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Original =Best Songs?

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LR Mole 09 Apr 01 - 03:38 PM
MMario 09 Apr 01 - 03:45 PM
Bert 09 Apr 01 - 03:52 PM
MMario 09 Apr 01 - 04:03 PM
Murray MacLeod 09 Apr 01 - 04:28 PM
Bert 09 Apr 01 - 04:58 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Apr 01 - 06:09 PM
Giac 09 Apr 01 - 06:10 PM
Sorcha 09 Apr 01 - 06:17 PM
Matt_R 09 Apr 01 - 06:19 PM
Micca 09 Apr 01 - 06:30 PM
Paul G. 09 Apr 01 - 08:50 PM
GUEST,Sarah2 (at work) 10 Apr 01 - 12:31 AM
Stewie 10 Apr 01 - 02:45 AM
Gary T 10 Apr 01 - 10:29 AM
GUEST 10 Apr 01 - 11:02 AM
kytrad (Jean Ritchie) 10 Apr 01 - 06:28 PM
Bert 10 Apr 01 - 06:32 PM
McGrath of Harlow 10 Apr 01 - 06:39 PM
Bert 11 Apr 01 - 12:17 AM
Amergin 11 Apr 01 - 12:30 AM
Bert 11 Apr 01 - 12:32 AM
Amergin 11 Apr 01 - 12:39 AM
Jim the Bart 11 Apr 01 - 10:08 AM
Genie 06 Oct 01 - 11:38 PM
Genie 06 Oct 01 - 11:38 PM
Bert 06 Oct 01 - 11:45 PM
Crane Driver 06 Oct 01 - 11:56 PM
Genie 06 Oct 01 - 11:57 PM
Genie 07 Oct 01 - 12:07 AM
Amergin 07 Oct 01 - 12:12 AM
GUEST,Sonja 08 Oct 01 - 08:58 PM
radriano 09 Oct 01 - 05:44 PM
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Subject: Original =Best Songs?
From: LR Mole
Date: 09 Apr 01 - 03:38 PM

I imagine this has been brought up before, but is it considered more of a gift to compose a new song than to interpret one that already exists? As a non-songwriter,I can only do those written by other people, but this seems lower on the merit ladder. On the other hand, there seems to be an awful lot of heard-this stuff, in the "original" market. On the third hand, some diferent-for-the-sake-of-difference pieces aren't accessible to me at all.Hmmm?


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Subject: RE: BS: Original =Best Songs?
From: MMario
Date: 09 Apr 01 - 03:45 PM

depends on the circumstances. I don't consider one "better" then the other - Some people have one talent - other people have another. A song comes alive and vibrant for one performer - dies a horrible death for another - and the second may technically be the better performer...


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Subject: RE: BS: Original =Best Songs?
From: Bert
Date: 09 Apr 01 - 03:52 PM

Generally existing, PROVEN, songs are better than speculative Singer/Songwriter stuff. I say this as a Singer/Songwriter whose aim in life is to write at least one song that will be remebered.

So hold your head up and sing proudly. Also there are thousands of good songs out there that nobody remembers anymore. Look here

Bert.


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Subject: RE: BS: Original =Best Songs?
From: MMario
Date: 09 Apr 01 - 04:03 PM

speaking of which - BERT! do you have dots for "Plastic flower seeds?"


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Subject: RE: BS: Original =Best Songs?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 09 Apr 01 - 04:28 PM

There is a huge amount of forgettable crap generated by singer-songwriters these days. Admittedly nor everyone can be Richard Thompson or Paul Simon, but pleeeeeze.....

Having said that, once in a while a songwriter will come up with a song which just blows you away. One such, a simple, lovely song that I just can't get out of my head is by Cindy Mangsen, called "Sunrise".

Actually, we need a thread on relatively unknown modern songs wnich deserve to be better known.

Murray


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Subject: RE: BS: Original =Best Songs?
From: Bert
Date: 09 Apr 01 - 04:58 PM

Don't have the tadpoles MMario, but If you PM you snail mail address I'll send you a recording. Thanks for remembering.


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Subject: RE: BS: Original =Best Songs?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Apr 01 - 06:09 PM

That's a very handy site bert!

Hunting out a good song that people won't have come across, but that deserves to be sung is in many ways the same skill as singing a song you've written; the really difficult thing is to be able to sing a song everybody thinks they know and disregard, and make people hear it for the first time.


