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She changed the words to Raglan Road

DigiTrad:
RAGLAN ROAD


Related threads:
Explore: Raglan Road 2 (237)
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Favorite versions Raglan Road youtube (29)
Help: Who wrote the tune to Raglan Road??? (80)
Raglan Road - Recorded versions (89)
A recording of Raglan Road? (10)
(origins) Origins: Sinead O'Connor--Raglan Road (6)
(origins) Analysis of Raglan Road (129) (closed)


mg 03 Sep 07 - 02:35 AM
PMB 03 Sep 07 - 03:48 AM
mg 03 Sep 07 - 04:00 AM
Rumncoke 03 Sep 07 - 04:45 AM
joseph 03 Sep 07 - 05:03 AM
mg 03 Sep 07 - 05:44 AM
Santa 03 Sep 07 - 05:46 AM
Fidledidee 03 Sep 07 - 05:51 AM
PMB 03 Sep 07 - 05:52 AM
George Papavgeris 03 Sep 07 - 06:13 AM
George Papavgeris 03 Sep 07 - 06:14 AM
MartinRyan 03 Sep 07 - 06:17 AM
The Sandman 03 Sep 07 - 06:58 AM
Leadfingers 03 Sep 07 - 08:31 AM
joseph 03 Sep 07 - 08:50 AM
joseph 03 Sep 07 - 08:56 AM
Santa 03 Sep 07 - 09:04 AM
Grab 03 Sep 07 - 09:18 AM
Mickey191 03 Sep 07 - 09:33 AM
Anne Lister 03 Sep 07 - 11:54 AM
An Buachaill Caol Dubh 03 Sep 07 - 12:20 PM
Gulliver 03 Sep 07 - 12:24 PM
The Sandman 03 Sep 07 - 12:27 PM
Alice 03 Sep 07 - 12:30 PM
Alice 03 Sep 07 - 12:34 PM
Ebbie 03 Sep 07 - 01:46 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Sep 07 - 02:09 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Sep 07 - 02:25 PM
Rumncoke 03 Sep 07 - 02:43 PM
Steve Shaw 03 Sep 07 - 03:16 PM
The Sandman 03 Sep 07 - 03:39 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Sep 07 - 04:25 PM
Anne Lister 03 Sep 07 - 04:59 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Sep 07 - 05:39 PM
Declan 03 Sep 07 - 07:17 PM
Gulliver 03 Sep 07 - 09:30 PM
Cluin 03 Sep 07 - 11:03 PM
Rowan 04 Sep 07 - 01:29 AM
Liz the Squeak 04 Sep 07 - 03:26 AM
joseph 04 Sep 07 - 07:22 AM
GUEST,Gulliver at the office 04 Sep 07 - 12:51 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Sep 07 - 01:02 PM
Kim C 04 Sep 07 - 01:19 PM
Barbara 04 Sep 07 - 01:32 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Sep 07 - 01:36 PM
M.Ted 04 Sep 07 - 01:58 PM
Kim C 04 Sep 07 - 02:05 PM
Liz the Squeak 04 Sep 07 - 02:14 PM
GUEST,mg 04 Sep 07 - 02:34 PM
Cluin 04 Sep 07 - 02:52 PM
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Subject: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: mg
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 02:35 AM

I am really mad. It is bad enough when they do it to a so so song, but this song was perfect the way it was. I think it is what is her name?//Irena McKenna or something like that..red hair. Some PBS special. It's a good thing I wasn't going to send them money anyway as I rarely watch PBS...why oh why would someone do that...someone obviously not ignorant...mg


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: PMB
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 03:48 AM

No song is sacred. Every artist is entitled to put their own inetrpretation on it. If you don't like it, don't listen, that's that. Personally I don't like the song much, or the poem- too mawkish. But what was it she changed, and why does it get your back up so?


