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  #46  
Old 08-11-2018, 12:04 PM
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KevWind KevWind is offline
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Originally Posted by JonPR View Post
It's a little different, in that lyrics and melody are copyright. The identity of the song resides in them. The key of the song is irrelevant (nothing to do with its identity), the chords are secondary, and as for improvised solos then the sin is arguably the reverse: to copy a recorded one instead of improvising your own.
Perhaps some further clarification is in order as far as simply a cover "performance" goes, changing either the lyric or the melody is not really a legal issue or specifically protected under copyright law in the US. Where as publication of a cover song with changes to lyrics and or melody, could definitely run afoul of copyright protection ( unless prior permission is granted by the copyright holder under the "derivative" provision of copyright law)



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He didn't rewrite it, he re-arranged it. He sang the same lyrics, and hardly changed the melody at all. He certainly seemed to be trying to sing it the same way Dylan did. But he obviously designed a monster arrangement around it, which highly impressed Dylan himself.
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If the composer is known, then I wouldn't change anything - not the lyrics anyway. If I didn't like some of the words, I just wouldn't sing the song in the first place. Why bother? Why not just choose songs where you're 100% happy with all the words? There's surely enough of those about. If not - then write your own songs!
this is generally my feeling also

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The point is that I only choose a song to perform in the first place because I love it - meaning all of it. The words as written would speak to me as powerfully as the tune does.
Agree completely
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  #47  
Old 08-11-2018, 12:14 PM
Brent Hahn Brent Hahn is offline
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I'm imagining Joan Baez thinking over the options...

"Myrtle Cain is my name and I served in the Danville Pub
Till so much cavalry came and they ate all the Danville grub..."

"Now I don't mind slingin' pork and beans
And I don't know what "feminist" means
You can eat til you're stuffed and you leave the rest
But you should never... eat waffles with chicken breasts..."
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  #48  
Old 08-11-2018, 02:04 PM
Dog Shape Cloud Dog Shape Cloud is offline
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What I'm getting from this discussion is that there may exist a sort of Platonic realm of Ideal Song-Forms defined by lyrics (whether these Forms exist prior to their "creation" by a songwriter, or if they come into being when first imagined, first performed, first written, or first recorded, is another matter and only tangentially related).

My question then becomes: when an artist changes the way he or she performs their own song, has the artist reached into the Platonic realm and changed the Ideal Song-Form, or have they rather created a new one, such that there is now, e.g., both a Form A and a Form A'?

In either case, would this mean we then have the option of choosing between Forms A and A' for the purpose of a cover performance, or would it rather mean that by performing the song as originally written, when the artist no longer wishes to sing it this way, we are transgressing against the Ideal Realm--corrupting, as it were, the music of the spheres--even as the Dark Lord Morgoth tainted the song of Illúvatar with his fiendish arrogance, his vile creations?

This question remaining unanswered, it would seem that if an artist is heard to vary his lyrics it would be most prudent to avoid covering that song again, for fear of trespassing against the Good.
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  #49  
Old 08-11-2018, 04:28 PM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevWind View Post
Perhaps some further clarification is in order as far as simply a cover "performance" goes, changing either the lyric or the melody is not really a legal issue or specifically protected under copyright law in the US. Where as publication of a cover song with changes to lyrics and or melody, could definitely run afoul of copyright protection ( unless prior permission is granted by the copyright holder under the "derivative" provision of copyright law)
Right, I didn't mean to imply copyright itself was an issue - that one ought to worry on that account - just that it highlights what the core identity of the song is.
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  #50  
Old 08-11-2018, 06:30 PM
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Right, I didn't mean to imply copyright itself was an issue - that one ought to worry on that account - just that it highlights what the core identity of the song is.
I thought perhaps that was what you were alluding to, but just wanted to clarify a bit further.
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  #51  
Old 08-11-2018, 09:58 PM
jaybones jaybones is offline
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Originally Posted by Judson View Post
...I will not consciously change another artist's lyrics to suit myself.

And especially, I will not change gender specific lyrics like "Angel from Montgomery" by John Prine ... I sing it just like it's written.
I don't do it on purpose. But every now and then I have a brain fart and need to scramble to make it through a verse.

