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Misheard folk song lyrics

DigiTrad:
THE BALLAD OF LADY MONDEGREEN


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GUEST,Claire 16 Mar 19 - 01:51 AM
beachcomber 16 Mar 19 - 08:31 AM
Vic Smith 16 Mar 19 - 09:07 AM
GUEST,Claire 16 Mar 19 - 11:09 AM
Dave the Gnome 16 Mar 19 - 11:29 AM
GUEST,Chris Bartram (Yorkie) 16 Mar 19 - 12:24 PM
Tattie Bogle 16 Mar 19 - 05:39 PM
Joe_F 16 Mar 19 - 05:58 PM
Mo the caller 17 Mar 19 - 03:49 AM
Mr Red 17 Mar 19 - 04:58 AM
Andy7 17 Mar 19 - 05:09 AM
The Sandman 17 Mar 19 - 06:17 AM
fat B****rd 17 Mar 19 - 06:31 AM
beachcomber 17 Mar 19 - 06:35 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Mar 19 - 06:51 AM
Vic Smith 17 Mar 19 - 07:43 AM
Vic Smith 17 Mar 19 - 07:49 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Mar 19 - 12:31 PM
The Sandman 17 Mar 19 - 04:27 PM
Anne Neilson 17 Mar 19 - 05:06 PM
Liamtho 17 Mar 19 - 06:11 PM
Andy7 17 Mar 19 - 07:24 PM
Dave the Gnome 18 Mar 19 - 04:03 AM
GUEST,Mark Bluemel 18 Mar 19 - 05:10 AM
Bugsy 18 Mar 19 - 07:55 AM
MudGuard 18 Mar 19 - 05:50 PM
keberoxu 18 Mar 19 - 06:13 PM
beachcomber 18 Mar 19 - 09:36 PM
Mo the caller 19 Mar 19 - 06:14 AM
clueless don 19 Mar 19 - 02:39 PM
GUEST,Some bloke 19 Mar 19 - 08:12 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 20 Mar 19 - 10:24 AM
FreddyHeadey 20 Mar 19 - 03:03 PM
mayomick 21 Mar 19 - 10:34 AM
mayomick 21 Mar 19 - 10:38 AM
GUEST,Whistle Stop 22 Mar 19 - 01:04 PM
Donuel 22 Mar 19 - 07:06 PM
PHJim 22 Mar 19 - 08:34 PM
Tattie Bogle 22 Mar 19 - 09:30 PM
GUEST,Rossey 23 Mar 19 - 06:04 AM
mayomick 23 Mar 19 - 09:18 AM
Jos 23 Mar 19 - 09:57 AM
DonMeixner 23 Mar 19 - 09:59 AM
PHJim 23 Mar 19 - 06:16 PM
mayomick 26 Mar 19 - 09:19 AM
GUEST,Sol 26 Mar 19 - 09:27 AM
GUEST,Mark Bluemel 26 Mar 19 - 12:07 PM
Tattie Bogle 26 Mar 19 - 05:40 PM
GUEST,Sol 26 Mar 19 - 07:32 PM
GUEST,Sol 26 Mar 19 - 07:32 PM
mayomick 26 Mar 19 - 08:11 PM
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Subject: Misheard folk song lyrics - tell me yours!
From: GUEST,Claire
Date: 16 Mar 19 - 01:51 AM

Hi all

I just realised after about 20 years that the lyric from 'The Rare Ould Times' is in fact 'And watch the new glass cages that spring up along the quay' as opposed to what I have sung (in several public sessions in my time), which is 'and watch the nude lass cages'!

In my defence, I learnt it by ear off a Dubliner's album when I was about 18 and didn't know all that much about Dublin. I always thought it was an odd lyric but I always just assumed that 1970s Dublin was a bit like Amsterdam. Fortunately no one has ever busted me but I'll be singing it right in future!

Have you ever done what I have and got the words to a song completely wrong? Have you heard any good clangers in your time? Tell me and let's have a laugh!


