Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Songs about capital punishment.

The Shambles 19 Dec 98 - 08:02 AM
Dani 19 Dec 98 - 08:25 AM
Liam's Brother 19 Dec 98 - 10:28 AM
The Shambles 19 Dec 98 - 10:47 AM
Liam's Brother 19 Dec 98 - 12:34 PM
The Shambles 19 Dec 98 - 01:49 PM
rich r 19 Dec 98 - 06:38 PM
BSeed 19 Dec 98 - 10:41 PM
rich r 19 Dec 98 - 10:45 PM
Sandy Paton 19 Dec 98 - 11:29 PM
Art Thieme 19 Dec 98 - 11:40 PM
Art Thieme 19 Dec 98 - 11:53 PM
Art Thieme 20 Dec 98 - 12:08 AM
Sandy Paton 20 Dec 98 - 12:19 AM
Jon W. 20 Dec 98 - 12:43 AM
Charlie Baum 20 Dec 98 - 01:48 AM
BSeed 20 Dec 98 - 03:29 AM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 20 Dec 98 - 02:38 PM
The Shambles 20 Dec 98 - 03:52 PM
rich r 20 Dec 98 - 07:14 PM
20 Dec 98 - 07:41 PM
harpgirl 20 Dec 98 - 07:57 PM
BSeed 20 Dec 98 - 08:04 PM
Pete M 20 Dec 98 - 08:32 PM
Greg F. 20 Dec 98 - 08:39 PM
Roger in Baltimore 20 Dec 98 - 08:46 PM
harpgirl 20 Dec 98 - 09:41 PM
Barry Finn 20 Dec 98 - 09:46 PM
Barry Finn 20 Dec 98 - 11:42 PM
O'Boyle 21 Dec 98 - 02:18 AM
carverconroy@beaufort.com 01 Apr 99 - 12:28 PM
Bert 01 Apr 99 - 01:18 PM
DonMeixner 01 Apr 99 - 03:24 PM
Den 01 Apr 99 - 05:22 PM
Bob Schwarer 01 Apr 99 - 06:14 PM
Susan A-R 01 Apr 99 - 09:41 PM
Jerry Friedman 02 Apr 99 - 04:05 PM
Jerry Friedman 02 Apr 99 - 04:38 PM
MAG (inactive) 02 Apr 99 - 05:46 PM
Bruce O. 02 Apr 99 - 06:08 PM
02 Apr 99 - 06:20 PM
skw@worldmusic.de 13 Apr 99 - 05:01 AM
AlistairUK 13 Apr 99 - 07:11 AM
AlistairUK 13 Apr 99 - 07:12 AM
Sandy Paton 13 Apr 99 - 01:34 PM
Gene 13 Apr 99 - 08:44 PM
Susan A-R 13 Apr 99 - 11:02 PM
reggie miles 13 Apr 99 - 11:24 PM
Mark Clark 13 Apr 99 - 11:54 PM
northfolk/al cholger 14 Apr 99 - 12:08 AM
GUEST,Nancy Blevins 15 Feb 00 - 12:28 AM
Sorcha 15 Feb 00 - 12:37 AM
Joe Offer 15 Feb 00 - 01:23 AM
Callie 15 Feb 00 - 01:51 AM
Metchosin 15 Feb 00 - 04:07 AM
AKS 15 Feb 00 - 04:23 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 15 Feb 00 - 06:25 AM
GeorgeH 15 Feb 00 - 06:42 AM
The Shambles 15 Feb 00 - 08:48 AM
GUEST,T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) 15 Feb 00 - 09:19 AM
Peg 15 Feb 00 - 10:47 AM
Charlie Baum 15 Feb 00 - 11:21 AM
Willie-O 15 Feb 00 - 11:27 AM
GUEST,Okiemockbird 15 Feb 00 - 12:37 PM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 16 Feb 00 - 06:34 AM
The Shambles 16 Feb 00 - 09:58 AM
The Shambles 18 Mar 00 - 11:41 AM
GUEST,The Beanster 18 Mar 00 - 12:20 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Mar 00 - 02:52 PM
GUEST,Pamela 30 Jul 03 - 06:03 PM
akenaton 30 Jul 03 - 06:41 PM
SINSULL 30 Jul 03 - 10:27 PM
Padre 30 Jul 03 - 11:21 PM
GUEST,cittern 31 Jul 03 - 03:53 AM
GUEST 31 Jul 03 - 02:58 PM
Gareth 31 Jul 03 - 03:41 PM
GUEST,Brother 31 Jul 03 - 07:20 PM
toadfrog 31 Jul 03 - 07:46 PM
HuwG 01 Aug 03 - 01:14 AM
Red and White Rabbit 01 Aug 03 - 09:24 AM
GUEST 01 Aug 03 - 11:49 AM
GUEST,Mary Ann 01 Aug 03 - 02:52 PM
GUEST,Mary Ann 01 Aug 03 - 03:51 PM
GUEST,Sara 01 Aug 03 - 03:55 PM
Nigel Parsons 01 Aug 03 - 04:12 PM
Gareth 01 Aug 03 - 04:33 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 01 Aug 03 - 07:51 PM
The Shambles 02 Aug 03 - 03:04 AM
GUEST 02 Sep 03 - 02:24 AM
The Shambles 02 Sep 03 - 05:44 AM
GUEST,Gibson 19 Aug 04 - 03:46 PM
GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) 20 Aug 04 - 12:44 PM
GUEST,lengeft 20 Feb 05 - 06:55 PM
Peace 20 Feb 05 - 09:12 PM
goodbar 21 Feb 05 - 02:43 AM
Clifton53 21 Feb 05 - 10:06 AM
pavane 21 Feb 05 - 11:31 AM
Big Al Whittle 21 Feb 05 - 01:19 PM
Leadfingers 21 Feb 05 - 02:26 PM
Leadfingers 21 Feb 05 - 02:27 PM
Charley Noble 21 Feb 05 - 03:41 PM
Leadfingers 21 Feb 05 - 04:46 PM
GUEST,Bonnie 21 Feb 05 - 05:08 PM
Big Al Whittle 22 Feb 05 - 04:00 PM
erinmaidin 22 Feb 05 - 04:04 PM
GUEST,Frank 22 Feb 05 - 05:44 PM
markpde 28 Dec 07 - 11:59 AM
Joe_F 28 Dec 07 - 08:57 PM
Stringsinger 29 Dec 07 - 12:54 PM
Rog Peek 29 Dec 07 - 02:25 PM
Big Al Whittle 31 Dec 11 - 02:58 PM
Owen Woodson 31 Dec 11 - 03:08 PM
Stringsinger 31 Dec 11 - 03:11 PM
Mark Ross 31 Dec 11 - 03:45 PM
GUEST,Paul Slade 31 Dec 11 - 06:19 PM
Max Johnson 01 Jan 12 - 07:37 AM
Jack Campin 01 Jan 12 - 10:52 AM
Big Al Whittle 01 Jan 12 - 12:26 PM
Owen Woodson 01 Jan 12 - 02:57 PM
Jack Campin 01 Jan 12 - 05:05 PM
GUEST,999 02 Jan 12 - 05:47 AM
GUEST,999 02 Jan 12 - 06:02 AM
GUEST,AEOLA 02 Jan 12 - 12:45 PM
Owen Woodson 02 Jan 12 - 01:04 PM
Owen Woodson 02 Jan 12 - 01:13 PM
Jack Campin 02 Jan 12 - 01:26 PM
GUEST,Morgana 02 Jan 12 - 06:33 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Lyr Add: DEAD MAN WALKING BLUES (Roger Gall)^^
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Dec 98 - 08:02 AM

There has been some discussion in various threads lately about capital punishment, rather than respond in those, I thought I would start a new thread for songs on this emotive subject. Not very seasonal but with the current situation in Iraq, I for one do not feel very seasonal.

It begs the question, would it be right to kill an individual like Saddam and others, if you knew that by doing so you could prevent the pain and suffering that people like that cause?

This song is strange, the first time I heard the title of the book/film, Dead Man Walking and before I knew what it was about, I knew I would write a song with that title. About six months later and some time after I had seen the film (which is a great film) I wrote the song. It's a blues, on the lines of 'Hootchie Cootchie Man'.



DEAD MAN WALKING BLUES

My lips are dry, I can't talk
I've got to steel myself for one last walk
I can't run with these chains, you see
There's no hurry, they won't start without me
Dead man walking, the star of the show
Dead man walking, away from death row
Dead man waking, walking slow

You may say, all my life I've been no good
I would have done better, if only I could
But up to now no one noticed me
Now I see myself on the TV
Dead man walking, the star of the show
Dead man walking, away from death row
Dead man waking, walking slow

My performance may make the news
But I won't be around, to read the reviews
Ain't up to me who they invite
Who will watch my first and last night?
Dead man walking, the star of the show
Dead man walking, away from death row
Dead man waking, walking slow

The good book may say it but it don't mean it's the truth
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth
I did wrong on that fateful night
But two wrongs, they won't make it right
Dead man walking, the star of the show
Dead man walking, away from death row
Dead man waking, walking slow

My deed was in the heat of that hour
But it don't excuse the abuse of my power
But the cleaner you try to make my death seem
Just seems to make it more obscene!
Dead man walking, the star of the show
Dead man walking, away from death row
Dead man waking, walking slow

Dead man walking, the star of the show
Dead man walking, away from death row
Dead man waking, walking slow

Roger Gall 1998


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Dani
Date: 19 Dec 98 - 08:25 AM

I would love to hear you do that song. I suffer from not being able to translate lyrics into songs. But your words are powerful.

