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2007 Ewan MacColl Bio - Class Act

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Subject: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 04:33 AM

The publication of a new biography of Ewan MacColl has just been announced:

'Class Act: The Political and Cultural Life of Ewan MacColl' by Ben Harker (pub. Pluto Press). Publication is scheduled for 25th October 2007.

I can't wait to read it!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Dreadnought
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 04:51 AM

That does look interesting.

Here's a bit more info from the University of Michigan Press website:

Ewan MacColl is one of the outstanding British singers and songwriters of the mid to late 20th century, and his work has been covered by artists including Roberta Flack, Johnny Cash and the Pogues. He was also a committed political activist. For sixty years he was at the cultural forefront of numerous political struggles, producing plays, songs and radio programs on subjects ranging from the Spanish Civil War to the Poll Tax. A founder-member of Theatre Workshop, MacColl as the famous company's resident dramatist, and his plays earned the admiration of contemporaries including George Bernard Shaw, Sean O'Casey and Hugh MacDiarmid. MacColl lived an energetic and colorful life.

This is the first biography of MacColl, and was prepared with the authorization of his collaborator and widow, Peggy Seeger. It charts MacColl's early years, his involvement in the Communist Party, in radical theatre, his pioneering radio programs, as well as his extensive work in the British folk-revival. Exhaustively researched and energetically written, this is an illuminating account of a major and controversial twentieth-century political artist.

Ben Harker is a lecturer in English and Sociology at the University of Salford.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,MIKE
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 07:46 AM

WAIT FOR IT....................M


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 09:30 AM

Yes ....... 4 and counting


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: bubblyrat
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 09:50 AM

I only discovered yesterday that his real name was Jimmy Miller, as was mentioned elsewhere on this site. Is it really true ??


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 09:50 AM

what are you waiting for?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 09:56 AM

I jut looked on Amazon - the hardcover version is £45.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 10:03 AM

He was initially an actor / playwright, actors sometimes have "actor names". John Wayne etc.

Oh yes warming up now


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: curmudgeon
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 10:14 AM

I just pre-ordered the paperback edition for $20.00 USD.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 12:20 PM

"I only discovered yesterday that his real name was Jimmy Miller, as was mentioned elsewhere on this site. Is it really true ??"

Yes. And it's also true that Bob Dylan's real name was Robert Zimmerman ... so what's your point?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: greg stephens
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 01:57 PM

And John Wayne's was Marian Montgomery. Dian Dors on the other hand, was Felicity Fluck.Neither of those two wrote any songs worth speakinbg of about Joe Stalin.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 02:01 PM

Marian Montgomery the jazz singer...my god that woman could act, I never suspected for a moment. although he did walk funny - come to think of it.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Roberto
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 02:13 PM

Ewan MacColl: always many sharp comments on him. But if you consider his overall work you can't ignore the importance, and often the beauty, of it. The song in praise of Stalin: most intellectuals failed to do their duty in the age of totalitarianisms. But Ewan MacColl was not only the song to Stalin. R


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Folkiedave
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 03:00 PM

And Lois Maxwell (Jane Moneypenny of the Bond movies) who just passed away - was Lois Hooker. Now why did she change her name?

I will put forward my theory as to the name change which I always reckon he got wrong.

Many early twentieth Scottish writers took their (pen) names from earlier Scots poets, Christopher Grieve (Hugh Mc Diarmid) being the best known example. There never was a poet called Ewan MacColl - but there was one called Evan MacColl. I just wonder if he got it wrong.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 03:13 PM

I have changed my name to AX04 UJE
for obvious reasons


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 03:33 PM

Right! That's got all the tiresome (and oh so boringly predictable) stuff about MacColl's name out of the way. Can we now have a discussion about his achievments as a playwright, songwriter, ballad singer etc., etc.? Pretty please!!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 03:38 PM

Simros,
Wanna bet
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 03:43 PM

I heartily agree. Just for the record, I have been told that the hardback edition has been delayed until the end of October and the paperback will be issued at the end of February next year. I need to confirm these dates with Pluto. So if there's any change I'll report back.

In the meantime could people who feel like indulging in juvenalia, about Ewan MaColl's name, or any one else's, please confine their thoughts to another thread.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 03:51 PM

Simros - did I type Simros - were's me pills, sorry Spindoc
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 04:15 PM

Ch-ch-ch-changes, turn and face the strange
Ch-ch-ch-changes, pretty soon now you're gonna get a little older.
Time may change me, But I can't trace time


(David 'Bowie' Jones)

What's in a name?
Look at the content.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: curmudgeon
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 04:18 PM

You were right, Jim.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Folkiedave
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 07:23 PM

Juvenalia? Trivia possibly. Of interest? - possibly to some.

Sorry Fred, I will make sure everything I write is well-researched and full of interesting content in future. Just like you do.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: curmudgeon
Date: 01 Oct 07 - 07:31 PM

The seller I ordered from still gives the release date as the end of October for the paperback. I hope I'm not paying five months in advance - Tom


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 03:46 AM

I had measureless respect for Ewan and Peggy, but I still want to buy it as cheap as possible.

I got the Bert Jansch book Dazzling stranger for about three quid on e-bay. I'd recommend that to anybody - a lot of chit chat about the early days of the great folk scare and all the personalities.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jon Bartlett
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 04:16 AM

Dick of CAMSCO - got a price yet? I'm sure you'll sell dozens!

Jon Bartlett


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 05:31 AM

I've just rung Pluto Press, who tell me that the paperback and hardback editions are out now and can be ordered from their website at http://www.plutobooks.com/shtml/aboutpluto.shtml

Bibliographical/pricing info listed on the site is;

CLASS ACT. Ben Harker

Paperback. 9780745321653. £15.99. $24.95. €23.00
Hardback. 9780745321660. £55.00. $75.00. €80.00

I mentioned the fact that it is shown as not yet available on Amazon, and am told that delays of this kind are fairly normal normal with them.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Folkiedave
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 05:53 AM

Comes to £18.95 including postage - for the paperback.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 06:49 AM

It will be on Amazon before the weeks out, new and used.

eric


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 06:52 AM

Just looked, it already is.

eric


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Folkiedave
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 06:53 AM

Class Act: The Cultural and Political Life of Ewan MacColl         
        
Class Act: The Cultural and Political Life of Ewan MacColl by Ben Harker (Hardcover - 1 Aug 2007)
Buy new: £46.99    2 Used & new from £46.99
Usually dispatched within 4 to 6 weeks
Eligible for FREE Super Saver Delivery.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 08:57 AM

I'll wait for the paperback.

eric


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 10:52 AM

The only thing is, you're only allowed to read the bits about where you come from.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: greg stephens
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 11:20 AM

Nice one!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 01:37 PM

Shimrod.
I think his most important contribution was his songwriting.Ihave never seen any of his play so cant comment on that.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Greg B
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 02:07 PM

Do you have to read it with your finger in yer ear?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 02:31 PM

No, please no, irony, sarcasm,wit, clever understatement yes?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 02:32 PM

"I think his most important contribution was his songwriting.Ihave never seen any of his play so cant comment on that."

There is no doubt that MacColl was a great songwriter, Cap'n - no-one would dispute that. But, through his magnificent singing, he introduced me to the great ballad repertoire of these islands, and I am forever in his debt for that. He also made an LP called 'The Manchester Angel' which is my favourite recording of all time - and a wonderful 'showcase' of English traditional song.

Finally, nearly 40 years ago now, I attended one of the weekend singers' workshop sessions which he and Peggy Seeger used to run and that was a truly life-changing experience.

There are few artists who have had such a positive impact on my life as Ewan MacColl.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 02:49 PM

Ah,
But did you ever meet Robert Zimmerman?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 04:42 PM

I think Maccoll was a better songwriter than Dylan.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: curmudgeon
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 04:59 PM

Discussing Ewan MacColl and Bob Dylan in the same thread is akin to contemplating Thomas Jefferson and George W. Bush at the same time.

When I recived for my 15th birthday the LP "Bad Lads and Hard Cases" my life changed. I had, from my earliest years, an interest in British folk song, but had been completely unaware of the reality of that music. And the fact that I was also given "English Street Song" by Lloyd assured the transition.

I am eagerly awaiting this new tome - Tom Hall


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 02 Oct 07 - 05:47 PM

"I think Maccoll was a better songwriter than Dylan."

I thought that there was no answer to that, Cap'n - but 'curmudgeon' proved me wrong!

"But did you ever meet Robert Zimmerman?"

As it happens, Jim, no. But then if I'd had a choice (which I didn't have - but let's just imagine) I'd have chosen to meet Ewan - worked out quite well, really, didn't it?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 05:07 AM

Then there's Ronnie Hazelhurst - Ewan MacColl's name stood for absolutely nothing in the world of Blankety Blank, and indeed the whole world of popular quiz games themes.

Can you imagine Terry Wogan trying to get a bit of atmosphere going for the Supermatch Game to the Thirty Foot Trailer or Shoals of Herring?

The whole history of the world might have been different without Ronnie and the light hearted magic and gentle comedy of his work.
Blanketty blank!
need I say more...?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 06:43 AM

WLD - was your last post intended to be read as irony or sarcasm?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Folkiedave
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 07:01 AM

Probably not really intended to be read.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 10:13 AM

well seriously, does it matter who could piss furthest up the wall: Ewan, Bobby, or Ronnie?

The post was intended as a biting satire on the naive empiricism that attempts to quantify and compare the merits of two great songwriters.

Okay?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 10:26 AM

I couldn't agree more, enough of this - I ask friends to refer to the earlier thread concerning the nature of Ewan's trousers. Search on Ewan McColl's Trousers or there abouts.The sooner we get to the bottom of this issue the better!

I am yours fraternally

Les, but sometimes moor


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 04 Oct 07 - 12:03 AM

It's odd to see this described as the first biography of MacColl - doesn't his autobiography count?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 04 Oct 07 - 03:53 AM

well as one of his boyhood friends remarked in the tv documentaries about him wasn't totally to be trusted with the facts. In particular the friend said that EM had told a previous documentary maker that as a boy he had roamed around Manchester with a head ful of lyrical thoughts about Engels. the friend said this was in fact rubbish.

one of the main problems of the revival is that we haven't attracted critics of any great note. Literature had Leavis, Tillyard and Wilson Knight - we had Karl Dallas and Colin Irwin. Both nice guys apparently - but neither of them inclined to challenge whatever load of balls singers were talking that week - at least not in print.

Its okay, but there is no account - and it becomes very difficult in retrospect to understand just how some of these unique talents did develop.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 04 Oct 07 - 07:22 AM

If you are talking about Eddie Frow, he went on to say that in general Ewan MacColl was accurate but in the particular [ ie detail ] inaccurate.

eric


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Oct 07 - 07:31 AM

Eric and WD40,
The friend was not Eddie Frow, but a young Jewish man whose name escapes me, but can be found on the obituary film (Ballad of Ewan MacColl).
Eddie however did tell me that he remembered MacColl's father as a fine singer - a claim which is often challenged.
Both Eddie and Ruth had/have an enormous respect and a pride in Ewan as "a Salford lad who never gave up the fight".
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 04 Oct 07 - 07:50 AM

The thing also to remember is that Ewan and Peggy were gigging musicians - a bit like a cottage industry.

I remember one night they were both somewhat dispirited because a record company (I can't remember if it were Argo or Decca) had refused to sell them their own records to sell at gigs. This record company had decided instead to pulp all their records, because 'it wasn't the company image they wanted to project'. Ewan and Peggy were like the rest of us - in competition with the big boys of the industry.


The point I'm trying to make is that when you are presenting your work to the world - you look for the most entertaining and engaging way to present yourself (well you do if you have a scintilla of sense!). Not necessarily the most factual.

I think for this reason the Christy Moore book is pretty amazing. Instead of a chronological blow by blow account - he tells his story song by song - all the songs that have graced his professional repertoire. How they cam to be there and what he thought that made him want to inhabit them. I think Christy must have put this book together when he was probably so ill that he thought his playing days were almost over - for some of the soul searching and truth telling has a real ring of honesty.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Folkiedave
Date: 04 Oct 07 - 07:58 AM

I do not know about his father but I seem to remember his mother was a good singer.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 04 Oct 07 - 11:12 AM

"I think for this reason the Christy Moore book is pretty amazing. Instead of a chronological blow by blow account - he tells his story song by song - all the songs that have graced his professional repertoire. How they cam to be there and what he thought that made him want to inhabit them. I think Christy must have put this book together when he was probably so ill that he thought his playing days were almost over - for some of the soul searching and truth telling has a real ring of honesty."

Could not agree more, weelittledrummer. A book like this is hard to beat... but also, a man like Christy is hard to beat. Lucky he was wrong about his touring days being over ! He's kicking as never !

Is the EM autobiography available still ? would be interesting to read both books together ...


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: curmudgeon
Date: 04 Oct 07 - 12:06 PM

"Journeyman," MacColl's autobiography can be had for between $67.00 and $307.00 US


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 06:48 AM

What good luck I got it for 11 pounds in 1993! Still, there were questions it left unanswered, so I'll be looking forward to getting my copy of Harker's book. (Is he any relation to Dave Harker, by the way?)


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 08:52 AM

(Is he any relation to Dave Harker, by the way?)
God , don't think so and sincerely hope not - go and wash your mouth out!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Folkiedave
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 09:32 AM

The last copy of Journeyman on Ebay went for £85.00 or thereabouts.

I reckon (speaking as a bookseller) that £35.00 - £50.00 depending upon condition would be a good price.

Speaking from memory the problem with it (as Peggy identifies right at the start) is that it misses out almost as much as it admits. Hardly anything about Jean Newlove for example, very little about any of his children.

Still, his autobiography he can write what he likes.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 09:50 AM

But he was a nasty little control freak, was he not?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Folkiedave
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 09:52 AM

And tell me how do you know that?

Met him a lot of times did you?

Spend a lot of time in his company?

Or did someone tell you and you have repeated it?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: stallion
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 10:00 AM

Ben is a lovely man, a very good guitarist and has toured, and possibly still is touring, the folk clubs with his wife Emily Weygang. I would like to think we are good friends and he and Emily are sorely missed since they moved to Manchester


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Joe_F
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 11:21 PM

Does it reveal, at last, what he did during W.W.II?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Oct 07 - 03:01 PM

"Does it reveal, at last, what he did during W.W.II?"
Don't think Ben was in W.WII.
If you mean MacColl - Many of us know what he did during W.W.II; we've discussed it ad nauseum; however, I'm sure it will be a great excuse not to talk about him as the great singer he was.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Winger
Date: 07 Oct 07 - 04:16 PM

Well, some of us have discussed it, Jim but we're none the wiser. Those who claimed to have known him personally seem to prefer to draw a veil over MacColl's WWII service and chide the rest of us for "prying".

I was one of those who laid out the cash for "Journeyman" when it was published and was disappointed at how selective it was about certain periods of his life. Can you enlighten us, Jim?

Oh, and he was a great singer, too.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 07 Oct 07 - 04:23 PM

well he wasn't really left wing enough to join MI5 (most of whom were Colonels in the KGB). And as someone who'd spent most of his time poncing about onstage, he was hardly great material for the killing machine - so I suppose he started working towards creating a vision which became the English Folk Scene.

I doubt if it were time wasted, whatever he did. he wasn't that sort of bloke.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 07 Oct 07 - 05:51 PM

How to be a control freak!


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 02:44 AM

MacColl deserted from the army, was on the run for a period (don't know where but it doesn't matter), then returned to the North of England and joined Joan Littlewood working with Theatre Workshop.
I'm pretty sure Ben Harker has all this period covered.
We were all aware of this in The Critics Group, and he was not averse to discussing it with us.
Would you include in your autobiography that you had broken the law and were technically still a criminal?
It has been an issue, along with his name change, his Scottishness and his singing with his hand over his ear while sitting back-to-front on his chair, that has prevented a serious discussion on his singing and his ideas on that subject.
I hope it will not be the case this time, but I won't put money on it.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: stallion
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 04:10 AM

Knowing Ben, he wouldn't let sentimentality get in the way of scholarship, he has probably dealt with his sources sensitively, coaxing rather than bullying, I don't think one will find any journalism in it, he is a very thoughtful academic. Having said all that I am sure there will be detractors cos they can. I haven't read it yet but I shall look forward to it.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 04:20 AM

Don't get so het up Jim. At least people are talking about him - they haven't forgotten him.

Most of us will make as much lasting impression as wee in the River Thames. Keats said something to that effect.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Winger
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 12:27 PM

Thank you, Jim, for shedding at least a little light on MacColl's WWII life. I'd like to learn more, and maybe Harker's book will do that.

Whilst many will prefer to stick to discussing MacColl's singing and his ideas on that subject, others (myself included) see his influence as much wider. His songwriting was undoubtedly politically inspired (both locally and globally)and therefore I find it interesting that he decided to sit-out (if that's what he did)the greatest conflict in human history and completely ignores it in his autobiography (self-incriminating risk acknowledged).

If he was merely a "singer", Jim, I'd agree with you, but he wasn't. Inquiring into his beliefs, his actions, his influence doesn't mean that we're anti-Ewan, just as it doesn't mean that we believe in St. Ewan.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 02:02 PM

I've got this sneaking suspicion that if Ewan MacColl had played an electric guitar (perish the thought - but let's just imagine!) no-one would have given a toss about his politics, his name change, his war record etc., etc. After all 'guitar heroes' and rock stars are expected to behave badly and can drink to excess, take drugs, have sex with hundreds of groupies, smash up hotel rooms, adopt obscure religions or political philosophies and are idolised for such behaviour. Was Ewan's real sin that he didn't bow down before the 'Great God Rock'? And then did he compound that sin by having strong beliefs and by being a highly original artist who followed his own vision - rather than being a slave to fashion?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 02:21 PM

no. his 'sin' was that he bad mouthed people who were in the folk club movement, who may not have conformed to his vision - but they were still on the side of the angels - and he did have some very dim followers who took it upom themselves to be rude to the young Donovan/Dylan clones who were flooding the folk clubs - and that was no way to treat young would be converts. His dullard friends emptied the folk clubs, but that wasn't his fault.

However his virtues far outweighed his faults. he was a great man, and I am glad I met him. he was intellectual without being superior in attitude - he wore his knowledge very lightly. he was passionate about his desire to be an artist. he worked damned hard to put a good show on, and he really did encourage you to do 'your' thing - if he didn't feel it was some homogenised crap you had picked up off the radio.

