Murder Ballads Medley

Lyrics: Traditional
Music: Traditional

A medley of murder ballads played by Robert Hunter in a solo performance on 10 June 2003.

"It's always nice to sing a song somebody else wrote, long ago and far away and well. Murder ballads. I mean they talk about gangster rap being bad, bad for you like that. But I mean, did you ever listen to any of those old folk songs?

[Golden Vanity]
He swam back to the cheering of the crew
But the captain would not heed him for his promise he did rue
Brought him on the deck, and cruelly him did slew
And he sailed in the lowland, lowland low
He sank him in the lowland sea

There was a ship at sea, sailed on the lowland sea
And the name of our ship was the Golden Vanity
And we feared she would be taken by the Spanish enemy
As we sailed her on the lowland, lowland low
We sailed her on the lowland sea

"That was a pretty tune. I won't try to go all the way through it. Then there was:

[Banks Of The Ohio]
She cried oh Willie, don't murder me
I'm not prepared for eternity
But only say that you'll be mine
In our home we'll happy be
Down beside where the waters flow
Down by the banks of the Ohio

"That's a good murder ballad. Then there's

[The Willow Garden]
Down in a willow garden
Where me and [my love] did go
There we sat a-courting
Many long years ago

I brought a bottle of burgundy wine
Which my true love did not know
And so I poisoned that dear little girl
Down by the banks below

"Then there's always Pretty Polly:

[Pretty Polly]
Willie, oh Willie, I'm feared of your ways
Willie, oh Willie, I'm feared of your ways
I fear you will lead my poor body astray

Well Polly, oh Polly, you figured about right
Polly, pretty Polly, you figured about right
I dug on your grave the best part of last night

"Yeah, you know, gangster rap look out. Pretty Polly's coming to get you."


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