The American Murder Ballad

I love American roots music. A lot of music can fall into this category – blues, bluegrass, folk, soul, jazz, and country can all qualify – but today I want to write specifically about murder ballads. Murder ballads are uniquely American. There are, of course, songs about murder in every culture, but Americans truly made…

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Cruel Stack O’Lee

I loved Mississippi John Hurt’s Stack O’Lee Blues long before I knew it was based on a real murder. Click here to listen to Mississippi John Hurt’s Stack O’Lee Blues! Police officer, how can it be? You can arrest everybody But cruel Stack O’ Lee That bad man, oh cruel Stack O’ Lee Billy DeLyon told Stack…

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