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: mg
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 04:00 AM

She changed it so the girl is now a guy. Why do people do that? It really irks me. Plus she made other changes. I can hardly think of any songs that have been altered that have been actually been improved by the process...sometimes you ahve to if the words are racist, offensive in some settings etc...mg


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: Rumncoke
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 04:45 AM

I don't know the song - but I do know that some women feel awkward or even embarassed singing a song written from the male perspective, and feel that they ought to alter the gender to be appropriate, or not sing the song at all.

I have tried to argue that the audience is not going to take offence at any song sung by a person apparently of another sex from the original narrator, but to little effect.

To alter the words for one effect is bad enough - but to then go on to alter the song's content is worse. I don't mind a good parody or total send up, particularly when a song deserves it - but to have a not quite original is neither one thing nor the other.


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: joseph
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 05:03 AM

There is no one has the right to change the words of any song with out prior authority from the either the writer or the copy right authority. The Wolfe Tones wrot My Heart Is In Ireland. Brendan Grace did acomedy version of this song but not witout permission from the writer. He makesreference to the before he sings itlads


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: mg
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 05:44 AM

I don't know about legally but I would certainly think that morally you do..but it just usually is so icky what they do when they change things..it's not that I don't think they have a right to do it..it's just that they generally can't see how they made it worse..I guess there are situations where someone has improved on something..like come to your life like a warrior don't let it bore ya...that should be changed..most everyone would agree...mg


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: Santa
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 05:46 AM

Don't all singers change the songs they sing? If only by tone, intonation, key, but to a greater or lesser extent to suit their style, their capabilities? I'm not familiar with the particular example quoted, but don't see it as a heinous crime. The original still exists.

John Connelly has changed the chorus of Punch and Judy Man, but I've yet to find anyone else singing the new version. Are those who haven't changed to be condemned?


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: Fidledidee
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 05:51 AM

heard a parrody on Green Fields of France, sung by an Irish singer at a pub in Wadebridge, she nearly got thrown out!


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: PMB
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 05:52 AM

This is really one of the main things that distinguishes folk as an idiom from other musical genres. The small (or large) changes introduced by individual singers or musicians are assessed, and retained or politely forgotten, by other singers/ musicians. It's a sort of peer review, and each accepted performance is the starting point for further creation.

When somebody has copyright, they can legally enforce it, but it's then taken out of the folk process, and is (merely) a performance song. A wise composer would get of their high horse and let it develop.


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 06:13 AM

Enda Kenny asked me if he could change one word in "Johnny don't go walking with the fishes", to turn it into a song about pearl diving (it is originally written about sponge diving). I of course said "yes", and having heard his interpretation I am truly glad I did so.

Andy Irvine changed one word in "Emptyhanded", and it was a good change, I know sing the changed version myself.

There are many good reasons to let a performer exercise his/her creativity on a song. I cannot think of a single good reason for not allowing such freedom, especially in the folk world. I don't want my songs to be performace pieces, I want them to live. They are only templates, not prescriptions.


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 06:14 AM

"Now", not "know"...


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: MartinRyan
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 06:17 AM

The song may change - the poem doesn't.

Regards


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 06:58 AM

I was approached by Bill Prince,he asked if he could change a word in The Battle Of Bosworth Field[a song of mine about Richard TheThird].It did not alter the meaning of the song so I agreed.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: Leadfingers
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 08:31 AM

The secret would seem to be "Ask" !! That is at least the polite thing to do .


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: joseph
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 08:50 AM

I think you are all missing the point of this song . it was wriotten by the great poet Patrick Kavanagh about the great love in his life.
So in my opinion the whole context of the song is lost by changing the words the song loses its whole meaning


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: joseph
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 08:56 AM

Mary Black the greatIrish woman singer ,recorded the Raglan Road,she didnt feel it necessary to change the words .If its goodenough for Mary It should be good enough for any woman to sing as written


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: Santa
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 09:04 AM

The song has a different existence to the poem. This is also true for the original interpretation: the presence of the tune means that the perceptions of the listener will be different, will be moved or influenced in a particular direction that may or may not have occurred to a reader of the poem. The purist must then object equally to any setting.

