The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #34695   Message #469805
Posted By: Charley Noble
24-May-01 - 05:24 PM
Thread Name: Are folk lyrics ever 'wrong?'
Subject: RE: Are folk lyrics ever 'wrong?'
I like to mess with the words, but I also like to know what I'm working from as accurately as possible and sometimes that means moving back to a longer broadside version or collected version and puzzling over previous changes. I think it is courtesy to credit whatever sources "your version" is based on. In that way you permit others to more readily admire or damn your "skillful" changes.

Of course, sometimes the song informant got it wrong, or the ethnomusicologist blundered. I remember puzzling over a line to a traditional "Wreckers Song" from South Florida which ran "Why, we will come to you on the shore, Amongst the rocks where the breakers roar." which makes more sense as "Why, we'll WELCOME you on the shore, Amongst the rocks where the breakers roar." I'm not sure who made a mistake but the line makes more sense now.