In short, one of the good guys.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 03:54 PM

"If he was merely a "singer", Jim, I'd agree with you, but he wasn't."
No, he wasn't; he was somebody who evolved a unique approach to the singing of traditional songs; but in order to discuss this you have to climb the shit mountain of name change, Scottishness, politics, war-record, and his refusal to be a member of the folk Luvvies.
Describing his decision to opt out of the war as "sit-out (if that's what he did)the greatest conflict in human history", is somewhat simplistic, as I know personally coming from a left-wing family background.
"No. his 'sin' was that he bad mouthed people who were in the folk club movement, who may not have conformed to his vision "
Where? the problem was he hardly wrote anything and what he did write was concentrated in putting forward his own ideas, rather than pulling down those of others (would that the same could be said of his critics (with a small c). Any badmouthing he was said to have done was in Chinese whispers form, and about as accurate.
Is anybody going to take odds on how many column inches are going to be spent on this thread on MacColl as a creative artist?
I agree with 'im (Shimrod).
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Winger
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 04:14 PM

"you have to climb the shit mountain of name change, Scottishness, politics, war-record, and his refusal to be a member of the folk Luvvies"

You talking to me, Jim?

Whatever relationship with Ewan MacColl, it appears to have taken you to a place where you can only suffer those of a like mind who wish to worship at the shrine of St. Ewan.

Maybe this is a good time, Jim, to put aside those personal memories and take a considered look back at those wonderful songs he wrote, his superb recordings and the many other activies he was involved in. Your paranoid response to questions about his WWII days is akin to a pubescent girl's adoration of a pop star.

What the frig is a "folk Luvvie" anyway?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 05:09 PM

well the badmouthing was in the form of interviews - there were always people who wanted to interview him. and journalists love a Oasis bashes Blur type face off - without seeing that there could be implications.

I think the thing is - you can be laudatory about an artist's purple patches - but its not really what interests people in biographies and autobiographies of this type.

what people want to know is - how did he become what he was? What was it about how he lived and where he came from that made him a great creative artist, as a opposed to me - who became a nobody.

and if you shroud periods of your life in mystery and mythologise your past - you're not really playing the game. after all - you're taking the people's money.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 03:15 AM

I saw him and Peggy once and have some records. For what it's worth I think they were as good as it gets. They wrote some great songs and they were a massive influence on the second revival.

I suppose a reasonable question to ask is something like:

What was the longer term effect of going AWOL from a war that most people, including those on the left, would say had a good outcome? I guess Jim would have a view?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 03:46 AM

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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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 04:06 AM

Jim,

I would PM but you are a guest. It is difficult for most of us to recognise the influence of Ewan and Peggy. They were probably the biggest influence on the revival. Perhaps they were simply much more influential than anybody else. They sang, they recoded, they collected they wrote,they organised clubs, they toured, they supported other people on a greater scale than anybody else.

That is why people want to know what they were like and what made them tick. And that's why I think it is reasonable to ask questions like:

What was the longer term effect of going AWOL from a war that most people, including those on the left, would say had a good outcome?

The Marxist left, particularly the Communist Party of Great Britain, was strong and influential in the 50's because of the success of the Soviet Union in the war. How comfortable was McColl in that climate?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Llanfair
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 05:07 AM

Have you never thought of getting those sessions published, Jim? I for one would be delighted to hear them and learn from them.

I sing some of Ewan McColl's songs, learning them before I knew they were written by him. I have most of the "Radio Ballads", which I love, and I have huge respect for the man, even though I haven't always agreed with his politics.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,redmax
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 05:17 AM

I'm looking forward to this, it's been a while coming. Having spoken to Ben a few times about it I'm sure he was the right choice for this work. As has been mentioned above, he's a good, clever guy who's really done his homework on this.

Sad to see the sledgehammers coming out. Perhaps it's a backhanded compliment to the scale of MacColl's achievements that his faults are magnified so. Who can look back on each and every chapter of his/her life and be proud of all of them? Perhaps his complete omission of WWII years in Journeyman was a little craven, but on the whole when I read it I didn't feel his ego seeping through the pages!


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Folkiedave
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 05:23 AM

It seems to me that the revival as it stands today has largely run out of steam

Jim all of what you say I would agree with - except that bit.

There is a big resurgence of interest in folk music at the moment in England and Scotland as far as I can see, and I do go to a lot of around festivals.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: curmudgeon
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 06:59 AM

"What I would like to see discussed is his ideas on singing..." - Jim Carrol

I'm in complete agreement with your sentiment, Jim. However, you seem to be the only person on Mudcat who really knows a lot about this. Please expand and elucidate, probably on a new separate thread .

Thanks - Tom Hall

BTW, my copy of the book was shipped yesterday.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 08:56 AM

Well Jim - of course the problem is that you can't see its an insult when you tell someone what they're doing isn't folk music - when that's exactly what they've put considerable effort and commitment into trying to create.

But it is an insult.

However i really liked and respected him and Ewan.

As for his work going to waste - I don't think so. and if it does - join the club - none of us are getting any younger. I imagine a greater proportion of Ewan's work will be remembered than most peoples.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 08:59 AM

that should read
'However i really liked and respected him and Peggy.'


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,theleveller
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 09:31 AM

Personally, I thought he was an arrogant pain in the arse. He applied rules to everyone else but not to himself. I went to the Singers' Club once in the 60s, sang a very old trad. song called Robin Hood and the Fifteen Foresters which starts 'Robin he would to fair Nottingham'. However, as I come from Yorkshire he said afterwards thatI shouldn't be singing it - even though there's far more evidence that Robin Hood originally came from Yorkshire than Nottighamshire. I think I told him to f**k off and walked out (I believe that Bert Jansch did pretty much the same thing). Loved Peggy Seeger, though.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 11:11 AM

I could be wrong, and I am prepared to be, but I had the privilege of hosting Ewan McColl and Peggy Seeger on more than one occasion at MSG.

I don't like all the non-traditional material they were responsible for ; I wouldn't go out of my way to buy any one of the Radio Ballads. That said : -

I couldn't give a flying fuck about name change, Ewan's politics, or any of the other canards that people trot out whenever his name is mentioned - and I would bet a month's salary (and I am a qualified Lawyer !) that those who trot out said canards got it fourth or fifth hand, and never met Peggy, Ewan, Jim Carroll or me.

What I remember is their unfailing courtesy, that Ewan drank brown over bitter and Peggy drank cider. The only time Ewan ever marked my card was when I announced 'Jowl and Listen, Lads' as traditional.

Why doesn't Alex Campbell, equally as dead, and who couldn't sing two consecutive verses towards the end, get the shit that's thrown at Ewan McColl ?

My comment in an earlier thread, that he damaged the Folk Scene, was based on a misunderstanding of the 'ethnic' jibe, and I apologise to Ewan's shade for this.

Jim C - I think we're (you, in particular) flogging a dead horse, old son ; as someone once wrote (paraphrasing, cos I can't remember the exact quotation) the good men do is interred with their bones ; the evil lives after them.

I never understood the Irishism "begrudgers".

I do now.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 02:20 PM

"The Marxist left, particularly the Communist Party of Great Britain, was strong and influential in the 50's because of the success of the Soviet Union in the war. How comfortable was McColl in that climate?"
Les,
The Marxist left was in total disarray over the war. At the outset it was condemned as an Imperialist adventure by the Communist Party of Great Britain - then the Soviet Union was invaded and they did a somersault. The Gen. Sec. of the C.P, Harry Pollitt, resigned over the change of policy.
My father had 3 brothers, one joined the tank regiment and was decorated as a war hero, two refused (as Irishmen) to have anything to do with it.
It was an academic argument as far as my father was concerned as he had been wounded in Spain and came home to find himself with a police record as a 'premature anti-fascist' - work that into the general run of things if you can; I can't!
I hope to select some of the important bits of our recordings of Ewan's work and offer them to whoever is interested (if anybody).
"Well Jim - of course the problem is that you can't see its an insult when you tell someone what they're doing isn't folk music - when that's exactly what they've put considerable effort and commitment into trying to create. But it is an insult"
WLD; I didn't say what he is doing isn't folk music - I said he wasn't a traditional singer, which is different.
Sorry, getting confused - doesn't this belong to another thread?
Jim Carroll
PS I will get my membership sorted as soon as I get the time (when the bloody grass stops growing in the acre we euphemistically refer to as a garden).


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 02:54 PM

Jim,

If you get the chance to get some of MacColl's work on singing into the public domain, please do. As I've said before I attended one of Ewan and Peggy's weekend workshops in the late 60s (in a schoolroom in Huntingdon, if I remember correctly). It was elecrifying stuff!

Admittedly, I was an impressionable lad - but nothing has made such a big impression before or since - a complete revelation. Obviously (and regrettably) the details have faded over the years but I like to think that the basic principles that I learned in the course of that weekend have stayed with me.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 03:22 PM

Jim,

I understand the points you make about the Marxists and the war. But after Stalingrad and the Yalta the CP put all that behind them and were able to feel that the Nazis had been defeated by the Soviet Union and so their version of history gave them rising membership at least until 1956 and Hungary.

Perhaps that is the climate which created McColl's reluctance to talk about what he did in WW2?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 03:10 AM

theleveller
Sorry - I don't believe you. It was never the policy of The Singers Club to demand that singers from the floor sang only songs from their region, or from anywhere, and to make such a demand would have been insane.
The idea that a singer from Yorkshire shouldn't sing a song from Nottingham is, frankly b******* (or bollocks, as we say in Lancashire).
The Club policy was outlined in a letter from Peggy Seeger in the correspondence pages of The Living Tradition, No 39. July-August 2000, (in the good old days when that magazine had a correspondence page).
Every club had a policy (even if it was a policy not to have a policy).
There were those that forbade instruments, or those where you only sang English songs, no matter where you came from, there were American based clubs where, if you sang something else, it was made quite clear you would not be welcome back.
Our policy was decided by an audience committee, was aimed solely towards the residents and, of course, those we booked.
It was originally suggested by Alan Lomax and was aimed at opening up and establishing the British repertoire, and you know what-it worked!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 03:50 AM

And here is a link to the article that Jim mentions.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 04:51 AM

Thank you, FolkieDave, for this.

Thanks to Peggy Seeger's candour and not least her humility, the "ethnic" canard can now be consigned to the dustbin of history.

That said, here is a warning to the next person to trot it out -

If you are in my hearing, and within my reach, I shall do you a bad and a woeful.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 05:01 AM

Steady Bryn, seek legal advice first. Must go have to walk the Irwell Valley way, for obvious reasons


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 05:07 AM

I am a Lawyer - whose advice would you like me to seek ?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,theleveller
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 07:16 AM

Jim Carrol said:
"Sorry - I don't believe you. It was never the policy of The Singers Club to demand that singers from the floor sang only songs from their region, or from anywhere, and to make such a demand would have been insane"

Frankly Jim, I don't give a stuff what you believe - that's what happened. I don't think anyone has the right to tell you how a folk song should be sung. That's the whole point of folk music - it's comes out differently with every performer and changes over time. Ewan wanted everyone to do things his way and you got short shrift if you didn't.

Someone asked why Alex Campbell doesn't get flack. Probably because he was a nice guy and thought folk music was fun. Having burst loudly into the room when I was singing at a pub in Bayswater, he came up after and apologised and told me that the first song I'd sung (Robin Hood as it happens) was OK but the second one was s**t. We had a good laugh and he bought me a drink - or was it the other way round?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 07:48 AM

Time after time the members of the club I helped to run asked us to book Alex Campbell and time after time the committee refused.

The local university booked him and he was appalling, drunken, boorish behaviour with long boring anecdotes about nothing in particular and about three songs in an hour. At least we never had the question of booking him raised again.

I seem to remember he apologised after that as well. He certainly had a drink.

There were in the past a number of folk performers with alcohol problems. One or two of them were could still perform drunk and some of them couldn't. He was one of those that couldn't.

And I do have every sympathy with people with alcohol problems. An awful disease.

I have seen Ewan in a blazing temper and Peggy in tears immediately after a concert, but he was still courteous.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 07:54 AM

"Frankly Jim, I don't give a stuff what you believe -"
Pleased to hear it.
"Ewan wanted everyone to do things his way and you got short shrift if you didn't."
No he didn't.
Around 1965 MacColl and Lloyd attempted to draw together some of the dispirit section of the revival, so they called a meeting in a pub in Soho, The John Snow. I have a recording of it.
The three speakers were Lloyd, Campbell and Bob Davenport, MacColl was the chairman.
Lloyd spent his 20 minutes being nice to everybody; Davenport told them that art was middle class and 'not for the likes of us workers' and Campell (somewhat 'tired and emotional') said 'ah love the auld folk' then whined incessantly about 'young performers getting the same fees as me'.
Davenport shouted down every speaker from the audience who disagreed with him and brought the proceedings to an explosive conclusion by declaring the Jeannie Robertson was a crap singer.
Personally I'd prefer a bit of friendly advice offered by Ewan.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,theleveller
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 08:23 AM

Ah, happy days!

Being used to the friendly, laisser-faire atmosphere of Yorkshire folk clubs I couldn't stand the bitchy, proscriptive atmosphere I found in most London venues so i stopped playing for years (sighs of relief all round)until I eventually drifted back to Yorkshire in a round about way. Anyway, the beer's better, so I'll be drinking a toast to Alex Campbell - drunk or sober I thought he was a nice guy and he certainly had more influence on me than Mr MacColl, but probably not in a good way.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 10:05 AM

Shirley Collins (SC) in an interview by Johan Kugelberg (JK):


JK: And I know how central Ewan MacColl is to the history of British folk music but as far as him as a performer and a singer, he is an exclusivist.

SC: Absolutely. I'm so grateful to find somebody who is on the same wavelength as me here. I've always been slightly on the edge of all this. Because MacColl and Seeger and Peggy Seeger, they're such proselytizers. They've got an agenda and everything is going to fit that, and I mind that terribly. They're usurping all these songs to make their own point and that's not what these songs are about. What you're doing is representing generations back. The minds and the hearts and the work of all those people, and you haven't got the right to take it over and make it a political statement.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Leadfingers
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 10:45 AM

Jim - You cant deny that Ewan was somewhat hypocritical about what was and was not acceptable as a folk song - A definate case of "Do as I say , Not as I do !"


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 11:07 AM

Jim Carroll has already posted, whether here or elesewhere, that Ewan McColl

'frequently got it wrong, and jesus some of his ideas were off the wall'.

Apart from Shirley Colins's statement (which is her opinion to which she is perfectly entitled)posted by Sminky, where, Leadfingers is your evidence of hypocrisy ?

I thank FolkieDave for hisa posting to the effect that many people who never met Ewan McColl labelled him arrogant.

Suggest you take a look at the thread started by redmax - I think you'll find that people who met Ewan McColl, like me, accepted him for what he was - a courteous encourager of talent great and small.

Dis it ever occur to the begrudgers (see my earlier post) that Ewan McColl was never comfortable with being lionised ?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 11:17 AM

Yeah, yeah, Shirley Collins was waffling on about her feud with Ewan in Folk Britannia. I think she's utterly and completely wrong to try and make out that people from generations past were not making political statements about their lives, their working conditions and social inequality through their music. Of course they were, just as their heirs do today.

As for Leadfingers' complaint that Ewan was 'hypocritical' about what was and what was not acceptable as folk song, where's there any evidence for this? I think you'll find that what Ewan was concerned about was performance standards. His own repertoire was extraordinarily varied and supremely well executed and his wish was that others should aim at an equally high standard.

Ewan was above all an actor. What he achieved (with Joan Littlewood) in the Theatre Workshop, with Peggy and Charles Parker with the Radio Ballads and with the Critics in The Festival Of Fools was a magnificent amalgam of agitprop theatre and people's music.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: maeve
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 12:17 PM

Jim Carroll- I would be very interested in listening to the tapes you mention. I widh I could contact you to see if this is possible. I listen to my own Lizzie Higgins interview tapes often and always learn something new. I think you realize you have a treasure there. Can it be shared?

maeve... in Maine


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 12:44 PM


"It is difficult, however, to determine retrospectively why the clubs became so narrow-minded about this [authentic] performance practice, which did not leave much room for innovation and eventually led to a musical dead end. Many observers blame MacColl - and he indeed aliented performers not only by setting up rules but by being extremely dogmatic about them. Stories and comments I heard in my interviews suggest that he must have been a very difficult person. Several performers evidently fell out with him, as Frankie Armstrong, a long-time member of the Critics Group, recalled:
'He did polarize people in a way that Bert [Lloyd] didn't. I think this was partly to do with his politics; Bert was a much more complex political thinker that Ewan. Ewan tended to be much more dogmatic about everything. There was this period when he tried to insist that people should only sing songs from their own region - he put many people's backs up because it was very rigid, very judgemental and prescriptive. There were those who would hold him in great respect and would still be influenced by him but find his dogmatism off-putting.'
"

Britta Sweers - Electric Folk: The Changing Face of English Traditional Music


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 04:31 PM

Maeve
Have intended for a long time to do a selection of recordings we have of Ewan teaching.
Occasionally I get pissed off and think - who cares, but the two threads running at present make me think enough people do to make the effort worthwhile; so will knuckle down and get something done.
In the meantime, (until I get my membership problem sorted), if you contact Folkiedave I'm sure he will let you have my e-mail address.
Regarding Folk Brittania - as Bryn said, SC's (and Frankie's and others opinions only). Peggy said all that was to be said about the Singers Club policy of singing regional material only in the letter I quoted.
The old guard's attitude to Ewan was summed up by somebody who's work and opinions (on Irish music) I otherwise respect tremendously.
Reg Hall claimed on FB that it was Ewan's and Bert's aim to set up Eastern-European-type 'folk ensembles', and for evidence, produced sleeve notes of an old Folkways record which he said proved it. I knew for a fact that both Ewan and Bert detested these ensembles, so I checked my copy of the notes in question. Sure enough - there it was in black and white. Unfortunately, what Reg had neglected to mention was the fact that neither E or B had had anything to do with the writing of the notes, they were written by an American collector (Sydney Robertson Cowell?)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 04:34 PM

So now 'Guest, Sminky' quotes someone called Britta Sweers author of something called, "Electric Folk: The Changing Face of English Traditional Music". I think I've vaguely heard of it - but haven't read it. I wonder if the term "Electric Folk" could be significant?

Recall what I said earlier (08 Oct 07) about Ewan's biggest mistake being that he didn't play an electric guitar? Just think, if he'd strummed that Stratocaster he'd be remembered as a hero now - rather than the blackest of (acoustic) villains who had opinions (oh no!!).


