Music to Die For: Death Discs 1914-1960

Music to Die For: Death Discs 1914-1960

     
 

So called "death discs," commercial recordings dealing with fatal car and train wrecks, shootings, hangings, doomed and drowning lovers, and myriad other tragedies, have been around since the advent of recording (and long before that -- there are countless ancient ghost-filled old ballads floating around in the Appalachians and elsewhere), and whether they're maudlin,… See more details below

Overview

So called "death discs," commercial recordings dealing with fatal car and train wrecks, shootings, hangings, doomed and drowning lovers, and myriad other tragedies, have been around since the advent of recording (and long before that -- there are countless ancient ghost-filled old ballads floating around in the Appalachians and elsewhere), and whether they're maudlin, nostalgic, macabre, tragic, romantic (think Romeo and Juliet), or just plain silly, they serve as cautionary tales of a sort, and we remain fascinated by them. This two-disc set collects 52 of these death discs, going as far back as 1914 and running through 1960, and it's a surprisingly varied playlist, given the gloomy nature of the subject matter, with classic sides from Vernon Dalhart ("Wreck of the Old '97" from 1924), Louis Armstrong (a majestic "St. James Infirmary" from 1928), Lena Horne ("Frankie and Johnny" from 1946), Red Foley ("Old Shep "-- yep, all good dogs go to Heaven -- from 1949), Donald Woods & the Vel-Aires ("Death of an Angel" from 1955), the Four Freshmen ("Their Hearts Were Full of Spring," also from 1955), Gene Vincent ("Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" from 1960), and many others. No, it's not a particularly cheerful set, but in a way it is -- one can't help but think "well, I'm still here" while listening to it, and it's all pretty fascinating in a graveyard humor kind of way.

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Product Details

Release Date:
04/05/2011
Label:
Chrome Dreams
UPC:
0823564618326
catalogNumber:
5058
Rank:
128460

Tracks

Disc 1

  1. Excelsior!  - Ernest Pike
  2. Don't Go Down the Mine Dad  - Frank Miller
  3. Wreck of the Old '97  - Vernon Dalhart
  4. St. James Infirmary  - Louis Armstrong
  5. Tallahatchie River Blues  - Mattie Delaney
  6. Miss Otis Regrets  - Ethel Waters
  7. Wreck on the Highway (I Didn't Hear Nobody Pray)  - Dorsey Dixon
  8. Ol' Man Mose  - Patricia Norman
  9. We Mourn the Loss of Sir Murchison Fletcher  -  Executor
  10. Gloomy Sunday  -  Pauline Byrne
  11. Black Girl
  12. Goin' Down Slow  - St. Louis Jimmy Oden
  13. Frankie and Johnny  - Lena Horne
  14. The Death of Little Kathy Fiscus  -  Jimmie Osborne
  15. Riders in the Sky  - Vaughn Monroe
  16. Old Shep  - Red Foley
  17. I Hold Your Hand in Mine  - Tom Lehrer
  18. Sinner's Dream  - Eugene Fox
  19. The Drunken Driver  - Ferlin Husky
  20. Their Hearts Were Full of Spring  -  Four Freshmen
  21. Death of an Angel  -  Donald Woods & the Vel-Aires
  22. Black Denim Trousers and Motorcycle Boots  -  Cheers
  23. Sweeney Todd the Barber  - Stanley Holloway
  24. Message from James Dean  - Bill Hayes
  25. Down Bound Train  -  Ken Colyer's Skiffle Group

Disc 2

  1. Knoxville Girl  -  Louvin Brothers
  2. Wild Dogs of Kentucky  - Nervous Norvus
  3. Chicken  -  Cheers
  4. Ballad of Thunder Road  - Robert Mitchum
  5. The Grave  - Tony Casanova
  6. The Tragedy of School Bus 27  - Ralph Bowman
  7. No School Bus in Heaven  -  Stanley Brothers
  8. Down in the Willow Garden  -  Everly Brothers
  9. Endless Sleep  - Jody Reynolds
  10. Music to Be Murdered By  - Alfred Hitchcock
  11. Stagger Lee  - Lloyd Price
  12. Don't Take Your Guns to Town  - Johnny Cash
  13. Take a Message to Mary  -  Everly Brothers
  14. Three Stars  - Ruby Wright
  15. Who Shot Sam?  - George Jones
  16. La Mort  - Jacques Brel
  17. Two Hour Honeymoon  - Paul Hampton
  18. Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain  - Gene Vincent
  19. Teen Angel  - Mark Dinning
  20. Sail Ho!  - Robert Horton
  21. Grandpa's Grave  - Peter Sellers
  22. Running Bear  - Johnny Preston
  23. Tell Laura I Love Her  - Ray Peterson
  24. Tell Tommy I Miss Him  - Marilyn Michaels
  25. Car Crash  -  Cadets
  26. The Water Was Red  - Johnny Cymbal
  27. Wreck of the Old '97  -  Creed Taylor Orchestra

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Album Credits

Technical Credits

Tom Lehrer   Composer
Johnny Cash   Composer
Red Foley   Composer
George Jones   Composer
Lloyd Price   Composer
George Adams   Composer
Ken Colyer   Composer
Jacques Brel   Composer
Bobby Troup   Composer
Jeff Alexander   Composer
Ray Jackson   Composer
Jerry Leiber   Composer
Johnny Cymbal   Composer
Stan Jones   Composer
Robert Mitchum   Composer
Charlie Monroe   Composer
Vernon Dalhart   Composer
Louis Armstrong   Composer
Jeff Barry   Composer
Felice Bryant   Composer
Boudleaux Bryant   Composer
Tommy Dee   Composer
Huddie Ledbetter   Composer
Ira Louvin   Composer
Charlie Louvin   Composer
Cole Porter   Composer
Ben Raleigh   Composer
Don Raye   Composer
Jody Reynolds   Composer
Fred Rose   Composer
Mike Stoller   Composer
Creed Taylor   Composer
Alan Clayson   Liner Notes
Henry Whitter   Composer
Wally Whyton   Composer
Joe Josea   Composer
Darrell Edwards   Composer
Harold Logan   Composer
Rezsö Seress   Composer
Jack Rollins   Composer
Harry Stride   Composer
Jean Surrey   Composer
Red Surrey   Composer
Buddy Dee   Composer
Mattie Delaney   Composer
Tony Casanova   Composer
Eddie V. Deane   Composer
Traditional   Composer
Joe Primrose   Composer
Dolores Nance   Composer
Ernest Pike   Composer
Jimmie Osborne   Composer
Jack Adkins   Composer
Donald Webb Woods   Composer
Sam Lewis   Composer
James B. Oden   Composer
Dorsey Dixon   Composer
Robert Donelly   Composer
John Friskillo   Composer
Jimmy Drake   Composer
Doris Marie Woods   Composer
Colin Tebbets   Composer
Will Geddes   Composer

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