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Archive for the ‘Regular Features’ Category

Tunes o’ the Day

In 1958, the Kingston Trio’s recording of “Tom Dooley” gave the folk music craze a healthy boost.

The song is a solid, musically-pleasing folk ballad, and the subject (murder, hanging) made it stand out from most popular music of the time. Moreover, the tune is tantalizingly simple and only hints at the events in question.

FYI, Tom Dooley met a young woman, allegedly stabbed her to death, was apprehended because of someone named Grayson, and faced the gallows the next day.

The song may be lean, but the story behind it is detailed, lurid, and sensational.

“Tom Dooley” is based on the saga of a former Confederate soldier who was convicted and hanged for the 1866 murder of Laura Foster in Wilkes County, North Carolina. His name was Thomas C. Dula, pronounced “Dooley” in the local dialect.

The tale involved Tom, three women, much hanky-panky, and the fact that all four were being treated for syphilis. Some say the real murderer was one of the women, and Tom went to the gallows out of love for her. Grayson? He was a Tennessean who helped the posse catch Tom.

Not long after Dula’s execution, Thomas Land wrote a poem, “The Murder of Laura Foster,” that seems to be the source of the song. The origin of the music is unknown. You can Google “Tom Dula” for more.

The Kingston Trio version earned accolades aplenty — number one rated, chosen one of the Songs of the Century, and so on. I also like the funkier Steve Earle version from 2002, which added some additional details about the murder from Tom.

Here are both versions.

Kingston Trio

Tom Dooley

By the Kingston Trio, 1958
Based on a poem by Thomas Land

Throughout history, there have been many songs written about the eternal triangle. The next one tells the story of a Mr. Grayson, a beautiful woman, and a condemned man named Tom Dooley. When the sun rises tomorrow, Tom Dooley must hang…

Hang down your head, Tom Dooley,
Hang down your head and cry.
Hang down your head, Tom Dooley,
Poor boy, you’re bound to die.

I met her on the mountain. There I took her life.
Met her on the mountain. Stabbed her with my knife.

Hang down your head, Tom Dooley.
Hang down your head and cry.
Hang down your head, Tom Dooley.
Poor boy, you’re bound to die.

This time tomorrow, reckon where I’ll be.
Hadn’t o’ been for Grayson, I’d o’ been in Tennessee.

Hang down your head, Tom Dooley.
Hang down your head and cry.
Hang down your head, Tom Dooley.
Poor boy, you’re bound to die.

Hang down your head, Tom Dooley.
Hang down your head and cry.
Hang down your head, Tom Dooley.
Poor boy, you’re bound to die.

This time tomorrow, reckon where I’ll be.
Down in some lonesome valley, hangin’ from a white oak tree.

Hang down your head, Tom Dooley.
Hang down your head and cry.
Hang down your head, Tom Dooley.
Poor boy, you’re bound to die.

Hang down your head, Tom Dooley.
Hang down your head and cry.
Hang down your head, Tom Dooley.
Poor boy, you’re bound to die.
Poor boy, you’re bound to die.
Poor boy, you’re bound to die.
Poor boy, you’re bound to — die.

Earle Steve

Tom Dooley

By Steve Earle, 2002
Traditional lyrics embellished by Earle

Hang down your head, Tom Dooley.
Hang down your head and cry.
Hang down your head, Tom Dooley.
Poor boy, you’re bound to die.

I met her on the mountain.
I said she’d be my wife.
I met her on the mountain.
Stabbed her with my knife.

Hang down your head, Tom Dooley.
Hang down your head and cry.
Hang down your head, Tom Dooley.
Poor boy, you’re bound to die.

I drug her to the river,
As God Almighty knows.
The man beside the water
Hid her shoes and clothes.

I dug her grave four foot long.
I dug it three foot deep.
I threw the cold clay on her,
Tramped it with my feet.

Hang down your head, Tom Dooley.
Hang down your head and cry.
Hang down your head, Tom Dooley.
Poor boy, you’re bound — poor boy you’re bound to die.

By this time tomorrow,
Reckon where I’ll be:
Down there in that hollow
Hangin’ from a tree.

Hang down your head, Tom Dooley.
Hang down your head and cry.
Hang down your head, Tom Dooley.
Poor boy, you’re bound to die.

Hang down your head, Tom Dooley.
Hang down your head and cry.
Hang down your head, Tom Dooley.
Poor boy, you’re bound to die.

Hang down your head, Tom Dooley.
Hang down your head and cry.
Hang down your head, Tom Dooley.
Poor boy, you’re bound to die.

Hang down your head, Tom Dooley.
Hang down your head and cry.
Hang down your head, Tom Dooley.
Poor boy, you’re bound — poor boy, you’re bound to die.

Yeah, that sounds like a phonograph record to me. That one right there.

 

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A man’s life is interesting primarily when he has failed, I well know. It is a sign that he tried to surpass himself.

Georges Clemenceau

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Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless. Knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.

— Samuel Johnson

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Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.

— Seneca the Younger

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Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Clemenceau

Clemenceau

Emerson RW

Emerson

 

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This Just In

BEIJING, CHINA — The 2018 Disney movie “Christopher Robin” has been banned in China, reportedly because President Xi Jinping is sensitive about his resemblance to Winnie the Pooh.

The ban follows a series of recent restrictions that block most references to Winnie the Pooh on Chinese social media. China’s internet filtering and censorship system is one of the most restrictive in the world.

