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I'm researching a murder

Deckman 29 Oct 13 - 05:22 PM
Stewart 29 Oct 13 - 06:14 PM
Deckman 29 Oct 13 - 06:34 PM
Bill D 29 Oct 13 - 08:26 PM
Bobert 29 Oct 13 - 08:43 PM
Deckman 29 Oct 13 - 09:46 PM
GUEST,Stim 30 Oct 13 - 01:27 AM
Joe Offer 30 Oct 13 - 04:36 AM
Amos 30 Oct 13 - 05:19 AM
Deckman 30 Oct 13 - 05:44 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Oct 13 - 08:38 AM
Mr Red 30 Oct 13 - 09:12 AM
GUEST,Grishka 30 Oct 13 - 10:29 AM
Nigel Parsons 30 Oct 13 - 12:02 PM
Deckman 30 Oct 13 - 12:15 PM
GUEST,Big Al Whittle 30 Oct 13 - 07:25 PM
Deckman 30 Oct 13 - 07:59 PM
Deckman 30 Oct 13 - 09:06 PM
frogprince 30 Oct 13 - 09:52 PM
Rapparee 30 Oct 13 - 10:06 PM
Deckman 30 Oct 13 - 10:18 PM
GUEST,.gargpyle 30 Oct 13 - 10:44 PM
Jim Carroll 31 Oct 13 - 05:27 AM
Big Al Whittle 31 Oct 13 - 09:42 AM
GUEST,Grishka 31 Oct 13 - 10:12 AM
Jack Campin 31 Oct 13 - 10:19 AM
GUEST,Grishka 31 Oct 13 - 10:39 AM
Jim Carroll 31 Oct 13 - 12:00 PM
Big Al Whittle 31 Oct 13 - 06:46 PM
Jim Carroll 01 Nov 13 - 12:42 PM
GUEST,Morris-ey 01 Nov 13 - 02:00 PM
Big Al Whittle 01 Nov 13 - 02:40 PM
Jim Carroll 01 Nov 13 - 03:53 PM
JohnInKansas 01 Nov 13 - 05:09 PM
Big Al Whittle 01 Nov 13 - 10:20 PM
Deckman 01 Nov 13 - 11:37 PM
GUEST,..gargoyle 02 Nov 13 - 02:41 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Nov 13 - 04:50 AM
Deckman 02 Nov 13 - 04:56 AM
Big Al Whittle 02 Nov 13 - 07:17 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Nov 13 - 08:03 AM
Mr Red 02 Nov 13 - 08:06 AM
GUEST,Stim 02 Nov 13 - 12:21 PM
catspaw49 02 Nov 13 - 12:56 PM
Big Al Whittle 02 Nov 13 - 01:00 PM
Big Al Whittle 02 Nov 13 - 01:00 PM
Jim Carroll 02 Nov 13 - 01:22 PM
Big Al Whittle 02 Nov 13 - 03:01 PM
Jim Carroll 02 Nov 13 - 04:21 PM
GUEST,Stim 02 Nov 13 - 08:32 PM
Big Al Whittle 02 Nov 13 - 11:34 PM
Jim Carroll 03 Nov 13 - 03:25 AM
GUEST,Grishka 03 Nov 13 - 05:54 AM
Big Al Whittle 03 Nov 13 - 06:41 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Nov 13 - 07:43 AM
Big Al Whittle 03 Nov 13 - 08:50 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Nov 13 - 09:15 AM
Big Al Whittle 03 Nov 13 - 11:20 AM
GUEST,Stim 04 Nov 13 - 02:52 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Nov 13 - 03:10 AM
GUEST,Grishka 04 Nov 13 - 04:53 AM
Big Al Whittle 04 Nov 13 - 06:34 AM
GUEST,Grishka 04 Nov 13 - 08:36 AM
Big Al Whittle 04 Nov 13 - 03:02 PM
GUEST,Stim 05 Nov 13 - 12:41 AM
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Subject: I'm researching a murder
From: Deckman
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 05:22 PM

Bob Nelson (deckman) here in the Seattle, Washington USA, area.

My maternal roots go back to the small town of Skidmore, Missouri. I spent some time there in 1955 with my great Uncle Allen. He gave me much history of my mother's family roots, as well as one incredible ballad.

There was a well documented murder that happened on the main street in downtown Skidmore on July 10th, 1981. Just got to Wikopedia (sp?) and plug in "Skidmore, Missouri, Ken McElroy" to read about it.

For many years I've been pondering about whether or not to write a ballad about this killing. Because of family connections, I know the identity of the murderer. Even though the U.S. Justice department held the town siege twice, no one squealed on the murderer. To this day, the murder is "unsolved."

