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A Country Gothic Playlist
Posted by C.M. Wilcox on 10/06/08 • Categorized as Playlists

Silver daggers. Unrequited love. Senseless murder. Graveyards. Encounters with Death. Crazy women wandering the hills. People frozen in various stages of grief.

Gothic elements have long been an important part of bluegrass music, but they also show up from time to time in the country mainstream. With Halloween fast approaching, here’s a playlist of spooky country to put you on edge.

I’m only including one song per artist (some performers have lots more) and one artist per song (some songs are oft-recorded bluegrass standards), so there should be lots of room for you to jump in with your own suggestions. Additions from the alt-country scene, about which my knowledge is quite spotty, would also be most welcome.

* Angel of Death - Hank Williams
* Banks of the Ohio - Red Smiley
* Barbara Allen - Bradley Kincaid
* Cold Dark Waters - Porter Wagoner
* Delia’s Gone - Johnny Cash
* Delta Dawn - Tanya Tucker
* He Stopped Loving Her Today - George Jones
* Jeannie’s Afraid of the Dark - Robbie Fulks
* Katie Dear - The Seldom Scene
* Knoxville Girl - The Louvin Brothers
* Little Glass of Wine - Paul Burch (with Ralph Stanley)
* Long Black Veil - Lefty Frizzell
* Mountain Angel - Dolly Parton
* O Death - Ralph Stanley
* Open Pit Mine - Nashville Bluegrass Band
* Pretty Polly - The Stanley Brothers
* Sorrowful Angels - Patty Loveless
* The Thunder Rolls - Garth Brooks
* Whiskey Lullaby - Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss
* Would You Lay With Me (In a Field of Stone) - David Allan Coe

There are more examples in the comments.


( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 4th, 2009 06:48 pm (UTC)
Now that you mention it, almost the entire "O Brother Where Art Thou?" soundtrack could be included in this list.
Aug. 4th, 2009 07:17 pm (UTC)
"Gentle Annie" written by Stephen Foster, recorded by Asa Martin & many others.
Aug. 4th, 2009 08:02 pm (UTC)
No Patsy Cline? PISH POSH.

Patsy Cline - Crazy
Cowboy Junkies - Misguided Angel
Elvis - Always on My Mind
Lefty Frizzell - Long Black Viel

Also, I think the father of Psycobilly weirdness deserves an honerable mention, being that its Hill-Billy punk-rock : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-ukX1DqfIA
Aug. 4th, 2009 10:34 pm (UTC)
Well, I got a little annoyed because they left out Jim White's "Still Waters".

I have a recording of Long Black Veil by the Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash that sounds like it was scraped off the bottom of a coffeepot in the records office of the county courthouse.
Aug. 4th, 2009 11:14 pm (UTC)

That sounds so beautiful!
Aug. 5th, 2009 12:11 am (UTC)
I think so, too. Here 'tis.
Aug. 5th, 2009 03:22 am (UTC)
Tyvm! Its really gorgeous! <3
Aug. 5th, 2009 08:02 am (UTC)
You're very welcome. That's one of the nicest tracks in our whole collection.
Aug. 4th, 2009 11:00 pm (UTC)
There are some gems on the Murder Ballads album by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds. Very country in feel & deliciously dark.
Aug. 4th, 2009 11:16 pm (UTC)
I might be picking, but I feel like the Murder Ballads have a more Western feel.

We should make a list of westerny feeling stuff too. Rural can be Western too!


Echo and the Bunnymen - Killing Moon
Aug. 4th, 2009 11:24 pm (UTC)
Have to admit, I don't know the difference.
Aug. 5th, 2009 12:13 am (UTC)
Rural can be anywhere. Regional is things like Western, Southeastern, Southern, or Midwestern like me.
Aug. 5th, 2009 01:22 am (UTC)
I mean between country & western.
Aug. 5th, 2009 03:14 am (UTC)
In modern days there isn't a GREAT deal of difference between the two. However, Western was a style developed in the South West, a Cowboy and a Guitar, and as it grew having a sort of almost upbeat swing-style to it. Country was more of a white-blues style that has southern roots in Gospel. In my opinion. ^_^
Aug. 5th, 2009 03:15 am (UTC)
Thanks for that; very interesting.
Aug. 5th, 2009 03:11 am (UTC)
Sin City, by the Flying Burrito Brothers
Aug. 5th, 2009 11:15 am (UTC)
Plenty of british folk songs have that Gothic feel, after all the (British) Romantic and Gothic literary movement were very much inspired by folk tales and music.
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )