Welcome to the third episode of The Dark Crusade where we finish up our coverage of ‘In the Pines’. I’m so glad to have discovered the writing of Oliver Onions through this story. The parallels between ‘The Beckoning Fair One’ and ‘In the Pines’ are strong but Wagner has really inserted his own life and culture into the work. I’m linking to the collection Widdershins here so you can judge for yourself. The scene where the protagonist hears the sound of a women combing her hair was chilling.
Another great find in this story was rediscovering Hannes Bok (after Johannes Bach) aka Wayne Francis Woodard. You can check out his work and a little blurb about him here. Before living in New York he was in Los Angeles and had become friends with various people on the scene there. One of those folks was Ray Bradbury who introduced him to Farnsworth Wright. It was Boks first sale to Farnsworth and Weird Tales that triggered his move East. Sadly much like Wagner, Bok probably died before his time. A friend said of Bok he:
“…had integrity and as a result of his refusal to prostitute his work to the demands and criticisms of the unfeeling. He remained hungry, poor, kind, and genuine.”
In the episode F.N. couldn’t think of the name of a group who covered ‘In the Pines’ and it was Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys. I listened to another great version recently here by The Kossoy Sisters. This version sounds much creepier and leans heavier into the murder ballad than some of the others in a subtle way.
See you in two weeks when we bring you the first installment of ‘.220 Swift’.
-Jordan Douglas Smith
Reader: Malcolm Mills
Music: F.N. York