Here's my question to my fellow catters: Has anyone else out there been curious about this event? And more importantly, has anyone else already written this murder ballad?

I look forward to your feedback ... bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Stewart
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 06:14 PM

Ken McElroy

Country Justice

Cheers, S in Seattle


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Deckman
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 06:34 PM

GEEZE LOUISE STEW ... that sure took you a long time. Let's see now, what was that ... maybe 45 mintes?   bob (I thought the bass was a little heavy ... but what do I know?)


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Bill D
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 08:26 PM

I remember TV programs based on that incident. I can't help... but it is sure the case that no one much liked him, and it is a 'bit' chancy to 'admit' on the WWW that you have knowledge.


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Bobert
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 08:43 PM

I never heard of this guy but it seems that there's a great song in the retelling of the story...

Of course, I might not want to go back to Missouri to perform it...

B~


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Deckman
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 09:46 PM

You know, this murder hapenned 32 years ago (if i did my math right). I'm quite sure that the Feds know everything I know about the murder. This was a clear case of vigilante justice. Never pretty, never neat, but always effect. Kinda reminds me of Tom Paxton's song: "What Did You Learn In School Today"

... "Murderes always die for their crimes,
       even if we make a mistake sometimes ..."

If the Feds wanna' knock on my door, again, my coffee pot is always on.

There can be a unique quality, ability, within the "folk song genre" that can sometimes tell a story in a way that cuts through a lot of modern communication and goes to the heart of the matter. Historians love folk ballads not for their accuracy, but for the ambience of what happened and why it happened.

bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 01:27 AM

As they say Bob, it's all in the telling of the tale. For myself, there is so much story there that I wouldn't even know where to start.


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 04:36 AM

Hmmm. Could be an interesting challenge. Go for it, Bob!

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Amos
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 05:19 AM

Fascinating story. I think you should write the song.


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Deckman
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 05:44 AM

I'm not much of a song writer. IN fact, the last song I wrote, people beg me NEVER to sing it again!


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 08:38 AM

A word of caution on local sensitivities.
We live in a rural one-street town on the west coast of Ireland; we are what is termed here 'blow-ins' ie outsiders (not a hostile term, just an acknowledgement of the act that we weren't born and brought up here)
Our interest in folklore and oral history drew us to a local murder that occurred some time in the late 19th century when a local landlord was thrown off a high bridge by two relatives who were after his money and property.
The situation of the murder is noted by a local legend which claims that the bridge 'bleeds' every year on the anniversary of his death.
Over a century and a quarter after the events, local people are still reluctant to talk about the murder, not necessarily for fear of offending surviving members of the family, but with a view to how outsiders might judge the area, even after so long.
The most information we got on the events came from an old singer and dancer we recorded in London who left the area in 1947 and never returned - his information dated to local knowledge he had gleaned in his youth and was far more complete and forthcoming that anything else we have been to discover.
Good luck - but watch out for local sensitivities, (not suggesting that you might wake up with a horse's head on your pillow, but.....!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Mr Red
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 09:12 AM

If there is a good song aching to come out, try locating the scene in (say) a New York enclave and change the names.
Now here is the clever part - try perusing thesauri (etc) and find names and locations that leave an audit trail, an obscure one maybe but it would hopefully satisfy the documentarian in you.


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 10:29 AM

If the Wiki is accurate, it was a collective murder. The whole company would be guilty at least of accompliceship (with mitigating circumstances), morally and presumably legally.

Stuff for novels ("novelle") and films, as Wiki tells us. If I understand you correctly, you want to write an epic poem, much longer than a modern song. Not the most fashionable of all genres, but if you can fill it with a contemporary message - why not?


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 12:02 PM

Sounds like a case of:
Sheriff:"Okay, Who shot this man?"
(voice in crowd): "Spatacus!"
Sheriff: "Okay, who's Spatacus?" ...


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Deckman
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 12:15 PM

I thought this thread might generate some interest. Very good advice from everyone ... thank you all. I may or may not attempt the ballad, I dunno' yet. I usually write ballads in the middle of the night when they just leap out of me.

Those folks down in Skidmore taught me a valuable lesson in the summer of 1955. I was 18 and thought I knew EVERYTHING. I was invited to sing some songs at a Saturday night Grange Hall dance. I made the mistake of singing the popular version of Jesse James. The entire audience turned their backs on me and shunned me.

I remember it clearly. bob


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: GUEST,Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 07:25 PM

I'd just say this.

Folksong writers are for the most part necrophiliacs and zombies - eating off the flesh of unknown warriors in the first world war, sampling the delights of sharing rum and a hammock in Nelson's navy.