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Subject: RE: BS: Original =Best Songs?
From: Giac
Date: 09 Apr 01 - 06:10 PM

Hey, I love that song, Bert.

After you did it on Mudcat Radio the other night, I got the words out of the DT and sang it for some little friends. They loved it, too.

Mary


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Subject: RE: BS: Original =Best Songs?
From: Sorcha
Date: 09 Apr 01 - 06:17 PM

Toss up for me.Granted, there is lots of garbage being written, but there probably always has been. What if there weren't EVER any new songs? That would be very sad. We also don't know how much garbage did NOT survive.......all songs have to be "written" at some point.


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Subject: RE: BS: Original =Best Songs?
From: Matt_R
Date: 09 Apr 01 - 06:19 PM

I have a problem...what if your main concentration is folkifying copywritten material? This is why I could never do albums or anything. I would be paying royalties out my nose for copywritten songs that most people don't even know.


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Subject: RE: BS: Original =Best Songs?
From: Micca
Date: 09 Apr 01 - 06:30 PM

well, I can vouch for one thing, to sing a song you wrote and have someone come up afterwards and say, "I liked that song do you know who wrote it, as I would like to sing it." is a very special feeling


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Subject: RE: BS: Original =Best Songs?
From: Paul G.
Date: 09 Apr 01 - 08:50 PM

My 2 cents as a singer/songwriter...I take as much joy from performing a good arangement of somebody else's work as from performing my own. The performance and the audience response is the thing, no matter who wrote the tune. Both are a gift.

pg


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Subject: RE: BS: Original =Best Songs?
From: GUEST,Sarah2 (at work)
Date: 10 Apr 01 - 12:31 AM

ditto what Paul G says.

Sarah


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Subject: RE: BS: Original =Best Songs?
From: Stewie
Date: 10 Apr 01 - 02:45 AM

I'll buy, unheard, any CD that Roy Bailey cares to put out [I hope 'Coda' isn't his last]. I don't think he has written any songs himself - I haven't heard them if he has. Magnificent interpreter. He must have waded through oceans of shit to come up consistently with the gems that he has. I think it was Professor Child who said that the broadside ballads were a 'veritable dunghill' from which the occasional gem could be found. God help him if he were confronted with the deluge from 20th/21st century singer/songwriters - but a surprising number of gems may still be found.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: BS: Original =Best Songs?
From: Gary T
Date: 10 Apr 01 - 10:29 AM

I, like most of us I imagine, run into many more people (myself included) who sing/play songs than people who write them. Songwriting thus appears to be a rarer skill than singing/playing, and that can make it seem to be a greater gift. But I must say, I seldom run into a really good "home-grown" song, and I have more appreciation for a well-rendered cover than for an original clunker.

So I don't see songwriting, in and of itself, as a necessarily greater gift than singing/playing. Yet while any number of folks can do a commendable job of performing others' work, presumably only one individual could have written that gem of a song that is widely admired. That is a rare and noble talent.


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Subject: RE: BS: Original =Best Songs?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Apr 01 - 11:02 AM

I write my own songs and cover many Traditional songs. I find that I have to write 10 to come up with 1 good one. There are many great songs in the world and if no one plays them they go away.
Too many folks don't display good judgement with original material. Even legendary song writers write weak material. I once heard a performer, I forget who, say, "I wrote this next one , I don't write all that many songs. The world has enough great songs and plenty of bad ones too, I don't need to add any more bad ones." Words to live by.


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Subject: RE: BS: Original =Best Songs?
From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)
Date: 10 Apr 01 - 06:28 PM

I don't consider a song I made up to be "A Song" until I hear someone else sing it. That's so thrilling!


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Subject: RE: BS: Original =Best Songs?
From: Bert
Date: 10 Apr 01 - 06:32 PM

Good point kytrad, but that severely diminishes the number of songs that I have written! ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Original =Best Songs?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Apr 01 - 06:39 PM

Great when someone compliments you on a song, and you have to congress it was one of your own, as Micca said.

But it can be good too when they compliment you and assume it was one of your own, and you tell them written by someone universally recognised as a great songwriter - and they thought it was one of yours. (The same if it's a traditional song they hadn't come across before.) And the best thing is to walk into a room and someone is singing one of yours, and they don't know.


