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Lyr Add: Billy Gray / Billy Grey (Norman Blake)

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GUEST,rick 11 Mar 08 - 05:12 PM
SouthernCelt 11 Mar 08 - 07:49 PM
GUEST,Greycap 11 Mar 08 - 08:08 PM
Big Tim 12 Mar 08 - 04:27 AM
MartinRyan 12 Mar 08 - 04:55 AM
GUEST,Greycap 12 Mar 08 - 02:26 PM
Big Tim 12 Mar 08 - 02:55 PM
GUEST,Jim 12 Mar 08 - 03:05 PM
Big Tim 14 Mar 08 - 01:42 PM
GUEST,Greycap 14 Mar 08 - 09:37 PM
Big Tim 15 Mar 08 - 04:33 AM
Jim Dixon 19 Sep 11 - 01:40 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 19 Sep 11 - 03:40 PM
GUEST 16 Feb 13 - 04:32 PM
Tiger 16 Feb 13 - 04:44 PM
GUEST 17 Feb 13 - 04:40 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: BILLY GRAY (Norman Blake)
From: GUEST,rick
Date: 11 Mar 08 - 05:12 PM

This is a great resource, but the lyrics given for this song are not accurate. Here they are:

Billy Gray rode into Gantry back in '83.
There he did meet young Sarah McRae,
The wild rose of morning, that pale flower of dawning,
Herald of springtime in his young life that day.

Sarah she could not see the daylight of reality.
In her young eyes Billy bore not a flaw.
Knowing not her chosen one was a hired gun,
Wanted in Kansas City by the law.

Then one day a tall man came riding 'cross the Badlands
Lying to the north of New Mexico.
He was overheard to say he was looking for Bill Gray,
Perilous man and a dangerous outlaw.

Well the deadly news came creeping to Billy, fast sleeping,
There in the Clarendon Bar and Hotel.
He fled toward the old church there on the outskirts
Thinking he'd climb to that old steeple bell.

But a rifle ball came flying, face down he lay dying
There in the dust of the road where he fell.
Sarah she ran to him, just cursing the lawman,
Accepting no reason, knowing he was killed.

Sarah lives in that same old white frame house
Where she first met Billy some forty years ago.
And the wild rose of morning, she's faded with the dawning
With each day of sorrow the long years have sown.

And written on a stone where the dusty winds have long blown
Eighteen words to a passing world say:
"True love knows no season, no rhyme, nor no reason.
Justice is cold as the Granger County clay."

Yes "True love knows no season, no rhyme, nor no reason.
Justice is cold as the Granger County clay".

Norman's work is fabulous. Keep it alive.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Norman Blake's Billy Grey or Billy Gray
From: SouthernCelt
Date: 11 Mar 08 - 07:49 PM

Yes, GUEST,rick, the lyrics in the digitrad are not the lyrics Blake wrote but considering the notes about where this song was first heard, this sounds like a case of a performer (or more than one) moving the song along via word of mouth and singing what they think they heard. (Or they decided to make a few changes that they thought would help the song.)

The lyrics you've posted are the same lyrics that Robert Earl Keen, Jr. did in his version, which is where I first heard the song performed. Since I've got this thing about taking songs that I really like and making my own modifications to fit a different geographic area or era, I've focused on doing a version that deemphasizes the Western-ness of the song and reset it to my home county in Mississippi. That makes the song appeal more to locals when I do a song set for the local historical society. Since I'm not modifying the song for purposes of creating a separate arrangement or striving for a copyrightable performance version, I figure no harm's been done. (Plus I don't earn any money when I perform for the historical society, it's totally a volunteer effort.)

It's a doggone good song any way you do it.

SC


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Norman Blake's Billy Grey or Billy Gray
From: GUEST,Greycap
Date: 11 Mar 08 - 08:08 PM

Blake is an American icon. In my humble opinion there is no better singer, guitarist or writer of the American folk song genre than he.
I could enthuse for hours...he and Nancy give me immense musical pleasure, their respect for traditional music, their taste in material, I love 'em.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Norman Blake's Billy Grey or Billy Gray
From: Big Tim
Date: 12 Mar 08 - 04:27 AM

I'm not familiar with the work of Norman Blake. When I checked on Amazon I discovered dozens of albums by him. Does he do traditional or self-penned or a mixture? I'd appreciate it if someone could suggest a good introductory album to his work

I know Billy Gray from the singing of Planxty (Christy Moore).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Norman Blake's Billy Grey or Billy Gray
From: MartinRyan
Date: 12 Mar 08 - 04:55 AM

