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Same song/different versions

Colin Randall 10 Oct 17 - 09:07 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 10 Oct 17 - 02:43 PM
GUEST,Colin Randall 11 Oct 17 - 08:16 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 11 Oct 17 - 10:09 AM
Jason Xion Wang 11 Oct 17 - 10:31 AM
Richard Mellish 11 Oct 17 - 11:08 AM
GUEST,Colin Randall 11 Oct 17 - 11:53 AM
JHW 11 Oct 17 - 12:04 PM
GUEST,LynnH 12 Oct 17 - 04:06 AM
GUEST 12 Oct 17 - 05:11 AM
GUEST 12 Oct 17 - 05:16 AM
Dave the Gnome 12 Oct 17 - 05:36 AM
GUEST,John from Kemsing 12 Oct 17 - 11:09 AM
Jason Xion Wang 12 Oct 17 - 11:14 AM
GUEST,Colin Randall 12 Oct 17 - 11:23 AM
MickyMan 15 Oct 17 - 12:20 PM
Richard Mellish 15 Oct 17 - 06:06 PM
Richard Bridge 18 Oct 17 - 06:01 PM
Richard Bridge 18 Oct 17 - 06:02 PM
Richard Bridge 18 Oct 17 - 06:04 PM
Richard Bridge 18 Oct 17 - 06:06 PM
Richard Bridge 18 Oct 17 - 06:07 PM
Richard Bridge 18 Oct 17 - 06:09 PM
Richard Bridge 18 Oct 17 - 06:10 PM
Richard Bridge 18 Oct 17 - 06:13 PM
Richard Bridge 18 Oct 17 - 06:14 PM
Richard Bridge 18 Oct 17 - 06:16 PM
GUEST,pauperback 18 Oct 17 - 11:58 PM
lefthanded guitar 19 Oct 17 - 02:51 AM
BobL 19 Oct 17 - 03:41 AM
GUEST 19 Oct 17 - 10:37 AM
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Subject: Review: Same song/different versions
From: Colin Randall
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 09:07 AM

There is such a depth of knowledge among Mudcat contributors that someone must be - may be - bursting to write about a song they've always loved and has been covered, badly as they see it or well. The series is not just about my tastes - others have already chipped in - and I'd welcome additions.

I deliberately make it and/or rather than versus, though everyone has a preference and a robust opinion either way is absolutely acceptable.

Browse the series here - it's getting half-decent hits and you'll find Dylan, Kate Rusby, June Tabor, Pete Seeger, Byrds, Oysterband, Dubliners, Baez, Pogues, Christy Moore, Nolwenn Leroy and a procession of many others - and tell me by DM or at salutsunderland@gmail.com if you'd like to have a go.


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Subject: RE: Same song/different versions
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 10 Oct 17 - 02:43 PM

Well, I don't like Kate Rusby's "You Belong to Me".
She messes with the beauty of the melody.


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Subject: RE: Same song/different versions
From: GUEST,Colin Randall
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 08:16 AM

Can't seem to log in at the moment but this is the original poster now posting as a guest

Tunesmith identifies a theme common to music and plenty else: the sharp difference of opinion.

I like Rusby's version but, without trying too hard, came across these completely opposing views among the many expressed at YouTube:

1        This is a good example of how to ruin what was a pop song in the 1950s. The Duprees version is such a wonderfull arrangement . Kate Busby's version has become almost tuneless and flat. Her guitar arrangement is uninspiring and amateurish. She hasn't learnt to open her mouth when she sings and the so the rendition fails to reach the original notation. It would seem that people in folk music are still popular despite the limitations.

2.        Ohhh man. An artist tranforms a song by her loving accuracy and sharp sensitivity. Not one note is oversung, no word delivered without all of its edges. The idea one of brilliance and painful straightforwardness. The effect - devastating and transformative. Thank you so much for this.?


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Subject: RE: Same song/different versions
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 10:09 AM

I bet anyone who knew the song from their youth would not be happy with Kate's mangling of the melody.
Of course, if a listener was new to song, when they heard Kate's version, that would be a different matter.
What I object to is that Kate's approach is sloppy, with lack of attention to detail.


