Okay, the moment I read the Miles of Music description of this cd I wanted to like it. I mean, look at it:
Ten grisly tales based on historical deaths. Bob Frank and John Murry, who co-penned the tracks, have weaved together a haunting folk-country collection of murder ballads. The tales are not for the faint. The details are grim. The stories are compelling like a Matthew Brady photograph. Glimpses into the lives of the dead. If a collection of music could be consider a page-turner, this might be it. — Jeff Weiss, Miles of Music
Come on, murder ballads about real murders? Unbeatable subject matter. I was so excited when the cd arrived I had to let it sit for a few days and prepare myself for the possibility that I wouldn’t like it.
So you have these two guys, Bob Frank, a 62 year old fella who once released his now infamous self-titled debut and was promptly dumped by his label for letting his feelings regarding the label president be known at a New York City press conference for the debut. He promptly dropped off the radar…oh, about 30 years. Then you have a 27 year old John Murry, former member of The Dillingers and The Glass, as well as occasional Lucero stage addition. They were brought together by a mutual friend and after playing a few shows together as Los Gueros they decided to pen an album of murder ballads together. Quickly realizing that the traditional murder ballad thing had been done, redone, remixed, and undone many times before them, they took a different route. They decided to start researching stories about real murders and write about them as they happened, sans the morality and rationalization commonly present in such songs.
So, does it all work? In my opinion the guys hit a home run. There is nothing bad for me to say about this cd so it will head to the essential listening list. You should pop over to M.O.M. and pick up a copy for yourself.
Before I drop the samples on you guys I want to leave you with a quote from Dustin Wells since he does such a marvelous job of summing the cd up:
Without shame, World Without End looks unflinchingly into the history of racism. Without moralizing, two of these songs look right into the past and own up to it. One song lets a Klansman speak about lynching. Another song lets the man who was lynched speak. The lesson of each ghost is that this could happen to you. From being on the receiving end of mob violence, to being caught up in the mob that unleashes the violence. The warning is that the grotesque and horrible is never far off, and is, truly, in each of us.