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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
SouthernCelt Lyr Add: Billy Gray / Billy Grey (Norman Blake) (16) RE: Lyr Add: Norman Blake's Billy Grey or Billy Gray 11 Mar 08

Yes, GUEST,rick, the lyrics in the digitrad are not the lyrics Blake wrote but considering the notes about where this song was first heard, this sounds like a case of a performer (or more than one) moving the song along via word of mouth and singing what they think they heard. (Or they decided to make a few changes that they thought would help the song.)

The lyrics you've posted are the same lyrics that Robert Earl Keen, Jr. did in his version, which is where I first heard the song performed. Since I've got this thing about taking songs that I really like and making my own modifications to fit a different geographic area or era, I've focused on doing a version that deemphasizes the Western-ness of the song and reset it to my home county in Mississippi. That makes the song appeal more to locals when I do a song set for the local historical society. Since I'm not modifying the song for purposes of creating a separate arrangement or striving for a copyrightable performance version, I figure no harm's been done. (Plus I don't earn any money when I perform for the historical society, it's totally a volunteer effort.)

It's a doggone good song any way you do it.


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