This is not a maudlin post, but some of the great songs come under this category. If you peruse the titles of folk blues and country it is an incredibly common topic. It’s the one thing we can’t escape, so as the rain continues to poor and the Redland May Fair has been cancelled for the first time in my memory, here’s some choice tunes:
The Long Black Veil is a tune I discovered via Rosanne Cash’s album ‘The List’. she tells of how she was travelling with her dad Johnny when he mentioned a few old tunes which she – a punk at the time – did not know, so he went down the back of the bus and made a list of 100 songs, telling her that was her education. This is one of the strangest songs, as the singer is a man who chose to die for a murder he did not commit rather than use his alibithat he was with a married woman. This feels so old and authentic. This is Dr Ralph Stanley Clinch Mountain Boys.
In a similar vein, this is a very brief snippet by Justin Lee Collins, usually famous for shouting in a very broad West Country accent as he accosts innocent people, but here he shows he can sing. This is him on Chris Moyles’ RBBC radio 1 with the Tom Jones classic, The Green Green Grass of Home:
Knocking on Heavens’ Door was Bob Dylan’s contribution to the film he also appeared in, ‘Pat Garret & Billy the kid’. Here Avril Lavigne turns it into an anti war song.
Here’s a live version of Led Zeppelin doing ‘In My Time of Dying from 1975
In a rather lighter vein, here’s Country Joe & the fish, ‘Fixing to Die Rag, one of the great anti-war songs and one of the few featuring Swanee whistle and kazoo.
I try to avoid major acts, but this by the stones is so full of anger, ‘Paint it Black’ Not really about death, more about being young and angry. This sis Chris Farlow’s version, with a heavy dose of gypsy influence