Because Xi is sensitive about his perceived resemblance to Pooh, dissidents and critics bring it up at every opportunity. Winnie the Pooh coffee mugs have become popular, and side-by-side photos of Xi and Pooh appear regularly.

xi-pooh

BELLEVILLE, ILLINOIS — A team of firefighters rescued a Belleville man last month who became stuck in quicksand while pursuing his pet parrot.

The rescue took place at a city park after visitors reported the man calling for help.

A lake at the park was being dredged, and the mud became liquefied, forming the quicksand. Firefighters extended ladders across the mud and hauled the man to safety.

Ironically, the parrot returned and perched on the man’s shoulder during the rescue.

No injuries were reported to man, bird, or firefighters.

parrot rescue

KRATIÉ, CAMBODIA — Khim Hang, a 74-year-old widow, shares her home with a five-month-old calf she believes is a reincarnation of her husband Tol Khut, who died a year ago.

“I believe that the calf is my husband because whatever he does … is in exactly the same way as my husband did when he was alive,” she said.

The calf enters the woman’s home freely, where it is fed, washed, and put to bed on a pillow once used by Tol Khut.

The calf was born in March and has become a Cambodian social media sensation with a strong following on Facebook. As many as 100 people a day visit Khim Hang’s house to see the calf.

reincarnation

 

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anti-theft

Print

tacos

redundancy

 

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The Questions…

1. In 1892, English writer Rudyard Kipling married an American woman and settled in Vermont, where he introduced a new sport to America. What was it?

2. What is the unusual connection between Napoleon Bonaparte, who died in 1821, and the FBI, which was formed a century later?

3. What is a flexitarian?

4. What, exactly, is a Mexican jumping bean?

5. In 1910, Nathaniel Baldwin got tired of not being able to hear the sermons inside Salt Lake City’s Mormon Tabernacle, a cavernous place that seats 7,000. What did Baldwin do about it?

The Answers…

1. Snow golf, which was a popular winter pastime in Europe. Kipling, an avid golfer, reportedly came up with the idea of using red golf balls and red cups for better visibility in the snow.

2. Charles Bonaparte, Napoleon’s great-nephew, served as Attorney General under President Theodore Roosevelt. In 1909, Charles formed a unit of special agents within the Justice Department that evolved into the FBI.

3. A flexitarian is a “flexible vegetarian” who isn’t above eating meat on occasion.

4. A seed pod from a mountain shrub that is inhabited by a moth larva. When the bean is warmed (e.g., in the hand), the larva spasms, trying to avoid the heat, and the bean jumps. If the bean has a hole in it, the larva has gone forth into the world.

5. Baldwin, an electrical engineer, invented headphones. His device consisted of a compressed-air amplifier, two receivers (the earpieces), and a connecting headband.

snow golf

baldwin headphones

 

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Tune o’ the Day

In the early 1960s, Ed Cobb of the pop group The Four Preps wrote “Tainted Love,” a song about, what else, love gone bad.

In 1965, a high-energy version of the song was recorded by soul singer Gloria Jones as the B-side of her latest single. Both sides bombed. Ms. Jones recorded “Tainted Love” again in 1974, and it bombed again.

Then in 1981, the English duo Soft Cell released a slower, synth-pop version of “Tainted Love.” For reasons every musician salivates to understand, it hit a sweet spot with the public. Even today, turn on an 80s Alternative music station, and you’ll hear “Tainted Love” within the hour.

Soft Cell has remained active over the years, apparently making a living on tour. But nothing they wrote attained the success of “Tainted Love.” Which they greatly improved upon, but didn’t write.

soft cell

Vocalist Mark Almond (left) and instrumentalist David Ball.

Tainted Love

By Soft Cell, 1981
Written by Ed Cobb

Sometimes, I feel I’ve got to
Run away. I’ve got to
Get away
From the pain you drive into the heart of me.

The love we share
Seems to go nowhere,
And I’ve lost my light,
For I toss and turn, I can’t sleep at night.

Once, I ran to you (I ran).
Now I’ll run from you.
This tainted love you’ve given,
I give you all a boy could give you.
Take my tears, and that’s not nearly all.

Tainted love (oh).
Tainted love (oh).

Now I know I’ve got to
Run away. I’ve got to
Get away.
You don’t really want any more from me.

To make things right,
You need someone to hold you tight.
And you think love is to pray.
But I’m sorry, I don’t pray that way.

Once, I ran to you (I ran).
Now I’ll run from you.
This tainted love you’ve given.
I give you all a boy could give you.
Take my tears, and that’s not nearly all.

Tainted love (oh).
Tainted love (oh).


Don’t touch me, please.
I cannot stand the way you tease.
I love you, though you hurt me so.
Now I’m gonna pack my things and go.

Tainted love (oh).
Tainted love (oh).
Tainted love (oh).
Tainted love (oh).

Touch me, baby, tainted love.
Touch me, baby, tainted love.
Tainted love (oh).
Tainted love (oh).

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He, who will not reason, is a bigot; he, who cannot, is a fool; and he, who dares not, is a slave.

— Sir William Drummond

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Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.

Blaise Pascal

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They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.

— Carl W. Buehner

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Patriotism is being proud of a country’s virtues and eager to correct its deficiencies; it also acknowledges the legitimate patriotism of other countries, with their own specific virtues. The pride of nationalism, however, trumpets its country’s virtues and denies its deficiencies, while it is contemptuous toward the virtues of other countries. It wants to be, and proclaims itself to be, “the greatest,” but greatness is not required of a country; only goodness is.

— Sydney J. Harris

Drummond W

Drummond

Harris SJ

Harris

 

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