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: beachcomber
Date: 16 Mar 19 - 08:31 AM

A guy I used to partner in Pub Gigs used to sing "Down by the banks of the OLD HIGH-OH !"   :-)


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: Vic Smith
Date: 16 Mar 19 - 09:07 AM

Such mis-hearing of lyrics have gained the name Mondegreens after the most famous one from the ballad The Bonny Earl o' Moray
where the lines:-

They hae slayed the Earl o' Moray
And laid him on the the green.

was heard sung as:-

They hae slayed the Earl o' Moray
And Lady Mondegreen.

Try entering 'mondegreen' in the search facility of Mudcat home page and you will find that there are 16 threads relating to this subject.


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: GUEST,Claire
Date: 16 Mar 19 - 11:09 AM

Good to know. Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 16 Mar 19 - 11:29 AM

In "I recall a Gypsy Woman" a sadly departed mate of ours used to sing

"I've been skiin' in the moonlight"

Instead ofI

"Ivory skin against the moonlight"

We never corrected him :-)


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: GUEST,Chris Bartram (Yorkie)
Date: 16 Mar 19 - 12:24 PM

One of my favourites: a guy in Carmarthen 40 years ago used to sing "The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo". He sang it word-perfect apart from, "As I walk along the Bongshey Bong with an independent air" instead of "the Bois de Boulogne". I've always had to sing it that way ever since!


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 16 Mar 19 - 05:39 PM

Just fill yer boots by going to an older thread entitled "Any New Mondegreens", or copy and paste this link: https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=32340#3572670
Blickies don't do well on iPad!


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: Joe_F
Date: 16 Mar 19 - 05:58 PM

Chris B.: That is not only a mondegreen, but a mumpsimus!


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: Mo the caller
Date: 17 Mar 19 - 03:49 AM

A what?


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: Mr Red
Date: 17 Mar 19 - 04:58 AM

Mumps I muse
credited (maybe) to Erasmus.


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: Andy7
Date: 17 Mar 19 - 05:09 AM

Not a folk song, but ...

As a child, I always thought the line in 'Try to remember', "Try to remember, when life was so tender, that dreams were kept beside your pillow" was "Try to remember, when life was so tender, that trees were kept beside your pillow".


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Mar 19 - 06:17 AM

oh i am so bonny o.instead of o aye and so bonny o,


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: fat B****rd
Date: 17 Mar 19 - 06:31 AM

I know of more than one person who thought "Bei Mir Bistu Shein" was My Dear Mr. Shane.


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: beachcomber
Date: 17 Mar 19 - 06:35 AM

You mean.....! all these years and......?


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Mar 19 - 06:51 AM

Fred Jordan's Outlandish Knight who "came alluding to me" always curled me up
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: Vic Smith
Date: 17 Mar 19 - 07:43 AM

The English travellers' versions of many songs are full of misheard words and if I learn them, I never correct them but sing them just as I heard them being sung. Uncle and nephew Tom & Chris Willett sung a lovely version of Down By The Tanyard Side in unison which was collected about five miles from our house which is one of the reasons why Tina and I try to sing it in the same manner. This means that when we get to verse four we sing....
Now, adieu to all requaintances....

I have been asked several times why we don't sing "acquaintances" and I really don't know why we don't except to say that this way the way he heard it sung.
Jasper and Levi Smith - Caroline Hughes - all three were great singers and often sung totally garbled versions of ballads. In Caroline's (and other west country travellers') versions of The Blacksmith the standard version lines:-
And if I was with my love
I would live forever.

is replaced by:-
He made the sparkles fly
All around my middle.

Not quite so poetic but much more evocative and much sexier to my mind.
I sing her version of The Famous Flower of Serving Men which strays away from the printed Child versions but I would not change a word.
I remember Martin Carthy introducing Jasper & Levi's version of Geordie and saying "It's as if he had written out each line on a seperate piece of paper, thrown them all in the air and then sang them in the order that he picked them up." but then, apart from repeating the first verse, he sings the words that Mike Yates recorded.

On the, sadly occasional, times that we are in a singing session with Rod & Danny Stradling, I notice that their attitudes towards not changing the traveller versions are the same as ours.