I grant you that it seems (from this thread) that the difference between the versions is more than the usual "genetic drift", but changing the object of love from a girl praised by a boy, to a boy praised by a girl, does not seem to obviated all context or meaning.

And if it had: well, we then have a different song, from the same inspiration. I repeat: the original remains. The poem, and the song. We are all enriched - even if the latest addition falls below the standard of the earlier.


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: Grab
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 09:18 AM

What did she actually change? If it was just "she" to "he", then the meaning is completely unchanged. And as Rumncoke says, singing a song about being in love with a member of the same sex is generally a problem for people who aren't gay. If the gender doesn't fit, either you need to simply change "she" to "he" (or vice versa); or you need to find some interpretation which twists the meaning to fit; or you don't sing it at all. I think the latter two options are more harmful to the song, either by making more significant changes to the meaning or by the song not getting a public airing.

Joseph, anyone has the right to alter any song at any time, if they think it's an improvement. If it really *is* an improvement, other people will prefer the modified version over the original and the variant will persist. If no-one else likes it, the change will die with the person who changes it. If the original author is still around and you're also a popular performing artist then sure, it'd be polite to check with them. But if they're dead, it's open season. For an example, you're surely not saying that Vaughan Williams should have held off all his work based on English folk tunes just because the original authors were dead?

Graham.


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: Mickey191
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 09:33 AM

Sinead O'Connor sings it as written-it suits her lifestyle. Joan Osborne sings it exactly as written & it is simply stunning! Don't know or care if she is gay. I play it more then anything else I have.

Sinatra played around with a Richard Rodgers song & he was told publicly by Mr. Rodgers, "If you don't like my songs as written, DON'T sing them!


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: Anne Lister
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 11:54 AM

My song "Icarus" was altered substantially in tone and meaning once Nic Jones changed the pronouns around. I hadn't intended it necessarily to be about a woman watching a man do something daring - just someone watching someone else. But the song has survived and travelled - possibly further than it would have done if I'd stuck to my poetic guns and told him he mustn't alter a syllable. So it's not just about love songs.

I'm sure "Raglan Road" will survive whatever anyone does to it, but if you personally don't like a version there's no law that says you have to listen to it again ... is there?

On the other hand I do get pretty hot under the collar when someone alters my songs to take away the internal rhymes and the syllable count (and yes, they have done and no, I'm not naming names). That's a whole different kind of re-writing.

Anne


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 12:20 PM

In this particular set of verses, given that there are long-standing conventions about who does the wooing, who gives the gifts (whether of the mind or otherwise), who makes poems for whom to say (especially with "her own name there, and her own dark hair..."), who makes hay in a metaphorical sense, &c &c, then it does seem to be more suitable that the "I" of these verses is male. In any case, I've often heard Irish singers both male and female sing songs clearly intended for "the opposite gender" and do so without any changes to pronouns; personally, I couldn't feel comfortable doing so myself, but fortunately there are plenty of songs for a male singer, and many more where gender isn't relevant.

By the way, is Enda Kenny, mentioned above, also a politician?


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: Gulliver
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 12:24 PM

This song has been sung all over the place for years by women and no-one ever felt the need to change it, as far as I know. Contrary to what PMB above says, I think some songs ARE sacred (or at least, very special). This is one of them.

Don


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 12:27 PM

on the subject of Raglan Road,the original song to this tune is called The Dawning of the Day,Raglan Road is[IMO]a rewrite of The Dawning of the Day.
I have met people who considered Kavanagh a plagiarist.


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: Alice
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 12:30 PM

Are you talking about Loreena McKennit?
Here it is on Youtube
Click here


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: Alice
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 12:34 PM

By the way, that link has a place where you can post a comment about what
you think of her performance of Raglan Road.


