Murder On Friday
Posted in Honey on 07.29.05

I need some help: I’ve been messing around with a few ideas on how to display the Stagolee archives and I had made up a page that had a brief introduction by me and then all the songs and the blurbs. Well it looked awful and even without the blurbs it’s hard to navigate and use. What’s the best way to go about allowing ya’ll to down the tracks and hopefully (but not necessarily read the blurbs)?

This year has been a great year for Alt.Country (whatever that is) and music in general. Two songs in particular have been running through my speakers a lot this week and both happen to be murder ballads, not that I’ve been feeling particularly murderous – but they’ve just caught my ear. The first is a version of Poor Ellen Smith (perhaps the only murder ballad written by an actual murder) by Laura Cantrell off her new album Hummingbird Flower (the album is a lot better than the title, thankfully). Cantrell has one of the best female voices around, and she puts it to really wonderful use on this track. There’s something about ladies singing murder ballads that I love. Next up is a original song by Robbie Fulks off his new album Georgia Hard. “If They Could See Me Now” has jumped up into my top 5 songs by him already – its a wonderful tale about a broken marriage, murder and class featuring some really great imagery.

Laura Cantrell – Poor Ellen Smith
Robbie Fulks – If They Could Only See Me Now (Link Fixed)


10 Comments so far
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By russ fish on 07.29.05 1:48 pm

longtime fan of your site, but hey, the robbie fulks has a mis-spelling in the address. love the site anyway…

By Tina on 07.29.05 5:37 pm

Laura Cantrell does have a beautiful voice, but I think that murder ballads are better sung by gritty, remorseful, vengeful, or bitter voices, male or female. The content is powerful and, imo, her voice does not do it justice. Your comments?

By peter patnaik on 08.02.05 1:43 pm

I really like the disconnect betweent Cantrell’s voice and the tale she’s singing about. It’s like Becall begging to be Designing Woman as Bogart was dying. It’s escape from this awful place through humor or beauty.

By Larts on 08.09.05 3:03 pm

Laura’s album is called “Humming By The Flowered Vines” – a truly dreadful title. However, Laura is definitely worth listening to. On the BBC website there’s a live session and some DJing by Laura. On the Andy Kershaw programme, radio 3. It’s the 7th August 2005 show. Be quick-it’s only up for a week.

Actually, the Kershaw programme is truly brilliant. It’s a “world music” show. Really varied music show of a kind that I’m told doesn’t exist in other parts of the world. Good old BBC!

By Jack on 08.10.05 4:11 am

Regarding your Stagolee idea.
Why don’t you start a whole new blog (referenced easily from this one), and just update it with a new song and story each day?
It’s part of what makes these music blogs (especially yours) so fun. No need to post it all in one go!

By J Epstein on 08.13.05 12:43 am

“Poor Ellen Smith (perhaps the only murder ballad written by an actual murder)”

“Gonna Murder My Baby” by Pat Hare is a murder blues, sung by a guitarist who went on to murder his baby. Dunno if that counts.


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