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: maeve
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 05:05 PM

Thanks, Jim. Will do.

If there are any elves running about here, perhaps one may have time and the inclination to change my post at 12:17, 09/Oct 07, to read "wish" rather than "widh". Thanks.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 01:25 AM

Jim keeps saying we ain't talking about his music.

I tell you what I liked about his music - and its not something all these traddy types seem to latch onto. His music had an 'edge' to it. There was a point of view there - a real human quality.

If you took your tory friends to one of their concerts, they would be inchoate with rage at the dismissive attitude to their ideology. People who would hum contentedly along to The Sex Pistols would be ready to physically attack you for taking them to see Peggy and Ewan.

But it wasn't just that political thing - there something of Martin Luther and 'Here I stand' in his attitude to his music.

Since he's gone - folkmusic has been timid stuff. Nothing much to agree with or disagree. It doesn't growl any more. Okay you get bands like The Levellers - but theres so much going on. theres Dick Gaughan - but the accent is so strong, half the audience don't know what he's saying in England

Somehow Ewan got his nose up to yours (in some people's cases he entered the nasal cavity) and he growled!


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 04:44 AM

A long way from Cecil?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Folkiedave
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 05:39 AM

but the accent is so strong, half the audience don't know what he's saying in England

I am not so sure they understand him in Scotland either. But his music and his voice are great.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 06:32 AM

So now 'Guest, Sminky' quotes someone called Britta Sweers author of something called, "Electric Folk: The Changing Face of English Traditional Music".

The book contained a quote from Frankie Armstrong, a member of the Critics Group. Of what relevance is the book's title?

I am a great admirer of Ewan, but if we are to discuss his life/career/personality/beliefs/singing then it has to be 'warts and all'. Otherwise there's no point.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 06:48 AM

This is the 'direct quote' allegedly from Frankie Armstrong: " There was this period when he tried to insist that people should only sing songs from their own region".
IF she said this, she knows a great deal better than I do that it is a tortuous bending of the actualité. Hands up all those who still haven't read Peggy Seeger's LT piece?
Thought so.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 07:06 AM

"People got furious with him because he insisted in his club if you were English you sang English songs, if you were Scottish it was Scottish songs."

An 'alleged' quote from Martin Carthy
Colin Harper - Dazzling Stranger: Bert Jansch and the British Folk and Blues Revival, p.31


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Folkiedave
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 07:22 AM

The policy was actually that "If you were singing from the stage, you sang in a language that you could speak and understand".

It wasn't MacColl's policy it was that of the club and was decided by the members and singers of that club. It was only meant for the club. First of all Ballad and Blues and later Singers Club.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 07:23 AM

Sigh.

Not Ewan. The membership. Pegy Seeger wrote:

The decision to lay down guidelines for what you could sing on stage was not made by Ewan MacColl - it was made by the residents and members of the B&B Club (later known as the Singers Club). If it became hewn in stone - well, that's the way things go.

This policy was meant for OUR club, not for other clubs. The policy was simple: If you were singing from the stage, you sang in a language that you could speak and understand."


Martin C thought this was quite a good idea as it made him (and others) get off their arses and explore English material. That and the other 'rule' about not repeating a song within three months.

Dazzling Stranger, now that's a very strange book. Should have been two separate books really - a Jansch bio and a potted history - but somehow it's all shovelled in together and reads as through it's been finished in a hell of a rush. [Publisher, tearing hair, shrieking 'Oh, FFS, let's get something out'].


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,theleveller
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 08:22 AM

Well, well, unsurprisingly, these MacColl threads have brought the 'folk Fascists' or, rather, 'folk Stalinists' out of the woodwork, chanting their totalitarian mantras, shouting and stamping their feet and branding anyone who dares to criticise the Great God MacColl as a liar or an idiot.

It happens every time.

Whilst I admire some of his political aims and ideals, from where I stand, looking back over 45 years as a folk aficionado, I see his 'folk', as opposed to his 'political', legacy as largely a negative one – he and his cronies, with their Critics Committees, insistence on the purity of the genre and attempts to hijack folk music to suit their political agenda, painted it into a corner, marginalising it and rendering it inaccessible to a wider audience than might otherwise have been the case. In their hands, the folk revival failed to make it our of resuss.

Surely, isn't it time we shook off this straitjacket once and for all? After all, there are many others who have, over the years and more recently, had a far greater and more positive influence on the folk genre.

And to weelittledrummer; if you think that folk music today is timid stuff, you need to get out and hear more music. Now, where shall I start……….?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 08:30 AM

Now, where shall I start……….?

The Mike Harding Show? Though I fear it might be too cutting edge for you.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 08:39 AM

Where did I say it was Ewan? I'm quoting from other people who were there at the time who say it was Ewan.

"'I remember going to the Singers Club a couple of times with Anne [Briggs]', says Bert. 'If you were a Scots person you were expected to to sing Scottish songs.'"

Bert Jansch
ibid p.162

I believe Bert (a Scot) had a fairly decent grasp of the English language, or at least he had the last time I talked to him.

PS the book was 4 years in the writing. A second edition appeared last year, presumably after a more considered re-writing. Inexplicably, the above quotes are still there.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 08:44 AM

leveler, are you doing a bit of shouting and stamping yourself? No, perhaps not.

I rather suspect that very few people who sang in or went to folk clubs in the 60's new much about McColl and the fine detail of what he thought, did or sang.

His major legacy was his songs. Lots of people sang them and many of them were and remain excellent.

"They sang,(He and Peggy) they recoded, they collected, they wrote,they organised clubs, they toured, they supported other people on a greater scale than anybody else." (My post above)

Yes, that's what they did and it was influential. Some people also did this but most people involved in the folk scene either did some of these things or not much. That's why McColl and Seeger were influential.

As for the politics, he came from a time when people thought socialism in some form was possible, it seems less possible now.

In the 60's many of us sang Irish Rebel songs, American Civil rights songs, Scottish Bothy Ballads and joined the Communist Party and most of us stopped doing it not because of the policy of the Singers Club but for the same kinds of reasons that got the SC to that point - it didn't feel right most of the time.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 08:56 AM

When John Revie, a MacColl, Singers Club, associate opened The Barleycorn folk club in Newcastle in 1970 along with Stefan Sobell he declared it would adopt the Singers Club policy whereby singers would perform songs "from their own cultural media". This meaning that those of us born in this country would sing songs from the British Isles, not just from our particular region. Since a good 90% of those attending on a Saturday night would have been born and bred in the North East it would have become pretty insular if all we had sung were Geordie songs (and a good 50% of my repetiore is from the North East). John himself had a huge collection of songs some English and Scottish but the majority of them Irish - I never heard him sing a Geordie song yet!


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 09:27 AM

"Well, well, unsurprisingly, these MacColl threads have brought the 'folk Fascists' or, rather, 'folk Stalinists'"
Did somebody mention a mantra?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 09:41 AM

"I am a great admirer of Ewan, but if we are to discuss his life/career/personality/beliefs/singing then it has to be 'warts and all'. Otherwise there's no point."
Couldn't agree more.
Nice balanced discussion so far - only one ointment in the fly
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 10:29 AM

Jim C - Greetings

At slight risk of thread-creep, would I be right in thinking that the 'young Jewish man' to whom you adverted ealier was Benny Klein ?

Don't you just love these who never knew Ewan McColl or Peggy Seeger trot out the same usual shit ?

I am glad your years in London were so productive and - all I can say is that some of the Manchester critics (sm'c' deliberate !) wqere sorry to see you go.

They were good sessions in that alehouse on High Street.all


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 10:30 AM

Sorry - that should have read 'productive and rewarding'


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,theleveller
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 11:07 AM

"Don't you just love these who never knew Ewan McColl or Peggy Seeger trot out the same usual shit ?"

I assume by that you mean have their own valid opinions.

Hark! Do I hear the tramp of jackboots again?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 11:15 AM

How is it possible for a second, third, fourth or fifth hand opinion to be 'valid' ?

Hearsay is not evidence, regardless of how much the utterer would like it to be.

Leveller - please read the key words - 'never knew'.

As to what you think you are hearing, ever thought it might be tinnitus ?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,theleveller
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 11:25 AM

Err - I never met Shakespeare, Karl Marx, Oscar Wilde, the author of Beowulf etc, etc. but I have opinions on their work and their influence. You don't know me but you seem to have an opinion on what I say. Work it out!

I met MacColl face to face and I have commented on that. I have also commented on what I think his influence was on folk music, based on 45 years of observation.

If you don't like free speech, don't come on the board.

Personally, I'm in favour of it.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,theleveller
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 11:30 AM

Oh, and thanks for asking; yes, I do suffer from tinnitus - it's a distressing complaint, especially for a musician.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 12:16 PM

leveler, just as a point of clarity do you think this untrue?

"They sang,(He and Peggy) they recoded, they collected, they wrote,they organised clubs, they toured, they supported other people on a greater scale than anybody else." (My post above)


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Darowyn
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 01:02 PM

Is this the British disease, like Chinese whispers with an escalating degree of authoritarianism?
EMcC- "It would be a good idea if we sang songs from our own cultural background"
Singers Club Committee:- "You should sing songs from your own cultural background"
Club organiser:- "You may only sing songs from your own cultural background"
Another Club organiser (thirty years on and now a card carrying Folk Nazi (or Stalinist)):-"You are a traitor to the Folk Tradition if you sing songs which are not from your own cultural background, because E McC said so"
I think that is the same "jobsworth" attitude that make EU membership such an issue in the UK. We care too much about the letter of the rules.
As the Latin saying goes.
Humanus sum. Nihil mumanum mihi alienum est.
I am a human. Nothing human is alien to me.
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 01:40 PM

Daryowyn
Wasn't like that - sorry.
The idea came from Lomax first.
He was concerned that so many early revival singers were singing American material that he suggested (to MacColl and Lloyd - who had also tries their hand at American songs) that there was a danger of the American repertoire swamping the clubs, and that maybe they should concentrate on the Brit material.
The did so - but as Peggy pointed out - it was for the residents of Ballads and Blues and later, Singers residents.
Whether other clubs came along and said, 'that's a good idea....' who knows (maybe somebody out here.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 04:03 PM

Let's get a grip!
This 'infamous' policy was confined to ONE club! And surely, at the time, if you didn't agree with that policy you just didn't sing at that particular club (there did happen to be hundreds of other clubs to choose from at the time). Where was the harm (I think that, under the circumstances which prevailed at the time, it was a GOOD policy)? What was at risk - other than egoes?

I think that this constant, tiresome harping on about that long-dead policy is a cover for those who found, and still find, MacColl's views - on folk music - not just politics - just too challenging and unconventional. And I mean unconventional in the sense that they had little too do with contemporary fashion and popular music. Now if had just picked up that Stratocaster ...


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Winger
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 04:27 PM

Oh, dear, Shimrod. What's all this electric guitar stuff? You seem to be under the impression that the world of folk music is divided into two camps - those macho enough to appreciate the "real thing", and those lily-livered "folk Luvvies" who like their music with a little pop influence.

You don't get out much, Shimrod, do you. There's a big world out there and there's lots of people with lots of different views on folk music. Are you suggesting that to enjoy the music of MacColl excludes you from other kinds of music?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 05:18 PM

'GUEST, Winger' you wrote:

"You seem to be under the impression that the world of folk music is divided into two camps - those macho enough to appreciate the "real thing", and those lily-livered "folk Luvvies" who like their music with a little pop influence."

Umm, yes, I do actually. That sums it up nicely (apart from the word 'macho' - which isn't really relevant)!

Turning to 'Guest,theleveller', you wrote:

"Well, well, unsurprisingly, these MacColl threads have brought the 'folk Fascists' or, rather, 'folk Stalinists' out of the woodwork, chanting their totalitarian mantras, shouting and stamping their feet and branding anyone who dares to criticise the Great God MacColl as a liar or an idiot."

So, 'theleveller' it seems that you believe that anyone who you happen to disagree with, or has a different set of opinions to you, is a 'Fascist/Stalinist', do you? Do I detect a tiny bit of exageration there?
Has anyone prevented you from expressing your opinions or attempted to supress those opinions by declaring them illegal? Has anyone persecuted you on the basis of your ethnic backgound, religion etc.? Has anyone prevented you from earning your living by blacklisting you from your chosen profession? Has anyone banged on your door in the middle of the night and arrested you? Has anyone subjected you to a show trial? Has anyone imprisoned you without trial and tortured you? Has anyone sent you, or members of your family, to a concentration camp?
Perhaps you'd like to compare notes with the people of Burma or Zimbabwe - it could be that those people could restore in you a sense of proportion ...


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,theleveller
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 05:35 PM

Well, now Shimrod, that's a total misinterpretation of what I believe and, indeed what I have said. I'm afraid that this debate goes back a long way and if you take the time to go and read some of the comments made about me and others in the past on the BBC Folk and Acoustic board, you'll get a better idea of what I'm talking about. One of the people who made those comments has now been banned from that board for extreme and immoderate behaviour, but features in the above debate.

I have no objection to people disagreeing with me; indeed, the reason I come onto boards like this is for lively debate. As I have always maintained "I may disagree with what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it". I do, however, object to being branded a liar and told that my opinions are "shit". So, perhaps you should get your sense of proportion right and take the terminology in the context that it is intended - I did not say Facists or Stalinists, i said 'folk Fascists' and 'folk Stalinists'. The difference may be a subtle one but is essential to the debate.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 08:31 PM

I'm not sure that I particularly care about whether Ewan MacColl was a tyrant or a saint but I am concerned about the attitude to people I (and a great many others, I'm sure) hold esteem. Shirley Collins's and Frankie Armstrongs's views aew "opinions only". "Shirley Collins was waffling on...", Frankie Armstrong is accused "a tortuous bending of the actualité". I think that means lying.

Reg Hall is dismissed as one of the "old guard" (surely he is a generation after MacColl and Lloyd) and attacked for assuming that performers hold some sort of responsibility for the sleeve notes on their recordings.

I don't think this puts the pro-MacColl lobby in a good light.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 02:57 AM

Shimrod,
'folk Fascists' and 'folk Stalinists' 'jackboots. (all used by theleveller).
Irony, not exaggeration is the word that springs to mind; the above language is designed to suppress discussion, as is the application of hidden agendas such as that of Winger who said that I held the views I do because I found myself 'not appreciated'.
If people can't respond directly to the argument rather than resort to invective there is little point in these discussions (occasionally, both are to be expected, but replacing argument with this sort of viciousness gets nowhere and proves nothing). In the cases of Shirley Collins and Frankie Armstrong, people addressed the statements of both of them made rather than relying on meaningless namecalling.
I referred to Reg Hall as 'the old Guard' because he came from the early days of the revival (50s, when he was playing in Camden Town with Michael Gorman and Margaret Barry) and was (and still is) one of MacColl's most vociferous knockers. The sleeve notes I referred to were not his but that of an American collector; he quoted them dishonestly to discredit MacColl and Lloyd, giving the inaccurate impression that they had been written by either/both of them - re-view the programme if you are able.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 03:33 AM

Somebody calling himself, singularly inappropriately, 'The Leveller', refers above to a 'ban from the BBC F&A forum for 'extreme and immoderate behaviour'. If he means me (and I think he does), this is inaccurate.

I was instructed, firstly, to make an undertaking not to refer to perceived links between Smooth Operations and a highly dubious music production and distribution business and this I refused. Secondly, I was one of three people threatened over an alleged breach of House Rules for outing a ridiculously annoying, inane airheaded troll who is now, thankfuly, scarcely welcomed anywhere.

As for Shirley Collins, I heard what she said, I cannot agree on the basis of personal experience, and said so. As for Frankie Armstrong, this was merely a quote and more than likely a misquote about which I shall, nevertheless, ask her when I see her. As far as 'Old Guard' Reg Hall is concerned, I've been meaning to take up his comments on FB about the attribution of sleeve notes à propos East European ensembles, and will do so (if I remember) when I see him later on today.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 03:46 AM

I was going to respond to Leveller's diatribe, but what's the use. I am neither a folk fascist nor a folk Stalinist, but there are some out there who won't accept this. I leave this discussion sadder but wiser. At least I have the balls to post under my true name.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,theleveller
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 03:49 AM

Sort of the pot calling the kettle black, isn't it, Jim? Perhaps you should reflect on calling me a liar before you start trying to take the high moral ground about free debate and name calling. Far from trying to suppress discussion (what would be the point of that, for god's sake? You obviously haven't bothered to read what I wrote two threads above.)I'm trying to stop myself and the others who are less than enthusiatic about MacColl from being shouted down by the hard liners who won't hear of any other opinion but there's. Perhaps you should look at the remarks of Mr Pugh, above, if you want to mete out criticism. If you're not enjoying the debate, no-one's forcing you to take part. Personally, I'm having a great time.

Les in Chorlton wrote:
leveler, just as a point of clarity do you think this untrue?

"They sang,(He and Peggy) they recoded, they collected, they wrote,they organised clubs, they toured, they supported other people on a greater scale than anybody else."

Sorry, Les, it's such a sweeping statement that no-one could prove or disprove what you say. "on a greater scale than anyone else" covers a lot of ground. Who do you have in mind?

If you're asking me if I hold a different opinion, the answer is 'yes'. I think there are people who have been, and still are, far more influential than the MacColls. The names that immediately spring to mind are The Watersons and Msrtin Carthy. I may be a bit biased regarding the Watersons (but, hey, there's plenty of that around on this thread) because they were always around during my early years in folk music; I frequently used to go to their clubs and they came to mine. They were always very generous with their help and encouragement. What a contrast to the atmosphere in the clubs I visited when I first arrived in London! I think their lifetime achievement (so far) far outstrips that of MacColl and his group, especially with the younger generation that is carrying the torch forward. Mr Carthy's record speaks for itself.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,theleveller
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 03:57 AM

Diane, I apologise if I misrepresented your reasons for leaving the BBC board. I didn't know about it until some time afterwards and certainly missed the passion of your arguments - but certainly not the invective and personal remarks. No, I don't believe in denying people the right to have their say - thaqt's exactly the my remarks about 'folk Stalinism'. I've now said this on numerous occasions, but it just seems to be ignored.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 08:52 AM

"Personally, I'm having a great time."

I wonder why that don't surprise me ?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 10:12 AM

From Peggy Seeger's article -

It is possible that they [Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie] have inherited some of Ewan's intransigence and argumentative temperament

Seems to apply to all of MacColl's supporters.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 10:15 AM

Afraid to name me, Snail ? See my earlier post as to use of my true name for postings.

