This short Article, by a law professor and a law librarian, was written because of our personal interest in the old ballads, and because of the professor's desire to spice up the “meals-ready-to-eat” diet of problems and cases fed to students in law school courses. But more than anything else, this Article was written for the fun of it. To the extent that we appear to be advancing the occasional high-sounding hypothesis, we want the reader to understand that our speculations are offered only as an invitation to the sociologists, musicologists, and historians. Our backgrounds are limited, and we do not expect to be taken all that seriously.
Richard H. Underwood & Carol J. Paris, Crimesong: Some Murder Ballads and Poems Revisited, 12 J. S. Legal Hist. 5 (2004).