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Not-So-Good Lines in Songs

Cluin 01 Feb 05 - 01:26 PM
Leadfingers 01 Feb 05 - 02:28 PM
Bert 01 Feb 05 - 02:58 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Feb 05 - 03:40 PM
Charmion 01 Feb 05 - 05:14 PM
Teresa 01 Feb 05 - 05:23 PM
robomatic 01 Feb 05 - 05:25 PM
Teresa 01 Feb 05 - 05:33 PM
GUEST,Gerry 01 Feb 05 - 05:45 PM
Clinton Hammond 01 Feb 05 - 05:47 PM
Teresa 01 Feb 05 - 06:05 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 01 Feb 05 - 06:06 PM
dick greenhaus 01 Feb 05 - 06:10 PM
GUEST 01 Feb 05 - 06:27 PM
Amos 01 Feb 05 - 06:41 PM
sixtieschick 01 Feb 05 - 06:45 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Feb 05 - 06:53 PM
Uncle_DaveO 01 Feb 05 - 06:54 PM
sixtieschick 01 Feb 05 - 06:54 PM
DonMeixner 01 Feb 05 - 11:56 PM
Cluin 01 Feb 05 - 11:57 PM
Bobert 02 Feb 05 - 12:09 AM
goodbar 02 Feb 05 - 12:37 AM
Lin in Kansas 02 Feb 05 - 01:19 AM
Peace 02 Feb 05 - 01:21 AM
Peace 02 Feb 05 - 01:23 AM
Cats 02 Feb 05 - 04:38 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 02 Feb 05 - 07:28 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 02 Feb 05 - 07:34 PM
GUEST,Joe_F 02 Feb 05 - 08:38 PM
GUEST,leeneia 02 Feb 05 - 09:05 PM
Melani 03 Feb 05 - 12:02 AM
mg 03 Feb 05 - 12:40 AM
Teresa 03 Feb 05 - 12:47 AM
GUEST,Schoolmaster 03 Feb 05 - 12:49 AM
RobbieWilson 03 Feb 05 - 04:28 AM
BillR 03 Feb 05 - 04:40 AM
Liz the Squeak 03 Feb 05 - 04:40 AM
GUEST,Richard 03 Feb 05 - 04:52 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 03 Feb 05 - 05:56 AM
CStrong 03 Feb 05 - 07:49 AM
robomatic 03 Feb 05 - 08:05 AM
GUEST,Joe_F 03 Feb 05 - 10:46 AM
GUEST 03 Feb 05 - 12:41 PM
GUEST,Nancy King at work 03 Feb 05 - 07:58 PM
Little Hawk 03 Feb 05 - 08:10 PM
GUEST 04 Feb 05 - 03:37 AM
GUEST,John O'Lennaine 04 Feb 05 - 03:52 AM
The Fooles Troupe 04 Feb 05 - 07:12 AM
GUEST,Joe_F 04 Feb 05 - 10:31 AM
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Subject: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: Cluin
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 01:26 PM

Those lines which, to you anyway, jump out as being either clumsy or rough or silly or ill-advised or whatever, in an otherwise good or great song.

Examples, to me...

from Gordon Lightfoot's Mountains and Mary Ann:
There'll be hot blooded mountain love
    (Hot blooded MONKEY love??)

from Danny Boy:
It's you, It's you...
    (Gesundheit! And cover your mouth when you sneeze!)

from Mac Davis's Texas in my Rearview Mirror:
Hollywood was a lady in red, who danced in my dreams as I tossed in bed...
    (OVERSHARE! OVERSHARE!!)

from Stan Rogers' Mary Ellen Carter:
And the groan she gave, as she went down...
    (Alright! Jeez, if you really don't want to do it tonight, let's just watch some TV!)


Any more? I know there are.


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: Leadfingers
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 02:28 PM

Be a shorter list of Brilliant lines in otherwise good songs !!


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: Bert
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 02:58 PM

It happens to all of us. The other day I was singing my song "There's never a good time for leaving" and I heard the line

There's never a good time for going

In a different light.


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 03:40 PM

In Hard Times:

'Tis a whale that is heard upon the shore...


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: Charmion
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 05:14 PM

In "Play Me" by Neil Diamond: "Songs she sang to me, songs she brang to me ..."


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: Teresa
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 05:23 PM

Gods, that previous one bugs the heck out of me, too!

