Let’s mix it up.

Everybody who knows me, knows that I really love mash-ups. But I also really love mixing genres that most people would say don’t go well together.

Today I’m feeling somewhat under-the-weather, so I’ll share a song with you, that is by a band who exemplify this in a very good way.

I love Goth Music.
I love Jonny Cash.
I kind-of, really like Rockabilly.

It was pretty much inevitable that I would stumble upon Ghoultown at some point in time. I did so, in 2007. Somewhat late, yes. But not too late to be able to grab a copy of their “Tales From the Dead West”. Which is a very atmospheric album all on its own. The mix of goth, country and rockabilly (I prefer to call them gothabilly, even if some people put them under psychobilly and/or horror-rock) goes together really, really well. You can listen to this in the midst of a hot summer as well as on dark, cold winter nights. It just fits.

It’s not the Swiss Army Knife like some Depeche Mode, Dead Can Dance or This Mortal Coil CDs, but it’s a fun little piece. And the songs are of a consistently high quality. They can be dripping with dark, western mood, they can be funny and they can be powerful.

And so they make me think of interesting things to write and put into RPG scenarios. It’s uncanny how well western imagery can be planted into different genres without there being a great dissonance (Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica (80s) are the two best examples of this. Also how the Magnificent Seven are based on The Seven Samurai and how Yojimbo also influenced quite a few classics.) Western, as a genre, is deeper than most people give it credit. And even though Germany lacks the emotional and spiritual bond that a US viewership would have with the movies, the really good ones could gain traction even here.

Few are the people who haven’t seen The Good, The Bad And The Ugly or The Magnificent Seven or Maverick, Tombstone and Back to the Future III! And even fewer are the people who haven’t enjoyed the Galaxy Rangers, Brave Starr, Zorro, Lucky Luke (No, I won’t go into the whole Spaghetti-Western thing here. That’s… … Go, read up on it! It’s interesting on its own! Really! – As is the wide array of Western sub-genres. Really. Take a look, ok? ), Kung Fu, Brisco County Jr., Saber Rider (again with Western and Japan) as kids. Or watched Little House on the Prairie, Bonanza or even Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman with their parents on weekends. And lately, we had Firefly. It was short, but it didn’t die because it was a bad show. It died because Fox is staffed by a bunch of assholes. … I mentioned Star Trek and the original BSG already, yes?

Western/Country music is also a really deep and interesting field. It’s not all just X-phobic ramblings by racist rednecks and homophobes. There’s some really great stuff in there. Then there are the soundtracks to Western movies. The atmosphere they could built with such a minimal set of instruments and nature sounds was… No! Still IS! …amazing. – If you’ve got an Xbox 360 go grab Red Dead Redemption and just marvel at how wonderful the soundtrack is and how well this game can set the atmosphere. It’s well worth it. And I will get to this music field one day, because it’s simply amazing. It’s the polar opposite of High Electronical Ambient, and yet I love it in many of the same situations.

Enough rambling!


Today two songs from the album of the day, because I’m nice/I want to torture you. Take your pick.

I chose “Ghost Riders in the Sky” first, because Johnny Cash also covered/played this song. So it was kind of fitting. I also like their rendition very much. It’s a good example of a classic Western tune that is dark and twisted on its own, without any Goth elements to it, and now played with those elements amplifying it all. … I think I want to play some Deadlands now. (And, yes. You can use this article to get into Deadlands and ask me about it read up on it. That’s no coincidence.)

[expand title=”Lyrics”]An old cowboy went riding out one dark and windy day
Upon a ridge he rested as he went along his way
When all at once a mighty herd of red eyed cows he saw
A-plowing through the ragged sky and up the cloudy draw

Their brands were still on fire and their hooves were made of steel
Their horns were black and shiny and their hot breath he could feel
A bolt of fear went through him as they thundered through the sky
For he saw the Riders coming hard and he heard their mournful cry

Yippie yi Ohhhhh
Yippie yi yaaaaay
Ghost Riders in the sky

Their faces gaunt, their eyes were blurred, their shirts all soaked with sweat
He’s riding hard to catch that herd, but he ain’t caught ’em yet
‘Cause they’ve got to ride forever on that range up in the sky
On horses snorting fire
As they ride on hear their cry

As the riders loped on by him he heard one call his name
If you want to save your soul from Hell a-riding on our range
Then cowboy change your ways today or with us you will ride
Trying to catch the Devil’s herd, across these endless skies

Yippie yi Ohhhhh
Yippie yi Yaaaaay

Ghost Riders in the sky
Ghost Riders in the sky
Ghost Riders in the sky [/expand]

The second song is “Killer in Texas” which showcases Ghoultown’s inherent Goth qualities with a darkl, macabre story set to an almost traditional Country sound which is then accompanied with Rockabilly and Goth elements.

[expand title=”Lyrics”]I’m a cold-blooded killer
my soul is ripped and torn
got the black heart of texas
I’ve got the devil’s horns

cuz I’ve spent my life to bring you harm
drank your blood to keep me warm
moon was full when I was born
I’m comin home, it won’t be long

there’s a killer in texas
a killer in texas
there’s killer on the rails

I’m a hell raisin outlaw
out here stealin lives
killed a man for starin
by cuttin out his eyes

cuz I started life in evil’s hands
no way in hell I had a chance
you glorify the deeds I did
forgot about the soul I had to give

train keeps on rollin
my life is ever blowin
like dust across the lone star state
drink one more drink yeah
to wash down our sins
cuz nightfall has come and gone again

I’m a cold-blooded killer
I’m always on the run
just look at me mother
ain’t you proud of your son?

cuz I’ve spent my life to bring you harm
drank your blood to keep me warm
moon was full when I was born
I’m comin for you, it won’t be long[/expand]

Ghoultown – [Tales From the Dead West] | 2001 | Gothabilly

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