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Subject: RE: Same song/different versions
From: Jason Xion Wang
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 10:31 AM

I like Jerry Jeff Walker's version of Guy Clark's "My Favorite Picture of You", John Denver's version of Rolf Harris' "Two Little Boys" and Bob Dylan's version of Tom Paxton's "Annie's Going to Sing Her Song", though they almost completely altered, even re-wrote the melody. I think John Denver's is even far better than the original.

I think that's some good examples of nice re-work on songs. Unlike the aforementioned one.


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Subject: RE: Same song/different versions
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 11:08 AM

Discussion so far seems to have been confined to some fairly recent songs, where there is perhaps a presumption that the original performer's version is "right" by definition, though that doesn't prevent anyone from preferring someone's different version.

With traditional songs variation is part of the package and there is often no right or wrong about it, though we may tend to prefer whatever version we have come across first.

Over the years I've heard plenty of songs done in ways that I have personally disliked intensely. Sometimes it's purely a matter of taste but often the problem is with the accompaniment, for example an out-of-tune guitar or an accompaniment that is too loud in relation to the voice and drowns the words.


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Subject: RE: Same song/different versions
From: GUEST,Colin Randall
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 11:53 AM

On a rough count of the 23 items published in my series so far, Richard, in only six or seven cases do I or another writer express a preference for the original.

And there is nothing recent about - for example - Dirty Old Town, Long Lankin, Mná na H-éireann (Women of Ireland) or The Bells of Rhymney. I'd agree the series is light on traditional songs and will remedy that.

Without wishing to annoy previous contributors to this thread, I prefer Kate Rusby's My Town to Iris Dement's, though I like both.


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Subject: RE: Same song/different versions
From: JHW
Date: 11 Oct 17 - 12:04 PM

New interpretation is one of the joys of the Folk scene whether the material is old or new. A newcomer to the song may well sing it 'better' than the writer.
Its what we do - rather than the 'tribute band' who try to copy the well known version.


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Subject: RE: Same song/different versions
From: GUEST,LynnH
Date: 12 Oct 17 - 04:06 AM

A variation of this would be, in the case of Bob Dylan, making tunes for those songs of his for which either only the lyrics were available or only existed on obscure bootlegs. I made a tune for The Ballad of Donald White. Many years later I heard the Blind Boy Grunt rendition......sorry Bob but Tramps and Hawkers doesn't really fit the song so I'll stick with my tune.

"Hallelujah"? I'll stick with Leonard's original. Most other renditions I've heard are boring.

On the other hand,"Love will tear us apart" from June Tabor and the Oysters....Wow!!

Another twist is when you're a songwriter yourself and you end up writing 3 versions of the same story 'cos you're not 100% convinced with each version!


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Subject: RE: Same song/different versions
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Oct 17 - 05:11 AM

Hallelujah...I think. K k Lang does the best version of it. she is such great singer . Her voice and her depth of feeling really do raise this song to another level.
I prefer Eva Cassidy's version of Sting's "Fields of Gold " over Sting's original,


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Subject: RE: Same song/different versions
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Oct 17 - 05:16 AM

Should be k d lang , of course,


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Subject: RE: Same song/different versions
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 12 Oct 17 - 05:36 AM

Good project, Colin. Would you include folk tunes that have been used for different songs? Wooden Heart from Muss i den or Belfast Child from She moved through the fair for example?

On your original theme an interesting one could be The Furey's 'Long way from Clare to here' compared to Ralph McTell's original. I think the former is probably better known but I would not like to comment on their relative merits!

DtG


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Subject: RE: Same song/different versions
From: GUEST,John from Kemsing
Date: 12 Oct 17 - 11:09 AM

Well said LynnH. Some years ago "Hallelujah" seemed to be the flavour of the month for a number of performers. One particular warblette whose name remains a blank to me gave a rendition that lost all the meaning and sentiment but said, "Hear how many grace notes and hitches I can do!".


