Looking for Public Domain help

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dhodge
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Looking for Public Domain help

Post by dhodge » August 11th, 2009, 10:39 am

Hi to everyone

Got a new project in the works (incredibly exciting and details will be coming soon, promise!) and would like to ask for a bit of help.

I'm looking for "traditional" songs, Public Domain, that have been covered by big or "relatively well known" artists. Most of Springsteen's "Seeger Sessions" album, for instance, fall into that category. So do many songs from Johnny Cash's "American Recordings" albums, such as Sam Hall, Streets of Laredo, Wayfaring Stranger, Danny Boy, and you can find artists from Bob Dylan (Man of Constant Sorrow) to Eva Cassidy (The Water is Wide) or James Taylor (Oh Susanna) and the Animals (House of the Rising Sun) who have used PD songs at one time or another. Throw in the Chieftains and their many guest vocalists (Mick Jagger on Handsome Molly, Van Morrison on Shenandoah, etc.,) and you'll see there are a lot of PD songs that can serve as lessons while still having a "current relevance" for a listener.

So, I'd like to compile a list of between thirty and fifty that people know - either by the artist or by the song. Reasons why you think a particular version is very good or striking. Also feel free to say "I'm kind of tired of this one" and state why.

Without giving too much away until the paperwork is done and all signed, let's just go with "big international book project but publisher refuses to shell out for copyrighted material" and we're not going to bemoan that fact or let it stop what we hope could be one of the best beginners' guitar book ever.

Thanks in advance for your help, suggestions and ideas. Be seeing you on the boards.

Peace

boxboy
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Re: Looking for Public Domain help

Post by boxboy » August 11th, 2009, 10:47 am

My first thought was hymns/spirituals. Many are old as the hills yet constantly covered/reinvented.
I'll rack my brain for some favourite versions.
Sounds like a cool project! All the best.
:)
Don

dhodge
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Re: Looking for Public Domain help

Post by dhodge » August 11th, 2009, 10:54 am

Hymns and spirituals are definite possibilities. The Amazing Grace lesson here at Guitar Noise is a perfect example or the sort of thing I'd like to achieve.

Looking forward to your suggestions and thanks!

Peace

Celt
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Re: Looking for Public Domain help

Post by Celt » August 11th, 2009, 11:40 am

This looks like a good resource page for Public Domain.

http://www.pdinfo.com/index.php

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dhodge
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Re: Looking for Public Domain help

Post by dhodge » August 11th, 2009, 12:08 pm

Thanks for the link. And also to all the folks that have PM'd Public Domain links to me in the past few hours!

I think that I've not explained myself well and my apologies for that. To clarify, finding PD songs isn't the problem. What I'm looking for are covers of PD songs by artists that people know - artists or bands that are relatively well known by the general public.

Sorry for the confusion.

Peace

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Re: Looking for Public Domain help

Post by JoeHempel » August 11th, 2009, 1:29 pm

Would the Star Spangled Banner fall under that? I know Whitney Houston and Faith Hill both gave covers that played on the radio for a while they were so good.
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Re: Looking for Public Domain help

Post by tarheel » August 11th, 2009, 1:37 pm

Mr. Hodge
Here are few examples that come to mind, in no particular order.
Elvis covered several hymns, some of which are probably PD. I'm thinking of the double album collection of hymns.

Willie Nelson has traditional Christmas songs on Pretty Paper and another Christmas album (which I don't remember at the moment).

John Hammond Jr sings "I Know I've Been Changed" on his Wicked Grin CD

"The Midnight Special" has been covered fairly often, e.g, Creedence Clearwater Revival

"Motherless Child" by Eric Clapton

Sounds like an interesting project. I look forward to seeing your final product!
Good luck

abcxyz
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Re: Looking for Public Domain help

Post by abcxyz » August 11th, 2009, 1:45 pm

Scarborough Fair by Simon and Garfunkel.

One of my favourite numbers and lesson here at GN.

Scrybe
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Re: Looking for Public Domain help

Post by Scrybe » August 11th, 2009, 2:14 pm

Malted Milk by Robert Johnson was covered by Calpton on his Unplugged album IIRC. Surely that's in the PD by now? Also, Birvana did a Leadbelly tune for their unplugged. Maybe the MTV Unplugged series would be worth checking out for that?

Also Swing Low Sweet Chariot was released over here a few years back but u forget the artist. It's sung by English rugby fans, so was really well known. I have the cd kicking around somewhere, so I'll dig it out for you.

Dylan had a couple of albums of folk covers - World Gone Wrong and Good As I Been To You, so maybe something like Stack-a-Lee?


