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Tom Dooley: The Full Story
In 1958, The Kingston Trio scored a massive global hit with an 1860s folk song about Tom Dula’s killing of Laura Foster. I’ve just posted a 25,000-word essay on the song describing Tom’s return from the Civil War to his North Carolina home, the many women he slept with there and his role in spreading the syphilis that ultimately led to Laura’s murder. Tom hanged for it in the end, but many still insist he was not the true killer. I also examine the song’s continuing development by artists like Doc Watson, Steve Earle and Greg Brown, and recount my own visit to the story’s key sites in September this year.