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poet songs

Susan A-R 21 Jan 00 - 11:07 PM
Chet W. 22 Jan 00 - 12:07 AM
DonMeixner 22 Jan 00 - 12:16 AM
roopoo 22 Jan 00 - 03:42 AM
Micca 22 Jan 00 - 08:21 AM
Pinetop Slim 22 Jan 00 - 08:59 AM
Tiger 22 Jan 00 - 09:30 AM
Micca 22 Jan 00 - 09:40 AM
raredance 22 Jan 00 - 10:12 AM
Susan A-R 22 Jan 00 - 01:22 PM
TheOldMole 22 Jan 00 - 01:25 PM
Mbo 22 Jan 00 - 01:27 PM
Lanfranc 22 Jan 00 - 01:32 PM
Micca 22 Jan 00 - 02:42 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 22 Jan 00 - 03:42 PM
DonMeixner 22 Jan 00 - 03:44 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 22 Jan 00 - 03:58 PM
Ringer 22 Jan 00 - 04:57 PM
Ringer 22 Jan 00 - 04:59 PM
Stewie 22 Jan 00 - 05:17 PM
Susan A-R 22 Jan 00 - 05:22 PM
Susanne (skw) 22 Jan 00 - 05:32 PM
Mbo 22 Jan 00 - 05:35 PM
DonMeixner 22 Jan 00 - 05:36 PM
Susan A-R 22 Jan 00 - 05:46 PM
Susanne (skw) 22 Jan 00 - 06:11 PM
Susan A-R 22 Jan 00 - 06:19 PM
Lanfranc 24 Jan 00 - 06:56 PM
Barbara Shaw 24 Jan 00 - 07:48 PM
Amos 24 Jan 00 - 09:16 PM
Susan A-R 24 Jan 00 - 10:11 PM
Mbo 24 Jan 00 - 10:15 PM
Lonesome EJ 24 Jan 00 - 11:02 PM
Lonesome EJ 24 Jan 00 - 11:07 PM
Amos 24 Jan 00 - 11:17 PM
DonMeixner 24 Jan 00 - 11:49 PM
GUEST,Atropos 15 Sep 09 - 06:16 AM
GUEST,Mike 15 Sep 09 - 08:09 AM
Bryn Pugh 15 Sep 09 - 08:13 AM
GUEST,Gerry 15 Sep 09 - 08:47 AM
synbyn 15 Sep 09 - 02:36 PM
Barbara Shaw 15 Sep 09 - 05:02 PM
Joe_F 15 Sep 09 - 05:57 PM
GUEST,Joseph de Culver City 15 Sep 09 - 06:11 PM
semi-submersible 15 Sep 09 - 09:00 PM
MGM·Lion 15 Sep 09 - 10:25 PM
Susan A-R 22 Sep 09 - 06:35 PM
Jack Campin 22 Sep 09 - 06:49 PM
GUEST,matt milton 22 Sep 09 - 07:04 PM
Amergin 22 Sep 09 - 07:31 PM
Uncle_DaveO 22 Sep 09 - 08:12 PM
Jack Campin 22 Sep 09 - 08:47 PM
GUEST,matt milton 22 Sep 09 - 08:57 PM
Bettynh 23 Sep 09 - 12:33 PM
GUEST,Suegorgeous away in Ireland 23 Sep 09 - 03:31 PM
Jack Campin 23 Sep 09 - 05:33 PM
Charley Noble 23 Sep 09 - 11:23 PM
matt milton 24 Sep 09 - 07:46 AM
matt milton 24 Sep 09 - 08:03 AM
Suegorgeous 23 Mar 10 - 09:29 PM
Amos 23 Mar 10 - 10:04 PM
GUEST,Marco Paolo McNeill 18 Jan 11 - 08:08 AM
CupOfTea 18 Jan 11 - 02:37 PM
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Subject: poet songs
From: Susan A-R
Date: 21 Jan 00 - 11:07 PM

Looking at the Go No More A Roving thread got me thinking about this again. I have played with the idea of a program of songs with words by noted poets, either material they wrote for songs, or poems later set to music. Some of my favorites are: Kipling's A Smuggler's Song, Yeats Wandering Angus, the Byron Go No More A Roving which got me started on this, Poe's Annabelle Lee, The Highwayman (who wrote that??) and Burns Song Composed In August.

