A Night Of Balladry

10 p.m. to Midnight Host: Steve Winters

This was a show within a show that focused completely on ballads, those narrative songs that so capture our ears and rivet our attention.

The “show within a show” was a nicely pre-packaged 59-minute show produced by Joyride Media that stems from recent publication of “The Rose & The Briar/Death, Love and Liberty in the American Ballad” edited by Princeton Prof. Sean Wilentz and writer Greil Marcus (W.W. Norton & Co.). It links with the Columbia/Legacy CD of the same name which features ballads from the book. Throughout the hour, writers, artists, songwriters and historians, including Wilentz and Marcus, offer their thoughts and theories on American balladry and why these songs have stood the test of time.

On each side of the hour, I programmed a few of my favorite American ballads.

  • Artist, "Title", Album, Label

  • Tom Rush, “Barb’ry Allen”, The Prestige/Folklore Years: Volume 1, Prestige/Folklore


  • Greenbriar Boys, “Stewball”, Troubadours Of The Folk Era: Volume 3, Rhino

  • Hedy West, “500 Miles”, Troubadours Of The Folk Era: Volume 2, Rhino

  • Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard, “Long Black Veil”, Pioneering Women Of Bluegrass, Smithsonian/Folkways

  • Tim Hardin, “Reason To Believe”, Tim Hardin 1, Verve/Folkways


    “Stories Of The American Ballad” Radio Special

    Among the musical selections during the hour were:

    Handsome Family, “Blackwatertown”
    Jean Ritchie, “Barbary Allen”
    Vincente Fernandez, “Voler, Voler”
    Dolly Parton, “Down From Dover”
    G.B. Grayson, “Ommie Wise”
    Marty Robbins, “El Paso”
    Coon Creek Girls, “Pretty Polly”
    Mississippi John Hurt, “Frankie”
    Koerner, Ray & Glover, “Delia’s Gone”
    Duke Ellington Orch & Mahalia Jackson, “Black, Brown And Beige/Part IV”


  • Jack Hardy, “The 111th Pennsylvane”, Civil Wars, Great Divide

  • Townes Van Zandt, “Pancho & Lefty”, The Late Great Townes Van Zandt, Poppy/United Artists

  • Tom Russell, “Gallo del Cielo”, Song Of The West, HMG/Hightone

  • Arlo Guthrie, “Hobo’s Lullabye”, Troubadours Of Folk, Volume 4, Rhino