18 genuine Victorian gallows ballads recorded by today's musicians
January 5, 2013 10:36 AM   Subscribe

18 genuine Victorian gallows ballads recorded by today's musicians
Well, it’s taken me over a year to do it, but I’ve now managed to persuade modern rock, folk and blues musicians to record all 16 of the genuine Victorian gallows ballads which I started researching back in 2011 (Projects previously). You’ll find a Soundcloud set compiling the whole "album" linked above, and details of the individual songs below. Each track is a collaboration across more than 100 years, as singers and bands from Britain, America and Australia add their own music to the original 19th century lyrics. Each track's Soundcloud entry has a link taking you to the true story behind that particular ballad.

These are the ballads knocked out by jobbing hacks on the night before any big public execution and sold as printed sheets at the foot of the scaffold while the condemned man was still swinging. The recordings range from fairly sketchy demos to full-band rock-outs, and the contributors from talented hobbyists to acclaimed professionals.

Among my own favourites are:

The Jetsonics: Cruel Lizzie Vickers (1853). Audio. Band. Video. (SLYT: autoplay).
Sedayne: The Silent Grove (1838). Audio. Performer.
Doc Bowling & Sons: The Monster (1843). Audio. Band.
Big Al Whittle: Death of William Palmer (1856). Audio. Performer.
KingBrilliant: The Foreigner’s Downfall (1857). Audio.
Pete Morton: Jealous Annie (1848). Audio. Performer.
South County: The Execution of Nathaniel Mobbs (1853). Audio. Band.
Tim Radford: The Old Baby-Farmer (1896). Audio. Performer.
Ernest Johnson: The Westmill Murder (1848). Audio. Video (SLYT: autoplay).
The Hammond School: Gallows Child (1820). Audio. School.
Fred Smith: The Execution of Nathaniel Mobbs (1853). Audio. Performer.
Rob Wahl: Streams of Crimson Blood (1829). Audio.
Role: Co-ordinator
posted by Paul Slade (3 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

There is too much good there to take in at once.
posted by The Whelk at 1:56 AM on January 6, 2013

These are excellent.
posted by marguerite at 5:55 PM on January 12, 2013

Thanks very much, both of you. Which tracks are your favourites so far?
posted by Paul Slade at 8:14 AM on January 13, 2013

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