A Warning Take by Me

This is the second post on “Maria Marten” and other songs inspired by the Red Barn Murder in Polstead, England in 1827. The first is here. The third is here. It is time for my confession.  Don’t worry. It’s nowhere near as exciting as William Corder’s. As I’ve been working through “Maria … → read more

Murder of Maria Marten/The Red Barn Murder

This is the first of three posts about songs more or less related to the infamous Red Barn Murder in Polstead, England in 1827. This post introduces the song and the background story. The next post explores the song’s “career.” The third discusses Tom Waits’s “Murder in the Red Barn.” … → read more

A Cage of Beaten Gold – “False Sir John”

Golden Cage 4 - acrylics on canvas. 2008 by Fareha Zeba

This is the second post concerning the ballad Child 4.  See also Part 1. Introduction In my first post this week, I looked briefly at the history of the ballad Francis Child cataloged as his #4, known by many names; “Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight”, “False Sir John”, “May … → read more

Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight / False Sir John / May Colvin / The Outlandish Knight

This is the first post concerning the ballad Child 4.  See also Part 2. Introduction I love this image; it’s so evocative!  What secret does this young gentle lady want her pretty parrot to keep? Well, you know the title of this blog – so it’s not hard to guess. … → read more

True Love Knows No Season

Adam McCulloch (r) “A Rip-Roaring Yarn”Earlier this year, when researching my posts for “Babylon” (Child 14), I came across a terrific Scottish recording of the tune, “The Bonnie Banks of Airdrie” by Adam McCulloch.  McCulloch’s album In These Times, also led me to “Willie Taylor” and an interesting week with that … → read more

A ruthless man and a dangerous outlaw

Jeffrey Foucault and Mark Erelli This is the second post this week on Norman Blake’s “Billy Gray.”  Read the first here.Outlaw RhetoricThat I haven’t read Aristotle‘s Poetics yet is a gap in my education.  I’ll need to get right on that, as it would doubtless help me here.  I know something … → read more