What are your favorites?


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Chet W.
Date: 22 Jan 00 - 12:07 AM

For a contemporary take check Greg Brown's CD "Songs of Innocence and of Experience", taken from the William Blake poems.

Chet


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: DonMeixner
Date: 22 Jan 00 - 12:16 AM

The Highwayman by Noyes, tune by Phil Ochs.


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: roopoo
Date: 22 Jan 00 - 03:42 AM

With Kipling poems in mind: "The Vampire" set to music by the late Keith Marsden.

mouldy


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Micca
Date: 22 Jan 00 - 08:21 AM

Theres a rather good laurence poem called "the ballad of the good Lord Nelson" which, with a bit of adjustment fits the "Princess Royal" tune and includes the immortal verses
"Now the blacker the berry the thicker the Juice
Think of Good Lord Nelson and avoid self abuse
For the empty sleeve was no mere excuse
Aboard the Victory, Victory O,"

" So stiff on a pillar ,with a phallic air
Nelson stylites in Trafalgar Square
Reminds the British what once they were
Aboard the Victory, Victory O,"


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Pinetop Slim
Date: 22 Jan 00 - 08:59 AM

"Secaucus, N.J." a poem written to the tune of "Sweet Betsy from Pike." Want to say X.J. Kennedy the author, but am not sure.


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Tiger
Date: 22 Jan 00 - 09:30 AM

I love "Lachin Y Gair" (Lochnagar) by Lord Byron.


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Micca
Date: 22 Jan 00 - 09:40 AM

Sorry that "Lord Nelson" post should have said Laurence Durrell, Prof Reading not my strong pint.


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: raredance
Date: 22 Jan 00 - 10:12 AM

Emily Dickinson "Because I Could Not Stop For Death"; tune: "Yellow Rose of Texas"

Christina Rosetti; "In the Bleak Mid Winter"; music by Gustav Holst

rich r


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Susan A-R
Date: 22 Jan 00 - 01:22 PM

Actually a Lot of Emily's stuff fits Yellow Rose. There is a nice set of her songs set for chorus by Neale (sp) Bruce out of Amherst MA. He's one of those contemporary Sacred Harp writers, and does some nice singable stuff.

Not sure I could get through the Lwrence D. with a straight face. Oh My.


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: TheOldMole
Date: 22 Jan 00 - 01:25 PM

Fred Koller, on his album "Sweet Baby Fred," set a poem of mine, "Painter of Reality," to music.


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Mbo
Date: 22 Jan 00 - 01:27 PM

Almost all the songs I write are poems by noted (and not so noted) poets that I put music too--including Scott's "Lochingar," & "MacGregor's Gathering," Alexander Anderson's "Toshie Norrie," Doyle's "The Franklin's Maid," and other poems by personal favs John Keegan Casey, Samuel Ferguson, and James Clarence Mangan, and many others. I'm LI (Lyrically Impaired) and this is the only way I can write music--and from the feedback I've gotten here (including Gargoyle) that my music is very good. I got a ton o' more poems I've yet to do just waiting for me...

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Lanfranc
Date: 22 Jan 00 - 01:32 PM

On a very English (actually Cornish) level there's Charles Causley. He usually has the decency to employ both rhyme and meter.

Check out the late lamented Alex Atterson's arrangements of his poems, and also Leon Rosselson's setting of "Timothy Winters".

I've sung "Timothy Winters" and "The Ballad of Katherine of Aragon" for some thirty years in settings by an Australian called Mike Ball which I learned from another Aussie called Peter Parkhill when the world was young.

I also had the temerity to set "Cowboy Song" to a tune not a million miles from "On the Road to Fairfax County" by Dave Massengill(?) (cf The Roches version)

There are still plenty of others to go at, Causley is quite prolific and has been writing for some years.


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Micca
Date: 22 Jan 00 - 02:42 PM

Susan, you should see the rest of it!!!!!Phew!!!


