Archive for folk

The Ballad of Lester Moore Pt1 – The Ballad of Lester Moore

Posted in folk music, lyrics, Music, Songwriting with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 12, 2011 by Jamie McPherson

Hello there and welcome to part one of my latest project, entitled The Ballad of Lester Moore. Each part will be the lyrics of a new song for this latest project. As my studio is not currently up and running, I will be focussing on songwriting and so therefore decided to post up my progress. I will start with the lyrics to the latest song, and afterwards explain a bit about it or where the project is currently at. So, here we go on the journey with the opening song….The Ballad of Lester Moore.

The Ballad of Lester Moore

Here lies Lester Moore

Four slugs from a .44

He’ll sleep forever more

No less, no more

 

He lies buried beneath the ground

The only way to keep ol’ Lester Down

He’ll ride out no more

No less, no more

 

He sailed out to Plymouth Rock

Killed his first man on the dock

He came ashore

No less, no more

 

Running money for Boston Brown

Until word had got around

He was wanted by the law

No less, no more

 

Lester decided it was time to flee

Went down to Tennessee

He arrived in Jonesborough

No less, no more

 

He dealt faro at the Eureka Inn

Killing a man there was no sin

We all knew the score

No less, no more

 

There worked young Katie Hayes

Who fell in with his wicked ways

She became his whore

No less, no more

 

Then just as a cruel twist of fate

He joined up, became a Confederate

Gentlemen, we’re at war

No less, no more

 

He left the game at table eight

Said goodbye to his beloved Kate

Into the breach once more

No less, no more

 

Riding in Forrest’s Cavalry Corps

Charging into blood, bodies and gore

Death was all they ever saw

No less, no more

 

He got his fill at Wilson’s Raid

Couldn’t take blood for what they paid

Men died by the score

No less, no more

 

He deserted and travelled to Tombstone town

Got a job and settled down

Became a clerk in a store

No less, no more

 

One day Dunstan came through that door

In his hand was a .44

Death came knocking at his door

No less, no more

 

The two men faced off across the floor

We heard the shots, numbering four

Les was slower on the draw

No less, no more

 

Here lies Lester Moore

Four slugs from a .44

He sleeps here forever more

No Les, no Moore

 

Words & music  © Copyright 2011 Jamie McPherson September 2011

So….that is The Ballad of Lester Moore. The idea came to me while I was searching the net. I came across his epitaph that read “Here lies Lester Moore, four slugs from a .44, No Les, no Moore”. This just captured me straight away and I saw a song in it. I did some research into Lester Moore, and all we know is that he was a clerk in a store who was shot by a man called Hank Dunstan over an argument about a crushed package Dunstan had received in the post.

I thought as very little is known about this man, I could create a life for him. So, I let my mind wander and invented this story for Lester. It needed a beginning, so I had him emigrate to the US on the Eastern seaboard. I had to create pivotal moments in his life to show his descent into a world of death and murder, a turning point where he leaves it all behind, and then that fateful day with Dunstan. I wanted to stay true to the period, so lucky the history buff in me got to do a bit of research into names, places and events true to that period. Songwriter/history buff heaven 🙂

Alongside of his personal journey, I gave him a physical journey too. I always think that a sense of place always co-exists with the events in one’s life. I wanted him to start in an urban/city environment, and gradually move down South and then West to Tombstone.

Some interesting points of note. Yes, there was a Eureka Inn in Jonesborough during that period. Also, Forrest’s Cavalry Corpse did exist and take part in Wilson’s Raid. It always helps to have a good smattering of truth in the stories you make up.

I chose the name Katie Hayes for his love interest because I found it a sympathetic name. I wanted her to be more than a love interest. She needed to be a victim of his corrupted life.

And then of course, there is that fateful day with Hank Dunstan.

The song is a nice simple ballad in 3/4 time. I’ve played it a few times at gigs and it’s gone down very well.

When I had completed writing the song, I re-read the lyrics and found that there was a much bigger story in this. I read through it all and went “There is a song there…there is a song there…”. So, I decided that this will be the cornerstone of my latest project. A sort of musical narrative if you will, telling the story of Lester Moore as I have created it.

I am looking forward to this musical journey, and am very excited about this project. And I am just itching to record these songs and get it all together. And who knows, maybe I can persuade some of my very dear and talented friends to take part in the recordings. We’ll see.

So, that is the first installment of The Ballad of Lester Moore.

Part two will be ‘The Wandering Jew’

Beannachd leibh,

Jamie

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