They're not in the DT, but check out two songs of Pete's: Walking Down Death Row

and

Sacco's Letter to his Son.

Let me know if you don't find them surfing. I'll post them next week.

Dani


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 19 Dec 98 - 10:28 AM

I remember that Ewan MacColl wrote a very powerful song, "Go Down You Murderers," (was the chorous if not the title) on an early Topic lp. I have the record in storage. It was, as I recall, about the execution of Tim Evans... seems it was later proved that he was not the killer.

Then there is always Kipling's "Danny Deever," brilliantly record by Peter Bellamy on Barrack Room Ballads.

In addition to this serious subject, the finality of capital punishment, there is here now an unrelated but very serious issue - Capitol Punishment. Should God (or public opion and history) punish adulturers or should fellow sinners do the job?

All the best,
Dan Milner


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Dec 98 - 10:47 AM

I always thought that Capitol punishment was listening to early Kingston Trio Records?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 19 Dec 98 - 12:34 PM

Well done, Sir Shambles, but I'm sure many of our fellow Mudcats would not agree with you.

(God! did I really make that many typos?)

All the best.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Dec 98 - 01:49 PM

Sorry Dan, it was just an excuse for a cheap joke, I couldn't think of anyone else who recorded on the Capitol label. I liked them too.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: rich r
Date: 19 Dec 98 - 06:38 PM

Tom Paxton's "Bring Back The Chair"

rich r


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: THE GREEN, GREEN GRASS OF HOME^^
From: BSeed
Date: 19 Dec 98 - 10:41 PM

One of my favorite songs to sing is the very unjudgemental country song (by Curley Putnam, I believe), recorded by Johnny Cash and others, "THE GREEN, GREEN GRASS OF HOME," which, surprisingly, seems not to be in the DT.

The old home town looks the same
As I step down from the train,
And there to greet me are my momma and my daddy.
Down the road I look and there runs Mary,
Hair of gold and lips like cherries,
It's good to touch the green, green grass of home.

(chorus)
Yes, they'll all come to see me,
Arms a-reachin', smilin' sweetly,
It's so good to touch the green, green grass of home.

The old house is still a-standin',
But the paint is cracked and worn,
And there's that old oak tree that I used to climb on.
Down the road I walk with my sweet Mary,
Hair of hold and lips like cherries,
It's good to touch the green, green grass of home.

(chorus)

Then I awake and look around me,
At the gray walls all around me,
And I realize that I was only dreamin',
'Cause there's a guard and a sad old padre,
Arm in arm we'll walk at daybreak;
Again I'll touch the green, green grass of home.

(final chorus)
Yes, they'll all come to see me,
In the shade of that old oak tree,
As they lay me 'neath the green, green grass of home.

--seed


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: rich r
Date: 19 Dec 98 - 10:45 PM

Strange form of capital punishment

rich r


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 19 Dec 98 - 11:29 PM

Speaking of the Kingston Trio, remember the capital verse in "Tom Dooley" (dula):

This time tomorrow,
Reckon where I'll be,
Down in some lonesome valley,
Hangin' from a white oak tree.

Then there's "MacPherson's Rant," sometimes called "MacPherson's Lament." Another execution song is sometimes called "Been All Around this World."

Hang me, oh, hang me,
And I'll be dead and gone.
Hang me, oh, hang me,
And I'll be dead and gone.
I don't mind your hangin',
It's layin' in the ground so long.
Been all around this world.

Max Hunter, Springfield, Missouri, recorded that one for me back in the early 60s. Now available as a "custom cassette."

And, finally, does anyone remember the song "Come, Oh My Love," which I think was collected on Beech Mountain in North Carolina, about thirty years before I got there? Last verse, sung by the man about to hang:

Come, oh my love, and see me die.
Come, oh my love, and see me die.
Lift your innocent face,
See me dance in the sky.

Can't remember where I saw that one.

Sandy (folk fogey)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Art Thieme
Date: 19 Dec 98 - 11:40 PM

Never was the Kingston Trio; 'Twas N. Carolinian, Frank Proffitt, who sang the song for Frank & Ann Warner. They gave it to the Lomax father & son duo who put it into print where the Kingstons found it, filed on it, and made a million bucks---no credit to anybody.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Art Thieme
Date: 19 Dec 98 - 11:53 PM

Sandy---Sorry! Think we just crossed postings in the mail here! I could've sworn I saw the entire "TOM DULA" posted here with no mention of Mr. Proffitt--only the K.T.

Now I can't find that posting anywhere. But folks, Sandy has wonderful recordings of Frank Proffitt on Folk Legacy! And didn't you record the one for Folkways too, Sandy? Seem to recall that you did. Of course, they're all packed away!

Art


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: SEND ME TO THE 'LECTRIC CHAIR^^
From: Art Thieme
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 12:08 AM

Bessie Smith's "ELECTRIC CHAIR BLUES"-----That's packed away too, but I'm thinkin' I might receall it...

Judge your honor, hear my plea, before you open up your court,
I don't want no sympathy--I just cut my good man's throat,
Found him with a travellin' Jane--I warned her before,
I had my knife, and, well, it's plain,
The rest you ought to know.

CHORUS)
Judge, judge, good kind judge,
You can send me to the 'lectric chair,
Judge, judge, hear my plea,
ou can fry me 'cause I don't care.
I cut him with my Barlow (bottle?),
Stabbed him in the side,
Stood there watchin' over him,
While he wobbled 'round and died,
Judge, judge good kind judge,
Please send me to the 'lectric chair.

Judge, judge, good kind judge--send me to the 'lectric chair,
Judge, judge, let me fly away from here,
Don't want no bonded man to go my bail,
Don't wanna spend no 99 years in jail,
Judge, judge, good kind judge,
Send me to the 'lectric chair.

Judge, judge, please Mr. judge,...

I'm sure there's another verse but it's gone from m'head. Somebody else, please take over:


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 12:19 AM

Right you are, Art. I did record the Folkways album of Frank Proffitt, and got Frank Warner to write the notes, since I was recording Proffitt in 1961, and Warner had recorded him in 1938(!), I thought Warner had prior rights to the glory. I'm told that Smithsonian-Folkways will burn a special issue CD for anyone willing to pay a premium for it. Does anyone know whether or not this is true? If it is, one could get Frank Proffitt on CD. My own two albums of his music on Folk-Legacy are only available as "custom cassettes," until we can afford to assemble a CD.

How's the move going, Art? Unpack the joke file first!

Sandy


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Jon W.
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 12:43 AM

Probably it is Barlow not bottle, Art. Barlow is a type of knife (I believe I learned that factoid right here on the forum).

How about the traditional song Gallows Pole (Hangman, hangman, wait a little while/I think I see my father coming, riding many a mile...)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 01:48 AM

Sandy--the Smithsonian/Folkways folk will make custom cassettes and/or CDs similar to your Folk Legacy custom cassettes. I got one of Dock Boggs last year. (Its's just this fall that they've released all the Dock Boggs on non-custom CDs.) And the cassette comes in a handsome little box and photocopies of the original material accompany it, but of course, all the photocopied materials won;t fit into the box, no matter how carefully you fold them.

And on the subject:
Write me a letter
Send it by e-mail
Send it in care of
www.birminghamjail.gov


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: BSeed
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 03:29 AM

rich r., strange form of capital punishment? where do you suppose the guard and the sad old padre are headed as they walk arm in arm with the speaker in the song at daybreak, a wedding? unless I'm misinterpreting your post. --seed


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 02:38 PM

"Sing Me Back Home" by -- Merle Haggard & The Strangers? I think I have heard a wealth of capital punishment songs on rural tavern jukeboxes over the years, but this is the only one that comes to mind at the moment.

Also the trad song "Geordie", sometimes sung as "Georgie". It's a Child ballad, IIRC. Gets hanged for stealing deer.

"Bold Lovell" -- see "Whiskey In The Jar" thread, where in this variant he thinks it "bloody hard to swing for liftin' a bit of money." I think there are others about highwaymen getting hanged. One about Dick Turpin, I think.

There should be a wealth of trad songs about people getting hanged -- even that little Irish ditty about the consequences of sticking knives in babies' heads -- but I assume that you mean anti-capital punishment songs.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 03:52 PM

Not anti-capital punishment songs but ones about the process of the state coldly setting about taking life.

It's when I see the hoops we go through to make execution clean and/or painless and the elevation from nowhere to the front pages, of sad people and their crimes and the pain of temporary reprieves, that I wonder if it is not a self-defeating process.

But again I can see some justification in removing people like Saddam, Stalin and Hitler.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: rich r
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 07:14 PM

Seed,

Sometimes I don't speak meself so clearly as I think. I guess my problem with that song is that it is altogether too saccharine and nostalgic to be considered a legitimate attempt to grapple with seriousness of capital punishment. The guy in the song might as well be going in for some surgery that has a finite non-zero possibility of being fatal.

rich r


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From:
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 07:41 PM

"East Texas Red" by Woody Guthrie---on my LP (Folk Leacy) __That's The Ticket"__(now on cassette only) -- as well as by Arlo Guthrie on a recording--is about hobos who, harrassed by a sadistic brakeman by "kicking over their stew" at their hobo jungle camp, tell hi that they'll be back in a year to make him pay.