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 22 Jan 00 - 03:42 PM

I remind gently that most poetry was once sung and accompanied by music, this is still true of poetry written in non-English literatures--for the best of the English composer poets, don't forget Thomas Campion--

Dear old Uncle Ezra Pound was very keen on the idea of bringing music back to poetry, and wrote music for some of his work--I don't have anything at my fingertips now, but if you are interested, I can make some calls--

Also, don't forget Vachel Lindsay (With a Boom-lay-boom-lay-boom-lay boom!) and of course, the Fugs, who did some interesting things with such as "Ah, Sunflower" and "How Sweet I Roamed from Field to Field" and Swineburne's "Atalanta in Calydon"

I think that this is a really important thing to do, Susan, and, I hope that others see the wonderful possibilities, and look for their own ways to do this--

I have been very pleased to hear from Mbo about his work in setting melodies to poems , and am glad to see that his interest in this seems to be contagious--

I am reading an old collection of poetry just now, from 1899, called "Vers du Societe" edited by Carolyn Wells--

I understand that it was a favorite of Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, and others, Gershwin was inspired to write when he discovered that a number of the verses were really songs--


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: DonMeixner
Date: 22 Jan 00 - 03:44 PM

Charles Causley was introduced to me on an albumn by Paul Mc Neill, never heard from since by me, I hope he still records. It is in my list of 10 best folk albumns I own.

The song 'The Penny and The Apricot Tree ' and Paul sang another song that I beieve was a Causley poem called "Mother Get Up Unbar The Door". (May be other songs with this title so I am unsure about this one.) The Causlry stuff I have read I have enjoued and recalled thinking they all could be fine songs.

Don


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 22 Jan 00 - 03:58 PM

Sorry to do this, but please, check the thread--it is an important music-realated issue--


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Ringer
Date: 22 Jan 00 - 04:57 PM

I know folk all about poetry or poems set to music, but 3 things in the above caught my attention:
Did Phil Ochs do The Highmayman in its entirity? Must have been a very long track. When I was young (going back nearly half a century now), my mother would recite (from memory) the poem to me when I was going to sleep, and her voice would go all quivvery (sp?) at the "her finger moved in the moonlight; her musket shattered the moonlight and warned him with her death" point. I can still recite it (and do) from memory to my kids now, though they're getting a bit old for it.

Secondly: Alex Atterson. When, in a previous existence, I lived in Peterborough, he was a reasonable regular guest at the folk club. He was the first personI heaver heard singing Sammy's Bar. I've not come across him since, but am sorry to hear he's no longer with us. Did he make any recordings? Thirdly: Vachel Lindsay. I don't think anyone could sing The Congo nowadays. The PC thought police wouldn't allow it, I'm sure. I have a vague feeling that he was the author of The Santa Fe Trail that Peter Bellamy used to sing. Can anyone confirm that, please?


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Ringer
Date: 22 Jan 00 - 04:59 PM

That should, of course, be "...reasonably regular..."


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Stewie
Date: 22 Jan 00 - 05:17 PM

Bellamy set lots of Kipling to music and many of Henry Lawson's poems have been given tunes - 'Bush Girl', 'Outside Track', 'Reedy River' etc.


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Susan A-R
Date: 22 Jan 00 - 05:22 PM

Thanks for reminding me of Lawson. I have that Priscila Herdman Waterlilly album with a lot of em on it, and they are lovely. I am not sure if the Ochs is the entire poem, but I think so. It is quite long.


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 22 Jan 00 - 05:32 PM

'Raglan Road' by Patrick Kavanagh and 'Five Ways To Kill A Man' by Edwin Brock, turned into a song (to the tune of 'Ye Jacobites') by Iain MacKintosh. - Susanne


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Mbo
Date: 22 Jan 00 - 05:35 PM

Oops! That should be "Lochinvar" by Sir Waddy Scott. Thanks for the compliments, MTed!

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: DonMeixner
Date: 22 Jan 00 - 05:36 PM

Ochs did 95% of the Highwayman. He left out the verses that go Tillop Tillop, ( Hoofbeats) But the meat and dynamic of the poem is all there and beautifully realized.

Don


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Susan A-R
Date: 22 Jan 00 - 05:46 PM

Gee, and I never knew the verse was missing. Thanks. This is amazing. Keep them coming, and I do indeed hope that other folks will play with this theme and information. Oh, and has anyone done renditions of Ogdon Nash's stuff that is manageable via folk? I've heard classical renditions, and perhaps that works better 'cause the poems are so short, but . . . Also, any e e cummings stuff set to folk? Again, I'm aware of classical settings.


