“Still Growing” / “The Trees They Do Grow High”

Introduction – “Still Growing” Today’s featured song fits clearly, if not neatly, into our wheelhouse here at MBM.  It is not precisely a murder ballad.  Neither is it exactly what we call a ‘conversation with death.’ It is, like many of the ballads we cover, old and rather widely dispersed … → read more

Faur distant: Burns, MacColl & the Spanish Civil War.

The power and influence of a poet A kind of madness breaks out in unexpected places across the world on the 25th of January. People gather in Edinburgh, London, Moscow, and Washington D.C., among other places, to eat, drink, and remember the words and works of a long dead poet … → read more

The Farmer’s Curst Wife / Little Devils

I recently paid a visit to Chicago for the birthday of my good friend Ken, also the father and co-founder of this blog.  After a party-hating thunderstorm drove Ken, his family, and me with near full coolers from a free concert in Millenium Park, we loaded the car and and set off for home. … → read more

MacPherson’s rant – A western from an Auld Country – part two.

James MacPherson’s sword. The actual truth concerning the life of James MacPherson has been long lost in the mists of time. However, as with the truth concerning Liberty Valance we are really concerned with the legend. Legend has it that MacPherson and his gang swept through the lands of the … → read more

MacPherson’s Rant – A western from an Auld Country

Imagine if you can a rich landowner surveying his lands. He has a small band of his men with him. He looks around his land with pride knowing that everything he can see is his. As he stands there he slowly becomes aware of the sounds of bagpipes coming towards … → read more

The Deil’s awa wi the exciseman – a look at the paradoxical heart of Robert Burns.

Robert Burns Imagine if you can a wild, stormy and seemingly endless winter’s night. You are child in a very small village on the west coast of Scotland. The year is 1754 and by the light of the fire in your small cottage, you listen spellbound, as your mother paints … → read more