The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #28182   Message #349062
Posted By: Ferrara
30-Nov-00 - 01:54 PM
Thread Name: Variant vs wrong
Subject: RE: Variant vs wrong
Russ -- in response to your 'idiosyncratic version of Bill Staines' "Roseville Fair"'... I realized I do idiosyncratic versions of a great many songs. When I'm singing them to people who are likely to know them differently, I often explain ahead of time that the song is different, and why.

Examples are songs I learned from my mother, who learned them when she was a kid in Georgia; songs I learned first orally from a singer who did a nonstandard version; songs that I first learned from a source book or one of Bill's wonderful old hardback collections; and once in a while, songs that I've "messed with."

For example, I misremembered Helen Schneyer's tune for the last line of "Sheath and Knife" for years. Once I re-heard it and listened to Jean Redpath doing the song, I looked it all up in Bronson's tune book. Well, it didn't agree exactly with either Helen's or Jean's versions. So, who is the authority here? Have they been messin' with it? Is my way wrong because I messed with it?

So, I sang it at the Getaway with my misremembered tune for those few measures, because it works for me. I Warned Everybody Before I Started to listen carefully, and it was one of the most wonderful group singing experiences I've ever had. They listened and they filled that room with harmonies and it was glorious.

But since then I've learned that most of the time, people do NOT listen, so I'm trying to sing Helen's version as comfortably as I sing my own. Just makes it easier for everyone. (But I may yet switch back....)