Not called Brian, by any chance, are you ?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 10:17 AM

"No, I don't believe in denying people the right to have their say"

'Theleveller' no-one is denying you your right to have your say! After all, you've said it, haven't you? As far as I can see what seems to get up your nose is people disagreeing with you.

PS: Note that it is not I who has labelled anyone a 'Fascist' or 'Stalinist' ('folk' or otherwise) - and neither do I intend to. In my opinion those are terms too loaded with hatred, grief and suffering to be bandied about lightly in a mildly heated discussion about the British Folk Scene.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 10:22 AM

''Theleveller' no-one is denying you your right to have your say!'

No, but Jim more or less called him a liar over Nottingham/Yorkshire story.

does sound a bit weird, doesn't it?

I dunno what to make of it all.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 10:27 AM

Bryn Pugh

Afraid to name me, Snail ? See my earlier post as to use of my true name for postings.

Not singling you out in particular, Bryn. There are several on here who are rubbishing people I respect in their effort to defend MacColl. I specifically quoted Diane Easby and Jim Carroll in my earlier post.

Not called Brian, by any chance, are you ?

No, I'm called Bryan and can be found here.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 10:49 AM

Who are you saying I rubbished, Mr Snail?

In my post above at 3.33, I said:

(1) that I disagreed with the statement Shirley Collins made on FB (quite a vicious attack as it happens) that Ewan MacColl had misappropriated music that did not belong to him.

(2) that I was doubtful that Frankie Armstrong had been quoted accurately and that I would ask her about her experiences with Ewan (which as far as I can see were exactly the same as mine but continued for much longer) next time I saw her.

(3) that I would similarly speak to Reg Hall about the attribution of the sleeve notes (also made in FB), about which he had no doubt made a genuine mistake.

And I also drew people's attention time and time again to Peggy Seeger's LT piece which described exactly what did happen at the Singers'.

In fact I didn't even rubbish the Leveller when he sounded off about me in a dispute with the BBC/Smoothops about which he admitted he knew nothing but relied on malicious hearsay.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 11:02 AM

leverler,

1. They sang,(He and Peggy)
2. they recoded,
3. they collected,
4. they wrote,
5. they organised clubs,
6. they toured,
7. they supported other people on a greater scale than anybody else."

"Sorry, Les, it's such a sweeping statement that no-one could prove or disprove what you say" - Prove? Very hard to do.

I recognise that some people did more of some of things and did some of them better. I am hard pushed to thing of any person or persons who did all these things so much and so well. It is because they did so many things so well that they were and are influential.

"on a greater scale than anyone else" covers a lot of ground. Who do you have in mind?

Well, I don't, not because I have some kind of bias, I simply cannot think of anybody. If you do please let us know what you think.

If you're asking me if I hold a different opinion, the answer is 'yes'. OK Opinion is a word easy to deal with. Carthy and the Watersons? Never fail to excite, friendly, generous, talented, original, hard working, in certain areas the most influential people around. But not in the all encompassing way that E & S have been.

Best wishes

Les Jones


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 12:11 PM

Diane Easby

Who are you saying I rubbished, Mr Snail?

In your post of 10 Oct 07 - 11:17 AM you said -

Yeah, yeah, Shirley Collins was waffling on about her feud with Ewan in Folk Britannia.

That strikes me as a pretty good rubbishing. I know Shirley; she doesn't waffle. I think you realised this when you changed it to "I cannot agree".
Shirley clearly has strong opinions as can be seen in this interview.

In your post of 11 Oct 07 - 06:48 AM you said -

This is the 'direct quote' allegedly from Frankie Armstrong: " There was this period when he tried to insist that people should only sing songs from their own region".
IF she said this, she knows a great deal better than I do that it is a tortuous bending of the actualité.


You seem to be squirming a bit here. Not sure who to call a liar, Britta Sweers or Frankie Armstrong. What are you going to do if you find out it's true?

It was Jim Carroll who rubbished Reg Hall, attacking him for assuming that MacColl actually ready the LP cover notes before it was released.   He has since escalated this by saying "he quoted them dishonestly to discredit MacColl and Lloyd".

I feel that those who support MacColl could put up a better case by producing evidence instead of either trivialising their opponents or calling them liars.

I'll leave the Leveller to fight his own corner.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,theleveller
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 12:27 PM

"I'll leave the Leveller to fight his own corner."

Thank you, small crustacean, but not right now - Im off down the pub.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 12:30 PM

(1) Shirley Collins was waffling. And it was embittered waffling at that. A public slagging of one dead artist by another who isn't.

(2) No, I don't know either whether the Sweers person (who I do not know and whose work I have not read) got it wrong or if Frankie Armstrong was embellishing rather a lot or being more than a tad forgetful. What will I do if I discover Frankie really did speak as quoted? Have a conversation in private, obviously.

(3) Whaddya mean, 'leave the Leveller to fight his own corner'? He's already admitted he hasn't a clue what he's talking about.

Going out now. To see Reg Hall . . . who isn't my opponent. Nor is Ms Collins nor Ms Armstrong, last time I checked.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 12:33 PM

What really puzzles me is why people are still pushing trivial tittle tattle about a creative genius who is 18 years dead? And why do those same people insist on endlessly regurgitating that tittle tattle rather than considering the genius's considerable achievements?

It's no wonder that those of us who value and admire MacColl's achievements get a bit tetchy!

This appears to be mainly a UK syndrome - I notice that a number of North American contributors, to another thread on this board, are a lot more balanced in their assessments.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Winger
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 12:34 PM

"language is designed to suppress discussion, as is the application of hidden agendas such as that of Winger".

1. You're the one who tried to suppress discussion when I inquired about MacColl's WWII activities.

2. Please enlighten me about these hidden agendas, Jim. So far as I know, we've never met, but somehow you view me as "the enemy". A sure sign of paranoia.

Drop the "reds under the bed" approach, Jim. This is 2007, not 1957. Stop trying to stifle discussion on this forum.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 01:35 PM

Yo wrote
"Clearly, you feel that the revival has left you behind and does not show you the respect you feel you are due. Words like "infested" suggest a note of bitterness towards those who are merely a mirror image of yourself."
I wrote:
"as is the application of hidden agendas such as that of Winger who said that I held the views I do because I found myself 'not appreciated'".
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 01:52 PM

This thread [imo] illustrates one thing,there are some very unpleasant/aggressive people on mudcat.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 01:56 PM

oh yes and throughout the world Dick!

Terrible, isn't it! what a dilemma! what on earth shall we do about it?

I know, plan of action:

1)hands up all the stalinists/fascists.
2)seeing as you're not too fussy about that sort of thing - you could liquidate all the others.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: curmudgeon
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 02:00 PM

The book just arrived and looks to be a well written tome. Even a very brief perusal in the middle encountered Jim Carrol's name a couple times re: the Critic's Group.

Perhaps when others have their copies and at least have begun to read them we can begin this discussion anew without any nastiness - Tom Hall


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 02:26 PM

Jim Carroll,have you thought about getting some sheep,and some electric fencing for your overgrown acreage,you wouldnt have to waste your time cutting the grass then.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 03:13 PM

Hello Cap'n - nice to have you back - hope you are feeling more yourself.
Re the acre - thought of getting the Travellers in to Tarmac it.
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 05:49 PM

well Jim what did you really think of the Yorkshire/Nottinghamshire story?

on the face of it - it sounds absolutely fucking crazy, but there were some crazy fuckers around at that time. I know , I met some. there used to be this club in Brum on the Ringway, called The Grey Cock - mad as hatters, all in fisherman's smocks. I think Charles Parker had something to do with it.

I've never encountered more shit music and encyclopaedic arrogance in my life - and that's a long time.

MacColl was, like all geniuses, somewhat out of whack with common humanity. But I could live with that. I had catholics and tories as friends - and a lot of muslims, and Hindus and rastas and IRA sympathisers as friends at that point.

If you're reasonably mature, nothing anybody says should really phase you. If they pick up a machine gun, that's something else.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 06:02 PM

In the recently published 'The Folk Handbook' (Backbeat, 2007) there is a section entitled, 'Folk Portraits' by one John Morrish. This section consists, as its name suggests, of a series of brief portraits of people associated with (mainly) English folk music. Names include collectors such as Baring-Gould, Sharp and Vaughan Williams, traditional singers such as Harry Cox, Sam Larner and Fred Jordan and post-war revival figures such as MacColl and Lloyd.

In the portrait on MacColl we learn that he and Peggy Seeger introduced a 'songs from [your] own tradition' policy at the Ballads and Blues (sic) club and that MacColl, "alienated many in the folk world". We learn very little about his achievements except that he was a "driving force behind the 1950s revival" and that he wrote 'Dirty Old Town' and 'first Time Ever ...'.

The next portrait is of Peter Kennedy and this is a rather bland and uncontroversial account of Kennedy's life and achievements.

BUT - and here's the point, last year the 'Musical Traditions' website (www.mustrad.com) published an article on the (recently deceased) Kennedy ('Enthusiasms No. 53', Sept. 2006 - I'll let you read it - if you're interested). This article made 28 (yes TWENTY EIGHT !) negative allegations against Kennedy. Everyone of those allegations made the alleged sins of MacColl pale into insignificance. If any of them are true (and I have no way of knowing if they are) then Kennedy was a much 'badder hombre' than MacColl ever was.

BUT it's MacColl who gets the bad-mouthing and the on-going incessant negative flak. The question is WHY? I suspect that the bad-mouthers have an agenda; how about exploring what that agenda might be?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 06:23 PM

No go on Shim - tell us what the agenda is?

were all agog!

I'm not a whole gog, but I'm about quarter gog.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Winger
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 10:59 PM

Oh my God! I'm beginning to think that a couple of our posters are posting from a mental asylum. All this stuff about hidden agendas, electric guitars, and "why don't you go an pick on Alex Campbell".

For my part, I've already said that I thought he was a superb singer but my inquiry about his WWII service apparently was enough to get me excommunicated from the Church of St. Ewan.

I would imagine the man himself would have been embarrassed by their fawning devotion to him.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 03:12 AM

"well Jim what did you really think of the Yorkshire/Nottinghamshire story?"
Winger.
I joined the Critics group in 1969. Pat and I were members of the audience committee of the Singers Club for around a dozen years.
We were residents of the club for a time.
I can state categorically that during that period there was no policy that said that Lancashire singers only sang songs from Lancashire......
We were singing songs from everywhere, and Ewan and Peggy threw open their tape library in order that we could build our repertoires. It was Ewan who encouraged Londoner, John Faulkner to learn 'The Forger's Farewell'(IMO one of John's best songs); the source was Robert Cinnamond from Belfast.
Regarding the period pre-1969.
In 1978 Pat and I interviewed Ewan over a period of 6 months. One of the points we covered was this one. He explained it as I have stated on this thread and as Peggy explained it in her letter to The Living Tradition. I know Peggy and I knew Ewan; I don't know Leveller - I really don't know what more to say.
I believe (and given the above limitations) I know for certain that it was never part of the Singers Club Policy.
It is not my habit ever to call people liars. If I have misunderstood Leveller I apologise unreservedly.
There is no attempt on my part (or anybody's on this thread as far as I can see) to canonise MacColl, though, throughout my association with the revival there has been a persistant and open attempt to demonise him. PLEASE TELL ME THAT THIS IS NOT THE CASE.
My comment originally on this thread was not to stifle discussion on his war record, but to (hopefully) open a discussion on his work on singing. Once again, as with so so so many attempts in the past, this has not happened.
I don't give a toss what people think of MacColl as and individual; my own opinions are based on my personal memories of him and nothing is going to change those memories.
I do believe that the work we did in The Critics Group was important and could play a part in the future of the singing of traditional songs. I could be wrong, but until we try it we'll never know - will we.
All I can say is 'the earth moved for me'.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Folkiedave
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 09:54 AM

I have made it clear that I am a fan of MacColl, and I certainly don't lionise him. My own experience of those that knew him well, or met him on a number of occasions or met him once or twice, is that he was courteous and polite and helpful.

Loads of people will tell you that he was arrogant, told you what to sing, said you couldn't do this and you couldn't do that. They invariably heard it from someone else.

So I contradict them with my own experience. Jim does it with his (much deeper) experience. Nothing to do with fawning devotion but a lot to do with facts.

I tried to say in another thread how hard he worked at his stage performances. Would that others did the same.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 10:44 AM

Folkiedave

So I contradict them with my own experience. Jim does it with his (much deeper) experience. Nothing to do with fawning devotion but a lot to do with facts.

Shirley Collins, Frankie Armstrong, Reg Hall and The Leveller also had direct experience but they are brushed aside as "waffling", "a tortuous bending of the actualité", "dishonesty" and not being believed (which, I think, is the same thing as calling them a liar).

It is without question that MacColl was a major influence on the folk revival, helped and encouraged a lot of people, wrote some splendid songs and all the other things that Les in Chorlton listed above.

It is also very apparent that he mightily pissed off a number of people. Not just cockneys who wanted to be Leadbelly or Birmingham Folkies who wanted to be North Sea Fishermen but people who were significant players in the revival in their own right.

I cannot see what is to be gained by denying this and rubbishing those who have the temerity to say so.

I wasn't there. I cannot have the direct experience, but as an inheritor of what happened in the fifties I am entitled to know the truth, not just the sanitised version that the MacColl camp want to give me.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 11:17 AM

well allright, but would you want to be remembered for the people you pissed off? its not like he was always going round jumping on peoples toes.

you know how much the backward looking trad folk movement cheeses me off. but I can assure you this was a decent guy, and he deserves that we should try and think of him at his best - as I'm sure most of us would like to be remembered.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: curmudgeon
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 11:19 AM

The Snail wrote, "I wasn't there. I cannot have the direct experience, but as an inheritor of what happened in the fifties I am entitled to know the truth, not just the sanitised version that the MacColl camp want to give me."

Being American, I wasn't there either. I did get to hear MacColl and Seeger once in 1970. I too would like to know more, and I'm not all that sure that what we're learning from Jim and Dave is a "sanitised version."

But unlike some others on this thread I bought and am reading the book, which afterall, is the subject of this thread - Tom Hall


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 11:34 AM

weelittledrummer

well allright, but would you want to be remembered for the people you pissed off?

I'd like to be remembered for who I really was, not some fictionalised version.

To accept the version of MacColl that his supporters present, I have to accept that a number of living people I admire are wafflers, dishonest, bitter "more than a tad forgetful". If his reputation can only be preserved by disparaging the living, there's something seriously wrong.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Folkiedave
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 11:41 AM

My version is not sanitised - simply me experience.

Jim can speak for himself - but from his contributions to this and other threads - it is pretty obvious what he will say.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 11:44 AM

curmudgeon

I'm not all that sure that what we're learning from Jim and Dave is a "sanitised version."

It is sanitised in the sense that it excludes the evidence of people who were there and did know him but came away with a different impression of the man.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jeri
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 12:00 PM

Snail, people can only tell their own version. It would be ridiculous if he were to presume to speak for those who disagree with him.

In a discussion of the book, as in every other discussion about Ewan MacColl, there are some who seem to be desperate to tear him down. I've heard all of the rumors and I've heard stories that can be considered to be possibly true. I've heard it all and if you or anyone else is going to keep on parroting the same stuff, I'll take it as an indication I can safely ignore what you say as trolling.

I expect that some people's self esteem is based on the importance and respect their targets have recieved. If someone's greatly respected and you attack them, you believe you look important. It doesn't work like that. In this case, the attackers look needy and unoriginal.

Next time, perhaps someone who wants to start a serious thread might request it be moderated to avoid replaying the same old stupid arguments.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 12:21 PM

It certainly sounds a useful idea to have a subsequent thread moderated.
Not for the purposes of censorship but for brevity and avoidance of repetition.
I have spoken from my own personal experience, not nearly as extensive as that of Jim (or Frankie for that matter), but it reflected nevertheless the huge and positive influence Ewan MacColl had on me.

I have said that I will discuss the Frankie discrepancies with her whenever I see/am otherwise in contact with her. As for Reg Hall, well I didn't see him last night after all but I did run into Bob Davenport. As he was chiefly concerned (as is his wont) with trying to provoke a rendition of My Way, I didn't ask his opinion. Sorry.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 12:21 PM

I'm sorry Jeri but I can't relate anything in your post to anything I have said. I have no wish to tear MacColl down. I am not denying Jim's or Diane's or Dave's or WLD's experience of him. What I am objecting to is the attitude of some, Jim and Diane in particular, who dimiss the experience of others who knew him as waffling, bitterness and lies. In particular Shirley Collins, Frankie Armstrong and Reg Hall. I have met all of them and do not recognise the descriptions that have appeared in this thread.

Will somebody please explain why it is all right to criticise them but unacceptable to criticise MacColl?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 12:29 PM

I notice that no-one has taken up my point about Peter Kennedy. And before anyone asks why Kennedy is relevant to this discussion I will repeat that, in a very recently published book, MacColl is 'demonised' (to use Jim carrol's term) YET AGAIN, whereas, in the adjacent section, in the same book, another significant figure in the UK folk world, Peter Kennedy (who may have deserved demonisation), is let off the hook.

This contrast is just too striking to go unremarked upon. In my view there are a number of reasons why MacColl has been, and continues to be, demonised (thus unjustly obscuring his considerable achievements):

(i) A lot of people didn't like his politics.
(ii) He was not particularly influenced by contemporary fashions and popular culture. His vision was a lot broader and more mature than that. This meant that, usually by implication, he was seen to criticise some people's tastes in music - in this country the greatest crime that an individual can commit outside of murder and paedophilia. My comment about electric guitars was meant satirically - but I note that some people have taken me literally.
(iii) He was a highly influential figure but he wasn't particularly liberal with his praise - I suspect that quite a few people thought that they deserved his praise - and when he didn't comply their 'noses were put out of joint'.
(iv) He believed in, and practiced, constructive criticism. Criticism is the lifeblood of any developing artform - but a lot of people (with fragile egoes) are offended by it.
(v) He refused to sanction the 'anything goes in a folk club' ethos - in fact his ideas tended to militate against such an ethos. Thus all the comedians, would be rockers and "snigger snoggers" (to pinch Diane Easby's term) etc., etc. who flooded the clubs in the 70s/80s didn't have his 'official sanction' (which, for some unaccountable reason, they seemed to desperately need).

Now I await the comments suggesting that, by advancing these hypotheses, I am somehow paranoid or mad. Some constructive arguments to the contrary would be better - but I don't hold out much hope!


