‘Murder in the First Degree’ Vintage American Murder Ballads 1925- 1949 – Viper DL146

8th of May 2021  – DOWNLOAD

Murder is as old as time, it’s been the survival of the fittest (or most ruthless) that has forged the nation of the USA, where it is your God given right to carry a firearm. But there’s always been a fascination with the bad guy, be it in the black and white film noir gangster movies or in the songs about outlaws and bar room brawls that result in the ultimate of finalities- death. Racial injustice in the Southern States added to this and no one can really deny that in a nation of gun owners this would reflect in casualties (no less relevant in the present day) The Gas Chamber, noose or ‘old sparky’ (the electric chair) never really did work as a deterrent to crimes of passion committed in the moment. Featured on this album is Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie, The Carter Family and many more amazing artists and balladeers telling the dreadful news in song.


1. Jimpson & Group – The Murderer’s Home 1947
2. Josh White – John Henry 1946
3. Molly O’Day and The Cumberland Mountain Boys – Poor Ellen Smith 1949
4. Mississippi John Hurt – Frankie & Johnny 1928
5. Frank Hutchison – Stackalee 1927
6. Victoria Spivey – Murder in the First Degree 1927
7. Woody Guthrie – Billy the Kid 1944
8. Leadbelly – John Hardy 1943
9. Richard Burnett & Leonard Rut – Willie Moore 1927
10. The Memphis Jug Band – She Stabbed Me with an Ice – Pick 1928
11. The Blue Sky Boys – Story of the Knoxville Girl 1936
12. Edward L. Crain – Bandit Cole the Younger 1933
13. Burl Ives – Darlin’ Cory 1941
14. Ashley & Foster – Frankie Silvers 1933
15. Sippie Wallace – Murder’s Gonna be my Crime 1925
16. Bill Cox – Trail of Richard Bruno Hauptmann Part 1 1935
17. Julius Daniel – 99 Year Blues 1927
18. The Carter Family – Bury Me Under the Weeping Willow 1927
19. Bukka White – Parchman Farm Blues 1940
20. Bessie Smith – Send Me to the ‘Lectric Chair 1927