In 2015, Bob Dylan acknowledged, "I discovered lyrics and the way to put in writing them from hearing folks songs. and that i performed them, and that i met people that performed them, again whilst no one used to be doing it. Sang not anything yet those people songs, they usually gave me the code for every little thing that is reasonable video game, that every little thing belongs to everyone." In Hear My Sad Story, Richard Polenberg describes the historic occasions that resulted in the writing of many recognized American folks songs that served as touchstones for generations of yankee musicians, lyricists, and folklorists.
Those occasions, which came about from the early 19th to the mid-twentieth centuries, usually concerned tragic occurrences: murders, occasionally as a result of amorous affairs long gone improper; determined acts borne out of poverty and insufferable operating stipulations; and calamities akin to railroad crashes, shipwrecks, and typical failures. All of Polenberg's account of the songs within the e-book are grounded in ancient truth and remove darkness from the social heritage of the days. examining those stories of sorrow, misfortune, and remorse places us in contact with the darkish yet extraordinarily wide-spread part of yankee history.
On Christmas 1895 in St. Louis, an African American guy named Lee Shelton, whose nickname was once "Stack Lee," shot and killed William Lyons in a dispute over seventy-five cents and a hat. Shelton was once despatched to criminal until eventually 1911, dedicated one other homicide upon his free up, and died in a jail health facility in 1912. Even in the course of his lifetime, songs have been being written approximately Shelton, and finally 450 types of his tale will be recorded. because the song—you may perhaps recognize Shelton as Stagolee or Stagger Lee—was shared and tailored, the feelings of the time have been preserved, however the incontrovertible fact that the songs defined genuine humans, actual lives, frequently fell through the wayside. Polenberg returns us to the lads and ladies who, in tune, turned legends. The lyrics function useful old assets, offering vital information regarding what had occurred, why, and what all of it intended. extra very important, they mirror the nature of yank existence and the pathos elicited by means of the musical reminiscence of those universal and afflicted lives.