The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #17499   Message #169397
Posted By: McGrath of Harlow
27-Jan-00 - 07:42 PM
Thread Name: Origin: The Man with the Microphone (Sydney Carter
Subject: RE: Sidney Cartar Tune Info
It's Sydney Carter - and clicking on that will give you a web site that tells you lots about him.

He's a lovely man, and no, the song is in no way knocking Leadbelly etc. It's about the way that traditional songs can be stolen by unscrupulous collectors and arrangers, and pulled away from their roots. And the Harry Fox Agency and so forth.

The chorus I take it just stands for the Americanisation of English traditions. The "whack" is just a nonsense syllable, as in whack-fol-la-fol-larum and fol-the-diddle-dee. Doesn't imply any idea of hitting. In fact Sydney Carter always changed his songs around, and the chorus in the DT version goes:

cho: With a whack for Peter and Paul and Mary
And burly old ivy, too.

Unfortunately some of his songs have had to be yanked from the DT, including his best known, The Lord of the Dance. Instead there is a message: PERMISSION TO INCLUDE THIS SONG HAS BEEN DENIED BY THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER, STAINER AND BELL, THROUGH THEIR US AND CANADIAN ADMINISTRATOR, HOPE PUBLISHING COMPANY (800 323-1049)

Which is a pity, and something I am sure that Sydney Carter would never wish. (Of course it might be something to do with the court case that came up because Michael Flatley used and abused Lord of the Dance, under the impression it was public domain and he could keep all the money.)

Somebody said Sydney had died but I hadn't heard anything about that. If anyone knows either way, let's hear from you.