Is this a version of "Sir Gawain and The Green Knight??? Sure might be. (More o' my vascilating!)But that'd be amazing.

When they do come back and "Red comes down the line", with their warm clothes, now, and money in their pockets, he begs for mercy. But they kill him.

As John Steinbeck said, and I paraphrase, 'In these sub-stratas of folks who have fallen through the safety net and inhabit a world outside the mainstream, there are only a few options---ostracism or a quick, decisive fight that instantly settles the problem one way or the other. No good or evil here! Just what is--depending on your beliefs---once again!

Still, no offense intended, good people. Just am stating a point of view---a way to see this other than absolutely evil. There's always shades o' gray.

Art


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: harpgirl
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 07:57 PM

Art,
I remember a verse like this...


.judge, judge, good, kind judge
send me to the lectric chair,
judge, judge Mr. Siricca please
burn me cause I don't care
I have to take a journey to the devil down below ,
I sliced up my sweet patootie
lawd I hate to see her go..... harp


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: BSeed
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 08:04 PM

rich--true, the condemned man doesn't dwell on the mechanics of his coming death or on his possible afterlife, or on any remorse he might have for his crime--but the song's structure, message, and imagery are a bit more complex, I think, than you give it credit for: we first see the condemned man as human, connected to his family and his girlfriend, dreaming about returning to the innocent pleasures of his youth (the oak tree, the walk with Mary), yet aware of the changes time brings--the paint on the old house is now cracked and worn, and the greeting is perhaps one he received on an earlier return home. On first hearing, the first two verses are simple nostalgia for family and home and sweetheart. But when the third verse comes, the condemned man awakes surrounded by the cold grey walls, thinking of the walk to the gallows and his return home, not to be greeted but mourned, the tree of his childhood now his burial site, the green, green grass no longer a symbol of home and youth, but a grave covering.

Anyway, that's the way I try to sing it (avoiding all memory of Tom Jones' overblown version). --seed


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Pete M
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 08:32 PM

Actually Seed, I liked Rich's comment, just got a twisted mind I suppose, but I got an instant vision of someone being put to death by being made to touch grass! Alternatively you could constue it as being buried alive I suppose, either way I have difficulty in taking the song seriously for the reasons Rich gives. Your interpretation may make all the difference of course, but I'm afraid I'll probably never get to hear it.

Eiher way, I suppose I've always felt that the song did nothing to bring out the horror of institutionalized murder, but again that may be down to interpretation, and my, and probably most peoples, have been conditioned by the extant recordings.

On Shambles original question, I don't think political assasination can be justified on moral grounds, and suspect it would be far less effective than may be thought. There are very few cases where the removal of an individual would make that much change to a complex situation. To digress into jargon: the stability of a given system is directly related to both its internal complexity and richness of its links to its environment, not as most people imagine, inversely related.

Pete M


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Greg F.
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 08:39 PM

Then there's Phil Ochs' "The Iron Lady"-

Regards-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 08:46 PM

Art,

I think you are recalling David Bromberg's version of "Send Me to the 'Lectric Chair." Not that that is bad, just giving you the information. Of course, circa 1974.

Roger in Baltimore


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: SEND ME TO THE 'LECTRIC CHAIR
From: harpgirl
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 09:41 PM

No Roger, David's is different:

So Judge, your honor, hear my plea before you open up your court.
I don't crave no sympathy, for what I have to report.
I caught her with a gamblin' Joe I had warned her about once before.
I pulled my knife and I went insane. The rest you already know.

He said, "Judge, judge, good kind judge, send me to the 'lectric chair."
He said, "Judge, judge, hear me, judge: I wanta get outa here.
I want to take a journey to the devil down below.
I sliced up my sweet patootie. I gotta reap just what I sow.
So judge, judge, hear me, judge, and send me to the 'lectric chair."

He said, "Judge, ah, listen to me, judge: please now send me to the 'lectric chair."
He said, "Judge, your honor, mister, sir, I love that girl so dear.
I don't want no bondsman to go my bail
And I don't wanta spend no 99 years stuck in your stinkin' jail.
Judge, ah, judge, hear me, judge: send me to the 'lectric chair.

He said, "Judge, ah, judge, Mr. Sirica, please, send me to the 'lectric chair.
Ah, judge, now judge, meister judge, burn me cause I don't care.
First I cut her with my Barlow, then I kicked her in the side,
Then I stood there laughin' o'er her while she buckled up and died."
I said, "Judge, judge, hear me, judge, and send me to the 'lectric chair."

The breaks aren't quite right but those are his words...harp


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Barry Finn
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 09:46 PM

As Dan mentions above "Danny Deever" is one of the great capital punishment songs along side of "The Night That Poor Larry Was Stretched". A few more well known 'Goodnight Songs' are Captain Kidd & Jack Hall. Not a death penatly song but surely one of the more haunting of all the hanging songs, from Billy Holiday ( & from those that brought us lynching) "Strange Fruit".

I believe I recently saw mention in a thread that this is the only instance where the criminal recieves the same treatment for which they had been convicted of. This form of an eye for an eye justice is supposed to be above us. We don't steal from the thief of force drugs into/onto the dealer (maybe Bill Clinton would perfer this form of reform).

Here's a true story about one of our fellow Mudcatter's, John Nolan. John used to be a cop in Glasgow before coming to the US (see his posting in the thread 'Hamish Imlach' Oct 3, 98 for a little backround) maybe 20 yrs ago when I first met him. He's been thorn to some & a relief to others by his use of the pen for the papers he writes for in southeastern New Hampshire. His writing brought him to sitting in on a criminal case where a death row inmate was trying to get his case reheard. I'm not sure on the little details, dates & how John got involved but he thought something wasn't right in the way the process had or was presently working. What was, is that an innocent man sat on death row & without John's investigating & getting to expose the way the case was originally handled, the man's fate would still remain sealed. The man was released & John is the hero. Now the crime here is that an innocent was forced to lay on death row until a stroke of luck brought about a miracle. Death row is mostly made up of the poor, the undereducated & the Blacks, those that have never seen a miracle or couldn't afford one (ask O.J. if it doesn't cost much to get away with murder). Anyway, it seems as if this death penalty system is to faulty & flawed & does not dish out justice on an equal basis, is definitly blinded to the poorer & is not a determent. If one innocent life is taken, there is no recourse. Does the victim sue the judge, the jury, the DA, the police & the court appointed attorney to regain their life? In these cases there's no room for error & if it exists then there should be no room for this form of reform. Don't hang me for going on so long, sorry. Barry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Barry Finn
Date: 20 Dec 98 - 11:42 PM

I should've added to the above a version of the "Newry Highwayman" called "Allen Tyne Of Harrow" (not in the DT) & the hanging of the Earl of Derwentwater for treason during the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715 called Derwentwater's Farewell" (in the DT). One more for the lighter side, "Hanging Johnny". Barry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: James Connolly^^^
From: O'Boyle
Date: 21 Dec 98 - 02:18 AM

I've always enjoyed the song "James Connolly" and was going to link to it in the database, when I found that the "james Connolly in the data base was the OTHER "James Connolly". So I had to type this thing out. I hope you find it as powerful a song as I do.

James Connolly

A great crowd had gathered outside of Kilmainham
Their heads all uncovered as they knelt to the ground.
For inside that grim prison lay a true Irish soldier,
His life for his country about to lay down.

He went to his death like a true son of Ireland,
The firing party, he bravely did face
Then the order rang out, "present arms! Fire!"
James Connolly fell into a ready made grave.

The black flag was hoisted the cruel deed was over
gone was the man who loved Ireland so well,
There was many a sad heart in dublin that morning
When they murdered James Connolly, the Irish rebel.

Gods curse on you England. you cruel hearted monster,
Your deeds they would shame all th devils in hell
There are now flowers blooming, but the shamrock is growing
On the grave of James Connolly, the Irish rebel.

Many years have gone by since the Irish rebellion
When the guns of Brittannia, they loudly did speak
And the bold IRA stood shoulder to shoulder
And the blood from their bodies flowed down Sackville street

The Four Courts of Dublin the English bombarded,
The spirit of freedom they tried hard to quell
But above all the din, came the cry, "No surrender!"
Twas the voice of James Connolly, the Irish rebel.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: carverconroy@beaufort.com
Date: 01 Apr 99 - 12:28 PM

I've always like Tim Evans that was sung by Judy Collins back in the early 60's. Tim Evans was the last person executed in Great Britain (he also happened to be innocent-a now undisputed fact but a little late for him). cc


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Bert
Date: 01 Apr 99 - 01:18 PM

There's Anne Boleyn.
With her 'ead tucked underneath her arm.

Didn't Jimmie Rodgers do one about
I will go the gallows at sunrise?

Then there's Robert Emmet & Roddy McCorley

Bert


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: DonMeixner
Date: 01 Apr 99 - 03:24 PM

I too would recomend The Iron Lady by Phil Ochs, Sam Hall

andm/or Tallow Candles. Hang on The Bell Nellie and Long Black Veil are favorites.