Billy Gray has always seemed to me to be one of the best "fits" of a tune to a story that I know.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Norman Blake's Billy Grey or Billy Gray
From: GUEST,Greycap
Date: 12 Mar 08 - 02:26 PM

Big Tim,
Try 'Fields of November/Old & New' on Flying Fish FF70004. 26 tracks of great stuff.
Hope this helps.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Norman Blake's Billy Grey or Billy Gray
From: Big Tim
Date: 12 Mar 08 - 02:55 PM

Thanks Greycap, I've ordered that one.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Norman Blake's Billy Grey or Billy Gray
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 12 Mar 08 - 03:05 PM

One of my favourites is his first solo album "Home In Sulpher Springs" which I bought over thirty years ago after hearing Norman on John Hartford's "Steam Powered Areoplane" and "Morning Bugle" albums.
They're all good though. I like the two albums he did with Tony Rice too.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Billy Gray (Norman Blake)
From: Big Tim
Date: 14 Mar 08 - 01:42 PM

I got my copy of 'The Fields of November' today. Listening to Norman singing 'Billy Gray' right now, sounds pretty good, thanks!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Billy Gray (Norman Blake)
From: GUEST,Greycap
Date: 14 Mar 08 - 09:37 PM

Big Tim,
If you need any more Norman Blake material, as it obviously does the trick, tell me and I'll send you any of his material you need.
And you may need all of it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Billy Gray (Norman Blake)
From: Big Tim
Date: 15 Mar 08 - 04:33 AM

Very kind offer Greycap.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Billy Gray / Billy Grey (Norman Blake)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 19 Sep 11 - 01:40 PM

Too bad GUEST,rick, who started this thread, didn't tell us where he got the lyrics he posted, or why he considers his version authoritative.

While his lyrics are in some ways closer to Blake's original words than the version in the DT, which come by way of Planxty, GUEST,rick uses one word that I haven't seen or heard in any other version: I mean perilous in verse 3, line 4.

Blake wrote and sang ruthless.

Planxty sang wanted.

Robert Earl Keen sang ruthless (despite what SouthernCelt said in this thread).

It's funny how changes will creep into a song while the singer is totally unaware, and he will swear his words are "correct."

We need no better illustration of how the "folk process" works.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Billy Gray / Billy Grey (Norman Blake)
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 19 Sep 11 - 03:40 PM

Another thread on this song here, which recently showed its head above the parapet:

Lyr/Chords Req: True Love Knows No Season (Planxty

http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=26228


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Subject: 'Billy Gray' at Murder Ballad Monday
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Feb 13 - 04:32 PM

This week at Murder Ballad Monday, we give a listen to Norman Blake's "Billy Gray," considering matters of landscape, outlawry, and death and listening to some great performances from both sides of the Atlantic. A tip of the hat to participants in an earlier Mudcat discussion for putting a couple of this week's performances on our radar.

Billy Gray : How do we govern the lawless terrain, the wide open spaces within and without? This week starts with Ken meeting Norman Blake's outlaw Billy Gray, a fictitious man in a mythical land. But Ken, Norman, and Billy show us something quite real about the way we see ourselves, about the way we strive for justice and love's redemption though they sometimes must be totally at odds. They show us that we all spend some time leaving tracks in the Grainger County clay.

A Ruthless Man and a Dangerous Outlaw : Ken continues his journey with "Billy Gray" by way of ancient Greece. He hits Aristotle's trifecta of persuasion in considering how "subtle matters of arrangement and voice take the song wide of the mark." But his best evidence comes with the arrangements that hit their target - Mark Erelli and Jeffrey Foucault, Robert Earl Keen, and Katy Moffatt all achieve the perfect balance of logos, pathos, and ethos.

True Love Knows No Season : In this last post of the week, Ken follows "Billy Gray" across the ocean and finds that the folk process has already begun its work on this "rip-roaring yarn". Scottish musician Adam McCulloch provides us with an excellent version of "True Love Knows Know Season" and gives us his perspective on it all in a fascinating interview. We find therein as well that outlaws and musicians may have something in common, as perhaps do the badlands north of New Mexico and the green hills and valleys of the Auld Country.


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Subject: RE: 'Billy Gray'
From: Tiger
Date: 16 Feb 13 - 04:44 PM

Wonderful version by Planxty.


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Subject: RE: 'Billy Gray'
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Feb 13 - 04:40 PM

Yes. They seem to be key players in taking it east over the Atlantic. Influential for musicians in Scotland and Ireland both.


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