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 22 Jan 00 - 06:11 PM

Hamish Imlach has done an album with half a dozen or so of Nash's works. I think it's called 'Murdered Ballads'. It's got a songsheet so I'll dig it out before long (hopefully). I still don't know how to send tunes, though... - Susanne


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Susan A-R
Date: 22 Jan 00 - 06:19 PM

And I have to fight LARGE dust bunnies in order to plug in the speakers to get 'em.


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Lanfranc
Date: 24 Jan 00 - 06:56 PM

An interesting thread that seems to be petering out. A few points raised from postings since my last.

Alex Atterson died a couple of years ago, but did leave behind a couple of albums, probably only available secondhand now. I have one and would be happy to provide a tape if required.

Paul McNeill and I used to run the London Troubadour on Tuesday nights around 1970, back in the days when he sang with Linda Peters (later Thompson). I haven't heard from or of him for years. The last I heard he was living rough so the prognosis isn't good. If Don Meixner has a copy of any of his albums I'd love a copy. All I have left is a worn-out copy of his first album for Decca and the single of "You Ain't Going Nowhere" he made with Linda.

Peter Bellamy's versions of Kipling's Barrack Room Ballads are brilliant.

On e e cummings, how do you sing in lower case?


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 24 Jan 00 - 07:48 PM

Norman Blake does a wonderful version of "Silence or Tears" which uses a poem by Lord Byron.

Rani Arbo of the (former) band Salamander Crossing wrote a beautiful melody for Tennyson's "Crossing the Bar."


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Amos
Date: 24 Jan 00 - 09:16 PM

And as well:

The good Lord Nelson had a swollen gland
Little of the Scripture did he understand
'Til a woman showed him to the promised land
Aboard the Victory, Victory-O!

I love these people! They know all the cool stuff!

Amos


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Susan A-R
Date: 24 Jan 00 - 10:11 PM

Boy, that Lord Nelson, he got around. Keep 'em coming.


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Mbo
Date: 24 Jan 00 - 10:15 PM

Of course, Battlefield Band has done "Norland Wind" by Violet Jacob (one of my favorite all time songs) and they also did Robert Louis Stevenson's "A Mile And A Bittock" to which they added a chorus of their own composition (much like I do) and called it "Shining Clear."

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 24 Jan 00 - 11:02 PM

Would it be cavalier to suggest that boudoir-hopper of the seventeenth century, Richard Lovelace?

Tell me not sweet I am unkind,
That from the nunnery
Of they chaste breast and quiet mind
To war and arms I fly.

True, a new mistress now I chase,
The first foe in the field;
And with a stronger faith embrace
A sword, a horse, a shield.

Yet this inconstancy is such
As thou too shalt adore;Loved I not honor more.

or another favorite, The Scrutiny

Why would you swear I am forsworn,
Since thine I vowed to be?
Lady, it is already morn,
And 'twas last night I swore to thee
That fond impossibility.

Have I not loved thee much and long,
A tedious twelve hours space?
I must all other beauties wrong,
And rob thee of a new embrace;
Could I still dote upon thy face.

Not, but all joy in thy brown hair,
By others may be found;
But I must search the black and fair
Like skillful mineralists that sound
For treasure in un-plowed-up ground.

Then, if when I have loved my round,
Thou proves the pleasant she;
With spoils of meaner Beauties crowned,
I laden will return to thee,
Even sated with variety.


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 24 Jan 00 - 11:07 PM

Messed up the third stanza of the first poem (to Lucasta, on Going to the Wars). Should have read "I could not love thee, Dear, so much
Loved I not honor more."


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Amos
Date: 24 Jan 00 - 11:17 PM

I believe that Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes was originally a poem (Jonson??) but it became a parlor-piano hit some where in the Gay Nineties, if I am not mistaken. But then again, I often is.

A.

Drink to me only with thine eyes,
And I will pledge with mine.
Or leave a kiss within the cup,
And I'll not ask for wine.
The thirst that from the heart doth flow
Doth ask a drink divine;
But might I of Job's nectar sip
I would not trade for thine.

...sniff....gulp... still gets me choked up after all these centuries...


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: DonMeixner
Date: 24 Jan 00 - 11:49 PM

Hi Alan Francis,

Send me an EMail wth your address, I'll send you a Paul McNeill tape from the albu, Traditionally at The Troubador with Trevor Vietch on 12 String.

