Sunday, December 23, 2007

"Now's the time to give your share . . ."

Yesterday, I received a copy of the original 1929 sheet music to my RADIOLA! theme, "Wake Up! Chill'un, Wake Up!" stated as having lyrics by Jo Trent and music by Willard Robison. What is remarkable is that on the Ipana Troubadors recording (Columbia 1779-D) I use as the theme, Willard Robison himself sings, "Love is in power/Now's the time to give your share," while in the printed sheet music and on every other recording of the tune, the lyric is "Now's the time to get your share."

I have to assume that the composition of the song was somewhat more collaborative than otherwise indicated, and that Robison preferred the more "giving" version. Perhaps the change came after the song was published, and it could not be amended. It's a deeply philosophical song, with amazing imagery and a timeless message. Changing the more selfish "get" to the more emotionally mature "give" is a logical--and vast--improvement. (After all, in order to get love you have to give love--which some of my friends in their 40s are still figuring out.)

Robison's change makes the song nearly perfect. I'd have to consider his reading of the lyric to be the definitive version, supplanting even the published version. And it's certainly something to consider in this season of giving.

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