Murder in the Market (Payne Dead)

DESCRIPTION: Betsy asks Miss Clark for shelter. Miss Clark asks for details. Betsy says her husband "call me a liar an I stab 'im" "I ain't killed nobody but me husband Didn't mean to kill him but him stone dead."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1942 (Heskovits)
KEYWORDS: accusation violence crime homicide husband wife
FOUND IN: Panama West Indies
REFERENCES (1 citation):
ADDITIONAL: Louise Cramer, "Songs of West Indian Negroes in the Canal Zone" in _California Folklore Quarterly_, Vol. 5, No. 3 (Jul 1946 (made available online by JSTOR)), pp. 265-266, "Murder in de Market"
RECORDINGS:
Ethel McIntosh, "Payne Dead" (on VIZoop01)
NOTES: Alan Lomax says this is the basis for Wilmoth Houdini's "He Had It Coming" ("Stone Cold Dead in the Market") [Alan Lomax, "Introduction to 'Stone Cold Dead in the Market'" (on "Calypso at Midnight," Rounder CD 11661-1840-2, 1999) [recorded 1946]]. The verse structure is the same -- aaac -- and some lines are shared: "Didn't kill nobody but me husband" and "... him stone dead." Cramer says this is based on an incident in which a Barbados woman "was told that her husband was being unfaithful to her. One morning a neighbor came by as she was working at home and told her that the miscreant was down in the market. The wife rushed down to the market and confronted her husband with her accusation. He called her a liar. The wife thereupon struck and killed him." Cramer continues the story of how the woman asks for help, and, apparently is tried and released.
The tune of the MacIntosh version, from St Croix, is close to Houdini's "He Had It Coming".
Apparently there is a short version at the Library of Congress collected in Trinidad by the Herskovitses but I have neither seen nor heard it: "Payne Dead, Payne Dead" recorded in 1942. - BS
Last updated in version 3.7
File: RcPaynDe

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