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Origin: The Man with the Microphone (Sydney Carter

DigiTrad:
CROW ON THE CRADLE
EVERY STAR SHALL SING A CAROL


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Paul G. 27 Jan 00 - 07:06 PM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Jan 00 - 07:42 PM
Arkie 27 Jan 00 - 11:45 PM
GUEST,Micca 28 Jan 00 - 05:12 AM
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Subject: Sidney Cartar Tune Info
From: Paul G.
Date: 27 Jan 00 - 07:06 PM

The following request was posted on the Friends of FLorida Folk list today...I figured someone here might be able to help....

Can anyone tell me the story behind this song or its author? I am trying to determine if the song is taking a shot at Leadbelly, Lomax, Pete Seeger and Burl Ives in the chorus or trying to defend them.

Inquiring minds want to know.

Jerry Carris
Gail & Jerry: South By Northwest

The Man with the Microphone by Sidney Cartar

As (Dm) I went out one morning,
I was (F) singing a (Gm) Country (Dm) song (A7)
I (Dm) met a man with a mic-ro-phone and,
(A7) oh, he did me (Dm) wrong.
He sat me (A7) on a (Dm) grassy (A7) bank
and (Bb) whip-ping (C7) out a (F) tape,
(A7)He (Dm) took my country ditty down
Be-(A7) - fore I could es - (Dm) -cape.

Chorus
With a whack for (Gm) Leadbelly, (F) Lomax and (A7) Seeger
and (Dm) Burlie old (A7) Ivey and (Dm) all.

To Tin Pan Alley he took my song
And there he chanced to meet
A publisher who cleaned it up
And gave the tune a beat.
And now they rock and now they roll,
And now they pay a fee
To that false young man with the microphone,
And nobody thinks of me. (Chorus)

I'll sell my rack, I'll sell my reel,
And buy a steel guitar,
I'll take a ticket to London Town
And sing in a coffee bar,
I'll sing until I'm famous
And when I'm on T.V.
I'll tell the world of the false young man,
And what he did to me. (Chorus)

Never trust a collector, girls,
Whoever he may be,
When his hands upon his microphone,
And not above your knee.
He's thinking about your melody,
And not about your shape -
And he'll rob you of your copyright
With a reel of recording tape. (Chorus)


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Subject: RE: Sidney Cartar Tune Info
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Jan 00 - 07:42 PM

It's Sydney Carter - and clicking on that will give you a web site that tells you lots about him.

He's a lovely man, and no, the song is in no way knocking Leadbelly etc. It's about the way that traditional songs can be stolen by unscrupulous collectors and arrangers, and pulled away from their roots. And the Harry Fox Agency and so forth.

The chorus I take it just stands for the Americanisation of English traditions. The "whack" is just a nonsense syllable, as in whack-fol-la-fol-larum and fol-the-diddle-dee. Doesn't imply any idea of hitting. In fact Sydney Carter always changed his songs around, and the chorus in the DT version goes:

cho: With a whack for Peter and Paul and Mary
And burly old ivy, too.

Unfortunately some of his songs have had to be yanked from the DT, including his best known, The Lord of the Dance. Instead there is a message: PERMISSION TO INCLUDE THIS SONG HAS BEEN DENIED BY THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER, STAINER AND BELL, THROUGH THEIR US AND CANADIAN ADMINISTRATOR, HOPE PUBLISHING COMPANY (800 323-1049)

Which is a pity, and something I am sure that Sydney Carter would never wish. (Of course it might be something to do with the court case that came up because Michael Flatley used and abused Lord of the Dance, under the impression it was public domain and he could keep all the money.)

Somebody said Sydney had died but I hadn't heard anything about that. If anyone knows either way, let's hear from you.


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Subject: RE: Sydney Carter Tune Info
From: Arkie
Date: 27 Jan 00 - 11:45 PM

Sydney Carter has written some great songs and it is nice seeing him mentioned here. Two of my most prized possessions are a Sydney Carter songbook and an LP of his songs being performed by Maddy Prior and the like. Somewhere there is also an old reel to reel tape of a TV program he did with Donald Swann many years ago. I have been inspired to try to find these treasures.


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Subject: RE: Sidney Cartar Tune Info
From: GUEST,Micca
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 05:12 AM

The words of his song "vanished like the snow" are in a fairly recentthread too micca at work(hence the guest tag)


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