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Origins: Oh, Had I a Golden Thread (Seeger)

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OH, HAD I A GOLDEN THREAD


GUEST 20 Jul 01 - 11:08 PM
KT 20 Jul 01 - 11:34 PM
sed 03 Jan 03 - 07:41 PM
Uncle_DaveO 03 Jan 03 - 08:04 PM
Bob Bolton 03 Jan 03 - 10:04 PM
Deckman 03 Jan 03 - 10:12 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 04 Jan 03 - 09:30 PM
Deckman 05 Jan 03 - 10:36 AM
Uncle_DaveO 05 Jan 03 - 01:10 PM
Suffet 05 Jan 03 - 01:42 PM
Janice in NJ 05 Jan 03 - 04:54 PM
Uncle_DaveO 05 Jan 03 - 05:14 PM
Deckman 05 Jan 03 - 05:29 PM
Suffet 06 Jan 03 - 06:41 AM
GUEST,Bill Kennedy 06 Jan 03 - 08:57 AM
Janice in NJ 07 Jan 03 - 06:13 PM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 07 Jan 03 - 07:42 PM
Deckman 07 Jan 03 - 07:51 PM
banjomad (inactive) 08 Jan 03 - 07:04 PM
sed 11 Jan 03 - 11:07 PM
EBarnacle1 12 Jan 03 - 10:28 AM
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Subject: golden thread
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Jul 01 - 11:08 PM

Does anyone have the lyrics to the song "Golden Thread" sung by Eva Cassidy on her live at Blues Alley cd?


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Subject: ADD: OH, HAD I A GOLDEN THREAD ^^
From: KT
Date: 20 Jul 01 - 11:34 PM

Here ya go! KT

OH, HAD I A GOLDEN THREAD
(Pete Seeger)

Oh, had I a golden Thread
And needle so fine
I've weave a magic strand
Of rainbow design
Of rainbow design.

In it I'd weave the bravery
Of women giving birth,
In it I would weave the innocence 
Of children over all the earth,
Children of all earth.

Far over the waters
I'd reach my magic band
Through foreign cities,
To every single land,
To every land.

Show my brothers and sisters
My rainbow design,
Bind up this sorry world
With hand and heart and mind,
Hand and heart and mind.

Far over the waters
I'd reach my magic band
To every human being
So they would understand,
So they'd understand.

Words and music by Pete Seeger (1958)
(c) 1959 by Stormking Music Inc.

filename[ GOLDTHRD
KT


I combined the two threads on this song, which was added to DT Oct01. Messages below are from a new thread.
-Joe Offer-
^^


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Subject: Origins: OH, HAD I A GOLDEN THREAD
From: sed
Date: 03 Jan 03 - 07:41 PM

The song, "OH, HAD I A GOLDEN THREAD," that Pete Seeger wrote in 1958 is a reworking of "Nearer My God To Thee." Many folksingers are strongly influenced by Christian hymns but how many realize it? Both songs are beautiful and comforting. Though I heard Pete's song first, I now prefer the song that inspired it. What about you? Which song do you prefer and why?

Steve Sedberry


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Subject: RE: Origins: OH, HAD I A GOLDEN THREAD
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 03 Jan 03 - 08:04 PM

I loathe this song. I think Pete, on this one, sold his birthright for a pot of message.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Origins: OH, HAD I A GOLDEN THREAD
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 03 Jan 03 - 10:04 PM

G'day sed and Dave,

I seem to remember reading Pete's account of writing the song, on a request from the New York (Seamstresses' Gulid?). He reckons he wrote the song and handed it over before he realised that he had subconciously appropriated the tune of the old hymn.

I certainly believe that can happen - I've done similar things myself ... letting a tune form for exisitng words, then finding that the tune already exists - and must be buried somewhere in my subconcious.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Origins: OH, HAD I A GOLDEN THREAD
From: Deckman
Date: 03 Jan 03 - 10:12 PM

I have very strong feelings about this song! I DO like it ... very much. I know that my reasons for liking are very subjective, and ain't worth much, but true ... Pete wrote the last verse to this song when he was staying at my house in Seattle in 1958. I've always loved the imagery. CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: Origins: OH, HAD I A GOLDEN THREAD
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 04 Jan 03 - 09:30 PM

Joe Hill and other Wob writers used tunes from hymns for their songs because everyone already knew them. It made teaching the union songs much easier.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Origins: OH, HAD I A GOLDEN THREAD
From: Deckman
Date: 05 Jan 03 - 10:36 AM

Art ... your comments made me remember an aurgument I heard in music school 100 years ago. It can be said that there are really only 4 melodies in the entire world. All the other melodies are simply variations. And no, I don't remember what the 4 melodies are, but someone else may. CHEERS, Bob


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Subject: RE: Origins: OH, HAD I A GOLDEN THREAD
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 05 Jan 03 - 01:10 PM

At Banjo Camp North, Peggy Seeger told me ( I THINK with a twinkle in her eye) that there were only eight tunes.

I said something like, "Yeah, and there are only five novel plots, too! Only by picking out extremely generalized plot elements."

She said, "You don't believe that?"

"I sure don't!"

