Today, on "For Your Sunday Viewing Pleasure," I've decided to go old-school folk with Phil Ochs performing his rendition of my favorite ballad, "The Highwayman," written by Alfred Noyes.
Set in 18th century England, the narrative tells the story of a highwayman (a thief), who in love with the innkeeper's daughter, Bess, is betrayed to the authorities by the jealous stableman and escapes the ambush when Bess gives her life to warn him. Then, upon learning of her death, the highwayman avenges Bess' death only to be shot. However, death couldn't keep the lovers apart and on the "still of a winter's night" the lovers meet again.
The ballad's vivid imagery and repetition, and Ochs' fast fingerpicking conveys a sense of both urgency and danger. And, though, this version has missing verses, Ochs still created an absolutely beautiful and haunting song. It brings a tear to my eye each time.