Mudcat Café message #3471063 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #149083   Message #3471063
Posted By: Joe Offer
25-Jan-13 - 12:22 AM
Thread Name: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
Subject: RE: Ned Kelly to Have a Funeral
Yes, nager, I think that Billy the Kid and Jesse James are thought of as heroes in the United States. The U.S. has a long tradition of honoring folk-hero outlaws.

The Digital Tradition Folk Song Database has three songs honoring Jesse James:
But only one for Billy the Kid

Here's an excerpt from Woody Guthrie's "Pretty Boy Floyd," which honors another outlaw: In days of yore, American newspapers would make heroes out of outlaws. That's considered to be in bad taste in these days of Political Correctness, of course....

And Dick Turpin was certainly an outlaw hero in England. For that matter, what about Robin Hood?

Do a Digital Tradition Keyword Search and search for "outlaw." You'll find scads of songs honoring outlaw heroes, including at least four that honor Ned Kelly.

At least in the world of folk music, honoring outlaws as heroes is a time-honored tradition. You'll find very few folk songs honoring law-abiding, virtuous citizens. Songs like that just don't sell.