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Subject: RE: Same song/different versions
From: Jason Xion Wang
Date: 12 Oct 17 - 11:14 AM

Speaking of folk tunes that have been used for different songs - oh well... Do anybody know how many lyrics were written to the tune of "Rosin the Bow"? From Oscar Brand to the New Christy Minstrels to Phil Ochsmmm. Mmm...


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Subject: RE: Same song/different versions
From: GUEST,Colin Randall
Date: 12 Oct 17 - 11:23 AM

An interesting topic despite my earlier reservations about even raising it.

 Dave the Gnome: good suggestion re the use of same tune/different song. Will try to make time for that. I have already looked at From Clare to Here and opted for Bob Fox, beautifully sung crowned by a lovely instrumental passage (Women of Ireland) before a final chorus. McTell does his own song well but there are others, including Fox and Nanci Griffith (despite an unnecessary change to the lyrics), that I prefer.

LynnH: Couldn't agree more on Oysters/Tabor Love will tear us apart. Love it.

JHW: I was indirectly inspired by your comment, taken in conjunction with one posted at my site, to overcome a dislike of John Denver and check out his version of The Bells of Rhymney. The result: something of an eat-my-words conversion.

What this little thread does is to justify my modest project, which was never intended to prove that this or that version of a song was best but to get a few people thinking and maybe even talking about their own preferences.

Perhaps Dave Swarbrick was broadly right when he said: "Your can do anything you like with music. It doesn't mind."


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Subject: RE: Same song/different versions
From: MickyMan
Date: 15 Oct 17 - 12:20 PM

Copyrighting ..... etc.   Does it have a harmful effect on the public's acceptance of song variation? It seems that most modern day listeners unfairly resent when an artist changes a previous song, even if it is made substantially better in the process. This seems to be so illogical, especially in folk circles.   Wouldn't we want to preserve the sacred "folk process", where songs are honed to the point of perfection over the years.
   Examples:   
George Harrison's admitted reliance on "She's So Fine" (Ronnettes) for "My Sweet Lord". He was sued for this, of course, when all he really did was admit that this song only got him started on the use of gospel-like call and response. Did some judge actually think that the Ronettes invented repetitive call and response?
The Beach Boys were successfully sued by Chuck Berry because they supposedly "stole" Sweet Little Sixteen in the making of "Surfing' USA". Didn't it matter that thousands of rock&roll songs used the same progression and chug-chugging rhythmic riff.
My favorite ....... Die-hard folkies condemn Bob Dylan for not giving credit on his obvious remake of "Who's Gonna Buy You Ribbons When I'm Gone?" into "Don't Think Twice".   Among these worshipers of the folk process, it doesn't seem to matter that"Don't Think Twice" is obviously a masterful song, and it never would have happened if Dylan didn't "steal" and modify the "original".


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Subject: RE: Same song/different versions
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 15 Oct 17 - 06:06 PM

> And there is nothing recent about - for example - Dirty Old Town, Long Lankin, Mná na H-éireann (Women of Ireland) or The Bells of Rhymney. I'd agree the series is light on traditional songs and will remedy that.

Sorry for delay in responding to that. Let's just say I've been otherwise engaged. Mea culpa I hadn't then actually looked at http://www.salutlive.com/cover-story/ but was referring to the songs that had been mentioned explicitly in this thread up to that point.

Taking your four quoted examples:

Dirty Old Town and The Bells of Rhymney both date from the 20th century. In my book that's recent :-)

If Wikipedia is to be believed, the words of Mná na H-éireann date from the 18th century but the musical setting from the 20th.

All of which is peripheral to the main point, which is that singers can and do make changes, and whether those are for the better or the worse will often be a matter of personal taste; but the more recent the song the greater the tendency for the original version to be perceived as "correct".


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Subject: RE: Same song/different versions
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Oct 17 - 06:01 PM

This may take some time. I cannot tolerate the Denver version of Rhymney, And he does not credit Idris Williams. More shortly


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Subject: RE: Same song/different versions
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Oct 17 - 06:02 PM

I cannot stand anything by Kate Bush. As agonising as Bjork to listen to.


