Gary Miller performing 'Ballad of Mary Ann Cotton' at Whippet Records HQ, Ferryhill, Co. Durham on Sunday 7th April 2019. A brand new song at time of recording, 'Ballad of Mary Ann Cotton' is written in the style of a 'murder ballad' about notorious serial killer Mary Ann Cotton from County Durham in the North East of England. The song is accompanied by a fabulous illustration by Gary's partner Helen Temperley - look closely and you should be able to see it on the right-hand side of the video frame. Together, they form part of one of their latest collaborative projects 'Northern Grit: The Good, The Bad and The Greedy', a travelling exhibition, recording and performance project. 
BALLAD OF MARY ANN COTTON 
There’s a man lying mangled in the shaft of a mine 
Commonplace tragedy, ominous sign 
There’s an 8-year-old daughter damaged through grief 
On a tide from which she will find no relief 
There’s something stirring on the grey North Sea 
That blows an ill wind that seeps inwardly 
Into the heart of one who has lost 
And only she knows the depth of that cost 
There’s a cunning, seductive manipulator of men 
Weaving her webs again and again 
A lying predator, behind a dark veil 
A forked-tongued snake with a poisonous tail 
There’s insurance money under the bed 
There’s a grave in which another husband lies dead 
There’s an angel of death another child in its arms 
While a temptress continues to peddle her charms 
There’s a tide of suspicion rolling around 
There are bodies exhumed from under the ground 
Bairns and husbands disturbed from their rest 
As the spider is trapped and placed under arrest 
There’s a baby suckling on a mother’s breast 
In a crowded courtroom full of unrest 
Doomed from birth to become stigmatised 
The motherless child of a murderess despised 
There’s letters being written from a cold prison cell 
In deliberate strokes, self-pity to sell 
In an petulant hand to apportion the blame 
On anyone else who does not bear her name 
There’s a Sunday school bell tolling the doom 
Of one for whom it no longer has room 
But has desperately placed her fate in God’s hands 
But God has forsaken the ground where she stands 
There are ministers praying as she bitterly weeps 
As a claim of innocence she constantly keeps 
There’s a press-gang waiting to write up their prose 
Eager to pounce like a murder of crows 
There’s a scaffold erected behind prison walls 
There’s a long final walk as destiny calls 
There’s an executioner with inhumane eyes 
As he calculatingly assesses his prize 
Black is the widow, black are the eyes 
Black is the dress on the one doomed to die 
Black is her hair and black is her heart 
Black is the night to which she must now depart 
There’s a black widow hanging from a fine thread 
On its back an hour-glass of blood red 
There’s a dark angel hanging from a short rope 
Spinning and choking on a day without hope 
There’s a vengeful God in the Heaven’s above 
Meting out justice with anger and love 
There are 21 new stars born to shine 
While a red moon mourns a ruined blood-line 
There’s a group of children skipping to rhymes 
That tell the tale of her wicked crimes 
While her restless dark spirit howls in Hell for release 
From the sorrows from which she can never find peace 
(Gary Miller) © 2019 Whippet Records Copyright Control MCPS/PRS
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