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: Ebbie
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 01:46 PM

I just listened to that YouTube link. I'd say McKennit did it justice even though she changed the gender; she sang it beautifully.


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 02:09 PM

I can't see how she could have been expected to ask Patrick Kavanagh for permission.

Changing songs to suit has always been part of folk tradition. It's a mark that a song has achieved the dignity of being a folk song, and there's no higher honour than that.

Mind, having Enda Kenny say he wanted to sing your song comes pretty close to that level, George. And it's courteous asking, and that's very much the way he is.

Worrying about changing a few hims and hers about because a singer felt more comfortable singing it that way seems worrying overmuch to me, though there's never been any particular need to do that kind of thing. But how did she manage when it came to the Queen of Hearts?


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 02:25 PM

Just clicked on the clip, and I see she left the Queen of Hearts alone. I'd have thought that making it "Knave of Hearts still stealing tarts" would have been more consistent with the other changes.

In Miss Jean Brodie's tactful formula Loreena McKennit's version was "the kind of thing that people who like that kind of thing will like."
But then people always seem to sing this song full-out emotional, and I see it as more wryly self-mocking, calling for a more understated approach.


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: Rumncoke
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 02:43 PM

I meant to imply that songs can transcend gender - not that those who sing a song as written, or in the traditional manner, when they are not the sex it was written for, are homosexual.

I sing songs about recruiting, songs about farming, mining, working in factories - without the least inclination to go off and join the army or learn to plough etc.

They are songs - no need to get Freudian about it.


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 03:16 PM

It wouldn't be so bad if one could actually pin down the true original version of the poem!


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 03:39 PM

the Dawning of the Day,just google it,you will see Kavanaghs inspiration,someone elses work.


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 04:25 PM

Well it's got "the Dawning of the Day" in it, and like a myriad of other songs it involves a young man and a young woman meeting and ultimately parting... But that's about the sum of it, apart from the tune itself.

For the original version of the poem, of course, you just Google Patrick Kavanagh with Raglan Road.


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: Anne Lister
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 04:59 PM

I don't think Enda Kenny the politician is the same man as Enda Kenny the folk singer ...at any rate, the biographies don't seem to point to the same person ....

Anne


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 05:39 PM

Too right! Here's the Enda Kenny that matters.


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: Declan
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 07:17 PM

That Enda definitely isn't Enda the politician.


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: Gulliver
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 09:30 PM

No way is Raglan Road a "rewrite of The Dawning of the Day". That phrase is all they have in common.

Don


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: Cluin
Date: 03 Sep 07 - 11:03 PM

I('d rather have an artist change the lyrics of ANY song to make it more meaningful or singable to themselves than to slavishly sing it the same old way as everybody else, especially with passed-down mondegreens and meaningless phrases intact.

Songs are for singing, not studying under glass.


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: Rowan
Date: 04 Sep 07 - 01:29 AM

I wouldn't have thought of the Enda Kenny I know as a politician, apart from the fact that we're all politicians, in a sense. But his songs have changed people. And to better effect than most "politicians".

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 04 Sep 07 - 03:26 AM

"it was wriotten by the great poet Patrick Kavanagh about the great love in his life.
So in my opinion the whole context of the song is lost by changing the words the song loses its whole meaning"

So no-one else is allowed to sing it about their great loves are they? Besides - several sources including this site indicate that it is about another couple entirely rather than himself, so if we can be pedantic, the whole damn thing is out of context and meaningless.

There is a Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Trust which holds the copyright on his works so if Lorena McKennit has recorded this song, she must have applied to this trust for permission (he's only been dead 40years). If they gave that permission, they must have heard her version and approved it, so there really is no point in getting all het up about it.

Personally, I've never liked either the song, the poem or the sentiment, far too self centered and self righteous for my taste. Mind you, I've probably sung worse myself!