I should be thinking of more but my brain is fried right now.
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Re: Looking for Public Domain help

Post by Elecktrablue » August 11th, 2009, 2:24 pm

How about "Milk Cow Blues"? Written and performed by Kokomo Arnold sometime between 1934 & 1938. It was since recorded by Elvis Presley as "The Milk Cow Blues Boogie". It was also covered by Willie Nelson, BB King, Dr. John, George Strait, Doc Watson, Aerosmith, The Flaming Groovies, Elvis Costello, Ricky Nelson, The Pirates, Tyler Hilton, Glen Campbell, IIIrd Time Out, Tim McGraw, The Kinks, Alan Jackson, Eddie Cochran and Sleepy John Estes, to name but a few.

Am I on the right track?

If so ...

"When The Levee Breaks" was originally written and recorded by Kansas Joe and Memphis Minnie in 1929. Most of us know it as a (1970) Led Zeppelin tune. It's also been covered by ...

The London Philharmonic Orchestra performed a version of the Led Zeppelin cover on the CD Kashmir: Symphonic Led Zeppelin in 1997.
Jeff Buckley covered it on the so-called 'Rarities from NYC' in 1996.
Tori Amos played it on her 2005 world tour, at a concert in Austin, TX just days after the hurricane on September 2, 2005.
Gov't Mule has been playing it in concert since 2005.
A Perfect Circle included a version on their cover album 'eMOTIVe' in 2004.
Joe Bonamassa uses the songs main riff for his song 'The River'.
Robert Plant and Alison Krauss regularly covered the song during their tour of USA and Europe in April and May 2008.
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dhodge
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Re: Looking for Public Domain help

Post by dhodge » August 11th, 2009, 3:25 pm

This is all great! Didn't even know about When the Levee Breaks. Will definitely check into that.

Thanks to everyone for all the suggestions so far and looking forward to more. Your help is greatly appreciated.

Peace

Elecktrablue
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Re: Looking for Public Domain help

Post by Elecktrablue » August 11th, 2009, 3:41 pm

(Forgot to mention that Bob Dylan's "The Levees Gonna Break" is based on "When The Levee Breaks".)

Referring back to Scrybe's mention of "Stack O'Lee" ... (also referred to as Stag O' Lee, Stagolee, Stackerlee, Stack O'Lee, Stack-a-Lee) and the one most commonly heard these days is "Stagger Lee".

The first published version known to exist is that of folklorist John Lomax in 1910. Mississippi John Hurt covered it in 1928. And it has also been covered by Sidney Bechet, Pat Boone, James Brown, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Richard Clark, Ken Colyer, Neil Diamond, Fats Domino, Bob Dylan, Johnny Dodds, Duke Ellington, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Grateful Dead, Woody Guthrie, Bill Haley & His Comets, John Holt, The Isley Brothers, Dr. John, Furry Lewis, Taj Mahal, Memphis Slim, Modern Life is War, Huey Lewis and the News, Professor Longhair, New Monsoon, Pacific Gas & Electric, Lloyd Price, Wilson Pickett, Ike and Tina Turner, Doc Watson, Snatch and the Poontangs, Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, Travis MacRae, Ma Rainey, Tommy Roe, Tom Rush, Dave Van Ronk, and The Clash.

This is fun!!! I LOVE research! Let me know if I'm giving you too much information or the wrong kind of information. Whatever you want, I'll be absolutely tickled pink to do some of the research!!
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Re: Looking for Public Domain help

Post by Nick » August 11th, 2009, 3:54 pm

St James Infirmary Blues
ZZ Top Boogie Chillen
Cocaine - for instance Jackson Brown
Cocaine Blues - Johnny Cash
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Scrybe
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Re: Looking for Public Domain help

Post by Scrybe » August 11th, 2009, 4:23 pm

Heh, I should never post from my iffyfone again (she types, into her iffyfone...). I trust you can translate my earlier post.

Just remembered, Jeff Buckley did Corpus Christi Carol on his album Grace. Pretty much everyone I know my age loves Jeff.

And I don't know if 1958 puts Satisfied Mind too late, but that ones been done by him and a bunch of others including Johnny Cash, Ben Harper and John Martin.
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Gabba Gabba Hey
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Re: Looking for Public Domain help

Post by Gabba Gabba Hey » August 11th, 2009, 6:26 pm

dhodge wrote: "big international book project but publisher refuses to shell out for copyrighted material"
I'm really curious about this; aren't the modern arrangements usually copyrighted? I know when we cover the slave spiritual "Give Me Jesus" using Jeremy Camp's very popular modern arrangement, we have to report it under the licensing rules, and he is listed as the artist. I'd think the same would apply in most situations where a modern artist does an arrangement of a song in the public domain.

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