I fully agree with Noreen's point regarding 'Rare Old Times'. The line is descriptive not racist. If such a line should be changed in case it may offends somebody, are there any songs left that could be safely sung without heavy handed editing?
Songs from the Napolionic war would be out, in case they offended the French. Similarly, songs about English/Scottish battles. Be careful what Irish content there is in a song (Irish be careful what you say about the English). Most shanties would be out for fear of being critical about the Dutch/Germans/Chinese/Spanish etc. Where would it end?
To quote Murray - RESPECT. Respect a song for being a product of it's time. The sentiments expressed in a song may not concur with 21st century values, but that isn't an excuse to butcher the song. 'Rare Old Times' is nearly 25 years old. Values have changed in those 25 years, and that song, if written today, probibly would be written differently.
Getting back to the original point of this thread. I would probibly be a 1.9. Songs do evolve. Phasing, timing and melody, are all effected by each singer that touches a song, and each time that they sing it. However, reducing a song to, or towards jibberish brings it one time closer to the end of it's life. Eventually somebody will disgard it as meaningless.
In an early post KB said
'- it would be a bit cheeky to change anything if you were singing more formally (I s'pose I mean where people would look to you as an authority sort of).'
I have to disagree on this point. If you are singing to an audience, be it 2000 or 2 people, you are setting youself up as being the authority on the songs you sing. If they want words, or background information, it is you they will ask. Surely it makes sense to show that you are interested in your subject and able to pass on good information, rather than 'buggered propriety.'