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 01:02 PM

GUEST,Shimrod

I notice that no-one has taken up my point about Peter Kennedy.

As I recall, Peter Kennedy has had a pretty bad press. The difference between him and Ewan MacColl is that there is no solid body of supporters saying how perfect he was and that anybody who disagrees is a waffling, bitter liar.

Would you care to demonstrate how your hyotheses apply to Shirley Collins and Reg Hall?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jeri
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 01:21 PM

Regarding who it's OK to criticize, it's not the criticism I object to so much as the endless repetition of the same things and the selfish lack of the common decency it would take to stay on topic. Start a new thread or use one of the numerous other Ewan MacColl-related troll threads to re-play this. Let the thread about the book BE about the book.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 01:37 PM

Jeri, I am responding on this thread to attacks made on this thread against people I admire. Please don't call me a troll for that.

Let the thread about the book BE about the book.

Tell Diane and Jim, not me.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 01:56 PM

Actually, 'The Snail' I have never, ever said that MacColl was perfect. Although I admire MacColl greatly I don't think that he got everything right. Of course he had his faults, like everyone else - but he also had considerable virtues which have been obscured by the constant, petty sniping.

Actually, Peter Kennedy's achievements were pretty considerable too. But the fact is that his alleged misdemeanours don't seem to have obscured his achievements in the way that those of MacColl (who was 'guilty' of much lesser alleged sins) have been.

As for Shirley Collins and Reg Hall - I happen to admire them too (particularly Ms Collins). There is a good chance that neither of them saw eye-to-eye with MacColl (there's no law that says that they had to!). But I don't observe either of them engaging in constant, insidious character assasination!


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Folkiedave
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 02:03 PM

5himrod - there was a whole thread about Peter Kennedy last year started by my response to Rod Stradling's article. I am not going through it again.

Suffice to say anyone saves up allegations, repeats them 3 months after someone has died, who repeats those allegations on the internet and then asks for evidence to support those allegations is going the wrong way about things. (IMHO)

I did not know enough about Peter Kennedy to comment on the allegations.

And I am not fond "anything goes in folk clubs" either, and I don't see anything wrong with standards. If MacColl thought the same way and I have no idea whether he did or didn't, then good for him.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 02:29 PM

Shimrod

Actually, 'The Snail' I have never, ever said that MacColl was perfect.

And I have never said you did.

But I don't observe either of them [Shirley Collins and Reg Hall] engaging in constant, insidious character assasination!

That is what they are being accused of and receiving on this thread.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 03:57 PM

Can we clear up a few things with a few facts.
My comments regarding Reg Hall:
On Folk Britannia Reg quoted from the sleeve notes of an album entitled (Irish Jigs, Reels and Hornpipes - Willie Clancy and Michael Gorman', Folkways FW 6819) as being evidence of MacColl and Lloyd's aim to form "Eastern European type folk ensembles" in the early days of the revival (both Bert and Ewan, Bert particularly, hated those ensembles as being erzatz, watered down folk music. On the programme the sleeve notes were actually shown.
I have my copy of the album in front of me at the moment and I see that the notes were written by Henry Cowell. There is no indication that either Ewan or Bert had anything to do with the making of the album.
I don't know if anybody has a copy of Folk Britannia, but it should be quite easy for anybody who has to find the reference.
I was particularly saddened because of my respect for Reg's work on Irish music.
Frankie's comment on Ewan's attitude to regional material.
You have my personal involvement with Ewan and the club; you have Peggy's letter to The Living Tradition; I haven't transcribed Ewan's interview, but it's accessible at the British Library and at the Irish Traditional Music Archive in Dublin.
Please help me out here; if you were in my position, what version would you accept?
I have never met or even seen Shirley Collins so I can't say one way or the other whether her assessment is a fair one; all I can say is it doesn't tie up with mine.
MacColl was not popular with his fellow revivalists in the early days for a number of reasons; Shimrod touched on many of them quite adequately as far as I'm concerned.
How unpopular he was, was illustrated by an incident which took place during the making of 'The Travelling People' Radio Ballad, where one individual was prepared (and nearly did) sabotage the making of that programme.
As much as I find embarrassing pointing out things 'wot I rote' perhaps people might like to read the interview with Sheila Stewart in 'The Living Tradition' (issue 41, Jan, Feb 2001) and my response in the following issue (issue 42, letters page, March, April 2001).
There were also the series of exchanges in Musical Traditions, which I was involved in, when it was intimated that MacColl stole 'Shoals of Herring' from traditional singers. Can't give a date for this latter, but it was at the time of the re-issue of 'Now Is The Time For Fishing' on CD, for which (I think) I did the notes.
Around the same time Peggy was accused of refusing to allow additional material to be include on that album; in fact, she had never been asked.
Ewan and Peggy have been the target of a great deal of abuse down the years. Contrary to the accusation that they spent a great deal of time knocking other members of the revival, neither of them wrote very much, not of their own ideas nor of their opinions of the revival, so much information we have is based on hearsay.
It seems obligatory that before we can get down to discussing their work, it is still necessary to climb the shit mountain.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 07:26 PM

"But I don't observe either of them [Shirley Collins and Reg Hall] engaging in constant, insidious character assasination!

That is what they are being accused of and receiving on this thread."

"TheSnail" that is not true - and you know it!

Comments that both of these people said ONCE, sometime in the past (and quite probably meant), have been dredged up and used as part of the barrage of 'sticks-and-stones' flung at MacColl and his reputation.

It's the posthumous character assasination, and the completely unbalanced assessment of a distinguished career, that I (and I suspect others) object to - not the fact that other figures in the post-war revival may have had disagreements with MacColl.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 09:03 PM

I'd better make it clear that I am in no way trying to denigrate the achievements or influence of Ewan MacColl. The man will clearly go down in history as one of the major figures in the British folk revival of the second half of the 20th century not to mention his work in the theatre, his political stand and his support for public access to the countryside. He wrote some great songs. The first time ever I saw your face will probably be being discussed on a Mudcat thread in five hundred years time.

Jim Carroll

MacColl was not popular with his fellow revivalists in the early days for a number of reasons

That is a refreshing admission because the prevailing impression from some contributors up to now has been that MacColl was universally loved by all who met him and that anyone who said otherwise was dishonest, embittered or in some way mentally confused. They were also accused of getting their information at second, third or fourth hand even when they knew him personally.

I am now totally confused about the record notes business. Are you really saying that Reg Hall quoted from the sleeve notes of a record that had no connection with MacColl and Lloyd whatsoever?   This seems utterly bizarre.

I have never met or even seen Shirley Collins

You should. You would be charmed. I last saw her two days ago and she was as lovely as ever. I was in the post office a while ago when I heard this VOICE behind me. Shirley buying stamps has more music in her than many contemporary folk superstars. She is not the waffling bitter woman that Diane makes her out to be.

I don't want to take sides in the debate over MacColl's character, I just want those who do not share your opinion to be able to say so without being denigrated in the way they have on this thread.

You (Jim), Diane, Dave, Shimrod and (rather equivocally) Bryn think he was wonderful; Shirley Collins, Reg Hall and The Leveller (and, I suspect, a few others) do not.

Please help me out here; if you were in my position, what version would you accept?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 09:05 PM

Shimrod

That is what they are being accused of and receiving on this thread."

"TheSnail" that is not true - and you know it!


Please read Diane's and Jim's posts. Until you show some evidence of having done so, I won't bother to respond to you.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Effsee
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 09:34 PM

Mr.Mollusc,or Gastropod if you prefer, but certainly not Crustacean,..."one of the major figures in the British folk revival of the second half of the 20th century"...I believe the song "The Manchester Rambler" was one of Ewan's early compositions from 1932.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 09:46 PM

Effsee

I believe the song "The Manchester Rambler" was one of Ewan's early compositions from 1932.

Ah but that would be in his theatrical period rather than his folk revival days. Let's not quibble over details.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Effsee
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 10:00 PM

Erm, no actually I think that might be in his "Protest Songwriter " days actually.
Och yes, let's split hairs, why not?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 10:11 PM

Whatever.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 04:04 AM

"Are you really saying that Reg Hall quoted from the sleeve notes of a record that had no connection with MacColl and Lloyd whatsoever?   This seems utterly bizarre."
That is exactly what I am saying; the notes were written by Henry Cowell - bizarre or what?
Sorry, my earlier posting shouldn't have gone off - I hadn't finished it (anticipation of a great night of music in my local pub made my finger twitch - wasn't disappointed) This is the bit wot I rerote.

Ewan and Peggy have been the target of a great deal of abuse down the years. Contrary to the accusation that they spent a great deal of time knocking other members of the revival, neither of them wrote very much (an issue I disagreed with them on, on a number of occasions), not of their own ideas nor of their opinions of the revival, so much information we have is based on hearsay. WLD says earlier that MacColl slagged off his fellow revivalists; it would be interesting if he could produce some concrete examples of this.
We admirers of MacColl are accused of elevating him to sainthood – not true. He was a human being with human faults, yet each time we attempt to discuss him as an artist we are met with a barrage of abuse and rumours – as has been pointed out,he has been dead eighteen years, yet still – the beat goes on. We don't idolise MacColl, but we do refuse to participate in this particularly distasteful exercise in grave-dancing – as far as I'm concerned- guilty as charged.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 06:54 AM

Jim Carroll

That is exactly what I am saying; the notes were written by Henry Cowell

I think I'm seriously losing the plot here. Why was Henry Cowell discussing MacColl and Lloyd on a record of music by Willie Clancy and Michael Gorman? By the way, is this the Henry Cowell you are talking about? If so, aren't you (to borrow a phrase) being a bit economical with the actualité by describing him as "an American collector"? Further digging on the internet shows that he was a close friend of the Seeger family having helped Peggy's mother Ruth in her career as a composer. Reg may have felt that he was a man who could speak with some authority on the subject.

Ewan and Peggy have been the target of a great deal of abuse down the years.

Why? I'd like to know. Not because I want to join in that abuse but because it will give me greater insight into the nature of the folk revival.

so much information we have is based on hearsay.

What Shirley Collins and Reg Hall have to say is not hearsay but they still get rubbished for saying it.

we do refuse to participate in this particularly distasteful exercise in grave-dancing

But does that mean that we can't talk about the fact that important players in the folk revival did have serious problems with him?

Bryan Creer


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Folkiedave
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 07:11 AM

Why not ask them? I never knew MacColl all that well, just met him on a number of occasions, but the one described is not the one I recognise so I couldn't say.

One thing for certain - as I said earlier in the thread - many of the assertions are built up on myth - from people who never met him.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 07:59 AM

Folkiedave

Why not ask them?

Perhaps I will if the opportunity arises but I have to admit, I don't know any them well enough to encroach on what may be sensitive subjects.

many of the assertions are built up on myth - from people who never met him.

I don't care. I am talking about the bad-mouthing that people who did actually know him are getting for not agreeing with those who think he was utterly wonderful.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 08:15 AM

Anyone who does contentious pieces to camera for network television in a programme that's been repeated more times than The Sound Of Music or The Wizard Of Oz must surely expect a fair bit of questioning and challenging. They wouldn't have agreed to take part otherwise, would they?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 08:23 AM

Then question or challenge them instead of insulting them or calling them liars.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 08:37 AM

Shirley Collins made some very embittered accusations against Ewan MacColl in front of millions. All those (including me) who were somewhat surprised at such intemperance are not 'insulting' her by merely referring to the broadcast which she presumably wants people to see. Next time I see her in the Post Office queue it'll be the first thing I mention.

In the same series, Reg Hall was talking about some sleevenotes which he was assuming Ewan had approved. He was clearly not in full possession of the facts. As I've said, I'd hoped to see him last Friday but he wasn't there. I'll be asking him when I do see him (and if I remember and if we don't have more interesting things to talk about).

As for Frankie Armstrong, has anyone read or even seen this book from which the alleged quote is culled? I haven't. Again, I might ask her when I see her. Anybody could.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 08:56 AM

Diane Eas

Shirley Collins made some very embittered accusations against Ewan MacColl in front of millions.

...and you accused her of waffling. Clearly MacColl must have done something to seriously piss her off. Aren't you interested to know what?

Even Peggy Seeger refers to "Ewan's intransigence and argumentative temperament". Are you going to accuse her of lying too?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 09:07 AM

OK, she waffled some very embittered accusations . . .

I know what pissed her off. She doesn't like what Ewan did to songs (adapting and nicking tunes for his own work). She says they didn't 'belong' to him.
She might as well be as dismissive of Ashley Hutchings . . . hmmm, she probably has been.
Not a lot to do with "intransigence and argumentative temperament". Just "artistic differences".


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 09:50 AM

"I think I'm seriously losing the plot here. Why was Henry Cowell discussing MacColl and Lloyd on a record of music by Willie Clancy and Michael Gorman?"
He wasn't
Reg Based his statement on the last sentence of this sleeve note. Neither MacColl not Lloyd are mentioned in the insert:
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES
Michael Gorman is a 58 year old traditional fiddler from Co. Sligo, Southern Ireland.    He has "been playing fiddle since he was 8 years old.    James Gannon .of Achontry, Co..Sligo, a great fiddler, heard Michael whistling fiddle tunes and offered to teach him the fiddle if he could get hold of an instrument.    Michael got his fiddle and was apprenticed to Gannon and later to Michael Gorman, who taught every fiddler of note in West of Ireland.    Gorman soon became a notable fiddler in the county Sligo style, a style which (unlike that of Donegall) eschews heavy down-bowing and achieves its effects by highly elaborate fingering.    From being champion fiddler of the district, Michael became regional champion and later national champ.    He has represented Ireland at International folk festivals. In his younger days he was also renowned as a dancer with a nice, clean style of footwork.    Even today, after a lifetime of heavy work, he will, if moved or excited, dance a jig or a hornpipe while accompanying himself on the fiddle.    He has made many recordings for B.B.C. folk music archives, has broadcast and been in television.    During the day he works as a railway porter at Liverpool Street Station, London, and is one of the folk musicians who is helping to build the British Folk Song and.Dance Ensemble.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 11:28 AM

This is like a treasure hunt; one clue leads to the next.

Did the British Folk Song and Dance Ensemble exist? Were MacColl and Lloyd involved with it? Was Michael Gorman working with them in any way?

This is the link I should have given for Henry Cowell. I didn't realise which part of the site I was looking at when I harvested the address. Sounds like a man who would know what he was talking about.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 12:56 PM

On one occasion I was doing a support for EwanMacColl/PeggySeeger[late Eighties] .
Peggy made an astonishing remark,she said there dont seem to be many people writing good songs in England at the moment,which is the opposite of what they found in the USA.
At the time the following people were writing good songs, Peter Bond, Leon Rosselson,Anne Lister,Bill Caddick,Richard Grainger,Jez Lowe and many more,they appeared not to have heard of many of these., I didnt ask their opinion of Leon Rosselson.
IMO Ewan and Peggy became isolated,and out of touch from the rest of the folk revival,partly because they didnt like having support acts,and partly they didnt visit or get booked at many English/uk folk festivals at this time ,they tended to operate in their own isolated sphere,and were unaware what other people were doing in the British Folk Revival,much happened that did not involve the Singers Club.Dick Miles.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 01:12 PM

Can't be that pissed off with Ashley - she was in The Etchingham Steam Band. She used to have a stick like a hobby horse and thump it on the floor to the music. There was most of Six Hands in Tempo in that line up.

God, I hate being old.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 01:18 PM

"Did the British Folk Song and Dance Ensemble exist? Were MacColl and Lloyd involved with it?"
No idea if it existed - Bert and Ewan certainly weren't involved.
Personally, I think it was more likely to have been an EFDSS idea. I think MacColl assisted Ralph Rinzler to record Michael Gorman for and album called Irish Music in London Pubs, but I don't think it went any further than that
Cap'n,
Ewan and Peggy were professional singers who were booked all over the UK. They organised tours for themselves (Pat did a couple for them at one time) and they played to packed houses wherever they went. At the Spinners Club in Liverpool, where I first saw them, it was necessary to book a couple of weeks in advance in order to be guaranteed to get in, Manchester (MSG) was the same. Sounds fairly successful to me. They didn't like festivals, though they appeared at Keele once - Ewan said "never again".
As far as songwriters were concerned, don't know when he made the remark but Peggy edited the New City Songster for around 20 years which included compositions from songwriters from all over the UK and Ireland;
WLD contributed a song to one issue.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 01:44 PM

I told you when PEGGY made the remark,LATE 1980,S.
Cap'n,
Ewan and Peggy were professional singers who were booked all over the UK. They organised tours for themselves (Pat did a couple for them at one time) and they played to packed houses wherever they went. At the Spinners Club in Liverpool, where I first saw them, it was necessary to book a couple of weeks in advance in order to be guaranteed to get in, Manchester (MSG) was the same. Sounds fairly successful to me. They didn't like festivals, though they appeared at Keele once - Ewan said "never again".
As far as songwriters were concerned, don't know when he made the remark but Peggy edited the New City Songster for around 20 years which included compositions from songwriters from all over the UK and Ireland;
WLD contributed a song to one issue.
Jim Carroll,
I never suggested they were not successful,just out of touch with the rest of the revival.yes we all know about New City Songster,her being editor proves nothing,professional songwriters of a high standard,publish their own songs,they do not need to send them to NCS,
This to me epitomises the mistake they made,over emphasing the importance of the singers club,and NCS.
Ewan and Peggy were gifted performers,they were excellent songwriters,and very good singers,she is also agood musicianthey were both helpful to others with research,but they also made mistakes and like all of us had feet of clay .


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 02:10 PM

well there were a lot of other songwriters used to send there work to NCS and found the experience useful . As I remember there was the work of Eric Bogle, Miles Wooton, Jack Warshaw, as well as Ewan Peggy and Hamish's in the NCS. Are these not 'profesional songwriters of a high standard'.

I was terrifically proud of getting in NCS. My work has never found favour in the folk world, but Ewan and Peggy did me a great service in giving me that little bit of recognition that kept me going as a songwriter.

The thing about Peggy and Ewan was that they did their own thing. They were far too bohemian and plain intelligent for the world of poxy folk music - with all its stifling orthodoxies.

They didn't mind telling you something that would upset you - but so bloody what....! Most of us can't go a day without upsetting some eejit on the mudcat. Weigh that against a lifetime of achievement, and trying and committment, and be nice to his memory. please.

