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Lyr Req: When You Were Sweet Sixteen (J Thornton)

09 Sep 02 - 08:15 AM (#779582)
Subject: When you were sweet sixteen - original
From: Orac

Does anyone on the Mudcat sing James Thornton's original song from 1898 or does everyone do the cut down Al Jolson version from 1930 perpetuated by the likes of Perry Como, Ink Spots, Fureys etc. I assume that Mr Jolson carved it up to get it on a 78... but it did the song no favour.


09 Sep 02 - 10:47 AM (#779675)
Subject: RE: When you were sweet sixteen - original
From: Sorcha

Orac, if you are looking for the words and stuff, the original sheet music is at the Levy site, Click here, for page one, then scroll down for the next pages.


09 Sep 02 - 11:28 AM (#779703)
Subject: RE: When you were sweet sixteen - original
From: masato sakurai

Harry Macdonough omitted the second verse in his 1901 recording, which can be heard HERE.

~Masato


09 Sep 02 - 11:31 AM (#779705)
Subject: RE: When you were sweet sixteen - original
From: Orac

Thanks for your trouble .. I already have the original music. I sing this song myself in this original way. The melody is in three parts rather than the two most would be used to, also the words are different. I just wondered if there was anyone else out there that was true to the original. It really is a shame that this lovely song as it was written is all but forgotten. Surely as loyal folkies/mudcatters we should be flying the flag for songs as the composer had intended them.


09 Sep 02 - 11:44 AM (#779713)
Subject: RE: When you were sweet sixteen - original
From: Orac

I already know about the 1901 Harry Macdonough recording, thanks. If anyone wants to hear the proper song they would need to get hold of the 1974 recording by Joan Morris and William Bolcom. Out of the 17 recordings I have of this song it is the only authentic one I know of since Al Jolson ruined it in 1930.


09 Sep 02 - 12:17 PM (#779741)
Subject: RE: When you were sweet sixteen - original
From: Joan from Wigan

I sing the original version, as per the sheet music in the Levy collection. It's always a talking point as it's so different from the cut-down, watered-down versions that are more commonly sung these days. It's a beautiful song, and short enough without shortening it even further. I haven't recorded it.

Joan


09 Sep 02 - 12:28 PM (#779752)
Subject: RE: When you were sweet sixteen - original
From: Orac

Well done Joan .. keep it up. ~ The original song is much better than the cut down one ... I assume that James Thornton must have had some hand in the altered version as he didn't die until some years after Jolson recorded it. But he wasn't Irish as is claimed in the Furey's songbook.


09 Sep 02 - 12:55 PM (#779780)
Subject: RE: When you were sweet sixteen - original
From: masato sakurai

See also previous threads:

Lyr Req: When you were sweet sixteen

When you were sweet 16 Lyrics, author ?

Lyr Req: When you were sweet 16 - Full Version

~Masato


09 Sep 02 - 04:25 PM (#779960)
Subject: RE: When you were sweet sixteen - original
From: GUEST,Three Chord

I must say that those old time songs often sounded pretty lame when sung by those 50's crooners, Mitch Miller and the Gang, and all those Dixieland revival bands--they are much more interesting to listen to when you hear recordings from the original time, and that has been suddenly made a lot easier now that sites like Virtual Grammaphone are making the MP3 files available--

Since people do learn to play music by listening to recordings nowdays, I think there are going to be a lot more like Orac and Joan, who try to recreate the old sounds--


09 Sep 02 - 06:27 PM (#780040)
Subject: RE: When you were sweet sixteen - original
From: Tiger

I do the full, original version. My wife doesn't particularly like the syrupy oldies, but my mother love's 'em.

And, if I can ever prod myself into the nursing home gigs, I'm sure they'll fly.


10 Sep 02 - 12:12 PM (#780495)
Subject: RE: When you were sweet sixteen - original
From: Orac

Excuse me.... I'm not trying to recreate an old sound at all. The original song is much more superior to the dreadful thing created by Al Jolson. If you listen to a lot of the post Jolson recordings many only have one verse ... some even (barbers shop types) only have the chorus.. then they trail off into something else. Surely a decent song like this is worthy of better treatment.


10 Sep 02 - 01:37 PM (#780550)
Subject: RE: When you were sweet sixteen - original
From: Joan from Wigan

I'm not trying to recreate old sounds either. I've never heard the original full version, I learned it purely from the sheet music. Some of the old songs, as Tiger says, are "syrupy", but I don't find that with "Sweet Sixteen" at all - it holds its own as a sincere expression of love, without going over the top, with a beautiful melody.

I agree with Three Chords that many singers nowadays learn their songs from recordings. I will always endeavour not to do so because when I do, I find myself automatically reproducing the arrangement, accent, etc. of the recording artiste. I will always prefer to put my own interpretation on a song. Which is not to say I take liberties (I do with traditional songs, but I consider that to be part of "the folk process"). On the contrary, where the writer is known, I do make every effort to stick to the song as it was originally written, out of respect for the composer. Who am I to "correct" or "improve" on the original? So, wherever possible, I will seek out sheet music if it exists.

Joan


10 Sep 02 - 02:54 PM (#780631)
Subject: RE: When you were sweet sixteen - original
From: GUEST,Three Chords

Excuse me, I think you are a bit touchy---have no idea what you sound like Orac, neither you, Joan, never intended to accuse you of anything--


10 Sep 02 - 03:40 PM (#780674)
Subject: RE: When you were sweet sixteen - original
From: Tiger

Don't misinterpret me, either - I LOVE syrup!


11 Sep 02 - 02:14 PM (#781412)
Subject: RE: When you were sweet sixteen - original
From: Joan from Wigan

Sorry if I sounded touchy - didn't intend it to come over that way. One of the downsides of a text-only conversation is you can't see facial expressions, so can easily misinterpret. And what you write may sound ok in your head, but may not be read in the same way as you intended. Sincere apologies if I've misinterpreted anyone, or raised anyone's hackles.

Joan


13 Nov 10 - 01:59 PM (#3031199)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: When You Were Sweet Sixteen (J Thornton)
From: GUEST,Padraic

J Thornton's father was born in Ireland, of English parents. His mother was Irish. James was conceived in Dublin and born in Liverpool while his parents waited passage to America.