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Subject: RE: Same song/different versions
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Oct 17 - 06:04 PM

Tabor is without peer. But I hate every version of "A proper sort of gardener". It is a horrid song.


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Subject: RE: Same song/different versions
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Oct 17 - 06:06 PM

Oops Idris Davies.

The Byrds Bells of Rhymney chimes for me.


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Subject: RE: Same song/different versions
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Oct 17 - 06:07 PM

Dylan cannot sing. He writes some good songs. He cannot play either.


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Subject: RE: Same song/different versions
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Oct 17 - 06:09 PM

Beeswing has to be Thompson.


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Subject: RE: Same song/different versions
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Oct 17 - 06:10 PM

Either version of Black Dog is OK.


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Subject: RE: Same song/different versions
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Oct 17 - 06:13 PM

I'm bored now but hate every version of Galway to Graceland. I might manage a couple more if I can find any songs I like.


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Subject: RE: Same song/different versions
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Oct 17 - 06:14 PM

Ride On must be John Barden (aka the Barden of England, RIP, of this forum). No contest.


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Subject: RE: Same song/different versions
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Oct 17 - 06:16 PM

Good-night. THe rest is boring.


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Subject: RE: Same song/different versions
From: GUEST,pauperback
Date: 18 Oct 17 - 11:58 PM

Steady old man, steady.


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Subject: RE: Same song/different versions
From: lefthanded guitar
Date: 19 Oct 17 - 02:51 AM

This is not the first time I m (trying)posting to this thread, but perhaps this one
will come thru, as the first post vanished into the cyber mists like the headless horseman-and I jest hope some computer glitch goblin doesn't t post the first
one now!

I like Bob s Blowin in the Wind way better than Peter Paul and Mary. In fact I almost always
prefer Bob s version to any.cover; except ( as I discovered from a recommendation of
a mudcatter here, who showed keen perception) Dark Eyes by Judy Collins.

On Perhaps Love, and I think John Denver sounds a heck of a lot
better withOUT Placido -sorry opera fans.

I like Jerry Jeff Walker s voice, styling and performance much better
than Dave s, but on My Old Man; Dave Bromberg does something with
the guitar that just gets in your heart at the end of the song.


Nancy Griffith does the definitive version of Across the
Great Divide -
better than Kate Wolf.



Emmy Lou Harris edges out Steve Earle on I am a Pilgrim,
as Robert Plant edges out Chris Smither in Killing the Blues, but
Chris Smither outdoes everyone on Statesboro Blues.

I love Libba Cotton, who wrote Shake Sugaree as a lullabye,
but it takes a distant second to Danny Kalb s haunting version.

And if I had to choose between Jean Redpath or Judy Collins or Enya
to sing HowCan I Keep From Singing- well, I couldn't. Some songs
transcend the singer.


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Subject: RE: Same song/different versions
From: BobL
Date: 19 Oct 17 - 03:41 AM

Every so often, I come across a recording so outstanding that it becomes (for me - feel free to differ of course) the definitive version, to the extent that nobody else need bother doing another. The Pogues' "Gentleman Soldier" is one such. Another is "Weary Cutters" of which there are, contrarily, two such landmarks, one by Steeleye Span or more precisely multiple Maddy Priors, the other by Pyewackett of still-blessed memory.

Any more suggestions?


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Subject: RE: Same song/different versions
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Oct 17 - 10:37 AM

I will just mention my preferences.. The Bells of Rhymney by The Byrds. Women of Ireland by Kate Bush. A Proper Sort of Gardener by June Tabor. The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll by Bob Dylan. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down by The Band. Dirty Old Town by the Pogues. Our Town..Kate and Anns McGarrigle.
   Really interesting thread, I am enjoying it.
Oh, about the Bells of Rhymney.. Am I the only person who thinks Pete Seeger is a truly dreadful singer ? I do admire him for a lot of things, bit his voive is not one of them.


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Mudcat time: 19 October 4:12 PM EDT

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