Mudcat Café message #1425264 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #78907   Message #1425264
Posted By: PoppaGator
02-Mar-05 - 05:02 PM
Thread Name: 'Learned from the singing of...' ?
Subject: RE: 'Learned from the singing of...' ?
I never thought it was that much of a problem that I might imply a personal relationship with some artist whom I know only from his/her recordings.

My usual practice (when mentioning an attribution at all) has been to say something like "This is a Dylan song, in case you didn't know," or "I learned this from a Tom Rush album; the liner notes say that he picked it up from Cisco Houston," etc. So, I think I have usually been clear enough about this sort of thing.

However, now that I've read the above messages, I've become confused about how to deal with this problem in the future, since some of my repertoire has come to me via very complicated paths.

For example, consider "Lakes of Pontchartain":

I gradually became aware of this song after hearing several renditions by a number of performers, some of whose names I never learned.

When seeing it played on the guitar, I took note of several different arrangements, not all of which appealed to me nearly as strongly as one particular open-tuning approach.

Next, I searched the internet for tabs and lyrics. When I found the tabs for Paul Brady's version, I knew it was the way I wanted to play the song and proceeded to work it up ~ without ever having heard Brady's recording(s), let along having actually met the fellow and "learned" his arrangement from him personally.

(I have since heard Brady sing about one verse on a video; still haven't heard his rendition of the entire piece.)

I've gotten the guitar part down pretty well by now, but won't be singing it in public until my throat heals more thoroughly from last year's cancer and radiation ordeal. (There are songs I can sing now, in a number of different styles, but sweet-sounding ballads that require a substantial vocal range are still a bit out of my reach.) When I do start singing it, I may very well use a different set of lyrics than Paul Brady did, but the guitar part will have come straight from him (although I'm sure I won't be capo-ing all the way up at the fifth fret like him).

So, how am I supposed to introduce this song when I debut it? It's probably be best not to even try describing how I learned it; I'll just say "This is the only song I know in the Irish traditional repertoire that is set here in South Louisiana."