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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
lamarca Lyr Add: The World Turned Upside Down (Rosselson) (13) RE: Lyr Add: World Turned Upside Down (Diggers' Song) 17 Aug 06


Jesse, Rise Up Singing has a long track record of changing song lyrics to make them more "fun" for group singing. This includes converting verses into choruses, when there wasn't one originally, and changing words so that specific gender references are made gender neutral - the afore-mentioned PC cleanup of lyrics.

There has been a lot of back & forth discussion of RUS's place in the folk community (see this Mudcat thread for an example: http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=81112).

You should understand that words to songs, as printed in RUS, are NOT necessarily the copyrighted versions as written by the author, even if RUS credits that person. My main gripe with their credits is that they don't specifically say "Adapted from song by Leon Rosselson, Copyright 1975" when they have changed the author's original words to fit a group singing format.

It is this failure to acknowledge the changes the editors have made, combined with earnest, well-meaning people's belief that the version in RUS is somehow the "correct" version, that drives many in the singing community bonkers.

The DT version of Leon Rosselson's lyrics may or may not be what Rosselson copyrighted - the DT itself is full of song lyrics that are someone's best guess at transcribing a particular recorded version of a song, and has more than its share of mondegreens. However, I don't think it is a worthwhile effort to add the RUS version of every song in the DT where the two lyrics vary - one, RUS has already done a good job of making their version widely available in print, and two, both versions, at least of copyrighted songs where the author is known, still alive and able to be contacted about what they actually wrote, are equally likely to be wrong...


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