Don Meixner


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Den
Date: 01 Apr 99 - 05:22 PM

There's no lights on the Christmas Tree Momma They're burning big Louie tonight.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Bob Schwarer
Date: 01 Apr 99 - 06:14 PM

How about "Burke & Hare", a couple who get hung for their quaint way of supporting themselves.

Bob S.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Susan A-R
Date: 01 Apr 99 - 09:41 PM

There are a bunch of songs about both Joe Hill and Sacco and Vanzetti (my spelling is supect here, I know) I particularly remember "Two Good Arms" believe it's on a Holly Near/Ronnie Gilbert album called Lifelines. Also Is it Andy Irvine who does Vanzetti's Farewell? There's also an entire compendium of Joe Hill songs out. Its interesting in these instances because the judges in question (and the "State") decided that although it wasn't clear that the fellows had committed the crimes in question, the politics of the criminals were out of line enough with society to warrant their deaths. Then there's Annathea (not trad, although it sounds it) Also, did Leadbelly do any of these? It seems that he must have. Also, there's the one verse in "We Who Believe in Freedom" "Until the Killing of a black man, black mother's son Is as important as the killing of a white man, white mother's son, we who believe in freedom shall not rest. . ." Not sure if it partains to the death penalty (the statistiics here are interesting) or not. Ah well, running out of steam.

Susan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Jerry Friedman
Date: 02 Apr 99 - 04:05 PM

There's the Irish song about "Shoot me like a soldier,/ Do not hang me like a dog,/ For I fought for Ireland's [memory fading out here]..."

Also the one to "Greensleeves" about Tyburn Tree--surely the musical and poetic high point of The Beggar's Opera.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Jerry Friedman
Date: 02 Apr 99 - 04:38 PM

...neither one of which is in the DT. Here's the one from The Beggar's Opera (1765), by John Gay. I may have thought the poetry was good because I liked the music. This is sung by MacHeath when he's about to be hanged on the gallows at Tyburn.

Air LXVII.--Green Sleeves.

Since Laws were made for ev'ry Degree,
To curb Vice in others, as well as me,
I wonder we han't better Company,
Upon Tyburn Tree!
But Gold from Law can take out the Sting;
And if rich Men like us were to swing,
'Twould thin the Land, such Numbers to string
Upon Tyburn Tree!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: MAG (inactive)
Date: 02 Apr 99 - 05:46 PM

Barbara Dane used to do an old blues number where the narrator is a woman whose man is about to hang. I'll see if it's on the one piece of vinyl I still own by her.

Mary Ann


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Bruce O.
Date: 02 Apr 99 - 06:08 PM

For some old ones see my broadside ballad index, Babington & Ballard, Luke Hutton, Earl of Essex, Walter Raleigh, William Grismond (William Guisman in traditional versions). Stafford, Russell, Johnson, Golden Farmer. The bloody Miller. King Charles-I, and numerous other ones (search on 'execute' and 'murder/murther' and 'traitor/traytor') www.erols.com/olsonw


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From:
Date: 02 Apr 99 - 06:20 PM

Add Gilderoy, MacPherson's Farewell, John Felton, The Cutpurse, Ann Askew, Arabella Stuart, John Careless. There's one "Behold our Saviour Crucified" in Rollins' 'Old English Ballads', and another on Anne Saunders. There's also the three part one on George Sanders,and others involved in a murder. Bannister. Faux, Catesby, and Garnet involeved in the Gunpowder Plot.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: skw@worldmusic.de
Date: 13 Apr 99 - 05:01 AM

What about Bonnie Susie Clelland (Child #65), burned at the stake for being in love with an Englishman? And Eric Bogle wrote a moving song about South Africa, Singing the Spirit Home, from the album of the same title.
Incidentally, Tim Evans was not the last man by a long way to be hanged in Britain. He was hanged in 1950. However, MacColl's song is credited with helping towards clearing Evans' name - which was finally done in 1966.
One of the last to be hanged must have been James Hanratty, the alleged A6 murderer, in 1962. I've just read he is about to be pardoned - strange word! - 37 years after. Another irreparable miscarriage of justice. Derek Bentley is another that comes to mind.
C. P. must have been abolished about 1964, for I remember Hamish Imlach introducing 'Tim Evans' in 1989 with the words 'It was twenty-five years last month since they last hanged someone in Britain. Mrs. Thatcher wanted to celebrate by hanging several people again.'
Hamish DID have a strange sense of humour. He used to introduce 'MacPherson's Lament' by saying that there was a time when simply being a gypsy was a capital crime in Scotland. Unfortunately, this was nothing but the truth!
Who's to decide? I don't believe in C.P., especially if, as in the US, people wait for years and change greatly in the process, and if, as Barry Finn points out, the law favours better-off and better-educated people and leaves the burden to be borne by the poor and uneducated. On the other hand, reading about what sexual offenders and paedophiles do to their victims and learning that a great number of these people are considered mentally ill but untreatable - what are we to do with them? Wait till they strike again? Lock them up for life? Also, what do you do to stop the Milosevic's of this world? I don't know. - Susanne


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: Clûn Malla^^^
From: AlistairUK
Date: 13 Apr 99 - 07:11 AM

There's the beautiful Irish ballad "Clûn Malla" (sic) which goes:

CLÛN MALLA

How hard is my fortune
How vain my repining
The strong rope of fate
For my young neck is twining
My strength has departed
My cheeks sunk and sallow
As I languish in chains
In the gaol of Clûn Malla

No boy in the village
Was ever yet milder
I could play with a child
And my sport be no wilder
I could dance without tiring
From morning til evening
And my goal ball I'd strike
To the lightning of heaven

At my bedfoot decaying
My hurley is lying
Through the lads of the village
My goal ball is flying
My horse 'mongst the neighbours
Neglected may fallow
While this heart young and gay
Lies cold in Clûn Malla

Next sunday the pattern
At home will be keeping
The lads of the village
The fields will be sweeping
And the dance of fair maidens
The evening will hallow
While this heart
Young and gay
lies cold in Clûn Malla

Repeat First Verse.

I love singing this song, I think I got it from a Dubliners Album many years ago, the name of the album I can't remember.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: AlistairUK
Date: 13 Apr 99 - 07:12 AM

It doesn't seem to be in the DT can someone add it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 13 Apr 99 - 01:34 PM

Has no one mentioned "Captain Kidd" or "Maid Freed from the Gallows," or "Mary Hamilton" (The Four Marys)or "The Cruel Mother?" I may have overlooked them in the thread. If so, sorrry!

Sandy


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Gene
Date: 13 Apr 99 - 08:44 PM

Marty Robbins recorded 'THE CHAIR'


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Susan A-R
Date: 13 Apr 99 - 11:02 PM

I also remember Margaret McArthur doing one about a man who kills his sweetheart, and is caught.

Something lke this (dredged out of 15 year storage in an increasingly leaky memory)

Come all you wicked young men and hear what I do tell
My name is William Smael and in London I did dwell
I've lately done some murder there, and that is known full well
For my offense I must die

The last line of the verse repeats, and some of the images are pretty chilling. Anyone else have it so I can fill in the gaps in my poror memory?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: reggie miles
Date: 13 Apr 99 - 11:24 PM

Don't know if this was mentioned previously but there's a book that I have collecting dust here called "American Murder Ballads And Their Stories". This edition is from 1958 by Olive Woolley Burt, Oxford University Press. It seems to touch on some of this. Reggie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: I'm On My Way^^
From: Mark Clark
Date: 13 Apr 99 - 11:54 PM

Logan English recorded a song with a chorus that went:

Hang me oh hang me I'll be dead and gone,
Hang me oh hang me I'll be dead and gone,
I wouldn't mind the hangin' but to lay in the grave so long,
Lay in the grave so long.

An old friend, Dwight Saunders, once taught me a song he learned in an Alabama jail called "I'm On My Way." The verses are:

I'm on my way, and I won't be long (three times)
Great God a'mighty, I'm on my way.

I killed a man, beat in his head (three times)
Great God a'mighty, I'm glad he's dead.

Sheriff Colson come, throw'd me in jail (thrice)
Great God a'mighty, I ain't got no bail.

This Durant jail, no jail at all, (thrice)
Great God a'mighty, been here since fall.

That ofay judge, gonna see me fry, (thrice)
Great God a'mighty, I don't wanta die.

But I'm on my way... (repeat first verse)

I've never run across it anywhere else and thought some of you might be interested.

- Mark


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: northfolk/al cholger
Date: 14 Apr 99 - 12:08 AM

I appreciate all of the history of Capital Punishment songs...to put it into perspective, the ILWU, International Longshore Workers Union has pledged to shut down all shipping on the West Coast, to bring awareness to the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, on April 24...demanding a new/fair trial....the good part of the music we all love is that it doesn't happen in a vacuum, but is rooted in the issues of the times.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: GUEST,Nancy Blevins
Date: 15 Feb 00 - 12:28 AM

The song Long Black Veil by the org. Jimmie Rodgers. It's from the 30's I think.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Sorcha
Date: 15 Feb 00 - 12:37 AM

Nancy Blevins, Where ARE you>? Are you in Wyo?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: Strange Fruit^^^
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Feb 00 - 01:23 AM

Boiy, I'm glad somebody resurrected this thread.
My daughter introduced me to Billie Holiday's powerful song, "Strange Fruit":

Strange Fruit - Billie Holiday
Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.

Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter cry.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Callie
Date: 15 Feb 00 - 01:51 AM

What about "The Night Before Larry Got Stretched" and Cole Porter's "Miss Otis Regrets"? Callie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Metchosin
Date: 15 Feb 00 - 04:07 AM

MacPherson's Lament


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: AKS
Date: 15 Feb 00 - 04:23 AM

Sam Hall, chimney sweep, if I'm not mistaking, wasn't mentioned yet, and belongs to this sad category (is in the DT).

AKS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 15 Feb 00 - 06:25 AM

"Send me to the 'Lectric Chair", learned mainly from performances by British blues singer George Melly,who based his on the Bessie Smith version with the sexes reversed, is one I sometimes inflict on my loved ones but I had always assumed the knife was a "Bowie", interesting that it could be a "Barlow".
There's also "Frankie and Johnny" of course: "The last time I saw Frankie she was sittin' in the 'lectric chair,
Waitin' to meet her maker with the sweat drippin' out of her hair
RtS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: THE EASTER TREE (Dave Goulder)^^^
From: GeorgeH
Date: 15 Feb 00 - 06:42 AM

Shambles, why ever do you see the situation in Iraq as so much worse than that in the US? The US carries out more judicial murders than most states on this earth. The US president has EVEN more innocent blood on his hands than does Saddam Hussein; far, far more.

But in response to the original request, here's Dave Goulder's "The Easter Tree" (stolen from an earlier Mudcat thread; I really must learn to do those blue clicky things). Imortalised by June Tabor on her "Ashes and Diamonds" LP, now available on CD.

Rain falls upon the Easter tree
The squirrel shakes his head and shivers in his red and sodden fur
The wind and water flatten out his ears and cause his streaming eyes to close
The smell of death lies heavy in his nose

The sun dries out the Easter tree
The rabbit looks around, sees a shadow on the ground and runs for home
The songbird finds a strange and novel perch to shout his challenge to the day
The hair beneath his feet is turning grey

A man hangs from the Easter tree
His deathbed is a rope; four strong nails have killed his hopes of climbing down
His jaws are locked in agony, are open for the flies to come and go
His eyes are in the belly of the crow

A dog sits by the Easter tree
Beneath the naked heels his master or his meal will surely fall
When the rope is broken by the wind or the rusty nails release their withered load
The dog, well fed, continues down the road

Bones lie beneath the Easter tree
The skulls now full of sand could never understand the reason why
The thread of life was broken by a hand that never cared to know their names
They played and lost in someone else's game

The leaves upon the Easter tree
Are red with human blood since justice chose the wood to make a sword
When a man was hanged at Tyburn tree or crucified along the road to Rome
His blood and tears have stained the face of stone

As a second offering I'd nominate "Bently and Craig", written by Ralph McTell and featured on June's Aleyn CD. . only I don't have a copy of the words to that at present. That, by the way, DOES commemorate the last execution in the UK. And the victim received his official pardon last year.

These days, with our "ethical foreign policy", we simply export the victims back to Afghanistan for them to do the dirty work.

G.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: The Shambles
Date: 15 Feb 00 - 08:48 AM

George. If you look at the date of the original post, you will understand that the reference to events in Iraq was a (then)topical one (we were bombing them). It was not connected to capital punishment or comparing their legal systems to the US.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: GUEST,T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
Date: 15 Feb 00 - 09:19 AM

No one has yet mentioned "Were You There?", or "Pange Lingua" or "O Sacred Head Sore Wounded."

T.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Peg
Date: 15 Feb 00 - 10:47 AM

there is a song called "Young Waters" in which a handsome young man is put to death by a Scottish king after the queen declares him the handsomest man in the kingdom...I think June Tabor does it on Airs (is that her? I have the album but I cannot remember the singer's name for some reason...) anyway it is great song.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 15 Feb 00 - 11:21 AM

THE STREETS OF DERRY and, of course, all versions of The Hangman, Stay Your Rope, The Briery Bush, etc.

--Charlie Baum


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Willie-O
Date: 15 Feb 00 - 11:27 AM

Strangest thing is that in the vast majority of these songs, the writer has identified with the condemned person no matter how heinous the crime(s). Now I am firmly opposed to capital punishment on the grounds already cited, that it's carried out unevenly according to class and race considerations, and that it's irreversible despite the obvious fallibility of judicial process. (And that I figure organized killing, of someone who is already restrained from doing further harm, is just plain wrong.)

Also the argument that the public shouldn't pay the expense of keeping some killer in jail for life doesn't stand up either; it's more expensive to execute someone, since the appeal process is necessary, inevitable and extremely expensive (I've heard an average of $5 million/case in the US.).

A couple of years ago, though, I heard a "New Country" song on the radio in the MidWest (I'm not sure whether it was an American or Canadian station) which was explicitly pro-execution. The chorus went in part:

"The Bible says, an eye for an eye... ...Billy Walker has to die."

Now that was weird.

Then again, anyone up for writing a plea for Timothy McVeigh's life? Maybe he'll have a change of heart and become a better person...anyone who campaigns to save him is going to be regarded with deep suspicion from both sides of the great political divide.

W-O


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: GUEST,Okiemockbird
Date: 15 Feb 00 - 12:37 PM

I believe that at least one person who was bereaved by the destruction of the Murrah Building is working against putting McVeigh to death. I don't have the citation on me, though. I vaguely remember seeing it in the Oklahoma Gazzette.

The Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty will eventually be part of any effort to spare McVeigh's life, if they aren't already.

T.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 16 Feb 00 - 06:34 AM

It's been a long time ( mid 1960s I guess)since I saw a production of Brendan Behan's "The Quare Fella" which deals movingly with a prisoner in the condemned cell. I seem to remember it had songs, whether by Dominc Behan or traditional I can't now recall [surprise!]. Irish 'Catters may know if particular songs were included in the play or just varied according to local director.
RtS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Feb 00 - 09:58 AM

Willy-O.

Some time has passed since I wrote the song and some things have (duh) dawned on me slowly.

I greatly admired the movie 'Dead Man Walking'. I considered it to be a fair treatment of the issue, for it did not 'ram home' a message but pretty much let you make up your own mind, if it wasn't already made up.

I honestly thought that my song did that too. Of course what I had overlooked is that my mind must have been pretty made up too and that also the song was written it from the point of view of the one to be executed. He was quite understandably, against the idea of being executed. I was genuinely a bit shocked when someone described it as an 'anti capital punishment song', as that was really not my intention but of course, that is exactly what it is.

I am beginning to come to the conclusion that, I did not (consciously) have much to do with the creation of this song at all?…….. Cue 'Twilight Zone' type music….Doo Doo Doo Doo…..


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Mar 00 - 11:41 AM

Extract from the Daily Mail 17th March 2000.

A serial killer who sexually abused 100 boys, before strangling them and dissolving their cut-up bodies in acid has been sentenced to die in the same way. A judge in Pakistan yesterday told Javed Iqbal that he will be publicly strangled, cut into 100 pieces and dumped in a vat of acid.

Prosecutor Burhan Moaazam said the sentence on Iqbal was fitting as a warning to others. 'the accused was not a man, he was a beast', he said. 'What was announced by the learned judge was right for him'. However Pakistan's interior minister said such public executions were not permitted and would be challenged in the High Court. Moinudeen Halder said 'we are signatories to the Human Rights Commission. Such punishments are not allowed'.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: GUEST,The Beanster
Date: 18 Mar 00 - 12:20 PM

I've gotta say, barbaric as it is, I like this idea. I know there will be many who are appalled at this opinion but the reason I say that is because the survivors of the victims (from what I've heard) are all for it. And if that's true, I think they should get their wish (although I can't imagine that this sentence would actually be carried out). If this kind of execution of the criminal can assuage any amount of pain, no matter how small, these families should be allowed to have their day, if that's what they want.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Mar 00 - 02:52 PM

I wonder if "dead man walking" comes from The Ballad of Reading Jail by Oscar Wilde?

At last the dead man walked no more
Amongst the Trial Men,
And I knew that he was standing up
In the black dock's dreadful pen,
And that never would I see his face
In God's sweet world again.


Though of course it might have been a term used in prison at the time. A bit too long to sing, but a powerful piece - more so because there is no pretence that the condemned man is innocent of killing.

"Shoot me like an Irish soldier, do not hang me like a dog" is of course Kevin Barry, which is in the DT. Songs about patriots getting executed are really a separate category from songs about the death penalty in ordinary circumstances. Lots of them already in the thread - we haven't had Grace, or God Save Ireland so far. Not that there's a clear line to be drawn - for example there are several good songs about Ned Kelly, whom some (not me) would see as primarily a criminal.

