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True Lies: Bob Dylan's Hattie Carroll

Paul Slade

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Paul's essays on murder ballads are such fascinating and valuable explorations of the roots of our songwriting history that I think they're worth bending the topic format boundaries here (as each tends to focus on just one song). But it's clear that Paul is no label intern ginning up interest in the next 15 second wonder that the industry will foist on the gullible kids.


Highly commended reading -- although not always for the squeamish. The stories that became the subject of murder ballads over the centuries tend to be particularly noteworthy for different reasons. Sometimes it's that they are classic tragedies, man defying the Gods but not evading Fate. Sometimes they're stories of revenge, well-earned and resolutely served. Sometimes they work their way into legend and song simply because they are so cruel or so gruesome. And, sometimes, like that above, because they are so poignant on the personal level and so symbolic on the social.

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