Music to Die For: Death Discs 1914-1960

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Leggett
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, ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Leggett
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: 4/5/2011
  • Label: Chrome Dreams
  • UPC: 823564618326
  • Catalog Number: 5058
  • Sales rank: 170,999

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Excelsior! - Ernest Pike
  2. 2 Don't Go Down the Mine Dad - Frank Miller
  3. 3 Wreck of the Old '97 - Vernon Dalhart
  4. 4 St. James Infirmary - Louis Armstrong
  5. 5 Tallahatchie River Blues - Mattie Delaney
  6. 6 Miss Otis Regrets - Ethel Waters
  7. 7 Wreck on the Highway (I Didn't Hear Nobody Pray) - Dorsey Dixon
  8. 8 Ol' Man Mose - Patricia Norman
  9. 9 We Mourn the Loss of Sir Murchison Fletcher - Lord Executor
  10. 10 Gloomy Sunday - Pauline Byrne
  11. 11 Black Girl
  12. 12 Goin' Down Slow - St. Louis Jimmy Oden
  13. 13 Frankie and Johnny - Lena Horne
  14. 14 The Death of Little Kathy Fiscus - Jimmie Osborne
  15. 15 Riders in the Sky - Vaughn Monroe
  16. 16 Old Shep - Red Foley
  17. 17 I Hold Your Hand in Mine - Tom Lehrer
  18. 18 Sinner's Dream - Eugene Fox
  19. 19 The Drunken Driver - Ferlin Husky
  20. 20 Their Hearts Were Full of Spring - The Four Freshmen
  21. 21 Death of an Angel - Donald Woods & the Vel-Aires
  22. 22 Black Denim Trousers and Motorcycle Boots - The Cheers
  23. 23 Sweeney Todd the Barber - Stanley Holloway
  24. 24 Message from James Dean - Bill Hayes
  25. 25 Down Bound Train - Ken Colyer's Skiffle Group
Disc 2
  1. 1 Knoxville Girl - The Louvin Brothers (3:49)
  2. 2 Wild Dogs of Kentucky - Nervous Norvus (2:33)
  3. 3 Chicken - The Cheers (1:57)
  4. 4 Ballad of Thunder Road - Robert Mitchum (2:31)
  5. 5 The Grave - Tony Casanova (2:32)
  6. 6 The Tragedy of School Bus 27 - Ralph Bowman (2:39)
  7. 7 No School Bus in Heaven - The Stanley Brothers (2:42)
  8. 8 Down in the Willow Garden - The Everly Brothers (3:04)
  9. 9 Endless Sleep - Jody Reynolds (2:23)
  10. 10 Music to Be Murdered By - Alfred Hitchcock (4:55)
  11. 11 Stagger Lee - Lloyd Price (2:24)
  12. 12 Don't Take Your Guns to Town - Johnny Cash (2:59)
  13. 13 Take a Message to Mary - The Everly Brothers (2:27)
  14. 14 Three Stars - Ruby Wright (2:59)
  15. 15 Who Shot Sam? - George Jones (2:24)
  16. 16 La Mort - Jacques Brel (2:52)
  17. 17 Two Hour Honeymoon - Paul Hampton (3:14)
  18. 18 Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain - Gene Vincent (2:15)
  19. 19 Teen Angel - Mark Dinning (2:40)
  20. 20 Sail Ho! - Robert Horton (5:01)
  21. 21 Grandpa's Grave - Peter Sellers (3:21)
  22. 22 Running Bear - Johnny Preston (2:36)
  23. 23 Tell Laura I Love Her - Ray Peterson (2:55)
  24. 24 Tell Tommy I Miss Him - Marilyn Michaels (2:44)
  25. 25 Car Crash - The Cadets (2:31)
  26. 26 The Water Was Red - Johnny Cymbal (2:53)
  27. 27 Wreck of the Old '97 - The Creed Taylor Orchestra (1:38)
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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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