Ron Olesko’s Favorites of 2014

Ron Olesko on the air at WFDU-FM on June 15, 2004

WFDU-FM’s TRADITIONS Playlist for January 4, 2015 Everyone has favorites, and these are mine. I hesitate from calling this list a “best of” because we all have different opinions and I firmly believe that art has no limits to what can be achieved. The list below represents new CDs that … → read more

VARIOUS ARTISTS: Dear Jean

              Various Artists Dear Jean: Artists Celebrate Jean Ritchie Compass Records #7 4631 2 www.compassrecords.com There are two things any and every true aficionado of folk music should know full well about Jean Ritchie: First that she is one of the most important and … → read more

WFDU-FM’s TRADITIONS playlist for Sept. 14, 2014

Ron Olesko on the air at WFDU-FM on June 15, 2004

While artists release CDs throughout the year, the fall seems to bring the most new recordings to my mailbox. While this doesn’t seem to thrill my mail carrier, I am able to deliver some extraordinary new songs to our radio listeners, and judging from the phone calls and e-mails I … → read more

Murder Ballad Comedy, Part Three: “Fertile Liza”

Introduction Ken started us last week on a new, short, and lighter path for a few posts – murder ballad comedy.  We learned the obvious from John Cleese – that indeed, dark humor can be good humor, and really has an advantage in being such.  The uncomfortable nature of the … → read more

Pat’s Essential Eleven Traditional Murder Ballads

Introduction We here at Murder Ballad Monday are soon fixing to close our second year of writing about our topic of choice!  Don’t worry; we have a few more weeks to go before we get to our holiday hiatus, and we’re planning a Year Three.  But I’ve been reflecting on … → read more

Who Killed…Cock Robin?

“I, said the Sparrow, with my bow and arrow” Introduction There are at least two things I’m not going to do in today’s post. There are at least two things I am going to do. The first thing I am not going to do is to spend a lot of … → 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

Who Weeps for the House Carpenter?

This is the second post on Child 243.  Read the first post here. The short answer is “nobody.”  Nobody weeps for the house carpenter.  In our last post, we saw how artists through the years molded and shaped the original song that is now “The Demon Lover” and “House Carpenter.” … → read more

The price, my dear, is you.

  In the last post on Led Zeppelin’s “Gallows Pole,” we looked at how a centuries-old English tale about a fair maiden who loses a golden ball evolved into two different stories – one with a fairy tale ending in which the maiden is rescued by a prince and one with … → read more

While travelling through Kentucky…

Notorious Rebel guerrilla Champ Ferguson, with his guards after his capture, Fall 1865. Introduction My first post this week introduced “Hiram Hubbard”, a Kentucky murder ballad from the era of the Civil War.  The performance of Jean Ritchie and Doc Watson was our springboard.  For the sake of avoiding multiple … → read more