Many American ballads have their basis in broadsides, one-sided printings depicting advertisements, poems and, of course, ballads. Murder ballads are no exception, and this song is based on the 1650 broadside William Grismond’s Downfall, or, if you’ve got time for the full title: A Lamentable Murder by him Committed at Lainterdine in the county of Hereford on March 12 1650: Together with his lamentation. 

This one is a tale of unrequited love…and murderous consequence.

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