Mudcat Café message #2133907 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #104277   Message #2133907
Posted By: Fred McCormick
26-Aug-07 - 01:12 PM
Thread Name: Origins: On Yonder Hill There Sits a Hare
Subject: RE: Req/ADD: On Yonder Hill There Sits a Hare
I learned the song from Geordie, probably via the Topic LP which he recorded with his sister, Sarah Anne O'Neill. However, after all these years, I woldn't like to swear to it. It could equally have come from a recording of Geordie which I made at a singing weekend, in Belleek, Co. Fermanagh in 1979, or possibly even from a radio broadcast.

Whatever, I've certainly never regarded traditonal song lyrics as being chiselled in stone, at least not as far as singing them is concerned, and my guess is that whichever source I used, I've made minor modifications over the years. There are two points worth bearing in mind however.

Firstly, I'd forgotten that the song was on the The Voice of the People CD and that recording is clearly the place to go to get the words. (Well, The Voice of the People is the place to go anyway, being the largest and most authoritative audio collection of British and Irish traditional song ever assembled). Having said that though, I reviewed five volumes from the series for Musical Traditions magazine (Vol 18 wasn't amongst them) and I found quite a number of transcription errors. So I'd advise anyone who wants to get the words exactly as Geordie sang them, to check the transcription against the recording.

Secondly, and the above notwithstanding, I don't think I've ever come across any traditional singer who regarded the lyrics of their songs as being in any way set in stone. I've never done a comparison of Geordie's recordings, but I have looked at the recorded legacies of Elizabeth Cronin and Leadbelly. In both cases there were some very significant variations.