PS See the Lincolnshire folksong competition thread. if Peggy and Ewan hadn't encouraged me, I might never have made it to be alongside the Seal Sanctuary on The Skegness website - not to mention writing the 17th most popular football song in Germany!


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 02:50 PM

WLD The point I am making is this,and I should have phrased it better,
Some professional songwriters did send their songs to NCS,but many didnt,and didnt want to and didnt need to,therefore Peggy relying on NCS as an indicator of which new songs were being written throughout the UK,was/is not a valid way of getting a true representation and I believe they over emphasised the importance of the NCS.however NCS song books were of a high standard.
What they hadnt realised was that times change, Some Songwriters wanted to have more control over publishing of their material,and that a songwriting publication with a limited distribution[NCS],was mot necessarily the best way of publicising ones material,They preferred to bring out their own songbooks,or record them.
I have never sent any of my songs to NCS,and I am sure there are hundreds of somgwriters like me .Dick Mileshttp://www.dickmiles.com


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 02:58 PM

well at the time , there wasn't an internet - and there certainly weren't many other people out there encouraging you.

And Ewan and Peggy made it clear that publishing the song in NCS would protect your interest - and not exploit you. Honestly Dick - they were really bloody nice.

they deserve better than all this slagging off.

I hate to think what they're going to say about someone like me who's been a bit of a bastard in his time.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 03:50 PM

I think I really need to see Folk Britannia to find out what really did go on. Is it on DVD?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 03:51 PM

Cap'n
Who said she ran NCS for the benefit of 'professional songwriters. Her aim was to encourage songwriting and to circulate the many good songs that were being written by non-professionals. I can think of very few professional songwriters whose songs would suit the NCS.
Again, as with the Critics Group, it was an example of them being prepared to spend time helping other singers, not a particularly prevalent attitude among professional singers then or now.
How did they 'overemphasise' the importance of NCS. She just did it off her own bat for free and ploughed back anything that was made into the next issue.
"Songwriters wanted to have more control over publishing of their material"
I think you're right, which reminds me of an earlier thread discussing the reluctance to share material.
Sorry about the Ewan/Peggy confusion regarding the dearth of songwriters.
I believe she said something similar on television. Maybe she felt, like me, that much songwriting has become far too introspective and private. Tom Munnelly put it well in The Journal of Music in Ireland when he wrote, "you feel like tapping them on the shoulder and asking permission to come in".
This does not mean there aren't good songwriters about, just not as many IMO.
Not the case in Ireland with Con 'Fada' O'Driscoll, Sean Moan, Fintan Vallely, Tim Lyons et al - and of course Scotland has the magnificent Adam McNaughton.
Ewan and Peggy's contact with the rest of the revival changed radically after the John Snow fiasco, but this didn't mean they were not aware of what was happening - they just chose to work with the Critics - thanks be to whoever!
Having said this, they were leading figures in The Peace Movement, The Anti-Apartheid campaign, various anti-fascist organisations, the Folksingers For Freedom in Viet Nam (proud to say I stood shoulder to elbow with Peggy in Grosvenor Square (would have been shoulder-to-shoulder but I'm not tall enough). It goes without saying they were fairly unstinting with their time and energy - and there are only so many hours in the day.
Of course Ewan wasn't perfect - who is; but he must have been a baaad, baaad boy to deserve to be slagged off eighteen years after his death.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 05:07 PM

Jim .I think my posts have been balanced,I have pointed out many of their good points.
I did not say she ran it for the benefit of professional songwriters,
WLD gave some examples of professional songwriters whose songs did suit the group ,Bogle, Warshaw and Wooton.
WLD,You are right they were/are honest people,financially and creatively.
Jim,I too,along with many others in the folk scene have attended many CND,Anti Apartheid, and Anti poll tax demonstrations.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 05:50 PM

Jim,What was the reason for them not liking festivals,did they feel that they didnt fit into a local community ,as well as the best folk clubs?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Barry Finn
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 07:25 PM

Geeze, How the hell could 2 individuals have done all this stuff, Impossible, I say. Who has that kind of energy, that kind of compassion for others, that kind of talent, that kind of free time, that kind of orginisational skills, that kind of mind to be able to trap all that data, that kind of willingness to collect then to share that collection so freely, that much ink to have written so much & been so dispised by so many. They couldn't even enter the US for a period of years to perform they were hated so much by the US governement, that says something right there that they must've been doing something humane, God, how the hell did anyone not overlook some of their human failings. How the hell do any of us get by without being perfect, always having someone tapping us on the damn shoulder, "can I have a word with you?" or "A moment of your time, please?", "fuck off you pesty folkie & leave me the fuck alone!". You all should give it a rest & be happy that they did what was alomst imposible & stop digging up the dirt that's best left over the poor fucker's grave. I don't think any of us hasn't pissed off at least a few folks when it comes to music but there are none of us here that have done so much for it as they have, tough shit. From most of what's been posted here with very few exceptions they've slighted so few & been so more than for most every one else in the many fields that their lives covered that those who want more keep digging but leave the dirt that over his body alone, there's nothing left their but a dead body & there's no sense in cutting that up.

As for not knowing about all the hidden talent writing songs then or today, please, we all have only 2 ears each & if there's alway someone in one of them that cuts down your chances to half.

Barry


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 07:34 PM

Trash the reputations of the living to protect the memory of the dead?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 07:52 PM

snail, cos he disagreed with people - perhaps expressed himself badly in some situations.

nobody's trashing anyone - except MacColl.

If people wanted to take his words and misconstrue them into bad behaviour - its the last thing he would have wanted. Really he was okay.

My songs take all my money, all my time and they don't get anywhere in the folkworld - cos I think 'traditional' music is a load of bullshit. An insult to my intellect. Nobody handed this pile of rubbish down to me. I've suffered from the shits who have twisted MacColl's words more than most, although not as much as the ones of my generation who are dead.

But it doesn't mean Ewan wasn't a great and decent human being.

rest easy

al


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: curmudgeon
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 08:02 PM

Snail - The living at least have a chance to defend themselves.

On another front, has anyone posting to this thread even bought the book?

I've gotten to the time of his desertion from the army. Anyone else gotten that far?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Barry Finn
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 08:37 PM

I'd be happy (actually overjoyed) to read it after you're done Tom, thanks for the offer. HeHeHe. Or has it already been spoken for, finiances are bad this month.

Barry


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 08:46 PM

weelittledrummer

nobody's trashing anyone - except MacColl.

and Shirley Collins, and Britta Sweers and Frankie Armstrong and Reg Hall and the Leveller and anyone else who dares question MacColl's perfection. Read the thread WLD.

I think 'traditional' music is a load of bullshit

I know you do WLD. You've said so a great many times. Nobody cares.

curmudgeon

Snail - The living at least have a chance to defend themselves.

Aginst abuse and being called a liar? Not easy.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 09:29 PM

'anyone else who dares question MacColl's perfection. '

thers only you who seems to think he should have been capable of perfection.

I know you don't care what I think, bit at least I do think.

doesn't seem to be a lot of cerebral activity in your corner, pal. just a load of snotty remarks about a great man. You invoke all these people, I doubt any one of them would deny his greatness as an artist.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Effsee
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 09:38 PM

Mymy, what a stushie. I never met the man but have enjoyed and admired his works for decades. This thread has brought to mind the words of a man I think Ewan might have admired.

Then gently scan your brother man,
Still gentler sister Woman,
Tho' they may gang a kennin' wrang,
To step aside is human:
One point must still be greatly dark,
The moving Why they do it;
And just as lamely can ye mark,
How far perhaps they rue it.

Who made the heart,'tis he alone
Decidedly can try us,
He knows each chord it's various tone,
Each spring it's various bias,
Then at the balance let's be mute,
We never can adjust it,
What's done we partly may compute,
But know not what's resisted.

Robert Burns
The address to the unco guid, or rigidly righteous

Hmmm?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carrooll
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 02:41 AM

"Jim,What was the reason for them not liking festivals,did they feel that they didnt fit into a local community ,as well as the best folk clubs?"
Why should you assume this Cap'n?
It seems to me a case of applying a somewhat unpleasant motive to something perfectly reasonable - not an entirely original approach to MacColl and Seeger.
I don't like festivals - I find them impersonal and uncomfortable. The ones I have been to, mainly The National, have been far too curate's eggish and diverse. The only one I thoroughly enjoyed was at Sutton Bonnington the year it went Irish; Junior Crehan, Eamon McGivney, Bobby Casey, The Keane Sisters, Kevin and Ellen Mitchell, Frank Harte, Cathal Goan - lovely stuff.
I realise that not eveybody likes the same type of thing as me, but I much prefer the more intimate, concentrated singing week-ends we have here, Ennystymon (RIP), Roscommon, Sligo, Cork (singing week-end), Frank Harte weekend.
Hand on heart - the big festivals never once made me feel "I didn't fit in" - I just don't like them.   
Snail
"Shirley Collins, and Britta Sweers and Frankie Armstrong and Reg Hall" were not being slagged off; they all made statements which were disagreed with and in each case the statements were challenged, not the individuals concerned - do you think this has been the case with the MacColls
Off to Kerry for a few days to do some research
Enjoy
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 05:25 AM

'. . . They didn't like support acts. . . "

Welcome back, Capting, and I hope you are feeling better, and your relarive as well and hapy as may be.

Capting - I supported Ewan McColl and Peggy Seeger on several occasions, both as 'support' and as MC.

Where, please, is your evidence for the above statement, that they didn't like support acts ?

I have commented here (I think) and in other threads as to their courtesy, and encouragement of talent great and small. Perhaps I am biased, as I was complimented on my singing of a version of Child #1 by Peggy, called 'The Devil's Nine Questions'.

What I abominate is the slagging-off by those who never met Ewan McColl and/or Peggy Seeger - of, for that matter, Jim Carroll or me.

It isn't a case of 'McColl right or wrong' with me - I have said earlier that there was, and is, a fair bit in their music that I do not care for. As people, though, and speaking from my own acquaintance - they do not deserve, and have never deserved, the shite thrown at them.

I will finish on a repetition - How can a second, third, fourth or fifth hand opinion be 'valid' ? Hearsay is not evidence, regardless of how much the utterer would like it to be.

I, too, do not care for festivals. I far prefer the intimacy of a folk club.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 06:13 AM

WLD

Have you actually ready ANY of this thread? I'l ignore you until you say something that actually relates to anything that was really said.

Jim

You don't consider accusing people of waffling and lying as "slagging them off" then?

Bryn

How can a second, third, fourth or fifth hand opinion be 'valid' ?

Why do you keep repeating this mantra when what we are talking about are people who did know him personally?

I'm beginning to think that nobody is interested in the real Ewan MacColl, only the legend. You'd better not read the biography then in case you find something you don't like.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 06:59 AM

Snail - Perhaps you did know him personally. I certainly did.

I said that I was reiterating, but it is the second part of my (as you call it) 'mantra' which I think is the more important :

that 'Willie' heard 'Marjorie' say that 'Bruno' had heard that 'Googeen' had been told by Joe Bloggs that Lizzie Dripping had said that Ewan McColl was arrogant, rude and unhelpful.

I have read the biography, thank you very often, and I didn't find anything I didn't like.

I also didn't find many surprises, which is not to say that I was familiar with the materials.

Tell you what - I'll give you another chance to have a pop at me for repeating myself :

it is not a case, with me of 'McColl right or wrong'.

I knew a man, not a legend.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 07:22 AM

I am not remotely interested in what 'Willie' or 'Marjorie' or 'Bruno' or 'Googeen' or Joe Bloggs or Lizzie Dripping had to say about MacColl.

Shirley Collins new MacColl. Reg Hall new MacColl. Frankie Armstrong new MacColl. The Leveller met MacColl. Dammit, Peggy Seeger who I have quoted earlier new MacColl very well indeed. What they have to say is not hearsay, but anything they say that dosn't fit the party line seems to be inadmissable evidence.

Do you mean you've read the Ben Harker biography several times? Then how about returning to the thread subject and telling us a bit about it.

I knew a man, not a legend.

Then tell us about the man. I'm willing to bet that it will be a lot more interesting than the legend.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 08:03 AM

Sigh.

Wit, or sarcasm, as you choose, can be wasted on some.

Had I read the biography more than once there would have been a comma between 'thank you'and 'very often'.

Similarly, I use 'knew'- note the 'k' - as the perfect of 'know' as in 'acquainted with'. 'New', to me, connotes that which is fresh, ; or 'previously unknown' or 'not previously acquired'. Perhaps you omitted or elided the 'k' in your hurry to have a pop at me.

The phrase 'thank you very often' is a Northern humorous one, variants being 'thank you not enough' or 'thank you very glad'.

Being humorous, clearly it passed over your head.

I have said all I have to say about Ewan McColl - I have said all I know.

I am glad that you agree Hearsay to be inadmissible. Perhaps you might explain your use of 'party line', because that has gone over my head.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 08:24 AM

This is a technique I have come across before. Have a go at someone's typos to avoid actually addressing what they said.

The people I have listed KNEW MacColl. They had first hand experience of what he was like. What they have to say is not hearsay.

The "party line" is that MacColl was invariable polite and helpful and much loved by everyone who knew him.

I have said all I have to say about Ewan McColl - I have said all I know.

Apparently you don't want to know any more.

'thank you very often'

My parents are from Merseyside. Never heard it before.

Have you read Ben Harker's biography? Any comments?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: theleveller
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 08:28 AM

Hi folks, hope everyone had a nice weekend.

There's been mention above about people commenting before they've read the biography. Personally, I haven't read it but, then, I was just pasing on a personal experience. Will I read it? Maybe, but I've a huge reading list and it's somewhere near the bottom. I wonder how many people read it simply to see if they're mentioned.

One aspect that has been mentioned that I do find really bizzarre is the Critic's Circle. Who were the critics and what were their credentials for being critics? Were they elected or self-appointed? Did they criticise personal style, content, or what? How does this fit in with the whole point of folk music; that any performance is relevant because it is the music of the people, not of some elitist group?

Perhaps it's the rather pompous and authoritarian name, but it immediately brought to mind 'Animal Farm' with the pigs sitting in judgement on the other animals. Were there slogans written on the wall, like '4/4 good; 2/4 bad'?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 08:31 AM

Double take.

Bryn, are you saying that what Peggy Seeger said was hearsay?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 08:47 AM

Leveller, MacColl explains the purpose of The Critics Group very clearly in "Journeyman". In a nutshell the group's name was meant to infer that they were there to criticise themselves.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 08:57 AM

JIM,as a matter of fact I prefer folk clubs to festivals,Iam sorry if I didnt express myself very well.I wondered if their reasons were the same as mine.
my reasons are this,in a good folk club,there is a feeling of being in a community,or part of a local community,that the club has a local flavour[Swindon folk club is a good example].whereas festivals can be,[not always]rather like glorified road shows, one act following another with out any continuity.,or relevance to the local community
,or the localconmmunity being involved at all.
Bryn,they did prefer to work without support acts,they said this to organisers,they told the organiser of the concert,of which I did the support[we thought Dick Miles was very good],but we prefer to work without support acts,and if you wish to book us again,that is how we prefer to work.
I am fairly sure,when I booked them for Bury ST Edmunds folk club[They gave a great night],they booked into a hotel,had exact stipulations for when they would perform,stipulations for certain kind of seats[this is not a criticism, just a fact].


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 09:07 AM

Peggy, was very complimentary about my song accompaniment and playing,and unfortunately from my point of view[I am always keen to hear other peoples approaches to song accompaniment on the Concerina],didnt use her concertina for the rest of the night.Their performance that night was one of the highlights of my time as organiser of BuryStEdmunds folk club.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 09:35 AM

Mr Snail - no ; yes ; no ; and no.

I can speak only for the Manchester critics, of which I was a member at Jim Carroll's invitation.

The purpose of this, as I understood it, was to criticise - CONSTRUCTIVELY - my interpretation and presentation of the traditional songs I was at that time singing.

There were, as I remember, seven of us, and through Jim C's generosity, I has access to materials and techniques on singing which otherwise I might not. I was delighted to receive advice from singers on the Manchester scene more experienced than I, or less, as the case might be.

Dave S has the rights of it - we were there to criticise constructively one another ; analyse, and, above all else learn from those with greater experience - Ewan McColl, via Jim C, being one of these.

At no time was any criticism (with one exception, which I shall outline below) directed to any other than a Member of the Manchester Critics ; and at no time was any such criticism other than constructive. I can say whose singing I don't care for, at any time, but I would not think, now or then, of criticising another's singing.

To give an example : 'Your breathing is shit in that song, Bryn - try . . . etc.'

The criticism to which I referred in the earlier paragraph was apropos the night Jim C came to Critics and announced 'Ewan wants me down in London'.

I wouldn't dream, now or then, of criticising the singing of another. Criticism never went outside the Manchester critics membership. I can say, now and then, whose singing I do not care for.
Let it be remembered (since I shall be pulled up for repeating myself) that I said, of Ewan McColl and Peggy Seeger, I do not care for much of the non-traditional material they were responsible for. Let it further be remembered that I have posted to the effect that I have followed and damn near worshipped Martin Carthy since 9th October 1966 - my 'Sam Larner' moment.

For the last time, I hope : I never found Ewan McColl anything but courteous and helpful. If that is toeing the party line, so be it. If others had different experiences, fine.

I never said Ewan McColl was much loved - from what has been going on in this thread, anything but.

I have read the Harker biography. From what has been going on in this thread, anyone who expects me to comment on it should bear in mind the axioms :

'Only a dog comes back after a kicking'.

'Only a fool puts his balls in the mangle twice'.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Folkiedave
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 09:38 AM

I am not sure who or what the "Critic's Circle" is. However if you mean the Critic's Group which is referred to a number of times in this thread then there is an article here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Critics_Group

I don't normally take Wikipedia as gospel - but in this case it covers my understanding of what the Critics Group was about.

They were simply criticising each other with the aim of improving their own performances and thus needed no credentials to criticise anyone else. So really the last two paragraphs are just based on a mis-understanding. (Does no-one ever look in Google before asking questions like this?)

I have eventually found the one remaining copy of the New City Songster I have, which is Volume 9 and dated October '73. There were twenty-one eventually. Because of a printing problem no's 4 and 5 were combined. A number 22 was written but never published. This Volume 9 will be going up on ebay (blatant plug) around the end of October.

Here is what is says in the introduction:

"Over the past year we have had many many songs sent in - the production is prodigious. The editors have spent long hours listening to tapes, pouring over hand-written texts have importuned every singer or writer to 'please send us everything you write'.