Writing about real people is a different thing.

I wrote a song about Wyatt Earp and I seem to remember it pissed off the MacLaurie family, who are still living in Tombstone. I wrote back saying the they should be proud as their forefathers were part of a legend - like the Sherrif of Nottingham in Robin Hood. they didn't write back.

I know that the family of Kevin Barry were terribly affronted by what they called the public house song, written about their young boy being hanged by the British. He was a kid who got into something he shouldn't and died in abject terror - quite unlike the true son of Ireland bollocks. I know one great Dublin folksinger who was specifically requested by the family not to sing it.

I wanted to write a play about herbert Leonard Mills, the teenage poet/murderer hanged in 1952. I got as far as talking on the phone to one of the policemaen who had him in charge - he just got so upset and aggressive. i realised I would be kicking over a hornet's nest. I couldn't face any more interviews like that - my nerves wouldn't stand it

But best of luck with your project Bob. It makes you realise how bloody careful the early nlues singers had to be of upsetting anyone.


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Deckman
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 07:59 PM

As I read these comments, I thought I should add something to the conversation. While I did throw the potential subject of the Skidmore murder out there, there are at least another dozen stories I would NOT write about. These are true tales from my own family: another murder, a lot of violence and rapes and heartbreak.

I don't believe I'm unique in knowing these of unspoken stories. We all know them. I guess I'm thinking of the Skidmore story because all of the participants are now dead, and I know the locals are still very guarded about the event.

... lot's of stuff to think about ... eh? bob


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Deckman
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 09:06 PM

I did write another ballad a few years ago. It's buried somewhere out there on You Tube under the name of Bob Nelson ... "The Old Fisherman", as I recall. This story came from a real experience I had when I was 15 and living with the Finns in Westport, Washington, U.S.A.

I wrote the story as I witnessed it. I'd been haunted by this story all my life. As I was composing this song, I did some serious researching, traveling, library time, and one in depth personal interview with the one person still alive who could flesh out the details.

After all that research, I waited for several months to make the decision write it and put it out there. The reason for my hesitation was because the guts of the story was about suicide.

As I've mentioned before on this thread ... you can read a story in a newspaper, or a book, and it might suffice. But the folksong has unique qualities. One of these qualities is a long lasting ability to be remembered, to be sung for generations, and above all, to be remembered. bob


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: frogprince
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 09:52 PM

At least now you have two "likes" on yewtube. There would be three, but it wouldn't let me punch an extra one for my wife.


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Rapparee
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 10:06 PM

You're right, Bob. I too know about various things from the past, still kept quiet by the walls of a small town/city thrown up against "outsiders."

Remember, there is no statute of limitations in the US on murder and anyone involved could still be prosecuted. As a result I don't think that many will ever be "solved."


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Deckman
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 10:18 PM

I'm almost thinking that we need to create, accept, a new category of "murder ballads." Perhaps we should add something like "execution songs." That certainly fits the Skimore story. bob


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: GUEST,.gargpyle
Date: 30 Oct 13 - 10:44 PM

By: The BUTLER
In: THE Green Room
With: A Lead Pipe

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

Dude ...if you do not post a first stanza...with a repeating chorus before Día de Muertos ... I suggest you place this thread ... with the other I'd-Jets ... in our lower region.


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Oct 13 - 05:27 AM

"I know that the family of Kevin Barry were terribly affronted by what they called the public house song"
Not the experience in Ireland as we've come across it.
Barry is treated with reverence, the song is sung widely and with respect by good, bad and indifferent singers and Barry is regarded as a national hero, along with Sean Treacy and Dan Breen, James Connolly, Woolfe Tone, Cathal Brugh... and all the other heroes - there is even a 'Kevin Barry House' in central Dublin.
The fact that it is sung in pubs, along with 'James Connolly', 'Green Fields of France', Willie McBride - and all the other songs acknowledging heroes and heroism, is an indication of the popularity of both the song and its subject.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Oct 13 - 09:42 AM

well I'm not sure the singer would want to be mentioned in this way, but he's a close personal friend and I have no reason to doubt his words.

Barry's family were apparently deeply resentful of the brutality of his fate and the 'heroic' status conferred on him. it wasn.t what they wanted for their child. The accounts of visits to him in the condemned cell were very harrowing - almost paralysed with terror as he was.

The singer in question never sang the song ever again. When you're a pro singer - requests that you can fulfil are bread and butter, food on the table.

A few years ago I remember a short article in the Irish Post - someone had hunted down his relations that's what they called the song -'a public house song' the phrase had a certain ring to it, and I remembered it.

