick greenhaus 03 May 13 - 03:46 PM
GUEST 03 May 13 - 06:50 PM
Jack Campin 04 May 13 - 08:20 AM
CET 04 May 13 - 09:30 AM
CET 04 May 13 - 09:33 AM
GUEST 04 May 13 - 04:54 PM
Jack Campin 04 May 13 - 06:17 PM
Jim Carroll 05 May 13 - 10:16 AM
Jack Campin 06 May 13 - 05:25 AM
GUEST, Paul Slade 06 May 13 - 07:31 AM
dick greenhaus 06 May 13 - 11:58 AM
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Subject: murder songs
From: GUEST,emmie
Date: 02 May 13 - 04:44 PM

hi, i've been asked to sing some folk songs at a literary event that is for an author who writes victorian murder novels. I have a couple of songs about women being murdered and wondered if people could suggest a song about a woman murdering a man? Very macabre subject I know :-)


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Subject: RE: murder songs
From: nboldock
Date: 02 May 13 - 05:06 PM

Not exactly a folk song (though based on one), Nick Cave's "Henry Lee" (in which PJ Harvey sings the female part) fits the bill.

"And with a little penknife, clutched in her hand, well she plugged him through and through..."


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Subject: RE: murder songs
From: Susan of DT
Date: 02 May 13 - 05:56 PM

A search for the keyword of "murder" in the digital tradition gets this list of 318 songs. Frankie and Johnie and the various Child #68 come to mind for women murdering their male lovers.

