Mudcat Café message #56021 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #8767   Message #56021
Posted By: Sandy Paton
27-Jan-99 - 10:15 PM
Thread Name: 'Orrible Murder!
Subject: RE: 'Orribble Murder!!
I collected a version of "Matthy Groves" from Joseph Able Trivett in Butler, Tennessee, back in 1961. Abe was 82 years old and had worked his mountain farm and done local logging all of his life. In his version, after the Lord has successfully disposed of the interloper, he does NOT "cut off her head with his glittering sword and kick it against the wall," as is so often the case, and which so often draws giggles from an uninitiated audience. Instead, Abe sang:

He took his wife by the lily-white hand,
He led her through the hall.
He snapped his pistol to her breast;
She fell by a fatal ball, ball,
She fell by a fatal ball.

By the way, there is some discussion earlier in this thread about "Lady Isabel and the Elfin Knight." I don't have my books up here, but I think that's Child #4 (corrections will be welcome), and, while our fair lady may not be guilty of murder in that she is merely protecting herself by tossing the threatening villain into the sea (self-defense plea), the ballad certainly qualifies as a murder ballad, since he declares that he has drowned "six pretty maidens" before this chapter of the tale begins. Well, don't murders such as these often occur off-stage in our dramatic literature?