There is sometimes a difference between what people think from the history books say - when its their folks that are getting hanged or shot down. That was the point I was trying to make in my post , Jim. Just a word of warning to Bob as to what to expect not unalloyed praise and approval.


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 31 Oct 13 - 10:12 AM

Eye witnesses of dramatic events such as the one in question, or war involvement etc., should write down their testimony in prose, as detailed as possible. Include rumours, allegations, subjective judgment, typical beliefs, etc. (even if currently "well-known"), but be precise and comprehensive. If immediate publication, e.g. in blogs, is not possible because of legal aspects, future historians are likely to be very grateful.

For songs and other forms of art, a different kind of precision is required, producing meaning rather than evidence. Bob, you did a good job in that sense with your Fisherman; for this the story need not be "true" - whatever that may mean.

In the example of freedom heroes, the very word "hero" implies a symbol, and thus leads away from the forensic reality. —

The question of craftsmanship in such narrative songs is delicate. Centuries of tradition means tons of clichés, most of which should be avoided at all costs. The art of traditionalism is to make tradition contemporary, not to stick to the old ways.


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Jack Campin
Date: 31 Oct 13 - 10:19 AM

This is my local murder, a mile from where I live ten years ago:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Jodi_Jones

http://www.scotsman.com/news/scotland/top-stories/jodi-jones-murder-dna-test-will-provide-answers-1-3082036

Village opinion is divided several ways. Most people seem to think Mitchell didn't do it but there are at least three other people suspected. There probably is a song in it - the scenario is much like "The Butcher Boy" - but not yet, at least not here.


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 31 Oct 13 - 10:39 AM

PS for my post of 31 Oct 13 - 10:12 AM: the last paragraph is not meant as a criticism of the Fisherman or any other existing song. The Skidmore case seems particularly challenging in that sense. In my own experience (- as I wrote on other threads -), good teamwork with experts for various aspects makes for better songs, even if they convey a personal message from an individual singer.


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Oct 13 - 12:00 PM

"Barry's family were apparently deeply resentful of the brutality of his fate and the 'heroic' status conferred on him."
I would love to have some documentary backup to the reaction of Barry's family Al - this stuff usually comes from those who yearn for the good old days of Empire.
Barry was in no way different from the thousands of young lads who lied about their age and volunteered to be slaughtered in the mud of Flanders - "in the wrong place at the wrong time", except, of course, he was eighteen and many of the WWI victims were two years younger.
The brutality of his fate was entirely down to an Empire that didn't recognise what was happening in Ireland as a legitimate bid for statehood.
Ironically, the heroes of Easter Week had to be protected from a jeering, stone-throwing crowd of Dubliners, mainly women, demanding to know why they weren't "out in the trenches along with our lads".
They would probably have been remembered as a bunch of eccentrics, had not the British Government decided to execute their leaders rather than pack them off to Frongoc with the rest of the rebels - British brutality gave Ireland just what it needed at the time - martyrs.
One of the most iconic images of that time was that of a seriously wounded Connolly tied into a chair so he could be shot by the firing squad.
In the end, it is history that makes heroes, not the personal feelings of family and friends, whatever they may be.
Take my word for it - it may be sung in pubs, but it is not a 'pub song'
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Oct 13 - 06:46 PM

I'm sorry - you know I'm not a historian. I don't keep documentary evidence. However I can assure you that the man who told me that story was believer in a united Ireland, a catholic - and certainly holds no truck with the thought of a British Empire.

Can't you see that in that midnight of the soul, however your loved one died - you just wish they were still here? Bugger the march of progress in any direction.

Maybe the Irish Post has an archive with the article that I read. It would be maybe ten years ago. Maybe a letter to the Irish Post - asking for anyone who remembers the reaction of the Barry family would clear the matter up for you.

Can you really not imagine that Connolly and Pearse's family would have preferred to have them to live their natural span. It's the Thatchers of this world that think nothing of human suffering and buy and trade in the blood of heroes' to gain political power.

It is just sad that young men die in battle. They become the tools of unworthy politicians.


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Nov 13 - 12:42 PM

"Can you really not imagine that Connolly and Pearse's family would have preferred to have them to live their natural span."
Are these cases ever an either or?
Would any of the families have been proud if been as proud of them as most of them were if they had sat on their bums, ignored their beliefs and principles and lived safe lives as bank clerks?
I know Connolly's son was not just proud that his father gave his life for his beliefs, but he took up his causes and spent his life fighting for them - he died recently.
This is the case with many others who became involved in such causes.
None of which alters anything I've said.
People take risks to change the world - if they'd stayed at home and done the garden the world would remain the same.
"They become the tools of unworthy politicians."
Again, depends on whether you feel fighting for national independence is being "tools of unworthy politicians."
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: GUEST,Morris-ey
Date: 01 Nov 13 - 02:00 PM

Deckman

"Because of family connections, I know the identity of the murderer."