Not a folk song, but remember "Blinded by the Light" What the heck are the lyrics after "Blinded by the light" in the chorus. Sounds like "revved up like a doucher in a rumor of the night". :-P what are those called--mondegreens? (sp?)

I know there's probably a thread on this somewhere. I'll come back when I think of more.


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: robomatic
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 05:25 PM

I dispute the Stan Rogers line above. It's all about context and intonation. Meanwhile, while you're on one of the great wrongliners of modern hist, towit Mr. Lightfoot:

Oh, the skyline of torONto is something you'll get ONto.....
But they say you've got to live there for awhile
And if you've got the MON-ee you can get yerself a HON-ee
A written guarantee to make you smile.

And o'course Dave Barry loves hectoring Neil Diamond:

I am I cried to no one there and no one said a word not even the

chair


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: Teresa
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 05:33 PM

Ok, a nit-pick, and I'm not a gardener.:

...Far beneath the bitter snow,
Is the seed, that with the sun's love
In the spring becomes the rose.

seed?

Or that Christmas song ... "I'll be Home for Christmas":

And presents *on the tree?

Teresa


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 05:45 PM

Stan Rogers' song, The Field Behind the Plow, is terrific - provided you can get past
the second part of the second line:

Watch the field behind the plow turn to straight, dark rows
Feel the trickle in your clothes, blow the dust cake from your nose


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 05:47 PM

"What the heck are the lyrics after "Blinded by the light"

Racked up like a deuce... another runner in the night...

What was it Jimmy Rabbit said about "Whiter Shade O Pale"?
"Poxiest bleeding lyrics ever"

*walks away singing*
'In and out of the front door rraaaaan...
12 back... door angels
Their hair was a golden-brown
they didn't see me wink my eye'

dirty old man...


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: Teresa
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 06:05 PM

Thank you, Clinton. another mystery solved. on to the next one, wherever it may be. :)

Teresa


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 06:06 PM

From the Christmas staple "Sleighride":

Outside the snow is falling and friends are calling "Yoohoo!"

But of course! I call "Yoohoo!" at least three or four times a day! More often than that if there's a sleigh somehwere nearby! What's the deal? Whoever wrote the thing couldn't afford a rhyming dictionary? Aren't there about 10,000 words in the English language that would make a more sensible rhyme for "you" than "yoohoo"?

But, at least he didn't totally cop out like Alice Cooper did in "School's Out":

...and we got no principals
and we can't even think of a word that rhymes!
School's out for summer...


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 06:10 PM

WEll, there's he memorable line in some versions of "Jam on Gerry's Rocks" where "..They granted her her final wish, to be laid by young Monroe."

and the immortal line in one version of "Red River Valley"   "....can I leave her behind unprotected..."


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 06:27 PM

John Denver....."young Randy(?)in his pain, put a bullet in his brain"....pass the sick bag!


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: Amos
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 06:41 PM

That's Vandie -- the song is Marcie Darcie, or Farsee Arrow or Dark Sea Barrow or something like that.... :)


A


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: sixtieschick
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 06:45 PM

Someone left the cake out in the rain....


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 06:53 PM

"songs she brang to me .." "Bring" for "brought" is common enough in quite a lot of dialects. And pronouncing "bring" as "brang" is not such an unusual way of doing it in some places. We don't always notice that kind of thing when it isn't written down.


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 06:54 PM

Dick Greenhaus said, in part:


WEll, there's he memorable line in some versions of "Jam on Gerry's Rocks" where "..They granted her her final wish, to be laid by young Monroe."


That brings out that some of these line, seen as bad or awkward today, were fine when originated. It's only with modern turns of phrase and modern dirty turns of mind that they become an embarrassment to the song.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: sixtieschick
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 06:54 PM

Whoops, I'm not sure that's an otherwise good song.

In "Someone to Lay Down Beside Me" it always grates to hear:

"...Of a world that can be sort of heartless
Not like love that I feel in my heart
Still you know that may be all you get..."

First person? Second person? "Sort of" heartless? YOOOWWWWWWWW.


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: DonMeixner
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 11:56 PM

WEll fair is fair Guest, what ever you are, and Amos, John Denver only sang "Darcy Farrow" he didn't write it. That was Steve Gillette.

And as to "Field Behind The Plow", Gerry, you never plowed a field with a tractor driving across forty acres of dust on a hot june day have you. That is a purely descriptive and accurate line.

Don


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: Cluin
Date: 01 Feb 05 - 11:57 PM

But not so poetic an image.


