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Rewrite Original Lyrics,Thoughts Please

GUEST,DonMeixner 19 Aug 10 - 03:29 PM
Crane Driver 20 Aug 10 - 07:32 AM
GUEST,DonMeixner 20 Aug 10 - 08:49 AM
Commander Crabbe 20 Aug 10 - 09:48 AM
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Subject: Rewrite Original Lyrics,Thoughts Please
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 19 Aug 10 - 03:29 PM

Joe Offer and I have bashed back and forth in the threads. The song is The Wild Plainsmen's Kind. I think an undiscovered and unfinished beauty of a song. It has a great melody and a great idea for a song lyric that may or may not have been fully realized by the author and the singer. The authors of the lyrics and the melody I have never heard of before. J. Palmer and L. Weiser. The singer is Chad Mitchell (Trio) and the song is on his solo effort Virgo Moon.

Chad is a fine voice and has been for decades. The engineer and mixer allowed parts of these lyrics to go so low into the mix as to be unintelligible and that is a crime. In some cases the lyric is so obscure as to be nearly meaningless. In many ways it is like Let Her Go Down by Steel Eye Span(Peter Knight). A great idea for a song with a good melody and killer chorus that was so poorly served by the author's verse lyric as to make no sense. To my ear it sounds like these songs were written into a corner and the author just didn't straighten them out. But they are flawed beauties.

I intend to use them both but with lyrics that make sense to the over all song. I am not talking about writing new verses but changing a tense value on a word here and there and maybe find a better rhyme now and then. The folk process maybe?

Is this acceptable? I wonder if others deal with these problems the same way I do. Or do you sing the song as written and wonder what the author had in mind?

This is an opinion and practice question with no right answer. I'm just wondering.

Don Meixner

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Subject: RE: Rewrite Original Lyrics,Thoughts Please
From: Crane Driver
Date: 20 Aug 10 - 07:32 AM

I guess the first question is whether the song is still under copyright. If it is, then whoever holds the rights could at least be consulted. Are the people responsible for the recording contactable for information? The names given for authors may be pseudonyms, especially if they don't seem to have written anything else - maybe Mitchell wrote it himself but wasn't sure what response it would get, because of the very issues you raise. Often professional songwriters are writing to deadlines and push out unfinished songs because there's no more time but they're under contract to produce something.

We certainly make minor adjustments to songs if the original makes little sense. If the author is known, we do try to contact them. With my songwriter's head on, I would rather someone changed one of my songs a little than didn't sing it at all. The worst thing that can happen to a song is to be left all alone on a piece of paper.

As for being acceptable, you should know by now that you will receive the whole range of responses, from those who agree fully with what you're doing to those who condemn you for all eternity for changing a single letter. Life's too short to worry about it. As far as I'm concerned, what matters is whether the people you sing to and with enjoy the songs you sing. Your mileage may vary.


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Subject: RE: Rewrite Original Lyrics,Thoughts Please
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 20 Aug 10 - 08:49 AM

Thanks Andrew, a like mind.


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Subject: RE: Rewrite Original Lyrics,Thoughts Please
From: Commander Crabbe
Date: 20 Aug 10 - 09:48 AM


Andrew has it about right. Better the lyrics be adjusted and the song sung than it wallow in obscurity.

Go for it.


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