Author Topic: Blasphemy!!  (Read 8717 times)

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Offline SFDonovan

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Blasphemy!!
« on: March 11, 2016, 03:35:39 pm »
I've got some new friends I play music with.  Dave is pretty cool, but the other guy Rob is a bit off.  I put up with him for the most part cause we all jam at his house every week.  We are putting a setlist together to perform at an open mic.  Last night he wanted me to try Folsom Prison Blues by the great Johnny Cash.  I gave it a shot singing from a chord sheet with lyrics he gave me until, I came to a verse I've never seen before.

I stopped playing and was like "What the hell...where did this verse come from"?

Rob says..."I wrote it".

I just stood there staring at him.   I said something like "But it's Johnny Cash...this is Blasphemy".  He talked me into trying it again and I grudgingly said OK.  It felt weird singing an added verse into such a great song, and he says I did the song well, and he wants to add it to the growing setlist.

Today I'm rethinking this, and want to tell Rob that it's not right to deliberately change this song, much less sing this in public at an open mic.  Changing some things like he/him/his to she/her/hers is one thing, but this is adding an entire verse to a well known song.  We would probably have to ask permission from the artist to be legal. 

I'm in Texas and don't want a beer thrown at me from the crowd when they don't recognize the lyrics.  I also don't want to start an argument with Rob either.  What argument can I make to say this is not a good idea?
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Offline stitch101

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Re: Blasphemy!!
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2016, 04:53:59 pm »
Quote
I'm in Texas and don't want a beer thrown at me from the crowd when they don't recognize the lyrics.

There's a good chance this could happen if there are some hard core Johnny Cash fans in the crowd.

It's one thing for a well known band like ZZ Top to do their own version of Jail House Rock but for
an unknown band to rewrite a Hit from a very well know artist is asking for trouble.

The new verse would have to be something so special that it take the crowds breath away.
If it is at all amateurish or falls short of fitting into the song you could get run out of town.

One the other hand if it is a great verse and and something special to the original song you may
have a hit.
Is it any good? Does it fit with the original?
 

Offline Shaolindelt

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Re: Blasphemy!!
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2016, 05:23:40 pm »
Maybe try to negotiate?  If I'm listening to a favorite song being done by a local band, I'd probably accept a well done add-on.  But maybe instead of a whole verse or something, can you reduce it to a few lines maybe in a bridge or something?  Honestly, verse, chorus, verse, chorus is so expected for a classic, but interrupting it with a custom bridge or something is at least creative and is less "you messed with the original" and more "you added an interpretation."   A whole new verse in the middle would just seem off and one at the end would potentially just end the song on a bad note (pun intended).   Tough call really without knowing the add.

Another option is if it is a new verse at the end, maybe play the whole song to its normal completion, and then turn it into a jam session. Everyone knows the song is over, you are just playing it some more, mixing it up a bit and then BAM - come in with your own take on a new verse.  Best of both worlds - I got the song I knew, and you got to show off your own style and writing too?
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Offline SFDonovan

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Re: Blasphemy!!
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2016, 05:36:36 pm »
Here it is.  it's an added third verse.

I'm doing thirty years now, been sentenced to hard time.
They say this cold-hearted punishment, it fits the crime.
Stuck in Folsom prison, that's where I have to stay.
And I let that clickity-clack, carry my thoughts away.

Then the original third verse moves down to forth.

Well if they freed me from this prison.... etc
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Offline Shaolindelt

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Re: Blasphemy!!
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2016, 06:59:36 pm »
Not bad add, but doesn't quite fit my ideas of how to sneak it in.  Bottom line - if you don't feel comfortable signing it, it's not going to be good and that's ultimately the most important.
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Offline stitch101

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Re: Blasphemy!!
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2016, 07:49:31 pm »
The verse really does nothing for the song as a whole and this line

"And I let that clickity-clack, carry my thoughts away"

This line seems to have been thrown on the end of the verse as a train reference
Can you see a guy sentenced to 30 years hard labor saying  clickity-clack.
That's something you'd hear in a kids song about Thomas the Train.


In this original line
"I'm stuck in Folsom prison, and time keeps draggin' on"
You can feel the pain and loneliness of being locked up

In your buddies line
"Stuck in Folsom prison, that's where I have to stay."
Of course he has to stay there he's in prison. That's a no brainer
There need to some emotion here not just a line to fill space.