Name and shame then.


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Nov 13 - 02:40 PM

yes unworthy politicians. Connolly and Pearse are good cases in point when you consider the vile acts of cruelty done in their names.


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Nov 13 - 03:53 PM

"yes unworthy politicians. Connolly and Pearse are good cases in point when you consider the vile acts of cruelty done in their names."
I suspected I was right when I suggested that such suggestions were usually made by those who yearned for the good ol' days of Empire.
Atrocities on both sides are the stuff that all wars and revolutions are made of.
I suggest we stop interrupting these good folk by not trying to fight the Irish war of independence all over again.
"Hup" - as the man said.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 01 Nov 13 - 05:09 PM

It might be worth considering that genealogical sources generally prohibit even naming anyone still living in "official" records, and government sources follow similar practices. Of course those who post at sites like Ancestry or FindAGrave often do make casual references to their living correspondents, but the potential for liabilies if someone objects may be quite high.

Especially in small towns, sensitivities about "the elders" can be bizarre. In my own home town, the sexton for the cemetary where several members of my own family, including parents and grandparents, are buried has refused to allow us to look at the cemetary records "because people don't like anyone prying." (The sexton at the time was one of my own first cousins, known since we were both kids.) Since the registry is legally a "public record" that anyone should be able to examine, this kind of "obstruction" is completely irrational; but we found it easier to take a walk around the cemetary and just take pictures of all the markers we were interested in.

Similar "attitudes" were found for several other cemetaries, and for some other kinds of "public records" that should be easily available but aren't.

The history may be good, but the people may be really peculiar, even if they appear to be quite ordinary when you meet them around town.

John


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Nov 13 - 10:20 PM

'Atrocities on both sides are the stuff that all wars and revolutions are made of.'

yes but hardly in the spirit of Pearse's speech from the steps of Dublin GPO. Pearse was worth more than that.

But actually its very much on subject.

See how you have interpreted my story told to me by a good friend as an attack on Irish republicanism. Just like that cop, when I asked about his murder case, saw it as an attack on Nottingham police force.

If Bob completes his song and publicises it - do you think the police who conducted the investigation will say, welldone! do you think the family of the new suspect will shout hooray! the truth is out at last, if Bob reads your posts it will give a mild taste of what is to come.


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Deckman
Date: 01 Nov 13 - 11:37 PM

my response to "Big Al Whittle" ... I appreciate your comment ... it's perfectly taken. It asks the question as to why I, or anyone else, would ever write a ballad about an event like this. I ponder that question often ...

I guess my answer comes from my knowledge of the many events that have remained remembered over the ages because of the songs that preserved them. Take my song "The Old Fisherman." I doubt there are more than a small handfull of folks alive today that remember that story ... but it resonates for everyone I sing it for.

Right? Wrong? I dunnO?   bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: GUEST,..gargoyle
Date: 02 Nov 13 - 02:41 AM

RE: I've been pondering about whether or not to write

Dude....quit the grandstanding ...$hit or get off the pot.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

I>the path to Hell is paved with ponderings....JUST DO IT ! ! ! Your audience of peers is ready.


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Nov 13 - 04:50 AM

"yes but hardly in the spirit of Pearse's speech from the steps of Dublin GPO. Pearse was worth more than that."
Sorry Al - you seem keen on pursuing this - not quite sure in what 'spirit'
Personally, I've never taken to the song Kevin Barry, but I've been aware of it since childhood and it's continuing popularity for nearly a century (not only in pubs) is an indication that it strikes a chord among people somewhere.
Barry was the first Irishman to be tortured and executed in the Anglo-Irish war, his body, along with 9 other insurgents, was re-interred in a heroes grave in Glasnevin cemetery seventy years later.
He was an important figure in Irish history.
You would be as likely to walk on the moon as there not to be a song made about him - it's an essential part of Irish history.   
I note with interest that the British courts are now taking steps to carry out legal proceedings against the soldiers guilty of shooting down unarmed demonstrators during the Bloody Sunday massacre.
H.M. (gawd bless 'er) has apologised for the consequences of British rule in Ireland down the centuries.
Perhaps it's time for the rest of us to recognised that 'Ruling People is Wrong' is wrong and inevitably leads to senseless slaughter by both sides (nearly always acknowledged in song BTW)
Bob
These songs are always worth writing.
We've been researching local Irish songs over the last couple of years - the ones that remained in the areas in which the events took place and never made it into the national repertoire - there seem to be many hundreds of them that have hardly seen the light of day.
In many cases, the only evidence these events ever took place is contained in the information carried in the songs (apart from a few old newspaper cuttings maybe).
These songs, if well researched and written, can be an important part of social history.
I remember hearing an Ozark song years ago about a dirt farmer and his family who were killed at a railway crossing when their buckboard was struck by a train at a level crossing while going to town for supplies (The Death of Charlie Lively).
I thought at the time that that was a great way to remember a poor family - a small tragedy in a small community.
Good luck with it.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Deckman
Date: 02 Nov 13 - 04:56 AM

