Story Ballads

For this New Sounds, gather round for some story ballads, old and new. Traditional British and American ballads from Fairport Convention, Darol Anger, and Traffic meet their contemporary descendants in songs by The Knitters (members of X), Bill Morrissey, and The Decemberists. Listen to selections ranging from the story of the ill-fated leader of the Peasant’s Revolt to burials at sea, and possibly a version of "Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair. Perhaps even a murder ballad will grace the mix, and more.

PROGRAM # 2537, Story Ballads - Old and New (First aired on Wednesday, April 19, 2006)





Fairport Convention

Liege& Lief

Matty Goves [8:00]

A & M #4257
Available at* Info at

Darol Anger’s Heritage

New Interpretations of American Roots Music

Pretty Polly [8:30]

Six Degrees #7569 ** *

The Knitters

The Modern Sound of the Knitters

Little Margaret [3:00]

Zoe Records #1057 **


John Barleycorn Must Die!

John Barleycorn [6:30]

Island #548541 Available at*

The Decemberists


Eli The Barrow Boy [3:00]

Kill Rock Stars #KRS425 Available at

Various Artists: Bill Morrissey

Legacy: A Collection of New Folk Music

Handsome Molly [3:30]

Windham Hill Records. Out of print. Try instead Bill Morrissey-The Essential Collection on Rounder Records, #11595, available at or*

The House Band

Live, WNYC, 11/1987

My Bonnie Light Horseman [4:00]

Appears on the House Band CD “Word of Mouth,” Green Linnet #3045. Available at*

Robin Williamson

A Job Of Journey Work

Geordie Gordon [3:30]

Pigs Whisker #5010*

Mark Knopfler

Music from the Film Cal

Irish Boy [2:00]

Mercury #822769 available at*

*, ** - Find the recordings you've heard - go to the New Sounds Recordings Information page