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: Vic Smith
Date: 17 Mar 19 - 07:49 AM

My favourite is from a singer local to me who would always sing Hal-An-Tow at the beginning of each May and has always sung
Robin Hood and Little John,
They've both gone to the Faroes....


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Mar 19 - 12:31 PM

When I first moved to London, a couple of friends, John Faulkner and Sandra Kerr, took me under their wing and would invite me to accompany them on bookings
On long car journeys we made a game of re-inventing song names to stay awake
Folk animals - The False Kite on the Toad, Terrapin Hero,
Folk foods - The Unquiet Gravy Hang, Down your Head Tandoori, Alan Tyne of Marrow
Various others - Hello Fiend, I See you're a Strangler (don't think Peggy would have approved of that one)...

Can't remember any more at present
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Mar 19 - 04:27 PM

he sailed east he sailed west until he came to proud torquay, lord bateman


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: Anne Neilson
Date: 17 Mar 19 - 05:06 PM

As a child, I was convinced that the well-known Christmas hymn began "Oh come, Molly Faithful".


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: Liamtho
Date: 17 Mar 19 - 06:11 PM

Still reckon that in "Homeward Bound" "home where my thoughts are straying" sounds a lot better than "Home where my thoughts are escaping" but I wouldn't think of mentioning it to Paul Simon.


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: Andy7
Date: 17 Mar 19 - 07:24 PM

... and in 'For Emily', I prefer "I heard cathedral bells dripping down the alley ways" to "... tripping down the alley ways"


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Mar 19 - 04:03 AM

There is always Desmond Decker's "My ears are alight" and Bob Dylan's "The ants are my friends" but my favourite is not in song but in prayer.

"Blessed are thou, a monk swimmin'"


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: GUEST,Mark Bluemel
Date: 18 Mar 19 - 05:10 AM

DTG: Desmond gives us a whole verse of mondegreen:
"Wake up in the morning, baked beans for breakfast
So that every mouse can be fed
Oh, Oh! Me ears are alight".


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: Bugsy
Date: 18 Mar 19 - 07:55 AM

Mrs Bugsy , still sings
"I shot the Sheriff, but I didn't shoot his Secretary"

Cheers

Bugsy


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: MudGuard
Date: 18 Mar 19 - 05:50 PM

Lord of the dance:
I heard (mind, I'm not a native English speaker):

I danced for the tribes of the farer seas.

instead of

I danced for the Scribes and the Pharisees.


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: keberoxu
Date: 18 Mar 19 - 06:13 PM

Jean Ritchie and Oscar Brand recorded together more than once.

One album included a father-daughter duet -- "Do, Poppy, do!" for Jean's chorus.

This album was on the family turntable often when I was little,
but for some reason I never connected the album sleeve/cover
with the actual songs that were playing.
So I messed up a TITLE -- not just a phrase, but the name of the song.

It's the beginning of the first verse:
"Poppy,
buy me a big glass doll, a big glass doll, a big glass doll ... "
Jean Ritchie, being playful, deliberately imitated a little girl's voice,
and a little girl's diction.
See, I'm trying to blame someone else for the cotton wool in my ears.

So for years I thought Jean had sung:
"Poppy,
buy me a big black star, a big black star, a big black star ..."

And I found out what it was, so very recently,
that it's, well, sheeesh.


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: beachcomber
Date: 18 Mar 19 - 09:36 PM

These "Mondegreens" as Vic Smith , an earlier poster, hilariously called them seem to be the musical versions of "Malapropisms". Rem how Mrs Malaprop, a character in a play, used to make inappropriate references, e.g. "an allegory on the banks of the Nile !"


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: Mo the caller
Date: 19 Mar 19 - 06:14 AM

Thanks for the mumpsimus explanation Mr Red. Bit like the dancers who, having learnt the Cecil Sharp invention of 'siding' when he didn't know the meaning of a common term in Playford's Dancing Master of 1651, then wouldn't let him change the dances when research worked out a more plausible figure. So callers still have to specify 'Cecil Sharp siding' or 'Into line siding' and there are still some who call Cecil Sharp's version "the proper siding".


