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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Jim Carroll 2007 Ewan MacColl Bio - Class Act (715* d) RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography 09 Oct 07


I have no real interest in talking about MacColl as an individual; I knew him long enough to be able to make an assessment of what kind of an individual he was, and that's enough for me.
What I would like to see discussed is his ideas on singing - have been persistently disappointed in this over the last thirty by side tracks and cul-de-sacs such as above.
No Winger, I am not talking to you specifically, it was a general comment.
What is a Folk Luvvie - well; as I was just saying to Martin the other day................
In the early sixties MacColl, a reasonable successful professional singer, took the decision to work with less experienced 'wannabe' singers. While others in his profession (most of whom queued up to get the boot in on him) were happily getting on with their careers, he and Peggy devoted an evening a week to greenhorns like me who were struggling to become reasonable singers of traditional songs and songwriters using traditional forms. They did this for nearly ten years. The end result was around 300 tapes of workshops of ideas, excercises, experiments, performances.... a decade of work on traditional singing absolutely unique.
Those tapes now lay in Birmingham Central Library largely unused (with another set on the shelves behind me as I write).
Because of the mantra that usually follows the mention of MacColl's name, the ideas that were tossed around, tried out, succeeded and became established with those involved, or failed and were discarded, will probably never see the light of the folk club, which I believe to be an awful shame.
The same goes for the 6 month long interview Pat and I did with him on his ideas on singing after The Critics Group broke up.
It seems to me that the revival as it stands today has largely run out of steam, yet there is this reservoir of energy and ideas lying dormant: daft I call it.
I confess I get prickly when I see the same old usual dragged out about MacColl; call it my sense of fair play.
Ewan and Peggy devoted the time and energy they did to the music they loved unstintingly, without expecting any return. Nobody else in the revival other than those who were influenced by them spent anything like the time they did helping other performers.
No, they certainly weren't/aren't saints. Working with MacColl could be difficult; he often got it wrong and jesus, some of his ideas were off-the-wall. But he cared enough about the music to put the hours in and he shared what he had and what he believed. They threw their home open, and made available their library and the result of their researches to anybody who asked.
I don't know many others in the revival I can say that of.
Jim Carroll
WLD' you didn't respond to my comment about MacColl not knocking other singers, but there again, it was a rhetorical one.




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