A PLEA FOR ORDER
ADAM GORMAN
ALAN BANE
ALICE B.
ALICE MITCHELL AND FREDDY WARD
ANDREW ROSS (ANDREW ROSE)
AROUND THE CORNER
ASHLAND TRAGEDY (III)
BABYLON, OR THE BONNIE BANKS O' FORDIE
BAMBOO BRIER
BANKS OF GREEN WILLOW
BANKS OF THE OHIO
BANKS OF THE ROSES (2)
BANKS OF THE ROSES (3)
BATSON
BENJAMIN DEAN
BILL MARTIN AND ELLA SPEED
BILL NORRIE
BILLY LYONS AND STACK O'LEE
BILLY TAYLOR
BINNORIE
BINNORIE (TWO SISTERS)
BIRMINGHAM SUNDAY
BLACK HAIRED LASS
BLACKJACK COUNTY CHAIN
BLOODY GARDENER
BLUEBEARD
BO LAMKIN
BOLD MANNING
BOLD POACHERS
BONNIE, BONNIE BANKS OF THE VIRGIO (Cruel Brother)
BONNY BIRDIE
BONNY FARDAY
BORDER WIDOW'S LAMENT
BOTTOMLESS WELL
BRUTON TOWN
BUFFALO SKINNERS
CAPTAIN GLENN
CAPTAIN GLENN
CHARLES GUITEAU
CHYLDE OWLET
CLERK SANDERS
CLERK SAUNDERS
COCAINE BLUES 2
COLD RAIN & SNOW
CRAZY MAN MICHAEL
CRUEL BROTHER
CRUEL MOTHER
DANIEL MONROE
DEATH OF A SALESMAN
DEATH OF EMMA HARTSELL
DELIA (2)
DELIA (4)
DELIA'S GONE
DEVIL WINSTON
DIXON AND JOHNSON
DOWIE DENS OF YARROW
DOWN IN A WILLOW GARDEN
DRAGGING THE RIVER
DUNCAN AND BRADY
DUNCAN AND BRADY (2)
DUPREE
DUPREE (2)
EARL BOTHWELL
EDGAR AND ELLEN
EDWARD
EDWARD BALLAD
EDWARD IN THE LOWLANDS
EGGS AND MARROWBONES 4
EL PASO
ELECTRIC CHAIR BLUES
EVERY MAN
EWING BROOKS
FAIR ANNIE AND SWEET WILLIE H
FAIR FANNY MOORE
FAIR FANNY MOORE (2)
FAIR FLORILLA
FAIR WILLIAM AND LADY MAISRY
FALL RIVER HOEDOWN (Lizzie Borden)
FALSE LADY
FALSE LAMKIN
FALSE SIR JOHN
FALSE SIR JOHN 2
FAMOUS FLOWER OF SERVING MEN
FARMER MICHAEL HAYES
FATAL FLOWER GARDEN
FLORA AND DONALD, OR, THE MASSACRE OF GLENCOE
FLORA THE LILY OF THE WEST
FLOYD FRAZIER
FOUR MARY'S
FOUR RODE BY
FRANKIE AND ALBERT
FRANKIE AND ALBERT
FRANKIE AND JOHNNY
FRANKIE AND JOHNNY (4)
FRANKIE SILVERS
FULLER AND WARREN
GAMBLING ON THE SABBATH DAY
GLENCOE
GOINS
HANGED I SHALL BE
HOLLOW GROUND
I HAD A WIFE
I'LL HOLD YOUR HAND IN MINE
IN SEAPORT TOWN
IT RAINED A MIST
J.B. MARCUM
JAMES MACDONALD
JEALOUS BROTHERS
JEALOUSY
JELLON GRAEME
JESSE JAMES (3)
JESSE JAMES (I WONDER WHERE MY POOR OLD JESSE'S GONE)
JIMMY AND NANCY
JOHN FUNSTON
JOHN HARDY
JOHNNY ARMSTRONG
JOHNNY ARMSTRONG (2)
JOLLY SOLDIER
KILLING JAR
LADY DAISY AND THE KITCHEN BOY
LADY DAYSES
LADY DIAMOND
LADY DYSIE 2
LADY DYSIE AND THE KITCHIE BOY
LADY DYSMAL AND THE KITCHEN BOY
LADY ISOBEL
LADY ISOBEL AND THE ELF KNIGHT
LAIRD OF WARISTON
LAMKIN
Lamkin
LEAVING HOME
LITTLE BLOSSOM
LITTLE SADIE
LITTLE SIR HUGH
LITTLE SIR WILLIAM
LONG BLACK VEIL
LONG LANKIN
LONNIGAN'S WIDOW
LORD BANNER
LORD MAXWELL'S LAST GOODNIGHT
LORD RANDAL
LORD RANDALL (2)
LORD RANDALL (3)
LORD THOMAS
LORD THOMAS AND FAIR ANNET G
LORD THOMAS AND FAIR ELENDER or THE BROWN GIRL
LORD THOMAS AND FAIR ELLENDER (3)
LORD THOMAS AND LADY MARGARET
LOVELY JAMIE
LOVELY WILLIE
LUDLOW MASSACRE
LULA VIERS
MAGGIE WAS A LADY (Frankie & Johnny variant)
MARIAN PARKER 1
MARROW BONES
MARY FAGAN
MARY HAMILTON
MARY HAMILTON (2)
MARY HAMILTON (5)
MARY MILD
MASTERTONE MURDER, or, An Address to All Concerning Death by Banjo
MATHY GROVE
MATTIE GROVES
MCAFEE'S CONFESSION
MCKINLEY'S RAG
ME AND MY UNCLE
MEEKS FAMILY MURDER
MEEKS MURDER 3