Reminds me of some famous playwright's description of the plot of the ideal three-act play:
   Act one:    Chase your hero up a tree
   Act two:    Throw rocks at him
   Act three: Get him down from the tree

On that level, maybe there are only four (or eight) tunes. I'll describe one:
   State theme
   Elaborate theme
   Restate theme
On that level, maybe!

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Origins: OH, HAD I A GOLDEN THREAD
From: Suffet
Date: 05 Jan 03 - 01:42 PM

If there are eight tunes or just four, one of them is surely The Great American Tune, by which I mean the tune which is the basis for...

Peg and Awl
This Train Is Bound for Glory
The Crawdad Song
Sweet Thing
Hard Traveling


Always in 4/4 time in a major key with the following chord progression or some close variant:

/I---/----/----/----/

/I---/---/[optional II7]---/V7---/

/I---/I7---/IV---/IV7---/

/I---/V7---/I---/----/


An alternative for the last line might be:

/V7---/----/I---/----/

Can anyone add to the list of The Great American Tune?

--- Steve


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Subject: RE: Origins: OH, HAD I A GOLDEN THREAD
From: Janice in NJ
Date: 05 Jan 03 - 04:54 PM

"Rolling in My Sweet Baby's Arms" fits the chords pretty well, but I don't hear how the tune is related.


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Subject: RE: Origins: OH, HAD I A GOLDEN THREAD
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 05 Jan 03 - 05:14 PM

There's a difference between a chord progression and a tune, surely!

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Origins: OH, HAD I A GOLDEN THREAD
From: Deckman
Date: 05 Jan 03 - 05:29 PM

My dim memory reminds me that ONE of the melodies was "Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star." If you think it through, and don't limit yourself to meter, rythmn, keys, repetition, you can begin to see what mulitude of possibilities exist. The other three melodies, as I dimly remember, delt with minor keys, different modes, different scales, etc. Bob


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Subject: RE: Origins: OH, HAD I A GOLDEN THREAD
From: Suffet
Date: 06 Jan 03 - 06:41 AM

On one of his LPs, Pete Seeger started with Mozart's tune which we know as Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, went through variations from around Europe, and finally morphed it into Hatikvah.

--- Steve


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Subject: RE: Origins: OH, HAD I A GOLDEN THREAD
From: GUEST,Bill Kennedy
Date: 06 Jan 03 - 08:57 AM

a great song, and beautifully done as a duet by Judy Collins & Joan Baez on the 'Women Strike for Peace' lp


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Subject: RE: Origins: OH, HAD I A GOLDEN THREAD
From: Janice in NJ
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 06:13 PM

Getting back to Steve's list, I could also add "Be There in the Morning" (a jug band song also called "Rich Gal") and "New River Train" (the bluegrass favorite). I can imagine doing an entire set with that same chord progression. I wonder how long it would be before the audience noticed, especially if I varied the tempo, dynamics, instrumentation, singing and playing style, etc.?


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Subject: RE: Origins: OH, HAD I A GOLDEN THREAD
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 07:42 PM

I personally love the song but I heard a stirring performance of it by a young lady with a great voice who sang it with simplicity, compassion and conviction.

I wish more people would take existing tunes and write lyrics about their lives. Woody did it, Dylan did it, and even Francis Scott Key did it with an English drinking song called "Anachreon in Heaven". Seems that America also appropriated the tune for "God Save the Queen". Julia Ward Howe....the list goes on.

How about all those Lutheran church hymns that Bach "stole"?

I'll go out on a limb here and say in my experience that most folksingers do this. They may take a similar theme lyrically and change it to fit their circumstances or write a whole different lyric with melodies they've heard.

I hope that Pete's song has many variants in times to come.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Origins: OH, HAD I A GOLDEN THREAD
From: Deckman
Date: 07 Jan 03 - 07:51 PM

Well said! Bob


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Subject: RE: Origins: OH, HAD I A GOLDEN THREAD
From: banjomad (inactive)
Date: 08 Jan 03 - 07:04 PM

Cant be bad cos Martin Carthy recorded it a long time ago.
Dave


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Subject: RE: Origins: OH, HAD I A GOLDEN THREAD
From: sed
Date: 11 Jan 03 - 11:07 PM

So, it seems from what people have chimed that a particular tune is like an ink blot test: how we perceive its origins depends on what we heard before we heard it. Would the scientific test be to show the connections between the original and the later tune? Surely some 'ears' are less critical, or maybe less able to hear similarities.

I feel like the one who said, "I don't know much about art but I know what I like.'   

I heard a great quote via Ravi Zacharias on his radio show tonight. 'The glory of art lies in pointing to the greatest artist of all.'

That's why I prefer 'Nearer My God To Thee.'

Yours in song, Steve Sedberry


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Subject: RE: Origins: Oh, Had I a Golden Thread (Seeger)
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 12 Jan 03 - 10:28 AM

Many years ago, I commented to Pete that his melody for "The Old Man's Song":

How do I know my youth is all spent?
My get up and go has got up and went.
In spite of it all, I'm able to grin
When I think of the places my get up has been.

is very similar to the melody for "Officer Krumpke" from "West Side Story." When I asked him whether they had a common origin, he commented: "Since Lenny and I were both at Harvard about the same time, they probably both descended from 'Fair Harvard.'" We have been trading similarities back and forth ever since.


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