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: Bobert
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 12:09 AM

Pick any line from Bobby Goldsboro's "Honey".... Absolutley the worst song ever written!!!! Makes that song about the cake baked in the rain sound like the "Gone With the Wind" song of the 20th century...


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: goodbar
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 12:37 AM

alistair hulett "plains of maralinga" (sp?)

"if they'd been white you could bet your backside there'd be holy shit to pay"

who the hell says 'backside' and then goes on to say 'holy shit'???


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: Lin in Kansas
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 01:19 AM

Someone who thinks they've just made a very funny scatological pun, of course.

Bletch...

Lin


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: Peace
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 01:21 AM

Muskrat love.


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: Peace
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 01:23 AM

Dreamboat Annie, Dreamboat Annie, little ship of dreams.


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: Cats
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 04:38 PM

'I want to wake up in the city that never sleeps' - New York, New York...eh?


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 07:28 PM

What about this verse, which brings the otherwise haunting "Teddy O'Neill" way down beyond sub-sub music hall farce (no wonder Dolores couldn't bring herself to sing it). Worse still, it's the opener:

I've seen the old cabin he danced his wild jigs in
As neat a mud cabin as ever was seen
Considerin' t'was used to keep poultry and pigs in
I'm sure it was always kept elegant clean


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 07:34 PM

PS: Don't be misled by the wee boreen and the crossroads and the rambling lane - they're a later improvement.


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: GUEST,Joe_F
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 08:38 PM

GUEST,Gerry says:

> Stan Rogers' song, The Field Behind the Plow, is terrific - provided

> you can get past the second part of the second line:

>

> Watch the field behind the plow turn to straight, dark rows

> Feel the trickle in your clothes, blow the dust cake from your nose

Why is the dust cake any less dignified than the trickle? Both show he's been there.

*

My nominee for the worst line that fails to ruin a good song ("All My Trials") is

"And the pilgrims call it the tree of life."

The rhyme is "paradise". The vowel in "life" is stretched out over two whole measures, during which the naive listener can wonder whether the word is going to be "lies" or "lice". But then, we come to "Too late, but never mind", and all is forgiven.

--- Joe Fineman    joe_f@verizon.net

||: Politics is dirty business, and business is dirty politics. :||


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 02 Feb 05 - 09:05 PM

I could never get comfortable with Judy Collins turning "Man of Constant Sorrow" into "Maid of Constant Sorrow." "Maid" is just too cutesy. So I start it like this:

I've lived a life of constant sorrow...


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: Melani
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 12:02 AM

Or that Christmas song ... "I'll be Home for Christmas":

And presents *on the tree?

It was an old custom to hang small presents on the tree--19th century, and possibly 20th as well.


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: mg
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 12:40 AM

I think there was almost a consensus before that the absolute worst line was from a song I forget the name of..come to your life like a warrior nothing can bore yer...actually the rest of the song is quite fine...

And for an author who consistently has about one great outstanding verse and several not great ones..Percy French...it's a shame because his good verses are so good.. mg


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: Teresa
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 12:47 AM

Thanks, Melani.   I'm amazed at the things I learn on Mudcat. :)

Teresa


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: GUEST,Schoolmaster
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 12:49 AM

Mary,

Go to bed.


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: RobbieWilson
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 04:28 AM

Eric Clapton sang"You talk to me in sign language, while I'm eating a sandwich", but I'm not sure that counts for this thread as it would be stretching it a bit to call that an otherwise good song. Another rhyme which has always made me cringe is from Tom Paxton's "made of sand"
As I walk down the street my thoughts are tumblin',
round and round, round and round.
Underneath my feet the subway's rumblin'
underground, under ground"

love Robbie


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: BillR
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 04:40 AM

>Or that Christmas song ... "I'll be Home for Christmas":
>And presents *on the tree?

I've always heard that line as: "And presents under tree."
Maybe I've been hearing it wrong all these years.

-Bill


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 04:40 AM

Seven long years I've been paitently waiting, for just one glimpse of my Willie-O....

Ho hum.....

LTS


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: GUEST,Richard
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 04:52 AM

And of course:-
My Willie's not returning from the plains of Waterloo


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 05:56 AM

In " Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound", Tom Paxton writes " nail your shoes to the kitchen floor, lace them up and shut the door", But really those actions should surely be reversed - i.e. could you reach the door with your shoes pinned to the ground?


