Story Songs

2 Mar

I love reading a good book, literature and I love music, so I really love it when they’re put together. This post is just a list of my favorite “story songs”. I guess ballad would be a better term, but oh well.

First this album was my favorite Christmas present this year. Natalie Merchant’s Leave Your Sleep.

Merchant’s first album in 8 years is a beautiful compilation of children’s verse she began working on for her daughter. Some of my favorite include Isabelle by: Ogden Nash, Land of Nod by: Robert Louis Stevenson, Equestrienne by: Rachel Field, and Bleezer’s Ice Cream by: Jack Prelutsky. My hubby knows me so well to get this for me 🙂

Many of the songs on my list come from these lovely musicians:

Tim O’brian

The Decemberists (love those dresses!)

Natalie Merchant

Nanci Griffith (love this album)

Nickel Creek


































Anywho here’s my very long list of great story tellin songs:

  1. I Don’t Believe You’ve Met My Baby – Alison Krauss
  2. Hadestown -Anais Mitchel (this is an album. An opera based on the Orpheus myth)
  3. The Luckiest – Ben Folds
  4. Hurricane – Bob Dylan
  5. Smackwater Jack – Carole King
  6. The Long Black Veil – The Cheiftans w/ Mik Jagger (this is my favorite version)
  7. We Both Go Down Together – The Decemberist
  8. Leislie Anne Levine – The Decemberist
  9. The Mariner’s Revenge Song – The Decemberists
  10. Fair Margaret and Sweet William or Lady Margaret – Cassie Franklin and Tim O’Brian
  11. Give My Love to Rose – Johnny Cash
  12. Streets of Laredo – Johnny Cash
  13. The Ballad of Curtis Loew – Lynyrd Skynyrd (I had a stuffed dog named Curtis Loew)
  14. Beloved Wife – Natalie Merchant
  15. The Letter – Natalie Mercant
  16. The Lighthouse’s Tale – Nickel Creek
  17. House Carpenter/Demon Lover – Nickel Creek/Tim O’brian
  18. Eveline – Nickel Creek (Based on James Joyce’s Poem I believe)
  19. Sampson – Regina Spektor
  20. Fortune Teller – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
  21. Dear John – Ryan Adams
  22. A Mountaineer is Always Free – Tim O’brian
  23. Down in the Willow Garden – Tim O’brian
  24. Lost Little Children – Tim O’brian
  25. The Ribbon in Your Hair – Tim O’brian
  26. Pretty Fair Maid in the Garden – Tim O’brian
  27. Fair Flower’s of the Valley – Tim O’brian
  28. Mick Ryan’s Lament – Tim O’brian
  29. Highwayman – Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, and Kris Kristopherson
  30. Big Bad John – Jimmy Dean
  31. El Paso – Marty Robbins
  32. A Boy Named Sue – Johnny Cash
  33. Dress of Laces – Nanci Griffith
  34. Desperadoes Waiting for a Train – Nanci Griffith
  35. Darcy Farrow – Nanci Griffith

Most of these songs are folk songs and terribly sad. I think that to qualify as a folk song, there has to be some amount of sadness, death, or murder in the lyrics.

Oh and I love this album. I grew up listening to it on our trips to Missouri. 


3 Responses to “Story Songs”

  1. deb meyers March 3, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

    Love this post! I remember making halloween costumes alongside my fair-haired niece to the strains of Natalie Merchant’s Ophelia.

    You’ve always had the most interesting taste for stories and we will enjoy going through some of these new to us : )

    Here are three of mine:

    Ghost in This House sung BEST by Alison Krauss

    Ballad of Belle Starr Michael Martin Murphy

    Mr. Tanner by Harry Chapin

    • claire March 3, 2011 at 8:07 pm #

      I had forgotten all the Michael Martin Murphy songs. And “Bob Fudge” of course, and “La Primera”.

      • deb meyers March 4, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

        oh yes, who could forget bob fudge! i see you have hurricane by dylan, that’s also a fav here b/c of Bill : )

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