LTS


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: joseph
Date: 04 Sep 07 - 07:22 AM

I think that what Gulliver means is that the Melody of The dawning of the day was used for the words of Kavanaghs great poem


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: GUEST,Gulliver at the office
Date: 04 Sep 07 - 12:51 PM

Maybe it's just a personal thing with me, regarding it as a special song--I hear it a lot as it's one of the most popular (if not THE most popular) song sung at sessions around Dublin. I lived at the corner of Raglan Road myself as a kid, and my parents knew Kavanagh, who lived across the road. Even the original author of Fáinne Geal an Lae (DofD) shares my surname.

But really, what other people want to do with the songs they sing is their own business, I suppose. The main thing is that they do a good job of singing it.

Don


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Sep 07 - 01:02 PM

When it comes to any matter of giving or withholding permission to change a song the only person with any moral rights would be the author, not the copyright owner, who could be anyone these days.


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: Kim C
Date: 04 Sep 07 - 01:19 PM

I sing a lot of songs where I don't change the gender, but I do on Raglan Road, because it reminds me of someone I knew once. In that instance it just makes it more personal for me to change it.

Your mileage may vary.


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: Barbara
Date: 04 Sep 07 - 01:32 PM

Change words to songs. For me it often comes down to do I like the changes and/or the person who made them?

mg, how do you feel about Gordon changing "it" to "her" in your "Tie It[her] up and let it[her] rot?

I like the way Merritt changed the last verse of "Who will Sing for Me?" so that the people in Heaven are singing for those still here.

It annoys the daylights out of me that our mutual acquaintance has rewritten "Silver in the Stubble" to be his story because he didn't like Sydney Carter's story. Ditto "Clear Away in the Morning". He didn't like the man begging to go back on shore to Nancy -- and he didn't like the name Nancy -- so he turned it into a more upbeat song.

And Roberta Flack (and others) changed the last verse of Ewan McColl's "First Time Ever", just one word. From " I thought our love would fill the earth and last till the end of time" to " I knew our love..." That bothers me, changes it for me in ways that I don't like.

Anne, I always thought Icarus was about a woman and a man, and I like it better for knowing that it wasn't. It's a song I love and sing, and -- alas -- the time gets away from me. There is something about the way it changes that I can't get my mind around. Sorry. On the up side, we sang it as a memorial to my husband's grandfather -- George Mallory -- when they found his body on Everest. It moved my husband's mum to tears. Thank you for it.

Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Sep 07 - 01:36 PM

So how do you deal with the Queen of Hearts, Kim? I mean, in your head, assuming you keep the line as Kavanagh wrote it?


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: M.Ted
Date: 04 Sep 07 - 01:58 PM

To change the work of a genius, you must either be a genius or a fool.


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: Kim C
Date: 04 Sep 07 - 02:05 PM

McGrath, I've not ever interpreted that as a direct reference to the female love interest in the song. I've always thought of it as an archetypal figure instead.


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 04 Sep 07 - 02:14 PM

Ah, but who is to say what is genius?

To some people, putting handles on cups is a work of genius but to others it's just common sense.

LTS


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 04 Sep 07 - 02:34 PM

TO me It is like taking Mona Lisa and improving it with photoshop. Oh, she would like prettier with blond hair. How about a tiara in her hair? I am in love with men and not women so I will give her a buzz cut and adam's apple. Oh go ahead and give her a big grin. But to each his own said the man as he kissed the pig. mg


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Subject: RE: She changed the words to Raglan Road
From: Cluin
Date: 04 Sep 07 - 02:52 PM

The first version I heard of Raglan Road was Dick Gaughan's. It was an instant favourite.

When I heard the version Van Morrison did with the Chieftains, I thought "Boy, he sure 'Van'-ed the hell out of that song". But I liked it too, because I like Van Morrison.

The original was still there to enjoy and appreciate. Appreciating another later version did not negate that. Nothing has been replaced. It is just another take. Relax and take it or leave it.


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