Coventry Carol: A Bit of History

One of the things ultimately killed off in the English Reformation were the regional “mystery plays”: local pageant cycles in which the common folk performed dramatized Biblical stories. (The York cycle is the most famous.) Many of the surviving texts derive from the flowering of Middle English in the wake of Chaucer and Langland, and are of [Read More...]

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Five Catholic Things to Listen to on Spotify

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Spotify has a pretty deep archive, but its poor tagging and search features make it difficult to burrow into the more obscure corners and find the weird stuff hidden below pop songs and other junk. Here are five things that may be of interest to Catholics. Pope John Paul II: Mass in English is not a [Read More...]

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“The Man Comes Around” [Dark Country: Songs For October]

Series introduction and other entries. Johnny Cash: “The Man Comes Around” Really, only one guy could have the final slot in this series: the man who made dark country his motif by dressing all in black. I wanted to end on a note of  hope, and Johnny’s song about the Last Judgement is the perfect way to go. [Read More...]

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“Caleb Meyer” [Dark Country: Songs For October]

Series introduction and other entries. Gillian Welch: “Caleb Meyer” I’d forgotten all about Gillian Welch’s song about the ghost of a murdered rapist until a reader reminded me of it on Twitter. She’s got a great voice for this kind of song. [Read more...]

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“The Snakes Crawl At Night” [Dark Country: Songs For October]

Series introduction and other entries. Charlie Pride: “The Snakes Crawl At Night” More murder, but this time with an oddly cheerful chorus in this tale of a man being tempted to murder by Satan .   [Read more...]

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“Leavin’ in the Morning” [Dark Country: Songs For October]

Series introduction and other entries. Drag the River: “Leavin’ in the Morning” This was a new band for me, recommended by a reader on Twitter. The punch is in the final line. [Read more...]

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“The Little Girl and the Dreadful Snake” [Dark Country: Songs For October]

Series introduction and other entries. Bill Monroe: “The Little Girl and the Dreadful Snake” Mr Bill was asked once about the allegorical elements of this song, which appears to be about parents sending children off into the world to be tempted by the devil and lured to damnation by sin. His answer (and I’m paraphrasing from memory) [Read More...]

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“Twenty Good Men” [Dark Country: Songs For October]

Series introduction and other entries. New Riders of the Purple Sage: “Twenty Good Men” My favorite NRPS song. I wore out Marin County Line replaying this one when I was about ten. Pirates, murder, and revenge: what’s not to love?   [Read more...]

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