Chilling country ballads by prisoners surface on The Hangman’s Blues compilation

Chilling country ballads by prisoners surface on The Hangman’s Blues compilation

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A disturbing collection of jailbirds, cutthroats, cuckolds, murderers and escapees.

Following the brilliant Hillbillies In Hell series, Iron Mountain Analogue Research has announced a new compilation of prison ballads recorded between 1956 and 1972. Titled The Hangman’s Blues, the sixteen tracks in this collection were originally issued on 45s, mostly on obscure or private-press labels, and are re-released here for the first time.

Many of these tracks can be traced to the controversial case of Caryl Chessman, who, in 1960, became the first modern American executed for a non-lethal kidnapping. As the press release notes, these “declarations of innocence, profound diatribes of capital punishment and mournful mournful odes to that Last Mile” are an important, oft forgotten footnote in the story of country music.

A limited release, arriving in a deluxe gatefold LP with exclusive scholarly liner notes by Alvin Lucia, head over to Light in the Attic to pre-order your copy (due 5 August) and to hear snippets of all the tracks. Find the tracklist below.

Tracklist
01. Freddie Hart – The Wall
02. Jim Carter – Jailer Jailer
03. Lonesome Johnny – Death Row
04. Jaycee Hill – Crash Out
05. Bill Carter with The Cooper Brothers – Jailer Man
06. Dee Mullins – Prison Grey
07. Country Johnny Mathis – Caryl Chessman
08. Ronnie Hawkins – The Ballad Of Caryl Chessman
09. Marty Robbins – The Chair
10. Stonewall Jackson – Run
11. Jimmy Minor – Death Row
12. Al Dean – Hangman
13. Bobby Sykes – The Guard On The North Wall
14. Hoyle Miller – Twelve Years On Death Row
15. Jimmy Van – The Ballad Of Caryl Chessman
16. Porter Wagoner – (I Heard That) Lonesome Whistle