Friday Five: Ghosts (Part Two)

Juli Thanki | October 25th, 2013

Ken Morton delivered the first installment of ghostly country songs last week. Today, we add a few more to the list.

5. David Ball – “Riding with Private Malone”

Who needs airbags when your classic Corvette comes with a ghost who’ll save your life after a wreck?

 

4. Chelle Rose – “Browder Holler Boy”

This one’s based on a true story. From Ken’s 2012 interview with Rose: It was one night visiting my grandmother and I was having visits from my childhood sweetheart who died tragically when he was only 25 in a canoeing accident. That sounds crazy to some people but it’s my truth. I was frustrated with him. He didn’t do anything to scare me at all, just little silly things. But that night, he picked the bed off the ground and let it drop. It’s a big old antique bed. I think they had to take it all apart to get it upstairs it’s so heavy at Momma’s house. I could never lift this bed. It’s just crazy heavy. But they could feel it in the whole house, they thought we had an earthquake or something. I just picked it up and dropped it and then left. And that prompted me to write that song, “Browder Holler Boy.”

 

3. Alan Jackson – “Midnight in Montgomery” / David Allan Coe – “The Ride” / Kentucky Headhunters – “The Ghost of Hank Williams”

Hank might be busier—and chattier–in death than he was in his too-short life.

 

2. Johnny Cash – “Delia’s Gone”

In both of Cash’s versions of this song, Delia torments her murderer in his jail cell, as the sound of her footsteps keeps him from sleep. Meh, the guy had it coming – didn’t he learn anything from “The Tell-Tale Heart”? (Jokes aside, take a few minutes out of your workday to read this essay by Sean Wilentz for more information on the real Delia, who was only 14 when she was murdered in 1900 – her killer was a year older.)

 

1. The Stanley Brothers – “Keep Them Cold, Icy Fingers Off of Me”

Bill Johnson doesn’t mind ghosts—or doctors–as long as they keep their hands to themselves.

  1. Janice Brooks
    October 25, 2013 at 9:17 am

    James King has a nice cover of Private Malone

  2. Henry
    October 25, 2013 at 9:59 am

    I second Janice’s comment. James King’s version of “Riding with Private Malone” captures the spareness of the song and its looking-over-your-shoulder quality better than Ball’s.

  3. Luckyoldsun
    October 25, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Hey, old “Frosty the Snowman” himself–Burl Ives–did “Delia’s Gone”–and in his version, she turns out to have been a “ho.”

    This is even more disconcerting than hearing it from Cash!.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eXhbFUXkiU

  4. Ken Morton, Jr.
    October 25, 2013 at 10:43 am

    After reading Luckyoldson’s comment above, I had this bizzarely awesome yet totally politically incorrect vision of a claymation 30 minute show of “Delia’s Gone” sung and voiced over by Burl Ives. Juli, should we start a Kickstarter fundraiser?

  5. Barry Mazor
    October 25, 2013 at 10:59 am

    It’s weird but true that to entire generation, that “Frosty the Snowman” Burl Ives is about the only one left, when he’d been a major star as folksinger, country singer and Hollywood actor. Time goes by.

  6. bob
    October 25, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Favorite of the Five: Riding with Private Malone – the Ball rather than the King version.

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