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Subject: RE: BS: Original =Best Songs?
From: Bert
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 12:17 AM

...someone is singing one of yours, and they don't know....
Ah! I've not got there yet McGrath. Still you write better songs than I do ------ You Rotten bastard -----*BG*

Bert.


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Subject: RE: BS: Original =Best Songs?
From: Amergin
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 12:30 AM

Hey, Bert, I'll always remember you for Size Doesn't Matter.....

Oh, Mcgrath, if that ever happened to me, I would die of shock....but I would die happy....


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Subject: RE: BS: Original =Best Songs?
From: Bert
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 12:32 AM

Thanks 'ginbuddy. You're my friend for life.

Bert (Gawd I plugged that one enough didn't I?)


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Subject: RE: BS: Original =Best Songs?
From: Amergin
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 12:39 AM

I don't know...I always saw it as your personal anthem....


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Subject: RE: BS: Original =Best Songs?
From: Jim the Bart
Date: 11 Apr 01 - 10:08 AM

Back in the early 70's, writing your own was the mark of a serious artist. Being a "cover" artist, except in the case of the established folk/trad canon, lumped you in with the "Holiday Inn" crowd. Which is why, to this day, I don't know any Jim Croce songs. But I digress.

One thing that became clear as I started to pay attention to the craft of songwriting was that there were a lot of performers around who had one (or maybe two) really outstanding songs in them. The rest of their stuff might be just so much navel-gazing, but those special songs would just shine. Unfortunately, when the writer didn't get a record contract and decided to "get on with their life" (probably selling shoes or something), those great songs would disappear.

I decided to do two things: 1. Collect and play those songs by unknown songwriters that I thought were really, really good. 2. Not play any of my own songs until and unless I felt they measured up.

My "career goal", at one point, was to have my own studio, where I could record people playing just their very best songs. I figured I could release compilation records; No one would make a pile of money, but at least those songs wouldn't just fade away.

I still haven't gotten there (yet), but at least my own writing has gotten better. I've come far enough in my own writing to put out a quality set or two of my own stuff. And it only took 30 years! When I perform I still sneak in some of my favorites by worthy writers who the world will probably never know about. What a shame.


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Subject: RE: BS: Original =Best Songs?
From: Genie
Date: 06 Oct 01 - 11:38 PM

Bartholomew, 
What a great idea! Do you have any CDs of such compilations?

You know, I think one reason there are so many "singer-songwriters"* singing and recording so many crappy to mediocre songs lies in the extensions of the copyright laws to the point where nothing written (i.e., copyrighted) in the last 75 years can be recorded or performed for $ without paying what can be high royalties..
I would love to record great songs of Hank Williams, the Gershwins, Duke Ellington, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Bob Wills, Lieber and Stoller, Irving Berlin, Jimmie Rodgers, and many other composers/songwriters whose names may be less widely recognized. But to do a CD with ten such songs on it would, I am told, mean paying $7.50 in royalties alone for each CD burned!

I am afraid that many song treasures will be lost to our descendents because copyrights now persist so long after an author's demise.

Even the "great" songwriters often wrote 10 to 1000 so-so songs for every gem. (Irving Berlin, e.g., is said to have written at least 1500 songs--out of which maybe 30 to 60 are really memorable. Hank Williams also wrote a lot more songs than "hits.")
Once the "cream" has risen to the top, it's a shame to let it spoil because it's too expensive to consume it!

Let me illustrate the point with one more example:
Every singer and her/his brother/sister seems to record a Christmas CD that includes all the old Christmas hymns and public domain favorites (Deck The Hall, Silent Night, etc.). Why? I imagine it's because they don't have to pay royalties on these!

Genie


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Subject: RE: BS: Original =Best Songs?
From: Genie
Date: 06 Oct 01 - 11:38 PM

Bartholomew,
What a great idea! Do you have any CDs of such compilations?

You know, I think one reason there are so many "singer-songwriters"* singing and recording so many crappy to mediocre songs lies in the extensions of the copyright laws to the point where nothing written i.e., copyrighted) in the last 75 years can be recorded or performed for $ without paying what can be high royalties..

I am afraid that many song treasures will be lost to our descendents because copyrights now persist so long after an author's demise.

