all things move toward their end

The thing I like about traditional murder ballads is that there doesn’t have to be any motive for the murder. There’s just these two people and he takes her down to the river and he kills her and he throws her in the river and that’s it. They’ve ended up … → read more

The slayer who ran looked a lot like me

In this interview mentioned in the last post, Nick Cave explained how his musical inclinations were forever changed when – as young boy in a small town in Australia – he started watching the Johnny Cash Show. The first episode of the show aired on June 17, 1969 (Cave would have been about twelve) … → read more

The Folk Singer, The Mercy Seat

This week, I’ll explore the dialogue between Johnny Cash and Nick Cave, two great modern murder balladeers who wrestled with themes of redemption and retribution as they explored crime, death, love, isolation, religion and the myths and musical roots of the American Old West. In today’s post, I’ll cover the … → read more

This story has no end: Part Two

Cyd Charisse as “Frankie” in “Meet Me in Las Vegas”     Going to the Movies:  Hipsters and Hootenannies   To paraphrase Lord Buckley,”Friends, blog-readers, countrymen, knock me your lobes.”   Sammy Davis, Jr. here takes a turn at Frankie and Johnny—a version also included in the movie “Meet Me … → read more