He needs a line with some feeling
"I'm stuck in Folsom prison, and time keeps draggin' on"
or
"And I'd let that lonesome whistle blow my blues away..... "
But both are already in the song

I think that's what wrong with the clickity-clack line. It's like your buddy is
take the original line of the song and re-write them.
Compare the original and the re-write side by side and you can see what I'm talking about.

Original
And I'd let that lonesome whistle blow my blues away.....

Re-write
And I let that clickity-clack, carry my thoughts away.

Original
I'm stuck in Folsom prison, and time keeps draggin' on

Re-write
Stuck in Folsom prison, that's where I have to stay.

The re-writes don't have the same emotion and don't add anything to the story line of
the song.






Online close2u

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Re: Blasphemy!!
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2016, 08:35:57 pm »
Stitch says everything really well.

I will be concise.

Those extra verses are xx--xx.

Your 'friend' has an ego but is limited in the craft of penmanship.

Offline SFDonovan

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Re: Blasphemy!!
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2016, 05:18:40 pm »
I agree whole-heartedly.  I'm gonna just tell him I'm singing the original or not at all.  If he doesn't like it then maybe this little group isn't for me.
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Online LievenDV

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Re: Blasphemy!!
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2016, 10:43:41 am »
I agree,

You could change his/her and even I don't do that. (when I do solo gigs, I even sing Jolene while I clearly prefer women ;) )

the extra verse would startle me as a fan...and I AM a fan... certainly that song!
You either cover or you make a hommage but adding a verse is too intrusive for me.

 
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Offline Drubbing

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Re: Blasphemy!!
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2016, 11:08:38 am »
Nothing wrong with adding some lyrics if you're singing for yourself. To do it out in public is douchy. Especially stupid with an artist many people will have a close affinity for. Who wants to be known as the band that make up their own Cash tunes?

Besides, if Johnny Cash thought it was a verse short, he'd have writ another one. And better.

Online LievenDV

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Re: Blasphemy!!
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2016, 11:38:15 am »
Besides, if Johnny Cash thought it was a verse short, he'd have writ another one. And better.

point. set. game. ^^
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Offline phx1973

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Re: Blasphemy!!
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2016, 09:47:28 pm »
My 2 hard and fast life rules are (1) never eat another mans fries...and
(2) don't even think about messing with Johnny cash lyrics. They are perfect just the way they are!


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Online tobyjenner

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Re: Blasphemy!!
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2016, 01:52:09 pm »
Mmmm this has got me thinking. :(

I've been working on a recording of House of the Rising Sun. Last year I came up with a extra, either penultimate or last verse.

There's whiskey on the table
There's Aces in my hand
Guess I'm gonna die in New Orleans
A lonely gambling man.

This thread now gives me some doubts but I think I'll carry on with this just for my own amusement. What would you do ?
 8)
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Offline deadeye_ag

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Re: Blasphemy!!
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2016, 03:22:08 pm »
SFDonovan,

I'm also in Texas (Dallas) and I definitely understand your concern. People love to sing that song and if you drop that verse in on them unexpectedly without warning you could get a bunch of WTFs?

Now, you MIGHT be able to pull it off if you prep them just right. Quite common in Texas music for there to be an interlude in the middle of the song where you tell a story about where something came from, think The Front Porch Song by Robert Earl Keen and Lyle Lovett, The Pickup Truck Song by JJW, You Never Even Called Me By My Name by David Allen Coe, etc. etc.

If you tell the story about how the verse came into being giving plenty of reverence to Johnny Cash in the process, people might actually like it. You just have to spin it right.


Offline deadeye_ag

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Re: Blasphemy!!
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2016, 03:28:48 pm »
That aside... you are correct in that you run the risk of ticking people off.

Offline stitch101

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Re: Blasphemy!!
« Reply #15 on: September 02, 2016, 04:34:19 pm »
Quote
This thread now gives me some doubts but I think I'll carry on with this just for my own amusement. What would you do ?

Use it to write my own song. Nothing wrong with using a song as inspiration but when it comes to
songs ingrained into peoples minds you're just asking for trouble messing with it.

   

Online tobyjenner

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Re: Blasphemy!!
« Reply #16 on: September 02, 2016, 05:15:41 pm »
Use it to write my own song. Nothing wrong with using a song as inspiration but when it comes to
songs ingrained into peoples minds you're just asking for trouble messing with it.
 

Wise advice Stitch. Its one of those "seemed like a good idea at the time". Sounded a good little verse/chorus to me, so I'll add it to the projects list and who knows, one day ...............  8)
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