“Gambler’s Blues” (Unfortunate Rake, Part Two)

This post on “Gambler’s Blues”/”St. James Infirmary” is the second installment on variants of the “Unfortunate Rake” ballads. The first installment was on an older, British “Rake” ballad, called “Pills of White Mercury,” in which the narrator comes across a military comrade wrapped in white linen and dying. Mercury was a … → read more

Celebrating Josh White – Father & Son

WFDU-FM’s TRADITIONS Playlist for November 30, 2014 As many readers will know, I wear two hats – one as the host of WFDU-FM’s TRADITIONS and another as the President of the Hurdy Gurdy Folk Music Club in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. Today’s show involved my juggling both caps, and in keeping with FCC … → read more

“Betty and Dupree” – A Digital Compendium, Part 2 – The Classics

Note: this is Part 2 of a two part series.  Read Part 1 here. So, down to the jewelry store packing a gun he said, “Wrap it up, I think I’ll take this one.” “A thousand dollars please,” the jewelry man said. Dupree he said, “I’ll pay this one off … → read more

Delia / Delia’s Gone: A Digital Compendium, 1900 – 1992

Fahm Street, west side. Row houses built around 1850 - Frances Benjamin Johnston, ca. 1939

Note:  This is Part 1 of a two-part series on “Delia’s Gone” – See also Part 2 Introduction – “O, I am fortune’s fool!” I wonder if you’ve seen that ‘meme’ that goes in part like this – “Romeo and Juliet is not a love story.  It’s a three day … → read more

Pat’s Essential Eleven Non-Traditional Murder Ballads

Introduction A few weeks back I assembled a list of my ‘essential eleven’ traditional murder ballads.  While we here at Murder Ballad Monday usually delve deeply into one ballad or theme, we saw some possible value in a lighter ‘list-based’ approach from time to time.  Judging from reader response to … → read more

This story has no moral

  Despite the fact that I think there was some “hourglass moment” where this song slipped through a narrow channel to flow back out again, there is still so much diversity to the lyrics of this song that a “close reading” is impossible, at least in this venue.  Nevertheless, I … → read more