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: CStrong
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 07:49 AM

I'm tempted to correct Neil:

Songs she brought to me/Songs she taught to me...

But then ya need two MORE!


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: robomatic
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 08:05 AM

I like the pharase of Guest, Joe's:

"worst line that fails to ruin a good song" because I really like the next two songs:

Bonepony, a wonderful rockabilly song:

"There is a sacred spot upon a mountaintop
Beside a river flows, and it don't ever stop"

Well, obviously, that river isn't flowing on the mountaintop.

I am a devotee of the work of Dan Bern. I recall that in one of his songs he reaches the end with: "I've got to go I need a shave" to get out of it.


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: GUEST,Joe_F
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 10:46 AM

In Kipling's "Mandalay":

"Though I walks with fifty 'ousemaids outer Chelsea to the Strand"

If one is reciting rather than singing that, it is just barely possible, by putting enormous stress on "fifty", to deliver the intended sense (I don't care how many dates I have with Englishwomen). But that won't fit in a tune, so there he is, poor fellow, traipsing along the pavement with his train of 50 housemaids. Ah, but then we come to

"I've a neater, sweeter maiden in a cleaner, greener land"

and, once again, all is forgiven. How often, on business trips from my commune in Virginia, did I think of that line when I saw the New York women stuck in their fashionable clothes like castings stuck in their dies!

--- Joe Fineman    joe_f@verizon.net

||: If you do the right thing under duress, you still get credit, but you don't have as much fun. :||


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 12:41 PM

I once saw on Country music tv a guy who was quite good and i was enjoying the song till he took it too far and sang;
"I've a burning, yearning, churning, deep inside o'me"
Try and sing that without sounding ridiculously Scandinavian!


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: GUEST,Nancy King at work
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 07:58 PM

I think the "Cherry Tree Carol" is a lovely song, but have always been uncomfortable with the line,

   "And Mary gathered cherries while Joseph stood around."

Makes him seem like a vagrant or something.

Nancy


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: Little Hawk
Date: 03 Feb 05 - 08:10 PM

Mary, you've got it. The "come to your life like a warrior ('war-yah'), nothing can bore ya" is the worst. Even Shatner could not have topped that if he wrote songs.


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Feb 05 - 03:37 AM

From Lizzie Wan:

"There is a child between my two sides
Between my willy and eye."

Bit odd, like, her having a willy?


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: GUEST,John O'Lennaine
Date: 04 Feb 05 - 03:52 AM

From Roy Orbison:

"Love is like a stove, burns you when its hot."

What is this thing called love?
Well, it's a bit like a stove, see?


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 04 Feb 05 - 07:12 AM

What is THIS thing called, Love?

But I thought a pianist was someone who plays the piano....


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Subject: RE: Not-So-Good Lines in Songs
From: GUEST,Joe_F
Date: 04 Feb 05 - 10:31 AM

Guest Nancy: "Stood around", said of one person, is a (I believe) vulgar American, and a tipoff that that stanza is a fairly recent U.S. interpolation. To me, it suggests, not vagrancy, but idle frustration, as in "She immediately chatted up a storm with her ex, while I stood around with my finger etc.". So, yes, that is a funny line; but on the other hand it is so perfectly in the spirit of the original that I have always found it charming.

*

Sometimes, a word that is not poetic diction can be not only tolerable but an improvement in the poetry. An example, IMO, is in "Angel Band":

I hear the noise of wings.

I have heard that "corrected" to "I hear the sound of wings". It is true that, in a certain mood, "noise", with its suggestion of unpleasantness, is ludicrous. But that is not the mood for even a skeptic to approach a hymn in. "Noise" makes a startling improvement in vividness. That song, after all, belongs to people who believe they are *saved*, and who know from their Bible that salvation is not pretty. If you were saved, profanely & prosaically, from some earthly misfortune, and contemplated telling about it with a sentence "I heard the blessed --- of a helicopter", would you go for "sound", or "noise", or indeed "racket"?

Another example, from "Fox on the Run":

She walked thru the cornfield and down to the river.

Her hair shone like gold in the hot morning sun.

It would have been easy to call the sun bright instead of hot -- a better link with "shone", besides being more "poetic". But "hot" takes us back to the cornfield, back to earth, and even its sexual tinge IMO is not unwelcome. After the gold, and end of romance! That one unexpected word invigorates the refrain & thus the whole song.

--- Joe Fineman    joe_f@verizon.net

||: You have to die of something. :||


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