MEG DRUMMOND
MILL O' TIFTY'S ANNIE
MISS OTIS REGRETS
MOLLY BAWN
MOLLY BAWN (POLLY VAUGHN 2)
MONONGAHELA SAL
MOUNTAIN MEADOWS MASSACRE
MOUNTAIN MEADOWS MASSACRE (2)
MURDER OF F.C.BENWELL (BERWILL)
MURDER OF MARIA MARTIN
MURDER OF SARAH VAIL
MURDERED BY A BROTHER
NAOMI WISE
NAT GOODWIN
OLD JUDGE DUFFY
OLD ROBIN OF PORTINGALE
OMIE WISE
OMIE WISE (2)
ON THE BANKS OF THE OLD PEDEE
ONCE A JOLLY PASTOR
OOR HAMLET
OUR HOUSE (ALWAYS WELCOME ...)
OUTLANDISH KNIGHT
OXFORD CITY
OXFORD TRAGEDY
PAT O'BRIEN
PAVANNE
PEARL BRYAN
PEARL BRYAN (3)
PETER AND I
PETER CLARKE
POLLY VAUGHN (3)
POLLY WILLIAMS
POOR ELLEN SMITH
POOR ELLEN SMITH (2)
POOR ELLEN SMITH (3)
POOR MURDERED WOMAN
PRETTY POLLY
PRETTY POLLY (2)
PRINCE ROBERT
PROUD GIRL (YOUNG HUNTING)
PUT IT IN A COOL DRY PLACE
RAIN AND SNOW
ROBIN HOOD'S DEATH (2)
ROLLING OF THE STONES
ROLLING OF THE STONES (2)
ROWAN COUNTY CREW
SAM HALL (5)
SAMUEL SMALL (SAM HALL)
SHEATH AND KNIFE
SHEATH AND KNIFE 2
SIDNEY ALLEN
SILVERY TIDE
SIR HUGH, OR THE JEW'S DAUGHTER
SIR JAMES THE ROSE (Steeleye Version)
SIX DUKES WENT A-FISHING
STAG O'LEE (6)
STAGALEE 3
STAGGER LEE (4)
STAGOLEE
STAGOLEE 2
STANDING STONES
STENKA RAZIN
STEP IT OUT, NANCY
STOKES'S VERDICT
STONE COLD DEAD IN THE MARKET
SUNCOOK TOWN TRAGEDY
SWEENEY TODD THE BARBER
THE ARSENIC TRAGEDY
THE ASHLAND TRAGEDY
THE ASHLAND TRAGEDY (II)
THE AULD MAN AND THE CHURNSTAFF
THE BALLAD OF FRANKIE SILVER
THE BALLAD OF GRACE BROWN AND CHESTER GILLETTE
THE BALLAD OF TIM EVANS
THE BALLAD OF WILLIAM BLOAT
THE BANKS OF THE ROSES (4)
THE BONNY EARL OF MURRAY (2)
THE BRAMBLE BRIAR
THE BROOKFIELD MURDER
THE BUFFALO SKINNERS
THE CONSTANT FARMER'S SON
THE CONSTANT FARMER'S SON (5)
THE CRUEL MILLER
THE CRUEL MOTHER
THE CRUEL MOTHER (4)
THE CRUEL MOTHER 2
THE CRUEL SHIP'S CAPTAIN
THE CRUEL SHIP'S CARPENTER
THE CRUEL SISTER
THE DOWIE DENS o' YARROW
THE EXECUTION OF FREDERICK BAKER
THE GHOST SONG
THE HEIDLESS CROSS
THE IRISH BALLAD (RICKETY TICKETY TIN)
THE JEALOUS BROTHERS (6)
THE JEALOUS LOVER
THE JEALOUS LOVER 2
THE KING O' SPAIN'S DAUGHTER
THE KNOXVILLE GIRL
THE LADY AND THE FARMER'S SON
THE LAST NIGHT OF NOVEMBER
THE LAWSON MURDER
THE LONELY WILLOW TREE
THE LONESOME DEATH OF HATTIE CARROLL
THE LORD OF SCOTLAND
THE MAID OF CABRA WEST
THE MURDER OF COLONEL SHARP
THE NEW YORK TRADER
THE NOEL GIRL
THE OLD SHAWNEE
THE PEDDLER AND HIS WIFE
THE RICH OLD LADY
THE SCOTTISH SONG
THE SHAPE OF MY LOVE
THE SHIP'S CARPENTER
THE SLAUGHTER OF THE LAIRD OF MELLERSTAIN
THE SWAN SWIMS BONNIE (Two Sisters)
THE TWA SISTERS
THE TWO BROTHERS
THE TWO BROTHERS 3
THE TWO BROTHERS 4
THE TWO SISTERS (7)
THE TWO SISTERS (9)
THE WESTERN RAILWAY (or GREEN THE GANGER)
THE WIND AND RAIN (Two Sisters)
TOM DOOLEY
TOO MANY MARTYRS
TRUE BALLAD OF JESSE JAMES
TWO BUTCHERS
TWO SISTERS (12)
TWO SISTERS (13)
TWO SISTERS (Bonnie Broom)
WANDERING COWBOY
WHITE HOUSE BLUES
WHITE HOUSE BLUES (3)
WILD BILL JONES
WILD BILL JONES (2)
WILLIAM GLEN
WILLIAM GRISMOND
WILLIE WARFIELD
WIND THAT SHAKES THE CORN
WORKHOUSE BOY
YOUNG ALANTHIA
YOUNG HUNTING
YOUNG HUNTING
YOUNG HUNTING 2
YOUNG JOHNSTONE
YOUNG REDIN


