Killer Songs (radio doc): Billy Bragg, Dave Alvin, Laura Cantrell & others discuss their favourite murder ballads.
February 1, 2016 6:52 AM   Subscribe

Killer Songs (radio doc): Billy Bragg, Dave Alvin, Laura Cantrell & others discuss their favourite murder ballads.
I spent much of 2015 interviewing musicians for my new book Unprepared To Die: America’s Greatest Murder Ballads & The True Crime Stories That Inspired Them. Now I’ve used the audio from those interviews to make an hour-long radio guide to these gory, facinating songs. Contributors include Billy Bragg, The Bad Seeds’ Mick Harvey, Dave Alvin, The Kingston Trio’s Bob Shane, Laura Cantrell, Jon Langford of The Mekons, Ralph Stanley and his son Ralph II. Resonance FM here in London gave the show its first airing last week, and has now archived it for your listening pleasure on this Mixcloud page.

I also used the radio show to play a dozen of my favourite murder ballads tracks, including Steve Earle’s version of Tom Dooley, Lloyd Price’s chart-topping Stagger Lee and The Handsome Family doing Knoxville Girl. You’ll find a full playlist plus more details about all my interviewees here.

I’m happy to consider supplying the programme free for rebroadcast on any community station, local radio station or netcasting operation prepared to agree a couple of very basic requirements. I’ve already cleared Australia’s 2MCE-FM’s request to rebroadcast it in February or March, and that took no more than a couple of e-mails to arrange. Contact me via to discuss.
Role: Writer/Presenter/Co-producer
posted by Paul Slade (5 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

I always have kind of an aversion to audio links online, but the book sounds really interesting!
posted by Peregrine Pickle at 9:13 PM on February 1, 2016

This is fantastic. Thank you!
posted by rtha at 5:16 PM on February 2, 2016

I was suckled on Child Ballads, SO this is WONDERFUL.

I will read your book!
posted by Jesse the K at 1:02 PM on February 3, 2016

Completely incredible idea!
posted by Miko at 8:29 PM on February 12, 2016

Thanks for the kind words, folks - and for the votes too.

If you enjoyed Killer Songs, you might also enjoy today's episode of Jack Beard's WUNH Folk Show. Jack built a playlist round my book, breaking up the records with a few short readings from the book itself.

He digs deep into the murder ballads genre here, airing several recordings (and a couple of songs) I'd never heard before. You can hear the whole two-hour show archived on WUNH's site here: Part 1; Part 2. It's good stuff.
posted by Paul Slade at 11:40 AM on February 14, 2016

« Older I made a guitar...   |   This is the worst party I've e... Newer »

You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.