To Thread - Forum Home

The Mudcat Café TM
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=168126
35 messages

Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil

23 Jun 20 - 12:00 PM (#4060971)
Subject: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
From: GUEST

I’ve got:
• “the maid and the Palmer“ (which mentions hell)
• “the devil and the feathery wife“ (which mentions the devil) and
• “The old dance” (which mentions the serpent)

Anybody got anything else? Aside from “Sympathy For The Devil”?


23 Jun 20 - 05:36 PM (#4061060)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
From: cnd

Some songs with lyrics:
-Old Lady and the Devil (aka The Devil and the Farmer)
-They Said My Lord Was A Devil (aka Warfare or My Warfare Will Soon Be Over)
-Tying a Knot in the Devil's Tail

Not sure if you're looking for only songs with lyrics, but instrumental songs include:
-The Devil's Dream
-Up Jumped the Devil
-Devil On a Stump

Also, a song which I don't think is a trad. song but which I like:
-Devil On My Shoulder by Hylo Brown
-The Devil by Hoyt Axton

To find lots of ballads about the devil, hell, etc, go to the Fresno State search page (click) and type in your desires search term.


23 Jun 20 - 05:43 PM (#4061061)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
From: Mo the caller

The Gelding of the Devil


23 Jun 20 - 06:11 PM (#4061070)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
From: Joe Offer

I love the Grateful Dead classic, Friend of the Devil. And Pete wrote a very un-Seegeresque song Old Devil Time for the 1969 movie, Tell Me You Love Me Junie Moon. And don't forget all the versions of The Devil and the Farmer's Wife. And then there's Benny Boodman's Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, also recorded by George Harrison

-Joe-


23 Jun 20 - 08:19 PM (#4061081)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
From: Lighter

Wot, no "Hell in Texas"?

"The devil in hell they say he was chained,
And there for a thousand years he remained,
He neither complained, nor did he groan,
But decided to make a Hell of his own.
So he asked the Lord if he had any sand
Left over from making this great land.
The Lord he said, "Yes, I have plenty on hand,
But it's way down South on the Rio Grande...."


At least that's how I remember it from 1964. A poem originally, as in the Argentine (Kans,) Eagle (Aug. 19, 1892).

I believe it's also known as "Arizona."


23 Jun 20 - 09:15 PM (#4061089)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
From: Joe_F

Coal Owner & Pitman's Wife


24 Jun 20 - 02:42 AM (#4061118)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
From: Jim Carroll

THE DEVIL AND GANGER McGLYNN.
Written by Ewan MacColl for the film ‘The Irishmen’. Based on the traditional song Devil and Bailiff McGlinn

One fine Sunday morning in summer I wandered along the M.3,
When a couple of swaggering playboys before me I happened to see,
Well one of these was the devil and the other was Ganger McGlynn,
And the one was as black as the other and both were as ugly as sin.

Now a boy sweating at the muck-shifting he lifted his shovel to high,
"May the devil take you" said the other, "you've landed that muck in my eye"
"Now why don't you take him, the rascal, your highness" the Ganger he cried.
"0 'twas not from the heart that the wish came" the devil he smiling replied.

A bulldozer stalled and the fitter said "the gasket is all blown to hell".
"May the devil take you" said the driver "likewise your old gasket as well"
Says the Ganger "Now there's a fine offer, why not take the fitter?" said he.
"0 'twas but from his lips that he said it and that's not sufficient for me."

Some tigers were working a tunnel when part of the shield it did jam.
"May the devil run off with the feller invented the hydraulic ram
"Now there's a fine chance" said the Ganger "your lordship can have him for free"
"Oh no" said the choosy old devil "there must be conviction for me ".

A carpenter building a shutter, the timber was twisted and bent,
"May the devil snatch up the contractor and board him in hell without rent"
The Ganger then said with impatience "Now there's a soul well within reach"
"Oh no" said old nick "your mistaken, ‘twas only a figure of speech".

As they jogged on a trench digger spied them and straight to his mates then he fled,
"Ah fellers “said he "here's the Ganger" and every man looked up and said
"May the devil take that ugly Ganger:" said the devil "Bedad that'll do"
"'Twas strait from the heart that came surely so Ganger McGlynn I’ll take you".

Jim Carroll


25 Jun 20 - 05:31 PM (#4061385)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
From: Anne Lister

I have two ... The Devil in the Garden, and Small Ways to Beat the Devil.
I think I share my late Mum's point of view, that there has to be something like the devil out there, because so few of the inventions produced by human beings are unarguably a Good Thing.