And another category is about legal lynchings. For example there are versions of the Gypsy Davey in which the gypsies are all hanged.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: GUEST,Pamela
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 06:03 PM

Thanks so much. This song has been running around in my head for a month now, but the only words I remembered were "the green green grass of home." Now I can sing the whole dang thing!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: akenaton
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 06:41 PM

Ewan Macolls "Go down you murderers"is the most effective anti capital punishment song of all,as it shows the our culpability when an innocent person is killed.I remember the way people viewed crime in the 50s and 60s and im glad opinions have changed for the better.
However I feel it would not take much to turn the clock back.Thats why we should keep these songs alive...Ake


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: SINSULL
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 10:27 PM

Rose Connelly
The Croppy Boy


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Padre
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 11:21 PM

There's a [Billy Edd Wheeler?] song called "The Last Public Hanging in West Virginia." The event took place (according to the song) in 1897.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: GUEST,cittern
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 03:53 AM

Steve Earle is well known for his anti-death penalty stance.   Can't name a specific song off the top of my head, but I am sure a web search can generate more than one.

Hope his helps.

Best regards
John Robinson
http://www.JulieEllison.co.uk


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 02:58 PM

From memory, Matt McGinn had two which mentioned hanging;
The Man They Couldn't Hang and The Foreman O'Rourke ( about a guy that was hanged for killing his boss my pulling the toilet plug on him. )

The latter is definitely light hearted ! Anyone got the lyrics ?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Gareth
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 03:41 PM

Mmm! They man they could not hang ?? John 'Babbacombe' Lee ???

I am sure there is a ballad abot him. ??? Did 'Fairport Convention sing this ??

Gareth


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: GUEST,Brother
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 07:20 PM

Might I recommend my brother Pete Bonds Song "Circuit Eleven" I always thought it a very powerful song about this subject.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: toadfrog
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 07:46 PM

Green are the Woods, on the DT as The Vance Song is as good a capital punishment song as Danny Deever, say. But note, songs from earlier than 1940 or so rarely make politica points about capital punishment generally.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: HuwG
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 01:14 AM

From Australia, Poor Ned, about Ned Kelly.

The Irish ditty mentioned by Tim Jacques, about sticking penknives into babies is Wella Wella.

Both in the DT.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: RUTH ELLIS (Michael Raven)
From: Red and White Rabbit
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 09:24 AM

re the guy in Pakistans sentence to be executed publically - I have mixed feelings - I do have personal experience but I still dont believe in that - such punishment in my opinion glorifies the crime - a public spectacle - a bit like a side show at a fair. Now let victims have them in a room with no fear of punishment - that might be a different idea!

Has anyone mentioned Ruth Ellis - Michael Raven

Ruth Ellis is my name
Tomorrow I die
For shooting my true love
I cannot deny
For he did betray me and brought me to shame
Still no sound is sweeter than the sound of his name

ch.
So bury me deep neath the old willow tree
And let the green grass grow, grow over me
And you must not weep love and you must not cry
Tomorrow they hang me
Tomorrow I die

I came home one evening came by the back way
And there was my true love
with another he lay
My poor heart was broken my pistol I drew
With tears overflowing my true love I slew

ch.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 11:49 AM

Tha Hot Ashphalt.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: THE MAN THEY COULD NOT HANG (Matt McGinn)
From: GUEST,Mary Ann
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 02:52 PM

The Man They Could Not Hang
TAKE ME BACK TO THE JUNGLE LP

BY MATT MCGINN

There was an old hangman in Exeter
And a fine old hangman was he
He had hanged a thousand or more
But he couldn't hang John Lee
John Lee !
No he couldn't hang John Lee

Emma Keyes of Abercombe was rich as rich can be
She had servants in her home
And one was Johhny Lee
John Lee !
And one was Johhny Lee

Johnny Lee was a bad, bad man
So the story said
So they threw him in the local can
When they found old Emma dead
So dead !
They found old Emma dead

The judge he listened to the cons
Then he heard the pros
And it was clear that Johnny Lee
Had fewer friends than foes
Than foes !
Had fewer friends than foes

There was an old hangman in Exeter
And a fine old hangman was he
He had hanged a thousand or more
But he couldn't hang John Lee
John Lee !
No he couldn't hang John Lee

The Judge picked up his old black cap
And he looked John in the eye
He said it falls on me to sentence thee
To be hanged until ye die
Ye die !
Hanged until ye die

James Berry was the hangman's name
And it filled his heart with glee
When they placed into his gentle hands
The prisoner Johhny Lee

He led him to the scaffold high
And then to John says he
"One last request I'll grant to you "
"Close your trap" says Johnny Lee
John Lee !
"Close your trap" says Johnny Lee

There was an old hangman in Exeter
And a fine old hangman was he
He had hanged a thousand or more
But he couldn't hang John Lee
John Lee !
No he couldn't hang John Lee


James Berry pulled the lever down
To send John Lee below
Then he began to curse and frown
When John Lee would not go
Not go !
When John Lee would not go

Again and then again he tried
Again and again he failed
Then word came down from London town
John Lee for a life in jail
In jail !
John Lee for a life in jail

There was an old hangman in Exeter
And a fine old hangman was he
He had hanged a thousand or more
But he couldn't hang John Lee
John Lee !
No he couldn't hang John Lee

T'was back in 1885 they tried to hang John Lee
In 1917 he sailed for far Americ-ee
Did he
For far Americ-ee
There he went and died in bed in 1933
Here lies the man they could not hang
And his name was Johnny Lee
John Lee !
And his name was Johnny Lee

CHORUS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: FOREMAN O'ROURKE (Matt McGinn)
From: GUEST,Mary Ann
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 03:51 PM

Foreman O'Rourke
Matt McGinn
Return of The Two Heided Man ( Relrecords )



Maybe I am right
Maybe I am wrong
Maybe I shouldn't go singing this song
But the jury decided
And you might as well
That a fella like me should be roasting in hell

Hooch aye, hooch till a fa'
Hooch aye, hooch till a dae

I had a gaffer
His name was O'Rourke
He had a terrible passion for work
In miles and in turns
He took all he could see
Though he never was greedy; he gied it tae me

Hooch aye, hooch till a fa'
Hooch aye, Hooch till a dae

One day in the work
I went roon for a smoke
The door it burst open and there stood O'Rourke
He started to swear
And he gied me his curse
He insulted my mother and that was far worse

Hooch aye, hooch till a fa
Hooch aye, hooch till a dae

He jumped for my throat
And it gied me a fright
I was quick on my feet and I stepped to the right
There was nothing could stop him
This terrible man
Till he landed feet up, wi' his heid in the pan

Hooch aye, hooch till a fa,
Hooch aye, hooch till a dae

I was trembling with fear
As his heid gave a thud
And I looked doon and saw that his clathes were all mud
Yet it wasnae his clathes
Was the worst o' his plight
For his heid was jammed in there; a sorrowful sight

Hooch aye, hooch till a fa
Hooch aye, hooch till a dae

In Barlinnie I wait
For the man tae come roon
That will open the door and let me drap doon
And I'll pray for O'Rourke
As they gie me the tug
For the hing me the morra, for pulling the plug

Hooch aye , hooch till a fa
Hooch aye, hooch till a dae


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: GUEST,Sara
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 03:55 PM

The Foreman O'Rourke won the Reynold's News Folk Song competition in the 60s, but the judges ( including Peggy Seeger ) weren't allowed to print the lyrics, even though they thought it was the best song!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 04:12 PM

An old thread, still going strong, and I have seen no mention of "Oranges & Lemons", which seems to tell the tale of a fall from grace, starting off as a debtor "You owe me five farthings say the bells of St Martins" through "Old Bailey" to "Here comes a candle to light you to bed, and here comes a chopper to chop of your head"

Nigel


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Gareth
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 04:33 PM

Thanks Mary Ann - Your memory is better than mine !

Gareth


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 07:51 PM

Red & White Rabbit, the post about the Pakistan case is more than three years old, so presumably the guy's fate was long-since settled, one way or another. (If guest Pamela ever revisits this thread, I'm somewhat curious about why she revived it. I suspect she was intending to post to a different thread.)

Even three years on, it's worth pointing out that the last line of the verse quoted by McGrath from the Ballad of Reading Gaol should be: "For weal or woe again." Not McG's error: the link he provided (still live) goes to a version littered with one-word errors and more than one instance of entire phrases being wrong.

I've been known to recite this whole ballad from memory (it takes about 48 minutes) but much as I go along with the message, I reckon it's a fairly clumsy offering by Oscar's standards. I think it's the only time he allowed raw emotions to creep into anything he wrote for public consumption, and he doesn't seem comfortable in that mode. The poem was part of his response to being urged by a prison reformer (Haldane) to write about his experiences. The other part - two letters published in the Chronicle - was the better work.

If McG finds the ballad powerful (it certainly has moments of genius) he might like to look at relevant verses from Housman's "A Shropshire Lad" which for my money are much more effective. Despite clear parallels, I always refused to accept the logic that Housman's verses influenced Wilde's. I rested my case on the fact that Housman's collection was not published until 1895, meaning Wilde was unlikely to have seen it before embarking for France. Then I discovered that Houseman had sent Wilde a pre-publication copy while Wilde was still in prison.....

Incidentally someone took Wilde to task on the point that the Royal Horse Guards tunic was blue, not red. Wilde conceded that "azure" would have worked just as well as "scarlet" in the first line, but pointed out that it would have made a mess of the second line.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Aug 03 - 03:04 AM

Interesting that in this thread we have anti capital punishment songs and songs that largely treat the reality of it as fact - but we don't seem to have many songs written in favour of capital punishment......


