The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #7123 Message #3244142
Posted By: Genie
24-Oct-11 - 05:48 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Kentucky Babe (Buck, Geibel, 1897)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Kentucky Babe (Buck, Geibel, 1897)
In come contexts, I think it's fine to sing lyrics that are now 'politically incorrect', as the history that they are. But there are obviously other settings where many in your audience would either be very offended or perhaps take your singing of the song as an endorsement of the viewpoint expressed in the song itself.
FWIW, "colored" was for many decades the "politically correct" term. (And I still puzzle at why "colored people" is somehow much more offensive than "people of color," but I really don't expect people's feelings to be dictated by logic.)
I think one of the biggest problems with songs that are "written in dialect" is that the printed word does not correspond very closely to actual sounds. It's like trying to master the sound of a Russian song by seeing the lyrics transliterated into some sort of 'phonetic English'. If I see 'phonetic' words like "heab'm," "yo'," "de cornfiel'," etc., that does not really tell me how a slave on an early 19th C. plantation would have pronounced those words (even when trying to speak in a manner that would have not gotten him or her whipped for being "uppity"). And I'm guessing that many times the white entertainers in minstrel shows probably exaggerated the dialect, overdoing the sounds they imagined were represented by the way the "dialect" was written down.
I think you could probably sing the song very close to the way it was originally written, without overcompensating to remove all traces of dialect, and it probably wouldn't be offensive to very many. (I'd probably take out "coon," though.)