I'm going to take gargoyle's suggestion ... I'M OUTTA HERE.   bob


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Nov 13 - 07:17 AM

Jim
'Whose blessing we invoke upon our arms, and we pray that no one who serves that cause will dishonour it by cowardice, in humanity, or rapine.'

Warrington, Enniskillen, Omagh, Birmingham, Guildford......
Pearse would have sensed a contradiction.

Bob

Write it! Get on with the next one! Do it for the joy of it. Lose that and you really are in trouble. It will make you feel good. You will have made something. Who knows what will happen when you roll the dice.....? Have fun.


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Nov 13 - 08:03 AM

Still not getting your point Al - that these people were not national heroes; that they were not worthy of commemoration....
What exactly.
Rooting for one side while stressing atrocities by the other only perpetuates an ongoing situation rather than coming to terms with and ending it.
Suggesting that these events are no-go areas is not an option, they are part of a nation's history.
Irish language television is embarking on a new seven part series on the minor signatories of the Easter Week declaration; a follow-up to a six part one on the leaders
History is always with us and songs will always be made about it - long may that be the case.
Jim Carroll

http://www.historyireland.com/revolutionary-period-1912-23/belfasts-unholy-war/

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/01/10/finu-j10.html

http://www.sott.net/article/245044-The-British-Empire-A-Lesson-In-State-Terrorism

http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/review/149


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Mr Red
Date: 02 Nov 13 - 08:06 AM

I still say write the ballad and camouflage the identities/locations. If there are reactions, then the reactors will be putting themselves in the frame. Catch 22 - self inflicted.


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 02 Nov 13 - 12:21 PM

I don't think Big Al's point is so much, "Why would you you or anyone else write a ballad about an event like this" as it is, "Are you ready for the blow-back when you publicly accuse someone of a notorious unsolved murder?" People have been known to get touchy about stuff like that.

That said, lot's of people do this sort of thing, either because they think they can money from it or because they crave the attention they'll get. There are even people out there so desperate for attention that they'll actually pretend to have committed the crime just to get attention. So it goes...


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: catspaw49
Date: 02 Nov 13 - 12:56 PM

In Bob's case, the murder had a poetry about it and for me as well as many others I saw it as the story of Boo Radley and Tom Ewell in "To Kill A Mockingbird." Problem solved and let the dead bury the dead.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Nov 13 - 01:00 PM

that's it exactly Stim. that said, we write what songs come to us.
Jim
I just think Pearse was an idealist - and people seem to have warmed to him..... I don't think atrocities were what he had in mind in 1916.

Its an interesting point - would we remember The Charge of the Light Brigade without Tennyson's poem?   Heroes the six hundred may have been - but any one of their families would have preferred that they stayed at home.

I would have been proud of my Dad if he had dies fighting for his country - but it would have been a piss poor alternative to him living til he was 87.


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Nov 13 - 01:00 PM

that's it exactly Stim. that said, we write what songs come to us.
Jim
I just think Pearse was an idealist - and people seem to have warmed to him..... I don't think atrocities were what he had in mind in 1916.

Its an interesting point - would we remember The Charge of the Light Brigade without Tennyson's poem?   Heroes the six hundred may have been - but any one of their families would have preferred that they stayed at home.

I would have been proud of my Dad if he had dies fighting for his country - but it would have been a piss poor alternative to him living til he was 87.


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Nov 13 - 01:22 PM

"I don't think atrocities were what he had in mind in 1916."
Atrocities were never what any of them had in mind - but they happened anyway.
Sorry - still not getting your point.
"I would have been proud of my Dad "
My dad volunteered to fight in Spain when he saw the ride of fascism in Germany - he, along with many others, believed the Nazis could be stopped if Franco was defeated.
He was wounded and spent nearly two traumatic years in a Fascist concentration camp.
He came home to find that the 'Anti-Fascist' British security service had awarded him with a police record branding him a "Premature Anti-Fascist"
This led him to being blacklisted from his fairly secure and not too badly job and unable to find work elsewhere, so he was forced to work as a navvy, poorly pay, appalling conditions and almost permanently away from home until I was 14 years of age.
My mother always spoke of his time in Spain with pride, and nowadays there is not a day passes when I don't remember him with that same pride.
What's your point Al?
"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it's natural manure.".
Thomas Jefferson
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Nov 13 - 03:01 PM

well I don't want any of my closest to be used as manure for anything. my point was originally that apparently Kevin Barry's family weren't keen either. this you seem to dispute - or find it incomprehensible that they would not want their son tortured and killed.

the song was to them a reminder of their personal tragedy - whatever their politics were.