The album begins with Bill Baily played on ragtime piano and has To the Beggin I will go, The Keeper, Twa Corrbies and many others, all good.

Don


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: GUEST,Atropos
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 06:16 AM

I grieve and dare not show my discontent,
I love and yet am forced to seem to hate,
I do, yet dare not say I ever meant,
I seem stark mute but inwardly do prate.
I am and not, I freeze and yet am burned,
Since from myself another self I turned.

My care is like my shadow in the sun,
Follows me flying, flies when I pursue it,
Stands and lies by me, doth what I have done.
His too familiar care doth make me rue it.
No means I find to rid him from my breast,
Till by the end of things it be supprest.
Some gentler passion slide into my mind,
For I am soft and made of melting snow;
Or be more cruel, love, and so be kind.
Let me or float or sink, be high or low.
Or let me live with some more sweet content,
Or die and so forget what love ere meant.


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: GUEST,Mike
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 08:09 AM

Don't know if Susan A-R is still out there.

If you are you should check out Vicki Clayton who has set a lot of the poems of John Clare to music.


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 08:13 AM

John Renbourn set John Donnes "Song : Goe and catch a falling star", and IMO an excellent job he made of it.


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 08:47 AM

Ochs did a superb job on The Highwayman, but he left out large chunks of it, including all reference to the ostler. Loreena McKennitt did another setting, recorded by Andy Irvine, which does have the entire poem - and it is long, over 9 minutes, but outstanding.

Debby McClatchy did a fine job of putting The Ballad of Blasphemous Bill, by Robert Service, to music. She also did Cremation of Sam McGee, by the same poet, but I find that setting a bit too monotonous to really work well.

There's a new edition of the book by the late Chris Kempster with over 200 settings of poems of Henry Lawson.


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: synbyn
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 02:36 PM

There are several good versions of John Clare's work out unofficially, 'cos the 'owners of copyright' are very tight on musical versions... which is a pity, as they transfer well and show that Clare was strongly influenced by folk tradition. Also check out some of Thomas Hardy's Satires Of Circumstance- they'd make great songs 'cps they're so concise...


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 05:02 PM

I've written music for Edna St Vincent Millay's "Spring and Fall." When I started researching how to actually use the words legally if we decided to record it, I found a most interesting website about an artist colony in NY state, which I'll have to go find again. Have also put lyrics to a Rachmaninoff piano concerto and a couple of Beethoven pieces!


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Joe_F
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 05:57 PM

Many of Burns's poems *were* songs -- that is, he intended them to be sung, and had tunes in mind. You can find them all (tunes included) in _Burns: Poems and Songs_, James Kinsley, Ed., Oxford Univ. Press, 1969.

I have never been able to find out if Kipling had tunes in mind, but he called many of his poems "song" or "ballad" in their titles, and many of them have been set to music again & again, and sung in music halls, parlors, and elsewhere. Peter Bellamy, Roberts & Barrand, and Leslie Fish, whose efforts in that way many of us have enjoyed, are latecomers.


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: GUEST,Joseph de Culver City
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 06:11 PM

Ed Sanders (The Fugs), a poet himself, has set many William Blake poems to music, including 'How Sweet I Roamed From Field To Field'.


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: semi-submersible
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 09:00 PM

Gee, I'd like to listen to some of those arrangements. (Probably not the E. Dickinson/"Yellow Rose of Texas" one, though!) Does the record store carry any of them?

(By the way: Charles Causley may have written a "Mother Get Up, Unbar the Door" song, but the title mentioned above sounds rather like Child #275 "Get Up and Bar the Door." Four versions of this very funny song are in the DigiTrad.)


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 10:25 PM

Who, Synbyn are the 'owners of copyright' on the works of John Clare? & how & why, as he has been dead for 145 years; more than 2ce as long as copyright is supposed to last after an author's death?...


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Susan A-R
Date: 22 Sep 09 - 06:35 PM

And nine years later it's still out there. I've heard some Frost (I'm a Vermonter, so I'm interested) badly set, and would love to hear if anyone's found anything good. "Reluctance" seems like a prime candidate.

Glad this is still going.

Susan


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 Sep 09 - 06:49 PM

Peter Schickele set e.e. cummings's "all in green went my love riding". sung by Joan Baez on her concept album "Baptism". It's a wonderful tune.