Even the "great" songwriters often wrote 10 to 1000 so-so songs for every gem. (Irving Berlin, e.g., is said to have written at least 1500 songs--out of which maybe 30 to 60 are really memorable.
Hank Williams also wrote a lot more songs than "hits.")
Once the "cream" has risen to the top, it's a shame to let it spoil because it's too expensive to consume it!

Let me illustrate the point with one more example:
Every singer and her/his brother/sister seems to record a
Christmas CD that includes all the old Christmas hymns
and public domain favorites (Deck The Hall, Silent Night, etc.). Why? I imagine it's because they don't have to pay royalties
on these!

Genie


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Subject: RE: BS: Original =Best Songs?
From: Bert
Date: 06 Oct 01 - 11:45 PM

... Not play any of my own songs until and unless I felt they measured up...

Bartholomew, unfortunately it is others, and not yourself who judge the value of your songs. Which is why people insist on associating me with songs like Silicone Cindy and Size Doesn't Matter and ignore those song of mine which I thing are better.


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Subject: RE: BS: Original =Best Songs?
From: Crane Driver
Date: 06 Oct 01 - 11:56 PM

Any song that still means something after 200 years has got to have something going for it. I've written a (very) few songs, sing a few modern ones, but mostly trad. I don't think I can judge my own songs - it would only be if someone else wanted to sing one that I would know that it had "worked". I'm still waiting.

A song isn't a folksong until someone other than the original writer starts singing it. (that's not intended as a definition of "folksong").

So we who interpret other people's songs are a vital part of the folk process.

Scary or what?


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Subject: RE: BS: Original =Best Songs?
From: Genie
Date: 06 Oct 01 - 11:57 PM

Gawd! I really messed up the formatting on my last post! Is there someone there at the 'Cat who can put in a couple of line breaks, so the dern thing doesn't stretch across the page for two miles?
Genie

I wish there were a way for me/us to go back after a post and fix errors!


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Subject: RE: BS: Original =Best Songs?
From: Genie
Date: 07 Oct 01 - 12:07 AM

Oh, phooey! I'm just gonna put in the #%!/+@!! line breaks myself and hope that Joe or someone will delete the screwed -up post above.
Genie

Bartholomew,
What a great idea! Do you have any CDs of such compilations?

You know, I think one reason there are so many "singer-songwriters"* singing and recording
so many crappy to mediocre songs lies in the extensions of the copyright laws
to the point where nothing written (i.e., copyrighted) in the last 75 years
can be recorded or performed for $ without paying what can be high royalties.

I would love to record great songs of Hank Williams, the Gershwins, Duke Ellington, Paul Simon,
Bob Dylan, Bob Wills, Lieber and Stoller, Irving Berlin, Jimmie Rodgers,
and many other composers/songwriters whose names may be less widely recognized. But to do a CD
with ten such songs on it would, I am told, mean paying $7.50 in royalties alone for each CD burned!
I am afraid that many song treasures will be lost to our descendents
because copyrights now persist so long after an author's demise.
Even the "great" songwriters often wrote 10 to 1000 so-so songs for every gem.
(Irving Berlin, e.g., is said to have written at least 1500 songs--out of which maybe 30 to 60
are really memorable. Hank Williams also wrote a lot more songs than "hits.")
Once the "cream" has risen to the top,
it's a shame to let it spoil because it's too expensive to consume it!
Let me illustrate the point with one more example:
Every singer and her/his brother/sister seems to record a Christmas CD that includes
all the old Christmas hymns and public domain favorites (Deck The Hall, Silent Night, etc.).
Why? I imagine it's because they don't have to pay royalties on these!
Even in the "folk" realm, the music of the 20th C. is mostly under copyright.

Genie


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Subject: RE: BS: Original =Best Songs?
From: Amergin
Date: 07 Oct 01 - 12:12 AM

if anyone were to ask me if they could something I wrote...I would just ask for the credit due...and a copy of the cd....but then that is not likely to ever happen...


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Subject: RE: BS: Original =Best Songs?
From: GUEST,Sonja
Date: 08 Oct 01 - 08:58 PM

You too, Amergin? That probably applies to a lot of us.


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Subject: RE: BS: Original =Best Songs?
From: radriano
Date: 09 Oct 01 - 05:44 PM

I find the premise of this thread a bit ridiculous.


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