World Without End

 

worldwithoutend

World Without End (Bowstring) is all bullets, blades and guilt without end: ten murder ballads based on true crimes and written and sung by Bob Frank and John Murry. This grisly parade of violence goes back almost to the founding of the Republic (“Madeline, 1796”) and includes justifiable vengeance (“Joaquin Murietta, 1853”) as well as pure evil (“Little Wiley Harpe, 1803”). But with his low, hanging-judge drawl, Murry sounds as severe and modern as Leonard Cohen, while Frank sings with a deep, gritty authority that may remind you of Warren Zevon — if you don’t already know Frank’s solo work, including his magnificently stark 1972 Vanguard LP, Bob Frank. Tim Mooney’s production here is as antique as a sepia print — but also as immediate as the country anguish he makes in his own band, American Music Club. — David Fricke, Rolling Stone.

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You’ve heard of death metal; well, this here is death country-folk, and a more gruesome collection of songs you will not hear this or any other year. Bob Frank is a California-based, 62-year-old, late-blooming maverick roots singer-songwriter who once played with the likes of Townes Van Zandt; he has teamed up with John Murry to make a “murder ballads album,” but instead of revisiting the familiar catalogue of traditional tunes, they’ve written 10 of their own, based on actual events, and notably shorn of any moral tone. This makes grim if compelling listening — murder, rape, pillage, nooses, knives and mayhem — from the story of Little Wiley Harpe in 1805, to Bubba Rose’s dark deeds in 1961. The music is suitably sepia-toned, hushed vocals cowled in a gaunt mesh of steel guitar and evocative picking. Not easy to like but impossible to ignore. — Joe Breen, Irish Times.

sample: “Joaquin Murietta”

Buy now:

World Without End

Inside the U.S.

$15.00

World Without End

Outside the U.S.

$25.00