Saturday, October 31, 2009

Ghosts and Zombies: Ghostly Visitation Edition

Andrew King: Sweet William‘s Ghost


Back in 1987-88, I was involved with a folk music coffeehouse in New Brunswick, NJ, called the Mine St Coffeehouse. One night, we had an English folk singer in named Nick Dow. He did a great performance, including Sweet William’s Ghost. I had never heard the song before. Sweet William’s Ghost is a Childe Ballad, but a fairly obscure one. And that’s a shame, because it is a fine song. You may have noticed, however, that I did not post Nick Dow’s version. That is because I do not have it and can’t get it. So, there are two items on my Halloween wish list this year. If anyone has an mp3 of Dow’s version, please post it in the comments. And if anyone can put me in touch with Nick Dow, I would be forever in your debt.

That said, Andrew King does a fine version of the song, and a very unusual one. The song tells of a ghost who returns to his fiance, so that he can be released from his vows, and from this world. She releases him willingly, but only after her conditions are met. King delivers a strong vocal, and frames it with an eerie organ drone that changes very little throughout the song, but works beautifully. This is what a ghostly visitation sounds like.

Concrete Blonde: The Ghost of a Texas Ladies Man


Skip ahead a few hundred years, and things change. Concrete Blonde presents a ghostly visitation as an assignation. There are no lover’s vows here. Lust is closer to the mark. But again, the music perfectly captures the mood.

Justin Townes Earle: The Ghost of Virginia


Finally, here is a ghostly visitor who is not even human. The Ghost of Virginia is a train. Justin Townes Earle is Steve’s son, but at this rate, we will soon be saying that Steve is Justin’s father.

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