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Nov 13 - 04:21 PM

"was originally that apparently Kevin Barry's family weren't keen either"
So you say!
The fact that you appear to believe that there is nothing worth taking a risk for makes you an odd-ball Al -
Wonder where that leaves all those lads who volunteered for the trenches, or the six young men who sacrificed their liberty so we could have a say in our wages and working conditions, or all those fellers who set out in little boats to take the troops off the beaches at Dunkirk when they could have stayed at home fishing....
And all the benefits we enjoy from someone having made a sacrifice at one time or another - perhaps you'd be happy to forgo these because of all those lives wasted by people who chose to be "in the wrong place at the wrong time" - somehow I doubt it.
"the song was to them a reminder of their personal tragedy"
No it wasn't; the song was to remind us of our debt to them and the courage they displayed - that's the way I prefer them to be remembered, with gratitude and admiration, thanks all the same.
Nuff said, I think.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 02 Nov 13 - 08:32 PM

"In Bob's case, the murder had a poetry about it" Poetry? REALLY? It seems more like a bunch of people decided to solve a problem the wrong way because no one ever wanted to stand up and solve it the right way.


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Nov 13 - 11:34 PM

' No it wasn't; the song was to remind us of our debt to them and the courage they displayed - that's the way I prefer them to be remembered, with gratitude and admiration, thanks all the same.'


correct! your opinion....not indisputable fact,


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Nov 13 - 03:25 AM

"correct! your opinion....not indisputable fact,"
It is pretty well established that it was common practice for 'events', political and social, to be recorded in song.
We've been digging up information on local songs since we moved to Ireland fifteen years ago, and have been recording such songs for at least thirty years..
These songs, as far as we've bee able to establish, were made, invariably by people who seldom put their name to them, and they became part of local history - many of them all-but disappeared when the particular events faded from local memory.
They included political events, emigrations, weddings, murders, accidents..... there's even one about a respected priest moving on to the next parish..... they were part of folk creation.
Quite often the same event was commemorated by several songs - locally there were four songs made about The Rineen Ambush (a Black-and-Tan convoy ambushed a few miles from here), the same number about The West Clare Railway, at least a half-dozen about the sinking of a ship off the coast in 1911, when local fishermen rescued the crew in curraghs.
The closest to 'Barry' were two songs entitled 'Mac and Shanahan' describing the arrest, torture and murder of two young men suspected of political involvement by Black and Tans.
Songs like these became part of the struggle for independence, and they also served as an expression of the local fights for independence - they are part of social history.   
Songs like Kevin Barry came about at a time of intense national struggle and they became part of that struggle.
They sometime took 'lament' form, as here, but they were also triumphant, angry, funny.... every emotion that is associated with the political and social life of the times they were made.   
They were sometimes produced in songbooks and were sung at political rallys and demonstrations, others just survived in the memories of those who were around at the time - there are hundreds of them.
The broadside trade thrived on gathering up some of these songs and selling them; in some cases they were deliberately made and printed to deliver a specific message.
The most well-known case of this was 'Patrick Sheehan (aka The Glens of Aherlow) - family evicted by landlord, parents starve to death at the roadside, son goes into the workhouse and then joins the British army and is blinded at Sebastopol, his disablement pension expires and he eventually ends up begging on the Dublin streets.
The song was based on an actual event and was written by well-known Irish writer, Charles Kickham, who actually intended it to be used as a disincentive to recruitment, but it ended up being instrumental in changing Irish law on service pensions.
I would be interested to learn if you actually know anything about these songs - there's tons of information about them, I would highly recommend Georges Zimmermann's Songs of Irish Rebellion.
Your failure to respond to one single point I have made about the political situation in Ireland pertaining at the time these songs were made suggests that you are drawing your conclusions from your own political leanings, but I would be happy to be proved wrong on this and add your information to our own researches.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 03 Nov 13 - 05:54 AM

Stim writes
It seems more like a bunch of people decided to solve a problem the wrong way because no one ever wanted to stand up and solve it the right way.
If Wiki is accurate, people had made many attempts to solve the problem the right way. This does not make the wrong one any righter, but creates the kind of tragic dilemma for which narrative art forms are suited. Of course, a narrator must refrain from too clear a moral judgment about the characters, let alone about the real persons. We all agree that songs must not be confused with witness accounts for the police or for future historians.


