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2002
| BS 074
$6.95

The Executioner's Last Songs: Volume One

The All-star cast consign songs of murder, mob law, and cruel, cruel punishment to the realm of myth, memory and history. Eighteen songs that are as old as the hills (though some were written last week) about America’s grim fascination with the savage cycle of crime and vengeance.

Full Description

Jon Langford and the gang consign songs of murder, mob law, and cruel, cruel punishment to the realm of myth, memory and history. Eighteen songs that are as old as the hills (though some were written last week) in order to celebrate/mourn America’s grim fascination with the savage cycle of crime and vengeance, and to raise money and awareness for the Illinois Death Penalty Moratorium Project.

This album has songs by the Louvin BrothersHank WilliamsCharley PrideJohnny PaycheckCole PorterMerle HaggardStanley Brothers, Johnny CashBill Monroe, that lost country juggernaut, The Adverts, and more.

Helping the PVC out with the vocals are, as usual, a dazzling array of guest stars. Let’s see who we have here: Steve EarleBrett Sparks of the Handsome Family, the Rockabilly Filly  Rosie FloresDeano from  Dollar Store and the Wacos, Janet Bean of Freakwater, Lonesome BobNeko CaseJohnny DowdEdith FrostDiane IzzoRick Sherry of  Devil in a WoodpileSally TimmsPaul Burch, and more.

We encourage you to revel in the paradox of banishing barbarism while singing its tune. Politics aside, if most benefit/tribute records are a hodge-podge of leftovers, this is a final feast with 18 exquisite courses. A chilling, harrowing, rollicking effort from top to bottom.

These death songs are stories passed down, morphed through shifting moralities—their gallows humor and morbid eye for detail dangling them somewhere between legend and current affairs. Enjoy and make a difference.

Things got so bad in this state, the former Governor declared a blanket amnesty for all death row inmates (no, they didn't get let out—sentences commuted to life without parole AND, as a bonus, they get to rub elbows with two of Illinois' former governors!). If you would like to know about the cause, we’d like to direct you to a couple of good sources:The Illinois Coalition Against the Death Penalty  at  www.icadp.org and  www.deathpenaltyinfo.org. All artists’ proceeds from this record will be donated to the above causes. Thus far, this record had raised over $80,000 for the ICADP. We can't thank you enough.

Short Description
  • Unlike so many of the other ‘tribute’ CDs that clutter the shelves, the newest release from PVC actually matters. Last Songs is a well-crafted and stirring tribute—which is something most in this genre certainly can’t lay claim to.

    — Harp Magazine
  • While the subject matter is grave, the 18 tunes here are far from dirge-like and depressing. Without a weak track in sight, The Executioner’s Last Songs is killer.

    — Austin Chronicle
  • You will be sufficiently caught up in the essential absurdity of violence, any violence, to look at it in a new light. Death Row inmates tend to be romanticized in movies and other forms of pop culture, made to lead a more heightened existence than the rest of us. The Executioner’s Last Songs does its best to put down that tired warhorse while making us kick up our heels to its tunes.

    — Chicago Sun Times
  • Recognizing that art reaches deeper than propaganda, Last Songs directly addresses that debate only once, letting its songs tell their stories on their own.

    — Onion AV Club
  • Unlike so many of the other ‘tribute’ CDs that clutter the shelves, the newest release from PVC actually matters. Last Songs is a well-crafted and stirring tribute—which is something most in this genre certainly can’t lay claim to.

    — Harp
  • While the subject matter is grave, the 18 tunes here are far from dirge-like and depressing. Without a weak track in sight, The Executioner’s Last Songs is killer.

    — Austin Chronicle
  • These songs aren't handled with such reverence that all the fun gets sucked out. Rather, they feel alive, which given the theme, makes for a pretty fine protest.

    — CMJ

Track List

  • 1. Knoxville Girl (vocals by Brett Sparks of The Handsome Family)
  • 2. I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive (vocals by Rosie Flores)
  • 3. Gary Gilmore's Eyes (vocals by Deano of Dollar Store & The Waco Bros)
  • 4. The Snakes Crawl at Night (vocals by Janet Bean of Freakwater)
  • 5. Tom Dooley (vocals by Steve Earle)
  • 6. The Hangman's Song (vocals by Puerto Muerto)
  • 7. Pardon Me (I've Got Someone To Kill) (vocals by Lonesome Bob)
  • 8. Poor Ellen Smith (vocals by Neko Case)
  • 9. Miss Otis Regrets (vocals by Jenny Toomey)
  • 10. Judgement Day (vocals by Johnny Dowd)
  • 11. Great State of Texas (vocals by Chris Ligon)
  • 12. Sing Me Back Home (vocals by Edith Frost)
  • 13. Oh Death (vocals by Diane Izzo)
  • 14. Hanged Man (vocals by Rick Sherry of Devil in a Woodpile)
  • 15. The Plans We Made (vocals by Jon Langford and Sally Timms)
  • 16. 25 Minutes To Go (vocals by The Aluminum Group)
  • 17. Idiot Whistle (spoken word by Tony Fitzpatrick)
  • 18. Walls of Time (vocals by Paul Burch)

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