Folk Songs and Stories of Hallowe'en

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KBOO
Air date: 
Fri, 10/30/2020 - 5:30am to 7:00am
Lark on branch image, silhouetted against a harvest moon
Annual Spooky Folk Show

Hallowe'en is a time to confront the reality of our mortality, a reminder from the ancients that there is a spirit world that can intersect with our everyday life. Pre-industrial culture had a well-developed sense of this other world, and taught us about it with songs and rituals that we still honor today, perhaps without even realizing it. Join me this Friday morning for a journey through the spooky, the macabre, and even the humorous, with some songs and stories of Hallowe'en.
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In this hour and a half we'll hear a few recurring themes.  One is encountering the devil; how do you handle an encounter with the devil, as the clever child does in the song "The False Knight Upon the Road?"  Or how do you even recognize the devil, as the unfortunate woman belatedly does in "The House Carpenter?" Is "Reynardine," that handsome fox of a man, really the devil?

True love pops up unexpectedly in Hallowe'en songs, too; there is the maid who sits on her true love's grave for a year before he speaks to her in the song "The Unquiet Grave."  "Tam Lin" seems to be about holding onto your lover as he inexplicably changes form through time.  And "Sweet William's Ghost" is about recognizing when it is time to let go of your love.

There are also songs that warn about the perils of going over to the dark side (or as we might say, taking a short cut).  "Auntie Ketyll" makes a deal to protect her son, but she messes up the magic with tragic consequences.  Similarly, "The Wife of Usher's Well" sends her children off to learn magic, and they come back... changed, and probably not to her liking.

There's more to the program, but I'll leave to draw your own conclusions now!

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Episode Playlist

  • Time
    5:30
    Artist
    Lena Armstrong & Etta Jones
    Song
    The House Carpenter (Child 243)
    Album
    The Traditional Music of Beech Mountain, North Carolina, Vol. 1
    Label
    Folk-Legacy Records
  • Time
    5:33
    Artist
    John Allison
    Song
    Old Mammy Redd
    Album
    Witches and War Whoops
    Label
    Folkways
  • Time
    5:36
    Artist
    Gary Aspey & Vera Aspey
    Song
    Auntie Ketyll
    Album
    From the North
    Label
    Topic
  • Time
    5:40
    Artist
    Hermes Nye
    Song
    Thomas, the Rhymer
    Album
    Early English Ballads from the Percy and Child Collections (Ballads Reliques)
    Label
    Smithsonian Folkways Recordings/Folkways Records
  • Time
    5:43
    Artist
    Anaïs Mitchell & Jefferson Hamer
    Song
    Tam Lin (Child 39)
    Album
    Child Ballads
    Label
    Wilderland Records
  • Time
    5:47
    Artist
    Solas
    Song
    The Unquiet Grave
    Album
    Sunny Spells and Scattered Showers
    Label
    Shanachie
  • Time
    5:50
    Artist
    Martin Carthy
    Song
    The Bloody Gardener
    Album
    Byker Hill
    Label
    Topic
  • Time
    5:54
    Artist
    Hedy West
    Song
    The Wife of Usher's Well
    Album
    Old Times and Hard Times
    Label
    Topic
  • Time
    5:57
    Artist
    Sally Killen
    Song
    Sweet William's Ghost
    Album
    Bright Shining Morning
    Label
    Front Hall Records
  • Time
    6:01
    Artist
    County Down
    Song
    The Rolling of the Stones
    Album
    County Down
    Label
    Fretless
  • Time
    6:04
    Artist
    The Folktellers
    Song
    The Wonderful Wood
    Album
    Label
  • Time
    6:08
    Artist
    Roadside Theater
    Song
    Fat or Lean
    Album
    Mountain Tales
    Label
    June Appal
  • Time
    6:11
    Artist
    Dean Gitter
    Song
    Miss Bailey's Ghost
    Album
    Ghost Ballads
    Label
    Riverside
  • Time
    6:15
    Artist
    Bob Brozman
    Song
    Mysterious Mose
    Album
    Hello Central, Give Me Dr. Jazz!
    Label
    Rounder Records
  • Time
    6:18
    Artist
    The Red Clay Ramblers
    Song
    I Crept into the Crypt
    Album
    Hard Times
    Label
    Flying Fish
  • Time
    6:22
    Artist
    Archie Fisher
    Song
    Witch of the West-Mer-Lands
    Album
    The Man with a Rhyme
    Label
    Folk-Legacy Records
  • Time
    6:25
    Artist
    John Roberts & Tony Barrand
    Song
    Reynardine
    Album
    Dark Ships in the Forest: Ballads of the Supernatural
    Label
    Folk-Legacy Records
  • Time
    6:29
    Artist
    Peggy Seeger
    Song
    The False Knight Upon the Road
    Album
    Blood and Roses, Vol. 1
    Label
    Blackthorne
  • Time
    6:32
    Artist
    Bob Coltman
    Song
    Devil in the Garden
    Album
    Son of Child
    Label
  • Time
    6:36
    Artist
    Bob Franke
    Song
    The Carter, Or, Faerie Pie
    Album
    In This Night
    Label
  • Time
    6:39
    Artist
    Touchstone
    Song
    Susanna Martin
    Album
    The New Land
    Label
    Green Linnet

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