Song Of The Day 9/14/2015: Chad Mitchell Trio – “Lizzie Borden”

Let's Go Do Some Crimes – This week’s theme is breakin’ the law, breakin’ the law. There are six songs. The breakdown is two acts of multiple murder, one act of shoplifting, one robbery spree, one bank job, and one alleged murder followed by a suspicious disappearance. Or as Al Capone would have called it, “Thursday.” It should go without saying that this blog neither condones nor endorses the acts you’re going to hear about this week, but since this is the internet where people get homicidal over corporate logo changes, I’d better say it anyway. Also, if you’re going to crack a joke, try referencing a more relevant pop culture figurehead than a mafioso who’s been dead for 68 years.

First up are the Borden murders of August 1892, in Fall River, Massachusetts. Lizzie Borden was accused of murdering her father and stepmother with an axe. Her motives remain the subject of speculation. Everyone agrees the family was not that fun to hang out with. They were a joyless bunch of corset-stuffers who were way too well-off to have existential crises, but that didn't stop 'em. The patriarch, Andrew, gave some of his real estate to his second wife Abby’s family, which didn’t sit too well with his first wife’s surviving family, not to mention Lizzie and her sister Emma. That caused a lot of tension, especially on “Take Your Daughter To The Textile Mill Day.”

It’s also suspected everyone in the house had food poisoning the week before the attacks, most likely from some bad mutton, which never sounds that appealing to me to begin with. That and the blazing hot August weather didn't help. Just for fun, some historians theorize that Lizzie was carrying on a lesbian affair with the home’s maid, and that her parents’ angry reaction to this news prompted her to slice ’em up. None of this is provable, but it sure feels exciting to write it down.

Although the old singsong rhyme says Lizzie gave her mother 40 “whacks” and her father 41, examiners put the actual number of fatal wounds at about ten or eleven each. If it had been 81 whacks Lizzie would have had a much harder time covering up the scene of the crime. There’d be a lot more blood-spattered curtains and unrooted arteries. We’ve all been there, right? Borden was acquitted of the murders after an hour and a half of jurors’ deliberation, making the whole affair sort of the O.J. trial of the late Victorian era. Despite her vindication, Borden couldn’t get a date and was ostracized by polite society, and therefore lived in relative isolation until she died. The Massachusetts courts have also decided not to consider the possibility that anyone other than Lizzie committed the murders, which probably spares us all at least a good couple of days of Nancy Grace's moralizing.

The Chad Mitchell Trio summarized the case in witty detail for interested parties of the 1960’s with today’s song, which was also featured on yesterday’s Mixtape Of The Day.

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