Protesting Too Much

I‘ll start out by saying that, in my opinion, the most egregious error that the Coen’s made with Inside Llewyn Davis was using the names “Jim and Jean” for the characters in the film. It fuels the mostly unwarranted complaints that people are being misrepresented in the movie … and … → read more

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS: directed by Joel & Ethan Coen

    INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS directed by Joel and Ethan Coen CBS Films/Studio Canal 105 minutes, Rated R www.insidellewyndavis.com   We expect Joel and Ethan Coen brothers to deliver quirky films whose logic drifts toward the surreal. Had that been the case with Inside Llewyn Davis, it would have been … → 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

May they all be well

Dave Van Ronk, Joan Baez, Leonard Cohen, Judy Collins, and Chad Mitchell(this photo looks a little off to me, I can’t vouch for its authenticity) As I mentioned in the first post this week, my friend, Cayce, put me up to discussing “Silver Dagger.” Or perhaps more accurately, she helped … → read more

Stagolee – A Digital Compendium: The Classics

This is Chapter 1 of Stagolee: A Digital Compendium.  See also Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, and Chapter 5 Introduction He was a bad man – Stagolee. Folks have been singing, talking, writing, laughing, cussing, and crying about him since 1895, when he shot his friend Billy and grabbed back his Stetson … → read more

“Duncan and Brady” / “Been on the Job Too Long”

The Fuller Court, 1894-1895 (from the Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States) So what do these nine justices of the Supreme Court have to do with murder ballads? Read on and find out!

This is the first part of a three part series.  See also Part 2 and Part 3. Introduction When I first moved to the Berkshires in 1992, I was in my early 20’s and my knowledge of American folk music extended only a step or two beyond the obvious inspirations for the music … → read more

Mackie, how much did you charge?

Bobby Darin I fear I’ve become a bit of a crank.  My previous post likely creates the impression that I insist that somehow all songs that involve crime or murder must be serious, and that there’s no room for a song that just inherently swings.  I actually don’t think this. … → read more

Dave Van Ronk to be the Basis of a Movie?!?

Joel and Ethan Coen, the film making brothers who gave us movies such as “Fargo,” “The Big Lebowski” and last year’s critically acclaimed feature “True Grit,” are working on their next feature – which appears to have a folk music theme, and potentially evolves around Dave Van Ronk. According to … → read more

Earl Scruggs, Dave Van Ronk and Manny Greenhill to be honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards at the International Folk Alliance Conference this Feb.

A press release from the Folk Alliance: (Memphis, Tenn.) The North American Folk Music and Dance Alliance (Folk Alliance) announces banjo legend Earl Scruggs, blues revivalist the late Dave Van Ronk and manager/producer the late Manny Greenhill as recipients of the 2007 Elaine Weissman Lifetime Achievement Awards (LAAwards). Earl Scruggs, … → read more