To such a request, some people say "O you wouldn't be interested in the stuff I write". Or "I have lots of different kinds of songs, they're not like the one you just heard" Or.."The NCS has such a particular song in it..........". Our reply is that we are interested in every song anyone ever writes. We have found from experience that a writer is not always the best judge of his material, that in a tape of a dozen really bad songs you can find agem. So the tapes and letters come rolling in anywhere from 10 to 25 songs per week".

Later on they say they are willing to make tapes of the songs for those who do not read music, for the costs of the tape and 10-15p towards the Songster Fund.

I think this bears out very well what Jim was saying about them both being willing to share their time and expertise.

As for them not liking festivals, Peggy will be doing the Shepley Spring Festival next year (second blatant plug in one reply).


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 09:47 AM

Bryn Pugh

If that is toeing the party line, so be it. If others had different experiences, fine.

Thank you Bryn, you have finally stopped dismissing other peoples experiences as hearsay. Now if we can just persuade a few of the others, we might start to get a picture of the real Ewan MacColl.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 09:56 AM

Please, Mr Snail -

If this is how it came over, my unresrved apology.

My dismissal of other peoples' experiences was reserved to those who repeat the other party lines - 'ethnic' ; finger in lug ; etc., and who never met Ewan McColl and Peggy Seeger, but repeated scurrility they had heard from others.

If it came over differently; if it came over as my having a go at those who HAD met or known either and both, then I am sorry that such people do not have the pleasant memories of Ewan McColl and Peggy Seeger which I have.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 10:08 AM

Thank you Bryn. I'm afraid that is how it came over.

I have no wish to denigrate Ewan McColl and Peggy Seeger. They were clearly hugely important figures in the folk revival and I would like to know more about them but I want to know the whole truth not just a partial version. There are some on this list who have attacked people who were/are also important in the revival in ways they do not deserve simply to protect their image of McColl and Seeger.

I may even have to buy the book.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Winger
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 03:04 PM

Phew! You've been a busy lot over the weekend and it'll take me some time to read through this stuff.

But thankfully, we seem to be making some progress. In particular, Jim and I have found some common ground at last: "they were leading figures in The Peace Movement, The Anti-Apartheid campaign, various anti-fascist organisations, the Folksingers For Freedom in Viet Nam".

And some people see MacColl merely as a singer, Jim!

It appears that his politics informed his song-writing and quite possibly his views on traditional song. But it still leaves me wondering about the WWII years. I've heard (hearsay, of course)that he was quite prolific in his songwriting during that time. Does anyone have any information about that?

Since the Harker biography appears to deal with that era, it's definitely on my wish list.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 15 Oct 07 - 03:30 PM

"One aspect that has been mentioned that I do find really bizzarre is the Critic's Circle. Who were the critics and what were their credentials for being critics? Were they elected or self-appointed? Did they criticise personal style, content, or what? How does this fit in with the whole point of folk music; that any performance is relevant because it is the music of the people, not of some elitist group?"

Oh dear! Here we go again! I believe that Folkiedave and Bryn Pugh have dealt with this point more than adequately - but I do find this sort of thing really, really, really irritating!!

"Any performance" is NOT adequate if it does not do justice to the genius of the people. This was a central point of Ewan's teaching. To suggest that any old shite will do for the people's music is patronising in the extreme and, I contend, ELITIST!


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Oct 07 - 10:33 AM

The critics group, did contain some good singers,whether they were elitist is irrelevant,what they did, was try to make suggestions to people[who wanted criticism] as to how they could improve their singing,that is a good thing,whether their criticisms were right is another question,their intentions were good.
Personally I never felt it necessary to join them.I did ask people for advice [such as Isobel Sutherland],in the end Ithink more can be acheived[stylewise] from listening to good traditional singers like PhilTanner and Harry Cox.
I always thought MacColls presentation was very good,the same can be said for Roy Harris,the best way to learn[imo] is to observe other good performers,this can be done without forming a group such as The Critics.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: curmudgeon
Date: 16 Oct 07 - 11:49 AM

Now having just completed "Class Act," I found the book a fine biography, informative, thoroughly documented, good photos, an overall good read.

This is a "warts and all" book. MacColl's detractors will find grist for their mean spirited mills, and thos who admire his achievements will gain some new insights. If nothing else, this book demonstrates that MacColl's flaws, unlike our own, have become magnified in light of his outstanding accomplishments.

The book doesn't have answers for all the questions on this thread. It is a study of MacColl's "Cultural and Political Life." And while his WW II activities are well documented, the reasons are not. I would tend to look to a line in one of his songs;

"But I'd sooner never travelled if the only way to see
The world was through the battlesights of a Mark IV 303."

As to Winger's question about songwriting during this period, there was virtually none. He was still immersed in theatre. Before "Dirty Old Town," c. 1950, the only songs he'd penned were "The Manchester Rambler," his reworking of "Jamie Foyers," and "Browned Off."

While many condider MacColl to be a song writer and revival singer, at the time he met Alan Lomax, he was a source singer, having abosorbed his songs from his parents and the Scottish community of Salford.

Buy the book or borrow it, but read this book. Then come back for further discussion - Tom Hall


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Joe_F
Date: 16 Oct 07 - 10:58 PM

Curmudgeon: -- and, presumably, the Second Front Song?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Nerd
Date: 16 Oct 07 - 11:16 PM

Curmudgeon, I haven't read the new bio, but I have read much of the other MacColl literature, and you're off on some of the history. In the Essential Ewan MacColl Songbook, Peggy Seeger points out that Ewan wrote political songs for nine different factory newspapers in the 1930s (I've only found one in the book, from 1932...since there is no date index, it's hard to know if there are more in there!)

He also wrote songs like "The Plodder Steam" in 1939, "The Leader's a Bleeder" (about Sir Oswald Mosley!) in 1943, "The Second Front Song" in 1943-44, "Ivor" in 1944, "21 Years" in 1946, etc.

Given that he was a professional songwriter and actor by the age of 18, and a professional radio playwright by 21, I doubt if too many collectors would ever consider him a "source singer." We could, of course, argue at length about what that term means, but MacColl, like Bert Lloyd, learned at least as much about folksongs from books as he did from his family and community, even as a teenager (Seeger recounts that he spent most of his time during the depression reading in the Manchester Library.)

Like Lloyd, MacColl is situated in a way between the tradition and the revival--but he was never, I think, a "source singer."

I'll certainly read the book when I can!


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Folkiedave
Date: 17 Oct 07 - 03:39 AM

I am not sure about the usefulness of the phrase source singer and prefer to use "tradition bearer". In that case since he sang songs he learnt from his mother - who I am fairly sure has songs in the School of Scottish Studies archives and was regarded as a "tradition bearer" - then there is a good chance he learnt those from her.

As far his early song-writing - I feel sure Joan Littlewood mentions in her biography that "he wrote a song a day" at some point when he was married to her. But I haven't a copy of the book to hand to check.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Folkiedave
Date: 17 Oct 07 - 03:41 AM

Sorry posted before I checked. Should read "then there is a good chance he ought to be regarded as a "tradition bearer".


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Nerd
Date: 17 Oct 07 - 04:50 AM

That seems reasonable, folkiedave.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Winger
Date: 17 Oct 07 - 12:25 PM

Thanks, Folkiedave, I believe it was the Joan Littlewood book that gave me the impression that MacColl was writing quite prolifically during the war years.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Oct 07 - 03:01 AM

Ah, that's better - amazing what a few days surrounded by lakes, mountains and beautiful weather does for the soul.
Regarding MacColl a being a source singer. It is true that he got songs from his mother , Betsy. There is an album 'Garland For Betsy' on which they both sing songs from her repertoire.
There is also this from 'Prospero and Ariel, (The Rise And Fall Of Radio) by D.G.Bridson, Victor Gollancz Ltd.1971.
"MacColl had been out busking for pennies by the Manchester theatres and cinemas. The songs he sang were unusual, Scots songs, Gaelic songs he had learnt from his mother, border ballads and folk-songs. One night while queueing up for the three-and-sixpennies, Kenneth Adam had heard him singing outside the Manchester Paramount. He was suitably impressed" (can't lay my hands of the date of the incident, but I think it was around 1936).
However, MacColl always rejected the label 'traditional'; I think Folkiedave's point is an accurate one.
Regarding his output as a songwriter, while looking for above I came across this gem of misrepresentation from a radio programme on the history of Topic Records, 'Little Red Label'.
".....but ultimately, in the sixties, when he formed The Critics Group, he was very anti songwriting, which led to kind of bizarre situations, kind of Bob Dylan coming down at the infancy of his career, and MacColl kind of feeling ambivalent about it, which is bizarre. I mean, to a lot of people Bob Dylan couldn't sing properly, he also wrote his own songs or updated old songs, and all those things were a bit of a no-no in the philosophy of The Critics Group who thought they were just purely there to kind of dust down old songs".
Is it really any wonder we get pissed off sometimes?
When Karl Dallas organised a symposium in honour of Ewan on his 70th birthday, I was asked to speak on the work of the Critics Group. I have been trying to cut this down to a manageable size, but, like Topsy, it just growed. I'll keep slogging at it, but I may have to leave it as it is and send it out to whoever is interested-if anybody. This is what I've got so far.
"In the early sixties a group of people not happy with what was happening in the revival, approached Ewan and asked him to take singing classes, these included Bob Davenport, Eric Winter and Enoch Kent. He refused, but agreed to organise self-help workshops to work on singing.
In preparation for this he devised a number of technical exercises, on voice production, pitch and tone control and relaxation along with a series of singing exercises for coping with articulation, diction and managing difficult intervals. A number of these were ones which had been used by him in Theatre Workshop.
Early members included Gordon McCullough, Bobby and Helen Campbell, John Faulkner, Sandra Kerr, Alasdair Clayre and Luke Kelly. The first meetings concentrated on technique, but also included the listening to and discussion of recordings of traditional singers.
Once the technical exercises had been established a format was devised where a singer was asked to perform a number of varying types of songs and perform them to the group, who would then discuss them and, if appropriate, make suggestions on how they might be improved. Ewan took no active part in the discussion, but acted as a chairman and, where necessary, made sure that all the suggestions that were made were fully understood. After the discussion had reached some sort of a conclusion the singer was asked to comment on his/her performance and on the ideas thrown up in the course of the evening. A song, or maybe two, was selected and worked on by the entire group, including Ewan.
The singer was then asked to bring back one of the songs a couple of weeks later.
The whole process was entirely voluntary; it was never demanded that singers must take up suggestions made during the criticism; the only obligation members were under was to turn up regularly, and that there should be some indication that the members were working on their singing. If singers were having problems, other members stepped in to help with private sessions; I was assisted by John Faulkner, Sandra Kerr and Dick Snell.
Quite often Ewan would assist privately and Peggy ran regular instrumental classes.
Other work included research on specific areas of repertoire (The Critics were the first to open up the London Repertoire with the two Argo albums); group song-writing sessions (resulting in Grey October and The Hull Trawler Disaster, among others), and numerous other ongoing projects.
The hardest part of the work was the initial act of singing in front of a group of people who you knew were going to subject your performance to close (if friendly) scrutiny, but once you had got over this idea, it was plain sailing (and incidentally, once you could sing in those circumstances, you could sing anywhere - I can honestly say that, whatever problems I now have with my singing, I never feel nervous in front of an audience).   
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Oct 07 - 04:04 AM

Well - that brought the house down, didn't it - Sorry 'bout that?
One last request.
Some time in the late seventies - early eighties Radio 2 (I think) produced a programme on the Radio Ballads. It lasted around an hour and was an overview of the series - probably the most comprehensive ever made.
We have a very bad (unlistenable) recording of it.
I wondered does anybody have any information on it. Any help would be appreciated.
There are rumours that a book on the series is in preparation.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 20 Oct 07 - 07:51 AM

Jim Carroll

Well - that brought the house down, didn't it

Hang on a minute Jim, we haven't finished reading it yet.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Oct 07 - 12:36 PM

Thanks snail - needed that
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Charley Noble
Date: 15 Dec 09 - 11:40 AM

Evidently, with the exception of Curmudgeon, no one who had posted in this thread had read the biography or reported on the experience if they had. I find that observation difficult to understand given the energy that was expressed or at least released in this thread.

I'm finally plowing through my copy, and have made it through to the late 1940's. I find the discussion of political theatre very interesting and I may have to read Joan Littlewood's book as well.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 15 Dec 09 - 02:55 PM

--- one of the main problems of the revival is that we haven't attracted critics of any great note. Literature had Leavis, Tillyard and Wilson Knight - we had Karl Dallas and Colin Irwin. Both nice guys apparently - but neither of them inclined to challenge whatever load of balls singers were talking that week - at least not in print --- WLD 4 Oct 07 03.53

Let me belatedly and immodestly say that an incomplete picture is provided here.

-Michael Grosvenor Myer- sometime regular columnist for Folk Review; folk record, concert, festival critic, The Guardian; folk book critic, The Times = &c &c &c — 'Not to know me argues yourself unknown' (Shakespeare)


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Dec 15 - 05:13 AM

'Not to know me argues yourself unknown' (Shakespeare)

Not Shakespeare -- Milton: Paradise Lost IV 830

Sorry!

As I never tire of saying : "Accuracy matters".

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Dec 15 - 05:39 PM

As I never tire of saying : "Accuracy matters".
Jim Carroll, take note "Accuracy matters........" This includes reading others posts accurately.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Dec 15 - 04:24 PM

MacColl was a fine songwriter who gave a lot of thought to his presentation of songs.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jorrox
Date: 26 Jan 16 - 01:02 PM

I got the book for xmas and just finished it. I enjoyed it very much as a fact finding mission but it added little to my understanding of his music. I don't think the author is a musician so it's down to us to dig into the music on places like this. I've had a good read through the old threads and there's a lot of good reading there. This site is a great resource now.

Reading the book sent me running to Spotify, Folkways, Topic and here to be a bit of research.

I was pretty well familiar with his written songs but not so much his own recorded versions. I have to say I like his own versions of his own songs.

What I didn't realise was just how many trad ballads he seems to have been the first to record. There must be as many national repertoire ballads to come via MacColl as there are his written material.

The Clancys, Dubliners, Ian Campbell, and lots more have a large amount of 'trad' MacColl in their songbooks. For their 3rd album, and the first to have songs from outside of Ireland, The Clancys blagged a good few songs from a just-issued Folkways MacColl & Seeger LP.

And it's a shame that efforts to discuss his music always resort to bickering about his other stuff. I *am* interested in reading about the Singers Club and the rights or wrongs of the Critics Group. But don't you think it's more important that the only recording of him singing Jamie Foyers has been out of print for years? And that most of his Topic 10" 78s have languished unheard for years.? That is a huge whole in the culture of these islands.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Jan 16 - 01:16 PM

But don't you think it's more important that the only recording of him singing Jamie Foyers has been out of print for years? And that most of his Topic 10" 78s have languished unheard for years.? That is a huge whole in the culture of these islands."
Yes, I agree.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Jan 16 - 01:31 PM

"What I didn't realise was just how many trad ballads he seems to have been the first to record."
137 Child Ballads, some in multiple versions
More than happy to help in any way I can J to give you access to his recordings - live and otherwise.
PM me
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jorrox
Date: 26 Jan 16 - 01:50 PM

Thanks Jim. I've enjoyed reading your words on these threads. I will do that very thing, ta.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,jon bartlett
Date: 26 Jan 16 - 06:42 PM

MGM Lion, have you published any longer pieces? And where might I find them?

Jon Bartlett


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 27 Jan 16 - 03:51 AM

Thank you for your enquiry, Jon. 'Longer' than what, exactly? I was regular contributor of the Tailpiece in Folk Review in the 1970s, & also wrote there a few folk-themed parodies of known writers -- Conan Doyle, Damon Runyon, et al, & won some of their limerick & clerihew competitions, all of which I collected and self-published under title "The Despair of Dime Zillion" - one or two copies on Amazon last time I looked. But I have never published a full-length book as such. I have always regretted that, tho I can write features & reviews & brief prose & verse take-offs &c, I was born without the true creative gene. Unlike my late first wife, who was novelist & poet & biographer & critical writer, whom, if interested, you will find in Wikipedia under --Valerie Grosvenor Myer--.

≈Michael≈


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jon Bartlett
Date: 27 Jan 16 - 06:18 AM

Thanks for this, Michael. I shall PM you in a day or so.

Jon Bartlett


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 07 Apr 16 - 04:18 AM

In case someone would like it . This is very cheap.
Journeyman: The Autobiography Of Ewan Maccoll Price: £ 1.43Shipping: £ 2.27 Within United Kingdom

LINK to Abe Books listing
There are many other Ewan MacColl related books on the same listing but none as cheap as this.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 03:51 AM

That copy seems to have been snapped up but the next best deal is still a bargain, I think.

Price: £ 2.99-£ 2.70 Within United Kingdom ( Same link as above)


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 04:14 AM

Thanks for that Geoff - some gems among that lot.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Apr 16 - 03:05 PM

Ewan MacColl, his influence can still be seen in the UK Folk Revival, his influence can be seen here today in County Cork, mainly the singing of his songs and indirectly in the resung repertoire of Luke Kelly.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Jan 18 - 11:53 AM

i have just read journeyman, an interesting read, very occasionally Ewan pontificates on music and shows his lack of knowledge, but on the whole a very good read


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Jan 18 - 12:24 PM

"Ewan pontificates on music and shows his lack of knowledge, b"
Should have come to you to put him straight, shouldn't he Dick !!!
Oh dear
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Jan 18 - 03:35 PM

Yes Jim,I would have put him straight, if he had asked, but Iwould consider it to have been rude unless he had asked
Ewan was a fine songwriter and singer but was not much of a musician, Peggy is a fine musician., and was responsible for most of the musical arrangements
Jim when will you stop being so defensive about Ewan. an example of ewan bollocks is page 306," the way of holding the fiddle is different"
no, Ewan not necessarily, the classical hold does not prevent a musician from being a good fiddler, what it does is allow the fiddler to play in third position in the style of n boyle, if he desires it also just like good posture in perfomance for singers allows the fiddle to perform without physical problems, this does not mean that fiddlers who hold the fiddle in a non classical way will inevitably have problems some do, some do not, one example who has is Liz Carroll, but there are others who have not, what is important with fiddle playing[regardless of the genre of the music] is how you hold the bow to enable good wrist movement. Ewan was pontificating on a subject he was ill informed about.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Jan 18 - 03:38 PM

however what he says about programming and other aspects of performing[ balance of repertoire is very good


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Jan 18 - 06:23 PM

"Yes Jim,I would have put him straight,"
Get help Dick
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Jan 18 - 10:28 AM

Jim it is you that needs help, please do not misquote, my quote was
Yes Jim,I would have put him straight, if he had asked, but Iwould consider it to have been rude unless he had asked.
you are constantly misquoting and insulting people on this forum , get help yourself


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Vic Smith
Date: 24 Jan 18 - 12:36 PM

you are constantly misquoting and insulting people on this forum


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Jan 18 - 01:26 PM

The phantom thumb strikes again - and then rides off into the sunset
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 24 Jan 18 - 02:43 PM

Riding off into the sunset?