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 02:24 AM

anyone mention Bruce Springsteen's "Dead man walkin?"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 05:44 AM

http://www.stlyrics.com/lyrics/deadmanwalking/deadmanwalking.htm


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: GUEST,Gibson
Date: 19 Aug 04 - 03:46 PM

"I'm Not The Man" -- 10,000 Maniacs. Excellent.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 20 Aug 04 - 12:44 PM

Someone mentioned James Hanratty. Sad case - Hanratty almost certainly had severe learning difficulties. However, recent forensic investigation has canfirmed that he did it and one of his victims has for the last 40 years had severe walking difficulties, having been confined to a wheelchair. Perhaps Steve Earle should write her a song.

I've always been against the death penalty because of it's finality and the fact that you can't ever begin to rectify miscarriages of justice involving human life. However, as a parent I would have no problem seeing someone like Ian Huntley hang as long as I could be certain of his guilt.

I believe in a right to life - but is it not the case that adults are capable of forfeiting rights through their actions?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: GUEST,lengeft
Date: 20 Feb 05 - 06:55 PM

I have been looking for the lyrics to "Come O My Love". This song haunts me from my childhood. Does anyone else remember...?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Peace
Date: 20 Feb 05 - 09:12 PM

Here ya go.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: goodbar
Date: 21 Feb 05 - 02:43 AM

dylan's 'i shall be released'. tom robinson band did a great cover of it too.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Clifton53
Date: 21 Feb 05 - 10:06 AM

Another by Marty Robbins, and also from the perspective of the hangee was called 'They're Hangin' Me Tonight'.

'Alone within my cell tonight, my heart is filled with fear,
   The only sound within the room is the falling of each tear,
   I think about the thing I've done, I know it wasn't right,
   They'll bury Flo tomorrow but they're hangin' me tonight,
    They're hangin' me tonight'.

Marty's voice was perfect for it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: pavane
Date: 21 Feb 05 - 11:31 AM

Just for the sake of completeness..

No-one seems to have mentioned 'The (new) Deserter' in which the deserter is sentenced to be shot (and reprieved by the King/Prince Albert/General etc).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Feb 05 - 01:19 PM

no I don't believe in capital punishment - not even for someone like Ian Huntley (murderer of two small children). For one thing I have never been tempted to kill children or wanted sex with children. I don't feel its a feather in my cap that I resisted a temptation that I never felt.

My feeling is that we should be trying to work out why we are producing so many sociopaths and psychopaths. why for example should a young apparently handsome, employable person like Ted Bundy end up as Jack the Ripper. I can't understand it at all.

How have we evolved a society where someone would choose to become a somebody by shooting John Lennon - rather than enjoy a relatively affluent life in one of the richest countries in the world. How have we got to this situation where our children perceive shooting up their high school as an alternative career opporunity - rejecting what society has to offer.

I don't buy the line that George Bush is the moral inferior of Saddam Hussein - not for a minute, but I do feel this. Americans have no idea just how much our young people look up their society as a moral example. This is because your culture is everywhere on the globe. When America has recourse to capital punishment, they are letting the side down. they are doing a bad thing, and it makes it more difficult to say to OUR young children, nothing is achieved by violence.

Here is my effort on the subject when I was in a duo called sacre bleu, the band didn't last much longer than the cd - if anybody wants one I'll be happy to mail them oneif they pm me.

How Do They Sleep Tonight?

How are they sleeping tonight along that old death row
are they waiting on each dawn light
as their precious minutes go
Does each heart twist in a knot of fear
For the darkness is coming down - coming down slow
How do they sleep tonight along death row

How can your heart conceive of a judge saying you must die
All those salaried suits with their law degrees listing the reasons why
Your heart must stop, like a broken clock
You must bid the light goodbye
How do they sleep tonight along death row

                                
Tell me now, tell me how, tell me now sweet Jesus
How could you let this be
Are your minds so closed and your hearts so cruel
In the home of the brave and the free

How do you feel on a day when they're taking the next man down
times he spoke with you
and you were glad of a voices sound
Will you cry, will you scream, will you struggle, will you fight
Or does it always pay to be polite
How do they sleep tonight along death row
                
Tell me now, tell me how, tell me now sweet Jesus
How could you let this be
Are your minds so closed and your hearts so cruel
In the home of the brave and the free

The crown of thorns, and the nails and the tree
and its all paid for by you and me and
                        
Tell me now, tell me how, tell me now sweet Jesus
How could you let this be
Are your minds so closed and your hearts so cruel
In the home of the brave and the free


© 1999 Alan Whittle and David Forbes


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Leadfingers
Date: 21 Feb 05 - 02:26 PM

Strange Fruit is strictly speaking NOT a capital Punishment song as it is in fact about Lynching !!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Leadfingers
Date: 21 Feb 05 - 02:27 PM

And 100 by the way !


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Charley Noble
Date: 21 Feb 05 - 03:41 PM

I really did sift through this entire thread, gang, but I don't think anyone has mentioned the old sea shanty "They Calls Me Hanging Johney."

Of course, he sometimes admits in the last verse that "he never hanged nobody."

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Leadfingers
Date: 21 Feb 05 - 04:46 PM

And of course Laszlo Feher has a rape(Forced seduction) AND a hanging for horse stealing !


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: GUEST,Bonnie
Date: 21 Feb 05 - 05:08 PM

No one seems to have mentioned "Long Black Veil" which Johnny Cash once sang. Another one is "Black Velvet Band" which is not only about capital punishment but also betrayal by a woman.

Or are those one and the same?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 04:00 PM

no one gets topped in the version of black velvet band that I sang for many years and still do when the drunken occasion demands.

and yes its a different song to the long black veil. just the black in the titles unites these two great songs - as far as I know.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: erinmaidin
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 04:04 PM

There was an album released shortly after the movie "Dead Man Walking" which features some very good songs pertaining to the subject of capital punishment. One that comes to mind and is very haunting is Steve Earle's "Ellis Unit One".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: GUEST,Frank
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 05:44 PM

Roger, good song! I too would like to hear the tune. Let us know.

Great thread. There is the traditional "Hangman, Slack your Rope" . Hanging is a kind of capital punishment. "Strange Fruit" would fall into that category IMHO.

Frank


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: markpde
Date: 28 Dec 07 - 11:59 AM

Just signed up to Mudcat. This thread seems to have run out in 2005, so there may be no-one to read this, but anyway...

I found Mudcat by asking Google for "The Easter Tree". I heard it on June Tabor's Ashes and Diamonds album, but the cassette tape broke years ago (halfway through the marvellous 'No Man's Land' - aargh!!! - although I've since found that on her 'Greatest Hits' CD) and I had to rewind it into a blank cassette; I've long since lost the cassette's box, so for all those years I thought it was just 'traditional', the writer being 'Anon' (I now know that it was Dave Goulder). It's an unswervingly grim song (given the subject matter, that's inevitable), but I've always thought it was one of the finest songs ever written.

Just to lighten up (!), an English poet called John Cooper Clarke (aka The Bard of Salford) wrote a poem about hanging in the seventies. I recorded it off John Peel's Radio 1 Show away back then and no longer have the cassette, so this is from memory. His poems were set to music, although he never actually sang (presumably because he couldn't), so they may not even qualify as songs (I might get kicked off this forum before I've even got started).

Can't quite remember all of the first verse, but the jist of it is that the writer is bored with the news in the papers and decides to "sit right down and write a letter to the Sun*, saying, "Bring back hanging... for everyone."

*for those who don't know, a trashy tabloid newspaper in the UK, notorious for headlines such as, on the sinking of the Argentine warship The General Belgrano, in the Falklands War, GOTCHA! and, after a pit lane fire (horrifying but miraculously inconsequential) involving a Benneton Formula 1 car, THE IGNITED COLORS OF BENNETON...

So, the second verse goes:

They took my advice, they brought it back
National costume was all-over black
There were corpses in the avenues and cul-de-sacs
Piled up neatly in six man stacks
Hanging from the traffic lights in specially made racks
They'd hang you for incontinence or fiddling your tax
Failure to hang yourself justified the axe
A-deedly-dee, a-deedly-dum
Looks like they've brought back hanging... for everyone

Then it turns sour...

The novelty's gone; it's hell
This place is a death cell
The constant clang of the funeral bells
Those who aren't hanging are hanging someone else
The people pay, the paper sells
Its plug-ugly, sub-animal yells
Death is unsightly; death smells
Swinging Britain? Don't put me on
Looks like they've brought back the rope... for everyone

At the end, the writer is heard (presumably) being dragged away to his execution, vociferously protesting his innocence: "I didn't break your window!!!..."

Oh, and the poem/song (whatever) was called, "Suspended Sentence"...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Joe_F
Date: 28 Dec 07 - 08:57 PM

I think my favorites are the "no regrets" songs: Sam Hall and (mentioned once above) The Night before Larry Was Stretched, which explores one advantage of capital punishment: you can be at your own wake.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Stringsinger
Date: 29 Dec 07 - 12:54 PM

"This time tomorrow, reckon where I'll be?
Down in some lonesome valley,
Hangin' from a white oak tree.....(Tom Dooley)

"I saw my Molly in the crowd, in the crowd
I saw my Molly in the crowd, in the crowd.
I saw my Molly in the crowd, in the crowd
And I hollered right out loud,
Molly ain't you proud, god damn your eyes."