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 22 Sep 09 - 07:04 PM

I've set Byron's "Lines Inscribed On A Cup Formed From A Skull" to music. It works beautifully - it may as well have been written as a song. William Blake's "Mental Traveler" and Walter de La Mare's "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" have similar rhthmic and rhyme structures, and all fit slow mournful English folk tunes.

I've also sang Blake's "Poison Tree" as a blues, repeating certain lines. I'm working on a version of Blake's "I Saw A Chapel All of Gold" to the fiddle tune Pigtown Fling. The Blake poem concludes with the protagonist vowing, shamefully, to go lie down with the swine, so there's a piggy connection between the two.

In fact many of John Clare and William Blake's poems work well as blues, if you repeat certain lines.

A couple of Keats' poems are very song-like. Try singing his "Fill for me a brimming bowl" to a country & western style tune. It's practically a C&W lyric anyway (turning to drink in despair over women).

I share bafflement with the poster above who couldn't understand how there could be a copyright owner for John Clare?! Because I have to know about this for my job (book publishing) I happen to know that if you are foolish enough to actually let a publishing house know that it is THEIR book you used as a source, then they would be legally entitled (in the UK at least) to demand royalties. They'd have a devil of a job, of course, trying to prove that you had indeed sourced the text from their book, even if you'd told them, as there are hundreds of editions of the works of most core English Lit poets....

My friend Caroline Weeks has recorded an album of musical settings of Edna St Millay's (spelling?) poems. It came out last year.


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Amergin
Date: 22 Sep 09 - 07:31 PM

Well, Pete Seeger has set an english transation of Victor Jara's final piece estadio chile to music....though he does recite it while he plays.


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 22 Sep 09 - 08:12 PM

When I was one and twenty
I heard a wise man say,
'Give crowns and pounds and jewels,
But not your heart away.'

My, I love that poem! So I set it to my own tune, and have performed it now and again, to good reception.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 Sep 09 - 08:47 PM

The issue with Clare is with his manuscripts. Most of his work is still unpublished, and the stuff that has been published was only done in good editions in recent decades (like those by James Reeves) - the older editions are crap. An American academic claims to own the rights to all the unpublished material.


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 22 Sep 09 - 08:57 PM

...but presumably for a singer to have been able to have put music to the words, it must have been de facto from a published book, no? where else would they have got it from? Hence no problem.

I'm also sceptical as to the professed value of this unpublished material - if it's never been published, no one's had the opportunity to assess whether any of it's any good or not!


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Bettynh
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 12:33 PM

At a Girl Scout camp on Martha's Vineyard sometime in the 60's we sang a version of Kipling's "Seal Lullaby":

Oh! Hush thee, my baby, the night is behind us,
And black are the waters that sparkled so green.
The moon, o'er the combers, looks downward to find us,
At rest in the hollows that rustle between.

Where billow meets billow, then soft be thy pillow,
Oh weary wee flipperling, curl at thy ease!
The storm shall not wake thee, nor shark overtake thee,
Asleep in the arms of the slow swinging seas!

I haven't heard the same tune to this since, but a few singers have set it to (mostly sickenly sweet) music.


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: GUEST,Suegorgeous away in Ireland
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 03:31 PM

Bristol-based The Wraiths put the poems of Emily Dickinson (and a few others) to music, to great effect.... here

Sue


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 05:33 PM

I'm also sceptical as to the professed value of this unpublished material - if it's never been published, no one's had the opportunity to assess whether any of it's any good or not!

There's no problem getting access to the manuscripts to read them, and many people have - they just can't publish them. Given Clare's chaotic life, nobody selected stuff for publication in the usual way. And the newer editions show how much more there was than anybody knew about from the older ones.


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 11:23 PM

Several of us nautical singers have been adapting the poems of C. Fox Smith, John Masefield, Burt Franklin Jenness, and others for singing. My own contributions to this process may be viewed or listened to on my website:
Click here!

There's always the question of whether one uses exactly what the poet composed or whether the poem is altered for singing, sometimes by adapting a verse for a chorus or sometimes by deleting entire verses.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: matt milton
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 07:46 AM

"There's no problem getting access to the manuscripts to read them, and many people have - they just can't publish them."

