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GUEST,Bob Blair New book - Legacies of Ewan MacColl (80* d) RE: New book - Legacies of Ewan MacColl 26 Nov 14


The book arrived today and have spent a couple of hours or so skimming the book.

Initial feelings are that it is worth getting ........ BUT

The bibliography is good - I think need to check some items out..

The list of radio programmes is limited and not comprehensive - no mention made of the Song Carriers or Romeo and Juliet although the latter is mentioned in the text. Parsley, Sage, and. Politics???

The TV prorogramme list only has 3 items

The Vacca interviews take up too much of the book and I have reservations about them. Vacca has his own agenda and punts it from time to time.   I suppose that folk who have never heard any of Ewan's interviews will find them interesting but they need to be listened to in conjunction with other interviews that Ewan gave. As is known he sometimes varied - just as he did with his songs :-)

The Laing chapter on Ewan and the revival has serious errors for any publication that has pretences to be an academic study.

In particular there are glaring errors when he talks about the Critics Group, most of which are easily checked by any competent researcher, and let me hasten to add that as a member of the Critics Group I am in a position to know.

His (Laing's) objectivity goes out the window when he says about the Critics Group reading list -

" it seems likely that MacColl the autodidact had simply listed every book that he had consumed".

That's far, far from the truth and insulting to boot. I wonder what grounds Laing had for saying such a thing.

The Laing errors and lack of objectivity must call into question the value of any book published by an avowedly educational publisher.

To be fair however his (Laing's) chapter has some interesting material.


Moore's musical analysis of Ewan and some other trad singers is interesting an deserves longer study with the recordings he analysed in front of you.

The best bits so far are Peggy's intro and the final para of the intro although I would quibble with some of that... Now there's a surprise. :-)

Maybe more later, but the book is definitely worth having for those interested in MacColl's work.

Bob Blair


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