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Subject: RE: murder songs
From: GUEST
Date: 02 May 13 - 06:03 PM

Gosh! Rather a lot to keep me busy there! Thanks very much!


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Subject: RE: murder songs
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 May 13 - 01:18 AM

Hi, Emmie -

Be sure to take a look at Paul Slade's murder ballads Website, http://www.planetslade.com/

-Joe-


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Subject: Lyr Add: HENRY LEE
From: Richard from Liverpool
Date: 03 May 13 - 01:46 AM

Nick Cave's Henry Lee is indeed a folk song... well, I suppose it depends where you draw the line. It's a version of Young Hunting, Ballad 68 in Francis Child's English and Scottish Popular Ballads - albeit what Nick Cave has apparently done is take the version recorded by the West Virginian Dick Justice in 1929, and put them to a new tune. So I guess it's a question of whether you see old words with new tunes as folk or not. I happen to think Nick Cave's version of Child 68 is one of the best out there... I do sing Nick Cave's tune, but with a couple of extra verses to continue the story as Dick Justice continues it.

Henry Lee, after the versions sung by Dick Justice (1929) and Nick Cave (1996)

"Get down, get down little Henry Lee
And stay all night with me
You won't find a girl in this whole world
That will compare with me"

"I can't get down and I won't get down
And stay all night with thee
For the girl I have in that merry green land
I love far better than thee"

She leaned herself against a fence
Just for a kiss or two
And with a little penknife held in her hand
She plugged him through and through

Come take him by his lily-white hands
Come take him by his feet
And throw him down this deep, deep well
That's more than five fathoms deep

"Lie there, lie there little Henry Lee
'til the flesh drops from your bones
For the girl you have in that merry green land
Can wait forever for you to come home"

And out then sang a little birdie
Sat high upon a tree
"Tell me, tell me, my lady
What became of Henry Lee?"

"Fly down, fly down little birdie
And light on my right knee
And I will give you a cage of gold
With bars of ivory"

"I can't fly down and I won't fly down
And light on your right knee
For a girl who would kill her own true love
Would kill a little bird like me"

"If I had my bended bow
My arrow and my string
I'd pierce a dart so nigh your heart
It'd stop your twittering"

"If you had your bended bow
Your arrow and your string
I'd fly away to that merry green land
And tell them what I've seen"


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Subject: RE: murder songs
From: GUEST, Paul Slade
Date: 03 May 13 - 03:05 AM

Thanks to Joe for giving PlanetSlade a mention. Earlier this week, I posted my reply there to a California student who asked me exactly the same question about songs with a female killer. Scroll down to Loni Kate English's letter here to see my suggestions.


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Subject: RE: murder songs
From: GUEST
Date: 03 May 13 - 05:28 AM

In the Outlandish Knight and its varients the female protagonist drowns the male(serial killer??!) in order to save herself, dont know if this counts.


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Subject: RE: murder songs
From: RWilhelm
Date: 03 May 13 - 01:05 PM

"Dr. Burdell, or The Bond Street Murder" Emma Cunningham was aquitted of his murder in 1857 but she probably did it.


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Subject: RE: murder songs
From: greg stephens
Date: 03 May 13 - 01:12 PM

Miss Otis Regrets is the classic female murder song I think. Not a folk song, but Cole Porter trying(successfully) to write a tune in the folk style. And Frankie and Johnny(or Albert) is another impeccably folkie classic.


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Subject: RE: murder songs
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 03 May 13 - 03:46 PM

William Taylor.