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: clueless don
Date: 19 Mar 19 - 02:39 PM

GUEST,Mark Bluemel - I thought it was "Sold out to every monk and beefhead".


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 19 Mar 19 - 08:12 PM

I played occasionally in a ceilidh band in my youth. The music was simple enough that you don’t have to go into detail but I never really got into the names of dances.

So I genuinely thought he said “Strip the Widow.”

Came in handy playing jigs and reels in a duo I suppose as we always gave tunes daft names even if we knew an “official” name.


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 20 Mar 19 - 10:24 AM

A friend of mine said she was an admirer of Paddy Tunney. I gave her an LP she'd never heard. She was delighted with the songs, but asked me why, in the 'lovely song 'Green fields of Canada', one line said


'And the lambs have gone to Russia' ??

I was puzzled about this so when I got the LP back I had a listen again- it's an emigration song, and the correct line is


'And the lands have gone to rushes'


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 20 Mar 19 - 03:03 PM

I've heard "floor sinners" joked about plenty of times but this seems a good thread to mention Dick Miles/The Sandman's reference to flaw sinners which was a new one on me.
thread.cfm?threadid=165660&page=19#3983033


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: mayomick
Date: 21 Mar 19 - 10:34 AM

A young Donegal man’s sad farewell after the Ross’s angry door is slammed in his face .


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: mayomick
Date: 21 Mar 19 - 10:38 AM

Mr Ross , the cruel father of Mary Ross from Dunloe, slammed the door angrily in the young man's face .


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: GUEST,Whistle Stop
Date: 22 Mar 19 - 01:04 PM

Maybe not folk, exactly. But when my wife first heard one of Richard Thompson's most well-known songs (in a cover version by The Kennedy's), she was sure the tag line was "Let me take my chances on a waterbed."


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: Donuel
Date: 22 Mar 19 - 07:06 PM

A Shogun's Farewell ?


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: PHJim
Date: 22 Mar 19 - 08:34 PM

*> The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band recorded Jerry Jeff' "Mr. Bojangles" on their Uncle Charlie. . . album. Where Jerry wrote, "And he spoe right out," they sang, "And the smoke ran out."
I saw them a few years later and they were singing Jerry's words. I guess someone told them.

*> A while back I was playing in a band and one of the singers introduced Daniel Lanois' "Under The Stormy Sky". She sang a line that went,

"I hear the teenage appeal
The diesel turning
Calling you and me".

Since this made no sense, I listened to the record and Daniel sang,
"I hear the T, H & B,
The diesel turning,
Calling you and me."

I just googled the lyrics and found most sites list the lyrics as,

"I hear them changing gears
The diesel turning, calling you and me
To the city of steel, smokestack spinning wheel
Come with me, eh under a stormy sky."

This is also a mondegreen. Daniel was a Hamilton boy, as was I, and it seemed obvious that he was singing about the "T, H & B" or Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo" railroad.

Thinking that I might be wrong, I listened to a couple of YouTube videos and I'm surer than ever that he sings "T, H & B"


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 22 Mar 19 - 09:30 PM

Remembering the story told by Colum Sands at our local folk club, re the young lady in the Netherlands who asked him to song that well-known Irish song about the hairy tongue. He said he just couldn't think what she meant, even after her remonstrations that surely everyone knew it: until....."You know.... And her hairy tongue over her shoulder, Tied up with a black velvet band."!


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: GUEST,Rossey
Date: 23 Mar 19 - 06:04 AM

Misheard lyrics can be funny or a great annoyance. I am constantly irritated by the use of my late father's lyric to the Dark Island on the Internet, it's even been spread by Mudcat's own digital database with wrongly transcribed words, which spoil the scansion and the way they trip off the the tongue.. so "Though I've wandered away from the land of my birth becomes "OH I've wandered away'... and some eejits sing "Roving around to the ends of the earth" instead of "Roaming around to the ends of the earth" etc.   It may sound petty, but these minor sounds and language uses, affect people's perceptions of a song, and wreck it in the ears of the people who know the true lyric and the way the syllables fit the tune. Unfortunately, when mangled lyrics are put up, they stay up, and get spread from site to site. It's not so much folk tradition, but modern viral errors. My father's lyric was issued on sheet music as well as original recordings so there is an official version to work from, but the lyrically butchered versions on Mudcat and elsewhere overwhelm the correct lyric.


