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New Book: Gallows Ballads / Bushrangers

21 Mar 24 - 06:02 AM (#4199435)
Subject: New Book: Gallows Ballads / Bushrangers
From: GUEST,Paul Slade (author)

Gallows ballads were the cheap, one-sheet publications knocked out by jobbing print shops for sale to the eager spectators at Britain’s regular public hangings. Typically, they’d include a lurid account of the condemned man’s crime, plus a set of ballad verses describing his downfall in song. Though often presented as the killer’s own words, these “last goodnights” were actually produced by a freelance band of seedy but prolific hacks.

Beginning with an essay explaining the nuts and bolts of this trade and introducing a couple of the colourful rogues who ran it, the book goes on to cover 20 individual ballad sheets chosen from the British Library’s collection. Each song appears with its full lyrics and my extensive research on the true crime story which inspired it. PlanetSlade readers - including some I found here on Mudcat - took up my invitation to set these old lyrics to their own music and perform them once again as living songs. The book has all the links you’ll need to hear the 29 recordings this produced – the best of which are very good indeed.

Later in the volume, I’ve added a lengthy section looking at Australia’s vintage bushranger ballads and their continuing influence on the country’s rebel music today. Jack Donohoe and Ben Hall are two of the outlaws whose songs figure there. Finally, I like to include something in each book that’s never appeared anywhere else at all, and in this case it’s my short play set in an 1853 London print shop. The week’s big hanging is approaching fast, but Jemmy Catnach’s star writer has let him down...

For more details (and a look at the book's cover) click here .

27 Mar 24 - 09:00 PM (#4199893)
Subject: RE: New Book: Gallows Ballads / Bushrangers
From: rich-joy

What a fascinating website!!!


28 Mar 24 - 07:35 PM (#4199957)
Subject: RE: New Book: Gallows Ballads / Bushrangers
From: GUEST,.gargoyle

Mr. Slade ...

Thank you for the post.
I just purchased four of your items, and what a true bargain they are.

They fit a missing niche in my folklore collection.


I will post personal reviews to this thread.

28 Mar 24 - 09:17 PM (#4199965)
Subject: RE: New Book: Gallows Ballads / Bushrangers
From: Hagman

I can recommend Mr Slade's "Black Swan Blues." A great story, and very well told.

30 Mar 24 - 04:11 AM (#4200057)
Subject: RE: New Book: Gallows Ballads / Bushrangers
From: GUEST,Paul Slade

Thanks everyone. If you like the books, please consider giving them a mention on your social media or adding a review to the relevant book's Amazon page. I know it's a pain being constantly harassed to do this, but for those of us without a corporate advertising budget to get the word out, this stuff really does help.