“The Butcher Boy” / “The Railroad Boy”

Introduction: “It’s the butcher boy I love so well …” The title of today’s song suggests a narrative consistent with the stereotype of violent misogyny in our genre of choice.  Strictly speaking, this time that could lead to some inaccurate assumptions.  The boy in question is simply the son of … → read more

Full Moon, Dark Heart: Eddie Noack’s “Psycho”

noack psycho

I think perhaps all of us go a little crazy at times. — Robert Bloch, Psycho (1959) Just out of sight In the summer of 1968, a peculiar country and western song came and went to little fanfare on a small Nashville record label. Sung by a fading honky-tonker who … → read more

Fingerprints on your imagination – American Skin, pt. 2

We decided to extend the discussion of Bruce Springsteen‘s “American Skin (41 Shots)” into two weeks. As a coincidence, we launch this post on The Boss’s 64th birthday–a celebration, of sorts, of his extraordinary body of work, developing many of the themes we discuss here week to week. Introduction I … → read more

If killing anybody is a terrible crime … Part 2.

Lord Goddard, Lord Chief Justice of England 1946 – 1958 In the first part of this week’s blog we followed two young teenage boys, Christopher Craig, aged 16, and Derek Bentley, aged 19, as they were surrounded by the police after being spotted breaking into a warehouse in Croydon, London. … → read more

If killing anybody is a terrible crime … Part One.

Mr Elvis Costello This week’s post, indeed the 200th of this blog, comes mainly from Mr Elvis Costello and a song from his album Spike in 1989. The song, which will be revealed in a second, seeks to address a wrong, an injustice. The song, angry, contemptuous, and damning of those … → read more

Seeking resolution

Elvis Costello appeared five or six years ago as part of “The Harry Smith Project,” a musical renewal of the songs collected by Smith in the Anthology of American Folk Music, providing his proposed resolution of the Omie Wise tale.  It’s a remarkable performance, I think, and a fine bit … → read more