26 Jun 20 - 09:27 PM (#4061597)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
From: KarenJoyce

Child 1: The Devil's Nine Questions
Child 3: The False Knight Upon the Road
One place to get much information on each is here:
http://bluegrassmessengers.com/the-305-child-ballads.aspx


26 Jun 20 - 09:48 PM (#4061598)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
From: Bill D

"Tying a Knot in the Devil's Tail"


27 Jun 20 - 04:26 AM (#4061623)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
From: GUEST,Mike Yates

Yonder comes the devil
With his pitchfork and shovel
He was digging up potatoes
On the turnpike road
But the road it was so hard
He couldn't get 'em up
So away ran the devil
With his tail cocked up

I recorded this in the 1970's from an elderly English Gypsy called Joe Jones.


27 Jun 20 - 04:29 AM (#4061624)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
From: gillymor

Satan I Won't be Your Servant No More
By the wonderful duo Jones and Leva, now defunct, as a non-believer I always took this song as a metaphor for addiction.

Also Robert Johnson's Hellhound on My Trail, covered by the Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac among others.


27 Jun 20 - 05:16 AM (#4061634)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
From: Snuffy

Some say the Devil's dead,
The Devil's dead,
The Devil's dead,
Some say the Devil's dead,
And buried in Killarney.

Some say he rose again,
Rose again,
Rose again,
Some say he rose again,
And joined the British Army.


27 Jun 20 - 06:15 AM (#4061644)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler

Ballad of Stanton Drew
The Devil's right hand.

Robin


27 Jun 20 - 08:51 AM (#4061671)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
From: GUEST,Mike Yates

'Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down' sung by Frank Proffitt of NC. on the CD 'High Atmosphere' (Rounder CD 00280).


27 Jun 20 - 02:35 PM (#4061742)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler

The house carpenter.

Robin


27 Jun 20 - 03:25 PM (#4061753)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
From: Bill D

...and there IS this little ditty posted to Mudcat 15 years ago. As I said in the thread, I heard it many years ago...but seldom have shared it. I have no idea where the guy I heard sing it had found it..


27 Jun 20 - 06:54 PM (#4061782)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
From: Gallus Moll

There is a tendency on Scotland to avoid naming the subject of this thread, to use nick(!)names or pseudonyms - I think as being less likely to 'call up' the unwanted one's presence? So in songs and ballads there will be indirect references, everyone knows who is being spoken about,but no-one actually speaks the name!!


27 Jun 20 - 10:03 PM (#4061794)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
From: Bill D

And hell is briefly mentioned in William Bloat


28 Jun 20 - 02:49 AM (#4061806)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
From: GUEST,Mike Yates

'It Just Suits Me' ('The Devil is mad/And I am glad/He lost one soul/That he thought he had).


28 Jun 20 - 03:02 AM (#4061808)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler

The widow of Westmorland.

Several songs on the "Devil's Bridge" theme.

Robin


28 Jun 20 - 05:30 AM (#4061828)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
From: Jack Campin

The Devil was buried in Kirkcaldy first (it's a Scottish tune). Where does the "Killarney" version come from?


28 Jun 20 - 05:39 AM (#4061831)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
From: GUEST

Why has no-one mentioned The Devil and the Farmer's wife?

Tradsinger


28 Jun 20 - 06:59 AM (#4061849)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
From: Richard Mellish

One that I sing is the story of Jonas the Suffolk ploughboy, from Bob Roberts. Like Faust, Jonas sold his soul to the Devil and in the end was taken off to Hell. Introducing it, Bob said that it hasn't much of a chorus, more of a shout; and you need to shout when this song is sung to scare the Devil away, because otherwise he is apt to turn up when his name is mentioned -- hence the expression "Speak of the Devil".


28 Jun 20 - 10:05 AM (#4061876)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
From: Phil Cooper

Bob Pegg wrote a song called Fiddler's Cross dealing with deals with the devil. Chris Smither has one as well, don't remember the title, but the line, "the devil's not a legend, the devil's real."


28 Jun 20 - 05:36 PM (#4061927)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
From: Joe_F

The Devil's Baptizin' by Malvina Reynolds (seems to be not on the Web!)


28 Jun 20 - 10:00 PM (#4061961)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
From: GUEST

In Hell I’ll be in good company. by Dead South. I love the video


29 Jun 20 - 03:25 AM (#4061979)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler

If you go outside folk music, there are loads of West Gallery hymns that mention hell and the need to avoid going there!

Robin


01 Jul 20 - 05:52 PM (#4062342)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
From: GUEST,The Walrus

No body seems to have mentioned The Cockerham Devil


03 Jul 20 - 09:33 PM (#4062671)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
From: Joe_F

Robin: Not to mention --

But still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe.
His power on earth is great,
And, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.


04 Jul 20 - 07:14 AM (#4062714)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
From: Jim Carroll

I'd never come across this in this form before I heard Mike's recording of it
Jim Carroll

The Lady and the Blacksmith - Sung by Duncan Williamson,
Recorded by Mike Yates in Ladybank, Fife, on August 13, 2001.