Could you be a bit more forthcoming? If they haven't been published, how is there 'no problem getting access to them'? Are these manuscripts online for instance? What's the name of this American academic? Have you read these manuscripts? Do you have to book an appointment and go to the guy's house?

Likewise, when you say, "Given Clare's chaotic life, nobody selected stuff for publication in the usual way", I'm again not entirely sure what you mean: are you referring to how Clare's poems were published during his lifetime, or after?

If the former, then that's well documented). If the latter, well, I'm aware of several different editions and they've elected to compile his poems either chronologically or thematically, neither of which are unusual in editions of selected or collected poems.


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: matt milton
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 08:03 AM

Actually I just found this story in the guardian from 2000:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4042964,00.html

The most important part for me is this:

"The threatening letter from Harbottle and Lewis received a polite but firm reply from Kövesi's publisher, Mike Gorman of M&C Services, requesting proof that Robinson genuinely owns the copyright to Clare's unpublished works. This has been met with six months of silence.
Kövesi is now preparing his second "unauthorised" edition, John Clare: Flower Poems, which will be published in October. "Until clear proof is offered that the copyright claim is legitimate," he says, "I will continue to publish Clare in accessible and easily available editions, and I would urge others to do the same."

I'm gonna go find out whether my Penguin Selected has any overlap with the Curtis Brown editions (these are the 'unpublished' poems you're talking about).

But frankly the fact that this article is from 2000 leads me to think nobody should worry too much about what setting any John Clare poems.


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 09:29 PM

I'm planning to put a poem by George Mackay Brown to music, but still waiting to hear from the publishers re permission (it's weeks now). I understand I need that in order to perform it paid and/or record it.

But maybe I'll just go ahead and work on it. I guess I can still perform it unpaid...


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: Amos
Date: 23 Mar 10 - 10:04 PM

"When I was one and twenty" makes an excellent talking blues, by the way!


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: GUEST,Marco Paolo McNeill
Date: 18 Jan 11 - 08:08 AM

http://paulmcneill.zimbalam.fr


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Subject: RE: poet songs
From: CupOfTea
Date: 18 Jan 11 - 02:37 PM

I've loved "things I know as poems" presented to me as "songs" for years. The ones that caught my attention first were Twa Corbies and Lord Randall out of a Norton Poetry Reader that I pilfered from my highschool, as I couldn't live without it. First time I heard The Gaping Maw sing Twa Corbies was like I'd tapped into a power source, it was so electric. Also in that reader, but encountered decades later was Cindy Mangsen's version of The Griesly Wife. Cindy also does a grand job on Kipling's A Smugglers Song. So much Kipling set to music was researched and/or composed by Peter Bellamy, and John Roberts & Tonty Barrand's album of a good number of them is a great intro. One of my favorite Kipling poems-to-song is the version of A Sea Wife That comes down from Gordon Bok's family, recorded by Bok, Muir & Trickett. When I was failing at pulling the melody out of their harmony arrangement, I got a book of Bok's music and found he'd done his own setting of Kipling's Harp Song of the Dane Women .

Jean Redpath, along with bowKEW Burns, did Stevenson's I will make you broaches , and I THINK some other R. L. Stevenson.

David Weber & Ani Fentiman do a lovely job of A. E. Houseman's Is That My Team A-Plowing.

A regular part of my singing is Henry Lawson's The Outside Track set to music by I think Gerry Hallom (spelling?)

Our own Phil Cooper, along with Margaret Nelson have a chilling bit of Sara Teasdale sung with I Shall Not Care. (if anyone comes up with a good musical setting of Teasdale's Patterns, that'll get bumped to the top of my "to learn" list). Years ago, Margaret pointed out to me that much poetry that has strong meter and scansion can be easily set to traditional tunes. (the Yellow Rose/I could not Stop phenomenon - Garrison Keillor used to exploit at length in early PHC days in "Department of Folklore"

Years ago, the late Bill Crofut set some of e.e.cummings poems to music (he was a banjo player). I've an old recording taped off the air from WCLV, in the era when he was performing with Ben Luxon. I recently saw significant chunks of their duo performances on You Tube, which might make another good searching source for finding these poem-to-song conversions by searching on the poet's name. R. Stevenson and Tennyson's work have had multiple settings, some of 'em.

Now I'm going to find myself back looking for these...


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