Music is huge part of my life-that’s no surprise to anyone who reads the Blind Pig on a regular basis. My Spooky October wouldn’t be complete without a post about scary songs. Halloween parties often play songs like Monster Mash, Ghostbusters, and Thriller but I’m talking about songs that are truly spooky.
I divided the haunting songs that came to mind into 3 different groups. I’m sure there are songs I didn’t think of-you can help me out by adding to the groups-or coming up with a new group.
Appalachia is famous world wide for it’s murder ballads. A few of the oldest most horrific ballads originated in the British Isles and were brought here by the first settlers. I’ve wrote about the phenomenon before-how something so horrible could attract listeners year after year-generation after generation-including myself.
Here’s a list of murder ballads-each title is a link to a youtube video-be forewarned the songs are not for the faint at heart. (*Before you watch the video you need to stop the music player-the music controls are along the top of this page on the far left side-just above the Blind Pig logo. Click the center round button to stop the player)
- Down In The Willow Garden by the Everly Brothers
- Knoxville Girl by Pap and Paul
- Tom Dooley by Pap and Paul
- Pretty Polly by David Holt
- Darlin Cory by Mike Seeger
- Katie Dear by The Louvin Brothers
- Poor Ellen Smith by Jimmy Martin
- Banks of the Ohio by Bill Monroe and Doc Watson
- Omie Wise by Doc Watson
- Long Black Veil
Other songs that came to mind-seemed to reach across several genres of music-bluegrass-county-and even rock.
- It’s Just the Night by The Del McCoury Band and The Fairfield Four
- Miller’s Cave by Bobby Bare
- The Wooley Swamp by Charlie Daniels
- Eli Renfro by The Del McCoury Band
- In the Pines by The Louvin Brothers
- Swamp Witch by Jim Stafford
- The Brown Mountain Lights by The Country Gentlemen
- Deep Dark Woods by Pap and Paul
- Ghost Riders In The Sky by Johnny Cash
Growing up in a Southern Baptist atmosphere the Devil and his host of demons are wrapped up in most of my fears. Those fears were supported by more than one religious warning song. You know songs that tell a story of what will happen if you stray from the straight and narrow. To me-these are the scariest eeriest songs. An interesting combination of spirituality and fear being intertwined so tightly you can’t really tell them apart.
- O Death by Ralph Stanley
- Hush by The Nashville Bluegrass Band (Chitter and Chatter think this is the all time scariest song)
- The Crossroads
- Sinner You Better Get Ready by The Louvin Brothers
Hope you enjoyed my list of haunting songs-and Paul’s contribution. So what song do you think is spooky?
Post originally printed on October 28, 2009