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: mayomick
Date: 23 Mar 19 - 09:18 AM

even with correct words taken from sheet music, you have to be careful with pronunciation when singing older songs .Last year I winced hearing a band sing the chorus to Star of the County Down pronouncing “Derry key” instead of “Derry “kay” as the word “quay” was prounounced when the song was composed .


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: Jos
Date: 23 Mar 19 - 09:57 AM

I really don't think singers should be expected to investigate the pronunciation of English at the time a song was written, before being allowed to sing the song. It would sound even more artificial than trying to sing in the accent of the place where a song originated. Fine if you are confident you will get it right, but otherwise better not to try.


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: DonMeixner
Date: 23 Mar 19 - 09:59 AM

Wild shepherds washed their socks by night.


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: PHJim
Date: 23 Mar 19 - 06:16 PM

Then there's the late Oscar Brown Jr. song "Snake", inspired by Aesop's fable of The Farmer and the Viper.
Donald Trump did a horrible version, not word for word, but with what he probably considered improvements to Oscar's lyrics, crediting it to someone named Al Wilson. He recited the song lyrics, often interspersed with adlibs and interjections.
The owners of Oscar's estate, his daughters, requested him to stop using their father's lyrics, yet in an interview on CBC Radio, they said that he had not responded nor had he paid any royalties for the many timed he had used the lyrics on TV or at rallies.


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: mayomick
Date: 26 Mar 19 - 09:19 AM

not expected to check for past pronunciations every time Joy but when taking songs from a songbook it can be helpful to know the old pronunciation of a word .I referred yesterday to an Irish song called The Star of the County Down . The song's chorus should rhyme the words "Bantry Bay" with "Derry Quay "   .The modern pronunciatiopn of the word "quay" is "key" so when the band sang "derry key", it sounded out of place.
Another Irish song I can think of mentions Dublin's quays ,rhyming "I can no longer stay" with the words "spring up along the quay". It's important to sing such songs as they were intended to sound imo.

(some knowledge of old pronunciations -what would have rhymed at the time a poem was composed - can help when reading an old poems as well)


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: GUEST,Sol
Date: 26 Mar 19 - 09:27 AM

Not a folk song I grant you but, in Willie Nelson's version of A Whiter Shade of Pale, he sings 'and the mirror told it's tale" instead of "and the miller told his tale". (Obviously a reference to Chaucer). Basic lyrical errors like these really irk me.


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: GUEST,Mark Bluemel
Date: 26 Mar 19 - 12:07 PM

I'm not sure whether the idea of a Willie Nelson version of AWSOP intrigues or scares me...


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 26 Mar 19 - 05:40 PM

I heard someone at our local folk session trying to sing Tommy Sands' song "There were Roses" and when he got to the line about "the tears of the people fell together" - he had some totally different word for "tears" which radically altered the meaning of the song, and made it nonsensical. (So long ago now, that I can't remember exactly what that word was, but believe me, it was so WRONG!) I did have to go and have a quiet word with him afterwards: as politely as I could muster - "Where did you get that song from?" - Answer (as so often) - "Off the Internet". Gaaahhhh!


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: GUEST,Sol
Date: 26 Mar 19 - 07:32 PM

Correction: in my recent post above, for the sake of accuracy, it should have read "AS the miller told his tale". ;-)


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: GUEST,Sol
Date: 26 Mar 19 - 07:32 PM

Correction: in my recent post above, for the sake of accuracy, it should have read "AS the miller told his tale". ;-)


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Subject: RE: Misheard folk song lyrics
From: mayomick
Date: 26 Mar 19 - 08:11 PM

Sol, Up to seeing your post I thought it was "mirror told its tail" as well ! thanks


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