Shufflecomp's Saddlebags

I wanted to participate in ShuffleComp and even went so far as to compile a list of songs, but didn’t submit because I knew I wouldn’t have time to actually work on a game. But I thought I’d still tag along in the comp’s saddlebags, as it were, and in the process provide anyone who was too late to enter with the chance to write their own game outside the comp :wink:.

So here is my playlist. I tried to keep it thematic, using songs from the American folk tradition (and antecedents), and also focused on stories or narrative structures that I thought might make for good IF. In approximate order of composition:

  1. Tam Lin
    Childe Ballad #39; includes a wizard’s battle conducted through magical metamorphoses that could make for a delightful IF sequence. Fairport Convention. See also The Two Magicians.

  2. Oh No John
    An old English courting song in which the protagonist comes to recognize that the refrain is in fact a refrain, and exploits that fact to accomplish his goals. Performed as an art song through much of the 20th century, with Paul Robeson’s version (Spotify) probably the best known in this style, and with the most complete text (incomplete track at Youtube). But Maxine Sullivan’s jazz version is more fun! An alternate version (probably just as old) includes a surprise twist, in which the woman turns out to be the one who comes out on top: Carl Peterson (Spotify only, but very similar lyric here).

  3. Canadee-I-O
    An adventure story, a love story, a story about Canada. Nic Jones.

  4. How You Gonna Keep Them Down On The Farm
    A very popular old novelty song about soldiers returning to their homes in the heartland after fighting in WWI. Chosen for its title (which suggests a bit of a puzzlefest) as well as for its portrait of weird, all-but-cackling Papa Reuben. Chorusline version by Judy Garland, or a more modern, melancholic–and complete–version from Andrew Bird. Lyric.

  5. Got The Blues For Murder Only
    A psychopath’s fever-dream of Mexico. Could equally well have been written today, given the headlines from the front lines of cartel warfare. Lonnie Johnson. Lyric.

  6. Catfish Blues
    What would you do if you were a catfish? Robert Petway’s great version.

  7. The Sick Note
    A Rube Goldberg cascade of events and mischances results in Paddy missing work. Sean Cannon (of the Dubliners), in a version also notable for its charming Germinglish introduction.

  8. Lily, Rosemary And The Jack of Hearts.
    There’s a feature-length movie in this song. It’s a Western, more or less. Bob Dylan (Spotify).

I couldn’t find YouTube links for everything, so there are a few Spotify links in there… If you’re a Spotify user, you can hear the whole thing as a playlist.

I’m intrigued by the description of Got the Blues for Murder Only…

Might I suggest that, rather than Spotify, you use Google (or whatever) to find other places that don’t require a login/software to listen? :slight_smile: Here’s a link for Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts on Vimeo:

I don’t know how well it would show up in Google search results but another great place to find songs-on-demand if nothing else is working: Grooveshark (

Thanks for the alternative link to Lily etc. The problem with Grooveshark and any old Google link is that they generally are graymarket sites. Spotify licenses its content and is therefore compatible with this board’s prohibition against posting copyrighted material. Also, I’m lazy and it’s much easier for me to right-click on a Spotify track to get its URL…!

Anyway, I think the only other Spotify link is to the full track of Robeson’s Oh No John (YouTube has only a partial track, at least in my region).

One of these songs was submitted, you’ll be glad to learn.

I am indeed. Is this supposed to spark a guessing game? The Dylan song?

I made my Spotify playlist public for those who’d like to hear everything in a nice format.

One of these songs was used, even…