The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #91381   Message #3286649
Posted By: Mick Pearce (MCP)
07-Jan-12 - 02:26 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Crazy Man Michael (Richard Thompson)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Crazy Man Michael (Richard Thompson)
The thread started with asking what was correct and as far as I can see kiss-o is correct ie what RT wrote, and apparently what he still sings.

RT is unlikely to give you any explanation - see the quotes I put up in the Wheely Down by Richard Thompson thread (although he has said it was about the death of Jeannie Franklyn in a car accident).

As for how the song develops in the wild that's a different matter and maybe in a hundred years time, when who RT was is an esoteric fact, the song may be sung quite differently. It's happened with songs that were collected as traditional and which modern resources let us find original sheet music from the last century; you can see the changes made. People are always altering what they hear that doesn't make sense to them so that does make sense to them (the same way that people prefer to believe conspiracy theories rather than believe that something is a random event; they want it to make sense).

And just to be clear, I have no problem at all with people altering songs; I do it all the time myself quite deliberately. (Yesterday I posted Shirley Collins' version of
Long Years Ago, where the first verse has an obvious missing word at the end of the last line. You can see it in other versions posted there and the rhyme makes it obvious. Shirley sang it presumably how she got it, with the missing word. I don't sing the song, but if I did I'm sure I'd insert the missing word). With modern compositions I think I'm a bit more conservative - by and large I try and sing what was written. But not always; sometimes a writer's speech style doesn't sit well with me and I make small alterations to the language, but I wouldn't alter anything that I thought changed the meaning of the song as it was written.