Saturday, December 09, 2017

If killer Thomas Jadlowski had heard the folk song “Molly Bond…” Bob Dylan...

    “Come all you young gallants that delight in a gun. Beware of your shooting at the setting of the sun…”   

    I’m quoting a pretty well known folk song, which has come down to us as “Polly Von,” “Polly Vaughan” and “Molly Bond,” and sung by everyone from Bob Dylan to The Oyster Band. 

    I don’t think killer Thomas Jadlowski ever heard it. If he had, Rosemary Billquist might still be alive.  

    Songs can save lives. Songs can move people. But not if people refuse to listen.  

    Listen to the singer's cautionary tale, ending with: “Mother, tell your children not to do what I have done…” Listen to the protest song, opening “Come gather 'round people, wherever you roam…”  Listen to a love song like “I Threw It All Away,” and maybe you'll remember it when you're about to say something hurtful.  

      All three examples above come from Bob Dylan, who covered "Polly Vaughan." While it would be nice if people always kept in mind "the golden rule," imagine a world where people listened to Dylan lyrics and followed the lessons and advice in them? And that goes for his cover of the old standard "Polly Vaughan." Whatever her name, Vaughan, Bon or Bond, her fate is always the same: killed.  

    A woman in flowing skirts, or a white apron, she is mistaken for a swan by a hunter....just as Rosemary Billquist was mistaken for a deer by THIS asshole: 

    Rosemary Billquist had two dogs, Sugar and Stella, and took them out for a twilight walk the day before Thanksgiving. Thomas Jadlowski was out, too, looking for a kill. It was nearly 5:30 in the afternoon. With “daylight saving time” over, it was dark and visibility was poor. Fun-loving Jadlowski raised his high-powered pistol and fired. He was surprised to hear the deer scream. 

    Rosemary, only 150 yards from her home at the time, died at a hospital in nearby Erie, Pennsylvania. The district attorney for Chautaqua County, Patrick Swanson, issued a statement: “This incident is a tragic reminder of the importance that hunting laws be followed. This incident was completely avoidable.” Ya think? 

    Happily for Thomas Jadlowski, gun laws in America are lax, and punishment is mild. Charged with being a little “reckless,” (he pleaded "not guilty" at all), the maximum he can get when he stands before a judge in January, is 15 years. He might not get jail time at all. If he does get sent away, with good behavior he'll be killing animals again in a year or two. 

        He's 36. He has a future. Rosemary Billquist's husband has a grave site. He can hunt for new wife. 

    “Come all you young gallants that delight in a gun. Beware of your shooting at the setting of the sun…”   

         Those lines, set to the chilling throb of bass guitar, open the riveting version by The Oyster Band, who are now called simply Oysterband. They managed to make something new out of a song that is very, very old. Also below, the "traditional" solo voice version from Peggy Seeger, the smooth harmonies of Peter Paul and Mary, and the bluesy burly take from Dylan. In some versions, it's twilight that confuses the hunter. In others, a misty rain. Sometimes the killer is portrayed as having a bow and arrow, but usually it's a gun. In most versions, an irony is that the girl turns out to be the man's girlfriend or wife. In some, including Dylan's, the dead woman's ghost appears in court to assure the judge that her death was an accident and not murder.
Molly Bond - THE OYSTER BAND          

Molly Bond - PEGGY SEEGER 
Polly Vaughan - BOB DYLAN

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