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Subject: RE: murder songs
From: GUEST
Date: 03 May 13 - 06:50 PM

Hi there. Thanks so much for all this wonderful information. I had a look at planetslade which was really interesting. So far I think my favourites are william Taylor and I also really like young hunting as I think I prefer the original versions to Nick Caves.

The other two songs I'm thinking of singing are Polly Vaughan and the oxford girl. Please let me know any other suggestions you might have.


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Subject: RE: murder songs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 04 May 13 - 08:20 AM

Have a look at the ballads on Mary MacKinnon, the Edinburgh murderess hanged in 1838, which I collected here:

http://www.campin.me.uk/Embro/Webrelease/Embro/13law/13law.htm

I would be surprised if anybody's ever sung the first one with anybody listening.


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Subject: RE: murder songs
From: CET
Date: 04 May 13 - 09:30 AM

If you are not limiting yourself to strictly trad songs, Gillian Welch wrote a great song about a woman killing her abusive husband. The name escapes me for the moment, but it's a very powerful and dramatic song.


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Subject: RE: murder songs
From: CET
Date: 04 May 13 - 09:33 AM

The song is Caleb Meyer.


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Subject: RE: murder songs
From: GUEST
Date: 04 May 13 - 04:54 PM

I know the song caleb myer...good idea although I think I may have to stick to stuff that has an english victorian vibe. Thanks for the link to Mary Mcinnon. Are there any tunes to go with these words?


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Subject: RE: murder songs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 04 May 13 - 06:17 PM

I included the tunes, in several formats. Look at the links at the bottom of the lyric pages.


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Subject: Lyr Add: BURKE AND HARE
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 May 13 - 10:16 AM

How about a mass-murder song
Jim Carroll

BURKE AND HARE

William Burke it is my name
I stand condemned alone.
I left my native Ireland
In the county of Tyrone.
And o'er to Scotland I did sail,
Employment for to find;
No thought of cruel murder
Was then into my mind.

At Edinburgh trade was slack,
No work there could I find;
And so I took the road again,
To Glasgow was inclined;
But stopping at the West-port
To find refreshment there,
O cursed be the evil hour
I met with William Hare!

With flattering words he greeted me
And said good fortune smiled;
He treated me to food and drink
And I was soon beguiled;
He said:"There's riches to be had,
And fortune's to be made,
For atomists have need of us.
So join me in that trade.

Hare he kept a lodging-house
Therein a man had died,
His death went unreported
And of burial was denied
We put the dead man in a cart
And through the streets did ride.
And Robert Knox,the atomist,
The dead man he did buy.

To rob the new dug graves by night
It was not our intent;
To be taken by the nightwatch
Or by spies was not our bent.
The plan belonged to William Hare
And so the plot was laid,
He said that "murder's safer
Than the resurrection trade."

Two women they were in the plot
The wife of William Hare,
The other called McDougal,
And travellers they did sanre;
They lured them to the lodging house
And when they'd drunken deep,
Hare and me, we smothered them
As they lay fast asleep.

At first in fear and dread I was
But later grew more bold,
In nine short months we killed fifteen
And then their bodies sold.
The doctors did not question us,
But quickly paid our fee,
The price they paid,it prospered us,
Both William Hare and me.

But soon our crimes they were found out
In jail we were confined,
And cruel guilt it tore my heart
And much despairs my mind;
And Hare, who first ensnared me
And led me far astray
Has turned King's evidence on me
And sworn my life away


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Subject: RE: murder songs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 06 May 13 - 05:25 AM

Lots more Burke and Hare songs at my page referenced above, but they aren't what the OP wanted.

I don't recall any songs in which Burke's wife Mary MacDougall gets star billing - she played an equal part in the business.


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Subject: RE: murder songs
From: GUEST, Paul Slade
Date: 06 May 13 - 07:31 AM

Those MacKinnon's Ghost lyrics Jack gives are terrific. I'd love to hear someone sing them one day - ideally a female version of Alasdair Roberts, I think.


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Subject: RE: murder songs
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 06 May 13 - 11:58 AM

Sweeny Todd, the Barber?


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