Had an acoustic guitar partner that could not ever remember the words, in the right order, to the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. He'd sing the verse about the ship sinking, and then the verse about the wind in the wires made a tattle tale sound.

I told him we looked like a joke, and why didn't he write them down to glance at so he could tell the story.

He said that wasn't professional. "You don't see Gordon Lightfoot on stage with a notebook."

I said he'd written it, and could probably get them straight. And I'd rather the guy I was playing with get the lyrics right, and the occasional glance at a sheet of paper would be more professional than screwing up the lyrics.

But I can't do Angel From Montgomery, since I'm not "an old woman, named for my mother".
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  #52  
Old 08-12-2018, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by jaybones View Post
I don't do it on purpose. But every now and then I have a brain fart and need to scramble to make it through a verse.

Had an acoustic guitar partner that could not ever remember the words, in the right order, to the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. He'd sing the verse about the ship sinking, and then the verse about the wind in the wires made a tattle tale sound.

I told him we looked like a joke, and why didn't he write them down to glance at so he could tell the story.

He said that wasn't professional. "You don't see Gordon Lightfoot on stage with a notebook."

I said he'd written it, and could probably get them straight. And I'd rather the guy I was playing with get the lyrics right, and the occasional glance at a sheet of paper would be more professional than screwing up the lyrics.

But I can't do Angel From Montgomery, since I'm not "an old woman, named for my mother".
While I completely agree in a story song with an obvious chronological component it is ludicrous and unprofessional to no get the order straight.

However, I have no problem singing Angel From Montgomery as written, because it is not about being an old woman, it is observation about life. And since I have lived, I feel completely comfortable singing it.
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  #53  
Old 08-12-2018, 09:32 AM
Dryfly Dryfly is offline
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Default Lyrics Can Evolve

...with the passage of time.

I was twenty one years when I wrote this song.
I'm twenty two now but I won't be for long.
Time hurries on...

That made sense when I first learned it at that age but now at 70 I sing

Many years ago when I sang this song,
The passage of time seemed to take so long.
But now time hurries on,
And the leaves that are green turn to brown.
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  #54  
Old 08-12-2018, 05:46 PM
Mr. Jelly Mr. Jelly is offline
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I play Janis Joplin's "Turtle Blues" but I changed it where the I's are she's.
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  #55  
Old 08-13-2018, 03:55 PM
tonyo tonyo is offline
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Yeah, I change lyrics. When it suits. And that's not all that often.

Gordon Lightfoot changed the lyrics of If you could read my mind as the years softened his thoughts on his divorce and the blame he put on his wife.
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  #56  
Old 08-13-2018, 05:19 PM
DesertTwang DesertTwang is offline
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Originally Posted by Mr. Jelly View Post
Strolling on the boulevards in Paris
Naked as the day I will die
The sailors, they're so charming in Paris
But I just don't seem to sail you off my mind


Do you change lyrics of songs? There are allot of good sounding songs that I just can not put across because of some of the lyrics. The above line I won't do standing in front of an audience on stage. It's not me and it would suck the life out of the presentation. Even if I were playing this song in a honky tonk in Memphis it would cause me problems.
I'm asking out of pure curiosity -- what is it about those lines that you feel you can't sing them in front of an audience?
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  #57  
Old 08-13-2018, 05:29 PM
Mr. Jelly Mr. Jelly is offline
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Originally Posted by DesertTwang View Post
I'm asking out of pure curiosity -- what is it about those lines that you feel you can't sing them in front of an audience?
I am not into walking the streets naked. And sailors puts a spin on it that's not me either. I'm not sure there are that many people that can identify with it. But that's just me.
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  #58  
Old 08-14-2018, 12:29 PM
Judson Judson is offline
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Originally Posted by jaybones View Post
But I can't do Angel From Montgomery, since I'm not "an old woman, named for my mother".
John Prine is not an old woman either. He's a musical story teller. Here's how he explains it ...

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  #59  
Old 08-17-2018, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Scootch View Post
So I might reorder the lyrics to make better order. I just did that to WHITEHOUSE BLUES by Charlie Poole to make the more linear and more a story.
I would listen to that in any order you want to sing it. One of my favorites from that era.
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