Suffer Little Children: The Moors Murders in Memory & Song

Suffer Little Children

But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto to me; for of such is the kingdom of heaven. — Matthew 19:14 This post looks at a pair of songs inspired by memories of one of postwar Britain’s most infamous crimes … Over the moor Oh, … → read more

Alone & Forsaken: Van Morrison’s T.B. Blues

T.B. Sheets

The cool room “The purpose of rhythm, it has always seemed to me … is to prolong the moment of contemplation … by hushing it with an alluring monotony.” — William Butler Yeats, The Symbolism of Poetry “Oh Lord” — Van Morrison, “T.B. Sheets” In the fall of 1967, an … → read more

Which Side Are You On? – Coal and Blood, Part 2

Twice in recent weeks I’ve delved into Hazel Dickens’s work to find songs that walk the line between life and death in America’s coal fields. “Black Lung” is no murder ballad, but we saw how it used Primitive Baptist singing and a narrative structure similar to some cautionary murder ballads … → read more

Interlude: Ellen Greene

Ellen Greene An “Interlude” post, in our use, is not necessarily a connection between one piece of music and another, but an exploration of artistic work with close thematic engagement with murder ballads. It’s a step outside our “song of the week” or “digital compendium” modes, and a way to … → read more

Jon Langford interview, Part Three

Lofty Deeds, Jon Langford This is the final installment of our interview with Chicago musician and artist Jon Langford. After recording three albums of murder ballads, he seemed like the ideal candidate for a Murder Ballad Monday sit-down. You can also read or re-visit Part 1 and Part 2. Today … → read more

Jon Langford interview, Part Two

Jon Langford (Photo by Barry Phipps, courtesy the artist and Bloodshot Records) Today we continue our conversation with transplanted Chicagoan and jack-of-all-trades (music, art, comic interludes, storytelling) Jon Langford. You can read Part One here; Part Three appears Friday. Today we find out why Langford wanted to record an album … → read more