Magazine article Acoustic Guitar

Tom Dooley

Magazine article Acoustic Guitar

Tom Dooley

Article excerpt

In 1958, the Kingston Trio scored a cheery hit with unlikely source material: "Tom Dooley," a somewhat obscure traditional folk song. This classic murder ballad chronicles the 1866 death of one Laura Foster, in Wilkes County, North Carolina, and the capital punishment of her lover and assailant, Tom Dula-a story that received widespread national attention when it was published in newspapers such as The New York Times.

The arrangement here is based on an interpretation by the Bay Area singer-songwriter Maurice Tani, filmed recently at AG's studio. It's sort of a mash-up of the Kingston Trio hit, a recording by the country musician Bobby Ware, and various traditional versions-presented, of course, with campfire play in mind.

In a typical reading of "Tom Dooley," the song is played with just two chords-in this case, F and C7 (or the I and the V in the key of F major, for those of you who know a little music theory). …

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