Booklet Notes:
Duncan says that he first knew this as a story, The King of the Black Art, as told by Willie Williamson, who was then in his 70's. Travellers have always considered it unlucky to say the word devil, preferring instead to use words such as old Hoddie or blacksmith, which explains why the unwanted suitor is termed a blacksmith in the chorus. Duncan would have been about ten years old when he first heard The King of the Black Art. He says that he then made it into a song himself. But, as Duncan's tune is one that has previously been used for the ballad, I suspect that, somewhere along the way, he also heard it sung. A version of the tale The King of the Black Art, as told by John Stewart, a traveller from Blairgowrie, may be found in Sheila Douglas's book of the same name (Aberdeen University Press, 1987).

Note by Kevin W.:
For an example of the story that Duncan heard, "The King of the Black Arts", see this recording of John Stewart from the School of Scottish Studies:http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/fullrecord/27594/1

Once there was a lady, a lady in the land,
She called out to the Devil, oh, you could be my man,
he called out to the Devil, but you must catch me if you can.

He said bide, lady, bide, there no place you can hide,
For the old blacksmith will be your man and he'll get you for his bride.

Then she turned into a turtle dove, she flew right through the air,
And he turned into a falcon and he chased her everywhere.

He cried bide, lady, bide, there's no place you can hide,
For the old blacksmith will be your man and he'll get you for his bride.

Then she turned into a little fly, she flew right through the air,
And he turned into a swallow and he chased her everywhere.

Crying bide, lady, bide, there's no place you can hide,
For the old blacksmith will be your man and he'll get you for his bride.

The she turned into a big brown hare, she flew across the land,
And he turned into a greyhound, cryin' I will be your man.

He cried bide, lady, bide, there no place you can hide,
For the old blacksmith will be your man and he'll get you for his bride.

Then she turned into a nice bedspread, she spread across the bed,
And he turned into a blanket and he stole her maidenhead.

He cried bide, lady, bide, there no place you can hide,
For the old blacksmith will be your man and he'll get you for his bride.

So come all you ladies, when you choose your man,
Never choose a devil, for he'll get you if he can.

He'll cry bide, lady, bide, there no place you can hide,
For the old blacksmith will be your man and he'll get you for his bride.

Note by Mike Yates:
Finally, in 2000, I was able to record a set from the Scottish Traveller, Duncan Williamson, then living in Fife. Duncan had first heard the piece told as a folktale, but later picked up, and possibly adapted, the song from singers that he met at folk clubs
and festivals.


04 Jul 20 - 08:39 AM (#4062725)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
From: Daniel Kelly

I don't see The Widow's Lament by Mick Ryan on the list yet.


04 Jul 20 - 08:40 AM (#4062726)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
From: Daniel Kelly

Sorry, second try: Widow's Lament


04 Jul 20 - 12:43 PM (#4062779)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
From: Gda Music

*Life Down in Hell*

Following the people
Ah see doing well
Looking for the devil
I went down in hell - and there I found
That an up was a down
And a right was a wrong
and a smile was a frown
Kindness was a sin
To lose was to win
Fire burning soul
Satan in control

A rotten egg was perfume
A sigh of gladness was gloom
An act of kindness a kick
And when you healthy you sick
And a prayer was a spell
So there is no need to tell
A good woman down in hell is a Jezebel

On my journey under
I perceived the soul
Of Dracula and Hitler
Shovelling hot coals - down in a pit
Laud a bread was a stone
I see meat that was bone
A cry of joy was a groan
Sweetness was like pain
The sane was insane
Lowness was a virtue
Freshness was like mildew

A raise of pay was more work
The worst insult was a joke
A sugar cake was the thing
That cat and dog burying
Devil money so dread
A penny was twice the size ah me head
Gold and silver was made out of solid lead

Suddenly I noticed
I was face to face
With the Prince of Darkness
In that stinking place - and then there was
A horrible horrible stench
Coming from an old bench
Where he sat with an ugly wrench
Body like a goat
Buncle by he throat
Serpents on he head
With eyes big and red

Fifty naked females
Behind him stroking he tail
While the imps and them fought
The devil was having sport
He just hold any soul
With a fiery pole
And ram the devil poker
in they ear`s hole

Ah see that I was putting
Meh own self in a jam
Is then ah started running
Right now here I am - back safe on earth
Where up is a up and a down is a down
And when you wrong ah tell you you wrong
Now hear this refrain
Oh Laud never me again
Because now ah see (White Rum make me see)
Down dey ain`t for me

from an album track of    The Mighty Sparrow - c.1977
SPARROW N.Y.C. BLACKOUT   -    Charlie CR 139

Sparrow`s final line "Down deh ain`t for me" would seem a good example to follow!

GJ


04 Jul 20 - 04:13 PM (#4062820)
Subject: RE: Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
From: Phil Cooper

Oh, I thought of another devil song. Dave Carter's Texas Underground.