Murder Ballads Old and New: A Dark and Bloody Record (Paperback)
Murder Ballads Old & New: A Dark and Bloody Record is an exploration of an age-old topic-- our human need to document the horrors of the world around us. The murder ballad, here expanded to include songs about traumatic loss in modern variants and multiple styles, including punk, post-punk, alt-country, and folk. The book is a graveyard stroll past tombs both well-kept and half-hidden. Murder Ballads Old & New excavates facts about killers, victims, and the folkloric storytellers who disseminated their tales in song.Author Steven L. Jones focuses the tragic ballad as "an act of remembering and a soul-reckoning with the ineffable." Songs examined range from obscure tunes from the founding days of the United States to familiar canonical songs learned in schoolrooms and honkytonks. Jones tackles each song in a manner that's equal parts musicological, psychosocial, and genealogical as he uncovers stories that reveal larger contexts and maps the lineages of songs and themes, forebears, and ancestors.
Murder Ballads Old & New includes a wide range of songs and performers from the relatively unknown (Boiled in Lead, Freakons, Nelstone's Hawaiians) to the ironically famous (Johnny Cash, Lou Reed, Sonic Youth). Highlights include tales of Muddy Waters guitar sideman Pat Hare, whose incendiary blues boast "I'm Gonna Murder My Baby" proved grimly prophetic. And honky-tonk pioneer Eddie Noack, whose morbid stab at late-career rebirth, "Psycho," couldn't match the bottomless tragedy of his own life. As well as Depression-era holdup man Pretty Boy Floyd, Schubert's mythical Erlk nig, and the Manson Family.Murder Ballads Old & New is a compelling delve into the perennial American fascination with True Crime. Includes archival and historical black & white images.