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 Nov 13 - 06:41 AM

don't need to research songs. my family were involved in the IRA right up to the 1930's. Further than that is nobody's business.


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Nov 13 - 07:43 AM

Thanks for your help!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 Nov 13 - 08:50 AM

Oh Jim -try to understand - legends, songs, ballads, heroes - they aren't the whole world.

alongside that is life...have a read of Arms and the Man.

George Bernard Shaw explains the idea so much more wittily and eloquently than I can.


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Nov 13 - 09:15 AM

Sorry - didn't understand a bit of that gibberish Al - I thought we wre iscussing songmakilne and its role in society.
By the way, Arms and the Man is a play - far more satisfying to watch than to read
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 Nov 13 - 11:20 AM

okay -you don't understand.

please note thatI have not abused your point of view as gibberish. Shaw is one of the very few dramatists that never worked as an actor he was a drama critic. when he is staged the speeches are frequently cut to give a bit more snap to the production.

better reading than acting. a bit like Wilde. witty words...but a a few too many of them to keep the action moving.

god alone knows what you feel your truculence adds to our exchanges.


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 04 Nov 13 - 02:52 AM

My point, Grishka, was that law enforcement, justice authorities, and other civil officials failed to do what they were supposed to do, over a long period of time, which led to the unfortunate result. Incidentally, though you can generally get the elements of a story from the Wiki, you will often get a larger, and sometimes very different picture if you look at the source material.


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Nov 13 - 03:10 AM

Sorry Al
Not the slightest bit interested in your opinions on drama - I'm well aware of Shaw's works and I find myself, once again, in total disagreement in your opinions.
I have seen most of Shaw's plays and can't think of one of them that makes better reading than acting - including his lesser performed ones.
That it is not what we were discussing here
I was talking about the part songs on historical incidents played in passing on information on those events.
I was not taking a political stance on them, as you appear to be, just pointing out why I believe they were made and why they are important - too important to be dismissed because of our own contemporary agendas.
That includes the making of new songs on earlier themes - which is what this is about.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 04 Nov 13 - 04:53 AM

Stim, I still do not quite understand what you mean. I thought you were saying (02 Nov 13 - 08:32 PM) that there was no tragic dilemma involved that would lend itself to a song, and I expressed my disagreement based on the superficial information from the Wiki. You now seem to agree with me. It is Ben who wants to research further details, not I.


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 04 Nov 13 - 06:34 AM

No we were discussing Bob's intention to write a murder ballad - something which I know about, I mentioned that the fact that to my knowledge some of Kevin Barry's family didn't think being tortured and hanged by the British wasn't a brilliant carrer choice, and they got upset every time they heard that bloody song.

You ascended the high horse as per....


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 04 Nov 13 - 08:36 AM

Bob, not Ben, sorry. Stim (02 Nov 13 - 08:32 PM) wrote "In Bob's case", and that was what I responded to.

Since an artistic narrative can never be identical to a forensic testimony, writers are entitled to invent versions that fit their artistic messages. Shakespeare is a model - though nowadays it is often preferable to rename the characters.

We can either discuss history, or an artistic adaptation, or the fact that they coincide less than claimed.


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 04 Nov 13 - 03:02 PM

artistic narrative is a poetic presentation. documentary truth is something else.

once you take that aboard. the facts (or your selection of them) are a bit like a kaleidoscope - give them a shake and the pattern you present can be comic, or it may be tragic, pathos inducing.

it sort of depends on your personality - whether you want to make people laugh, cry, be stirred to action....tears of compassion, anger.

I tend to think your personality is what is actually making the statement - rather than the documentary facts,

a good example of this - there are political decisions the results of which make you weep - but the usual ploy is to take the piss.


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Subject: RE: I'm researching a murder
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 05 Nov 13 - 12:41 AM

Grishka--my point was that I didn't see any "poetry" in what actually happened. It may be true that what actually happens never has any poetry to it(making my observation a fairly safe one;-)).

Whether or not that is exactly true, You and Big Al are both perfectly right when you say documentary truth lacks the elegance of a well told tale. And of course, the personality and tastes of the story teller shape the story.

It was once the fashion for poets to retell the same stories--the Arthurian Legends being a prime example, which gives evidence to this idea--my favorite, the story of Percival and the quest for the Grail , changes quite a lot in tone, detail, and intent, depending on the author. Even the Grail gets changed.


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