"And the preacher he did come, he did come.
And the preacher he did come, he did come.
And the preacher he did come, he did come,
And he looked so bloody glum,
He can kiss my ruddy bum, god damn his eyes." (Sam Hall)

Frank Hamilton


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: ADD Lyrics: DEREK BENTLEY (Ewan McColl)
From: Rog Peek
Date: 29 Dec 07 - 02:25 PM

DEREK BENTLEY
(Ewan McColl)

It's of a great adventure, to you that I will tell,
Of how they hanged a half-grown lad and how it all befell.

Chorus
It was guns and comics, films of war that made his education.

Young Craig and Derek Bentley, they went out in the night,
With gun and knuckleduster just for to see them right.

Chorus
They climbed upon the roof so high and then looked all around
And there they saw the men of law all gathered on the ground.

Chorus
"Look out, we're caught" young Bentley cried, "our robbin' days are done"
"I'll see no prison" Craig replied, "while I've still got my gun".

Chorus
He stood upon the roof so high and he looked all around
And shouted to them, men of law, all gathered on the ground.

Chorus
"Stay down and stay alive" he cried, "keep clear of me" he said.
"Come up that stair another step and you'll go down it dead".

Chorus
He was just a half-grown frightened lad who couldn't read or write,
But standing there with gun in hand he terrorised the night.

Chorus
The men came up to take him down, he pressed the trigger tight,
He shot the first one dead and then jumped down into the night.

Chorus
Young Craig he was a killer, for he shot the p'liceman dead,
But he was just too young to hang, the magistrates they said.

Chorus
At nine o'clock one Wednesday, they took young Bentley out,
And made a noose of hemp and rope and put it round his throat.

Chorus
It's true as you have often heard, that in this land today,
They hang the little criminals and let the big go free.

Notes:
On 28th January Derek Bentley was hanged for his part in the murder of Police constable Sidney Miles during an attempted robbery. Derek Bentley whose accomplice Chistopher Craig shot and killed PC Miles was granted a pardon by the court of appeal on 30th July 1998. At the time of the trial, Craig had been under 18 and therefore too young to be hanged.
RPdec07


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 02:58 PM

my effort

http://www.bigalwhittle.co.uk/id59.html


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Owen Woodson
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 03:08 PM

Rog Peek's attribution of the authorship of Derek Bentley to Ewan MacColl has been on this thread for several years. However, I have only just seen it. The author was Karl Dallas, not Ewan MacColl.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Stringsinger
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 03:11 PM

Ewan McColl's "Go Down Ye Murderers"


The Ballad of Tim Evans
(Ewan MacColl)

Tim Evans was a prisoner,
Fast in his prison cell
And those who read about his crimes,
They damned his soul to hell,
   Sayin', "Go down, you murderer, go down."

For the murder of his own dear wife
And the killing of his own child
The jury found him guilty
And the hangin' judge, he smiled.
   Sayin', "Go down, you murderer, go down."

Tim Evans pleaded innocent
And he swore by Him on high,
That he never killed his own dear wife
Nor caused his child to die.
   Sayin', "Go down, you murderer, go down."

The governor came in one day
And the chaplain by his side,
Said, "Your appeal has been turned down,
Prepare yourself to die."
   Sayin', "Go down, you murderer, go down."

They moved him out of C-block
To his final flowery dell,
And day and night two screws were there
And they never left his cell.
   Sayin', "Go down, you murderer, go down."

Sometimes they played draughts with him
And solo and pontoon,
To stop him brooding on the rope
That was to be his doom.
   Sayin', "Go down, you murderer, go down."

They brought his grub in on a tray,
There was eggs and meat and ham,
And all the snout that he could smoke
Was there at his command.
   Sayin', "Go down, you murderer, go down."

Tim Evans walked in the prison yard
And the screws, they walked behind;
And he saw the sky above the wall
But he knew no peace of mind.
   Sayin', "Go down, you murderer, go down."

They came for him at eight o'clock
And the chaplain read a prayer
And then they marched him to that place
Where the hangman did prepare.
   Sayin', "Go down, you murderer, go down."

The rope was fixed around his neck
And a washer behind his ear.
The prison bell was tolling
But Tim Evans did not hear.
   Sayin', "Go down, you murderer, go down."

A thousand lags were cursing
And a-banging on the doors;
But Evans couldn't hear them,
He was deaf for ever more.
   Sayin', "Go down, you murderer, go down."

They sent Tim Evans to the drop
For a crime he did not do.
It was Christy was the murderer
And the judge and jury too.
   Sayin', "Go down, you murderers, go down."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Mark Ross
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 03:45 PM

When I was in summer camp (in the Jurassic Age), one of my counselors sang a song about Caryl Chessman, to the tune of MacColl's TIM EVANS. Anyone else know it? I think I remember seeing it in SingOut! years later.


Mark Ross


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 06:19 PM

Well, there's these.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Max Johnson
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 07:37 AM

Threadbare Consort recorded the 'The Scaffold' on 'Wearing Thin' album.

'Hark to the clinking of hammers, hark to the driving of nails.
Men are erecting a gallows in one of Her Majesty's gaols.
A life - a man's life to be taken, which the Crown and the hangman hail.
And men are erecting a scaffold in one of Her Majesty's gaols.'

later...

'His strong frame in agony quivers. His breast, how wildly it heaves.
His arms closely are pinioned. The Hangman himself almost screams...'

Phew! Strong stuff.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Jack Campin
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 10:52 AM

A bit of googling suggests there are possibly hundreds of Balkan ballads (mostly from Serbia) about people being impaled on stakes up the bum.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 12:26 PM

Yup and i bet Serbia's answer to Martin Carthy knows all of them.

Oh I am a merry spikeman
And you can call me Seamus
Oh how I like, to get a spike
And shove it up your anus.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Owen Woodson
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 02:57 PM

"A bit of googling suggests there are possibly hundreds of Balkan ballads (mostly from Serbia) about people being impaled on stakes up the bum".

Can't say I've ever come across any impaling ballads, but there are quite a few Bulgarian ballads about people being interred inside walls for various misdemeanours.

Then of course there's that very fine Hungarian ballad, Laszlo Thea, about a girl (Anna Theya), who agrees to sleep with a judge if he'll set her brother free.

Laszlo Thea stole a stallion,
Stole him from the Misty Mountain.
And they sought him they caught him.
And in iron chains they bound him

Word was brought to Anna Thea,
That her brother lay in prison.
Bring me gold and six white horses.
I will buy my brother's freedom.

Judge, oh judge, please spare my brother.
I will give you gold and silver.
I don't want your gold and silver.
All I want is your sweet favour.

Anna Thea, oh my sister,
Are you mad with grief and sorrow?
He will rob you of your flower,
And he'll hang me from the gallows.

Anna Thea did not heed him,
To that judge she came a-running.
In his golden bed at midnight,
There she heard the gallows groaning

Anna Thea, Anna Thea.
Do not go into the forest.
There among the green pines standing.
You will find your brother hanging.

Cursed be that judge so cruel.
Thirteen years may he lie bleeding.
Thirteen doctors can't heal him.
Thirteen shelves of drugs can't heal him.

Laszlo Thea stole a stallion.
Stole him from the Misty Mountains.
And they sought him and they caught him
And they hung him from the gallows.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Jack Campin
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 05:05 PM

Owen we have already had László Fehér (spelt more accurately) upthread.

very long version

Another Hungarian one is György Dózsa:

Executed Today

from a site that has a lot of execution folklore. There must be ballads about Dózsa but I haven't heard or read one.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: GUEST,999
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 05:47 AM

Mark Ross: I'd guess the song was Death Row.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: GUEST,999
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 06:02 AM

From Tom Paxton's song, 'What Did You Learn in School Today?':

I learned that murderers die for their crimes
Even if we make a mistake sometimes


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: GUEST,AEOLA
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 12:45 PM

There is a light hearted song loosely connected to CP called ' ROUGH JUSTICE' by His Worship & The Pig and as someone mentioned earlier it is in support of CP!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Owen Woodson
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 01:04 PM

Jack, there is indeed a reference to László Fehér in this thread, but I can't see any text previous to the one I posted.

In any event, thanks for reminding me of the Encyclopaedia of Hungarian Ethnology and Folklore. I Picked a copy up in a charity shop once for £4-00, which was amazingly cheap considering the size of the thing and the weightiness of the content.

There's also Ninon Leader's book on Hungarian Folk Ballads of course, which I'm almost certain contains a study of LF.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Owen Woodson
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 01:13 PM

I'll check Leader for ballads of György Dózsa as soon as I get the time.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 01:26 PM

Okay, who wrote this?

Hang 'Em High

(Essential for any harmonica player's repertoire, I think).

That video credits it to Dominic Frontiere. So does his Wikipedia page. Other sources credit it to Hugo Montenegro. My guess is that Montenegro just did an arrangement, is that right?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Songs about capital punishment.
From: GUEST,Morgana
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 06:33 PM

There is a song called "Poor Boy," which deals with a fight between a woman's two lovers. At the end, the narrator kills his rival, but must hang.

"And yet they call this 'justice' poor boy,
then justice let it be.
I only killed a man that was
a-fixin' to kill me."

I assume this is traditional. I think it has a couple different versions.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 16 November 7:35 AM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.