Sounds like the guy who accused me of being dishonest but has yet to show me where. Despite two requests.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Jan 18 - 07:05 PM

"Despite two requests."
You've had your answer twice Hoot
A dyslexic, a megalomaniac and a typo-stalker - three for the price of one!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Jan 18 - 05:33 AM

is it necessary to turn every discussion in to perpetual puerility?.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Jan 18 - 05:55 AM

You talking to yourself again Dick
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 25 Jan 18 - 06:49 AM

Jim,

You seem to be a little confused, I didn't ask for you CV. But it does explain a lot.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,CJ
Date: 25 Jan 18 - 07:09 AM

No one is perfect.

MacColl, like all of us, had many flaws.

Refusing to even accept that basic fact makes so many of your arguments instantly questionable, Jim, as we are all SO aware of how heavily you side with Ewan, who was a mere mortal. It's similar to a football fan refusing to believe any criticism of their own beloved team, despite them languishing mid-table and at times being beaten by teams who on paper would appear weaker.

Queue an arrogant response from Jim.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Vic Smith
Date: 25 Jan 18 - 08:07 AM

You would think that someone who has read a statement about himself like -

you are constantly misquoting and insulting people on this forum

would at least pause to reflect that there may be something to consider in that way he words his posts here, but no, three posts later, he goes with -

A dyslexic, a megalomaniac and a typo-stalker - three for the price of one!

What does this further insult achieve but serve as further evidence of Dick's claim of this poster's sustained policy of defamation of those who have the temerity to disagree with him.
I am sure that I am not the only person who comes to Mudcat for reasoned discussion, perhaps lightened when things get a bit heavy with some humour. Yet when this person enters the discussion, anyone else who posts risks the chance of receiving the sort of bile encountered in my quotation from him above.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Vic Smith
Date: 25 Jan 18 - 08:19 AM

And as for typo-stalker, I was giving the person who insulted me in this way the huge benefit of the doubt in calling his lapse a "typo" when it was clear that he did not realise what a huge mistake it was not to know the difference between the Venerable Bede, the Northumbrian monk of the 7th/8th century and his rendering of this as the Veritable Bede!

Of course, it could have been his keyboard not interpreting his typing accurately again.....


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: MickyMan
Date: 25 Jan 18 - 11:38 AM

My voice recognition just entered "Ewan" as "You Nguyen".    I thought that was quite serendipitous, since MacColl was an undesputable "You Nguyen" man from the get-go!


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jan 18 - 02:09 PM

seem to recall that in the classic book '1066 and all that' the early Christian saint in this thread was called the Venomous Bead....... bit of light relief from the 'puerility' currently on offer?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Jan 18 - 03:25 PM

"MacColl, like all of us, had many flaws."
He had indeed, knew him long enough to observe them up close
I have little interest in what people thought of MacColl
It does concern me that, of all the people I knew in the revival, he did the most work on making sense of folk song and passing on what he learned
He did this within a group though mutual discussion and sharing ideas one with the other - a process made possible by he and Peg throwing open their home to others for one night a week over a period of nearly ten years - I was lucky enough to be part of that for a short time.
As far as I know, nobody was doing anything similar and few attached importance to folk songs as an art form
That, like everything MacColl did, didn't always work, but the process was recorded and remains as a body of unique work (nearly 200 tapes worth)
I have the recordings and have been trying to raise interest in this work for several years - as with our recordings of Walter Pardon et al, there is no interest in this project in Britain so we have finally got Limerick University to agree to house it in their Wold Music Department and possibly make it available to the general public by putting it on line.
I've long given up any hope of holding a rational discussion on MacColl's work without first having to scramble over a garbage mountain of army records and name change (this latter often from Robert Zimmermann or John Pandrich fans)
"Venerable Bede, the Northumbrian monk of the 7th/8th century and his rendering of this as the Veritable Bede!"
If you care to check the Roud book thread you will find that I have quoted the name at least three times, using the correct spelling - but we mustn't let that spoil you fun, must we?
My once respectful memories of you have been wiped away by your childishly snide behaviour of late Vic
Only someone bereft of intelligent argument resorts to typos as a substitute for argument and discussion
Up to now I have never insulted you - when you pointed out the pressure broadside writers worked under I mistakenly (apparently) took it you were saying something I have always said - that they were poor songwriters because of the speed they were forced to work to earn their pennies
It was never a deliberate attempt to misinterpret what you said, but it would mean a climb-down for you to accept that, so I don't hold out too much hope and, truth to tell, I no longer care
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Vic Smith
Date: 25 Jan 18 - 05:05 PM

but we mustn't let that spoil you fun, must we?

But it was a funny mistake! I didn't want it to be anything other than a lighter moment. If I had made such a slip and someone had pointed it out, I would have laughed at my own error and probably posted something else to continue the joke. Instead, the perpetrator, rather than seeing the funny side of his own error - the two words are quite close, after all - resorted to insult, which in my book is rather sad!

Up to now I have never insulted you... [Objection, M'Lud- I would like at this point out that there have been a number of such occurances, for instance, I give in evidence Exhibit A. The accused wrote "You really have gone over to the dark side, Vic." This was for a posting which he disgreed with. I won't waste the court's time with the numerous other examples. One only has to look two lines above the 'no insult' claim to read "your childishly snide behaviour of late Vic" and this, your honour, I would submit that a reasonable man would regard as an insult.] ... when you pointed out the pressure broadside writers worked under I mistakenly (apparently) took it you were saying something I have always said - that they were poor songwriters because of the speed they were forced to work to earn their pennies.
It was never a deliberate attempt to misinterpret what you said, but it would mean a climb-down for you to accept that, so I don't hold out too much hope.

In response to this, I need to draw the attention of members of the jury to the statement of my learned friend, Lord Miles of Ballydehob when he stated "you are constantly misquoting and insulting people on this forum" which turns our attention from the 'insulting' element of the charge to the 'misquoting' part.
In my post about broadside writers, I pointed out that the writers of the rather tiresome prose broadsides claiming to be last speech of some poor felon standing on the gallows had to finish their work quickly without time to correct any errors or to polish their words before the prisoner was swinging at the end of the rope. I likened the 'last speech of...' broadsides to football programmes; both had to be sold before the crowd dispersed (and please note 'speech' writers rather than 'songwriters' as was stated by the accused. I made no claim about the quality of their writing 'poor' or otherwise.
I now 'climb-down' not from the gallows, but from this thread but 'I don't hold out too much hope' that the light-hearted banter of this response will be received in the manner it was presented.

Finally, may I point out another slip - Guest CJ wrote - 25 Jan 18 - 07:09 - Queue an arrogant response from Jim. when he clearly meant "Cue an arrogant..." etc. I wonder if CJ - if he responds - will see the funny side or return with an insult!


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,CJ
Date: 25 Jan 18 - 05:23 PM

Yes Vic, I noticed that too, but was typing on my phone and couldn't work out how to correct it. TBH, i wanted to delete the entire line, it was too catty.

I like Mudcat. I barely post, but use it as a resource frequently. It saddens me when the more researched members of the community fall into ridiculously entrenched mud-slinging.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: keberoxu
Date: 25 Jan 18 - 07:02 PM

"New," my foot --
it was new eleven years ago?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,paperback
Date: 25 Jan 18 - 07:59 PM

[precious] Jim, men say iron sharpens iron and in this you are indomitable and as a junior will presume to also say a kind word never broke anyone's mouth [\precious]


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Modette
Date: 26 Jan 18 - 03:30 AM

I love the idea of a 'Wold Music Department'? Is its head called 'Chalkie'?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Jan 18 - 03:49 AM

"But it was a funny mistake! I didn't want it to be anything other than a lighter moment. "
Sure you did Vic!!
That's why you continued to make a point of it right up to the present
It's an old ploy on this forum - "when in doubt, find a typo"
"perpetrator," definition "a person who carries out a harmful, illegal, or immoral act."
"I would like at this point out that there have been a number of such occurrences"
That was a long, and sometimes quite distressing thread
Being an unashamed fan of courtroom dramas I have become fascinated by the behaviour of shyster lawyers who attempt to destroy the credibility of witnesses by presenting their evidence out of context
Because the subject is as important to me is it is I was fairly careful not to blow my top, as I occasionally do - there were a few lapses when things became personal and nasty -I never resorted to personal attacks, but others did - one individual in particular - "attention seeking", "politically driven", "no support", "if you want to criticise, go and write your own book", "you's never written one. I've written three"... and a pm that virtually descended to hate mail
In true dramatic form, you selected and my lapses and ignored the rest - all good stuff for 'Law and Order UK'. pretty shabby way of debating.
You've done the same here
"A dyslexic, a megalomaniac and a typo-stalker - three for the price of one! "
Hoot persists in demanding an answer three times to the question he keeps asking - maybe sarcasm is the lowest form of with, but it's handy occasionally
Dick - well, we've all seen how Dick behaves occasionally - I've been threatened with violence by him in the past
And you - hardly the hard-done-by victim with the behaviour I have described
As I say, typos are often handy refuges when there is nothing else
Finished here I think Vic
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Bainbridge
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 05:37 AM

occasionally dipping into mudcat as I do, discussions about MacColl are amazingly vitriolic.
My opinion of him doesn't matter, and Mr Carroll's humourless tunnel vision about the man will not provoke a reply from me.
It just reminds me of the time in the sixties when Sunderland FC (benighted then as today!) signed the inspirational Rangers player Jim Baxter.
Local fans saw him as the saviour of the club, and could see no fault in his play. Eddie MacIntyre (Jarrow raconteur and singer) was heard to say in the middle of a football discussion in the pub...

'That Baxter, he's only got one fault'

   This was greeted by a stunned silence- was his fault a poor tackling technique, slow reactions, or a suspect hamstring? Surely the new hero was perfect in every way?

After a suitable interval, Eddie said- 'Oh yes, he has one fault, he once had a filling in his back left molar....

Thought I'd share that with you- Eddie is still active on Tyneside, and can be seen in action on YouTube- look up 'Doreen Henderson's 90th birthday party'


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 06:32 AM

Why do you - or does anybody do that Jim?
I've made my point about MacColl - he did a mass of research into folk song and took a day a week out of his life to work with younger and less experienced singers while the rest of the superstars got on with their careers
THat's the MacColl I knew for twenty years
Three decades after his death, people are still digging him up to give him a kicking - which says what needs to be said about both him and them
I have no interest in canonising MacColl, even if I went in for that sort of thing or believed he deserved it.
He left behind a body of work that, in my opinion, needs to be discussed and might, just might, help sort out the shambolic revival we are left with
Apart from the personal pleasure I still get from his singing, and the work he left behind, that is my attitude to a dead friend
The sick necrophobia that prevents such a discussion from taking place represents everything that went wrong with an important and extremely enjoyable part of my life
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 11:16 AM

we are trying to discuss his work including his failings as well as his good points, but we are then insulted and misquoted by you.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 11:31 AM

"but we are then insulted and misquoted by you you are not Dick - you are trying to show how clever you are
"very occasionally Ewan pontificates on music and shows his lack of knowledge,"
What did you think of the book, (apart from MacColl's failings, of course)?
Personally, I found it a little disappointing - not because of any 'lack of knowledge' but because it was written in a hurry and at a particularly bad period of his life
I feel it would have been far better if it had been written before The Critics Group broke up, or some years later, when the effects of the break-up had died down.
There are much better autobiographical accounts of Ewan and even better biographical ones, mainly in sound form and partial - 'Parsley, Sage and Politics' is pretty good, and the six part series recorded in Ireland is even better
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 02:25 PM

I f you bothered to calm down and read my posts properly you would be aware that i had already given my opinion and now i quote
I am reading this and also reading journeyman , which i find a more interesting read, i have admiration for peggy as a performer, but i dont think this biography does her justice in fact it has in my opinion a negative tone and a critical carping flavour. so Jim ifound it an interesting read.no i did not find it disapoiinting .
it seems honest and explains a lot about his back groun
d and his approach to performing and songwriting, it is IMO, good. he talks openly revealing his good points and his flaws which include his lack of musicianship.
he thought a lot about performance, he analysed and intellectualised folk music, the plus side of which is the legacy of fine songs he wrote. I would recommend this book as a good read


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 29 Jan 18 - 02:08 PM

Don't think you quite got it, Jim- yer man MacColl certainly contributed greatly to the 'folk revival' but really there is a bit more to it! Even Jim Baxter wasn't perfect- that was the point!!!

I went to the Singers' club a few times in the sixties, although never sang or played- I wasn't asked- it wasn't that sort of place, was it? We were there to pay homage to the saviours of the tradition, not to take part in it.
I respect the songs EM wrote, many were and are, excellent, but he wasn't really the man of the people his political views would demand. I found his approach analytical and the club itself to be extremely self-satisfied and worthy, unlike the other London clubs of the time, mostly with a very different approach, the best of which stressed enjoyment and involvement but with no lack of quality-

   in particular the Fox at Islington- Bob Davenport & Co-   BOO!


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Jan 18 - 02:41 PM

I've said my piece on MacColl as an individual - I had twenty years to reach the conclusions I did, including a period when I lived with them while I was looking for a home and job
I'll go by that rather than a few visits to the Singers Club any day
Perssonal tastes don't enter into any of this
Can I just remind you that, some time ago, when I related a couple of personal experiences (rather than spiteful folklore legends) describing the nastiness of your own particular hero, you threw a hissy-fit that anybody should speak ill of such a hero of the people.
You appear to reserve a right for yourself that you are not prepared to extend to others.
Another occasion when MacColl's work becomes a no-go area
Ah well!! ]It's not me that doesn't get it
Let's leave it there
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Feb 18 - 05:01 PM

yes leave it and go away.
this book is excellent and i am rereading it, his comments on performing are particularly good ,i thought it interesting that he and peggy actually practised forgetting part of a ballad and then ad libbing, what a brilliant idea. the people that cannot get away from reading from texts should take note


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 03 Feb 18 - 05:51 PM

I don't intend to be drawn into another pointless argument about EM v BD but don't know where the 'hissy fit' came from- - shows you have a lively imagination- you seem very sensitive about that one incident! origin somewhere in that tunnel vision I suppose?

Knowledgable as EM was, my first impression of him was when he & Peggy Seeger came to our Marsden Inn club over 50 years ago and only entered the crowded club room to do their 2x 45 mins, showing absolutely NO interest in hearing the locals or even talking to them. I've never forgotten that....


BD has his faults, have known him long enough to know that but you seem to think EM had none, it's quite clear! I do recall the Singers club well & it was boring as hell..., enough to put people off for life- bit like your posts.
& hello Dick, it may be you find his book interesting & I can't contradict that, but I think if I had a copy, I'd put it under that shoogly table in our kitchen...
Buenas Noches   Jim


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Feb 18 - 08:24 PM

"I don't intend to be drawn into another pointless argument about EM v BD but don't know where the 'hissy fit' came from-"
You went spare when I criticised Davenport
"showing absolutely NO interest in hearing the locals or even talking to them. I've never forgotten that."
I first got to know Ewan and Peggy because they insited on talking to locals ansd sitting in when the residents were performing - In Liverpool, in Manchester, in Crewe, and in every other Club
They insisted that the members of the Critics Group did the same
Are you sre we're talking about the same people ?
We booked guests every month - most of them sat in the bar and waited till it was their turn to perform
Your story of the Singers Club being "the club itself to be extremely self-satisfied and worthy," is also crap
It was no such thing - certainly in the twenty years I attended
There was no regular audience as such - People came to see Ewan, others came to see Peggy, some came for both, some for Bert, for Frankie Armstrong and Bert Lloyd - all different, some for different resident groupings and regular guests like Tom Paley
We had a regular Irish audience because it was policy to regularly book Irish performers
In the summer it was crammed with visitors to London - especially Americans ans Scots
There was never a regular "club" as such -
Why do you people make these things up?
The club was devoted to presenting good songs well sung - it was never intended to be a get-together
Any socialising was done in the bar later or in some of the outside activities and trips out - even the research projects
It took the music seriously - that's why it lasted as long as it did with good turnouts
Ill tell you something Jim - If Ewan had thrown the a fraction of the unprofessional nastiness at fallow performers and enthusiasts that people like you are still throwing at him thirty years after his death he would have deserved all the shit that people like you make up about him
In the years I knew him I never heard him once slag off a fellow folkie, certainly not in public
Some people make a career out of it (not mentioning any names of course!!)
He must have done something right to cause such insecurity among you people
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Feb 18 - 08:25 PM

By the way EM V BD - in your dreams
No competition
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 03:37 AM

Ewan was a successful performer and songwriter, as a performer I am curious to understand why? he was a mediocre musician, but he had a partner who was very competent.
in my opinion he was a very good writer, he presented his material well and was professional in his attitude.
He along with others did much to keep the uk folk revival going for many years. I think he is needed now because the folk revival is going in a direction of passive consumerism, one of the things that attracted me in the first place to the uk folk revival that it was an oasis for home made music.Ewan was a strong charcter, who was committed to the uk folk revival, to trying to acheive political and social change[all things that I would agree with]
I did not always agree with his folk club policy and avoided his club,though in hindsight I understand why he was trying to do what he thought was right.
I did not know him as well as Jim Carroll, but my impressiin of him was that he was humourless and on occasions overbearing and patronising.He was also generous with his time and experience, and   tried to help other performers
I believe they unintentionally isolated themselves from the uk folk revival[ this opinion is a result of a conversation i had with Peggy], but he has left lots of very good songs and was someone who could steer the present rudderless ship of the uk folk revival towards home made music and higher standards of performing.
I am interested to read his advice about performing and songwriting, the fact that I did not like him or want to go to his club does not mean that I did not rate him as a performer or song writer and while i dont think he was always right, I think the uk folk revival at this moment in time needs someone who is strong enough to push it away from passive consumerism
Alternatively perhaps we need another skiffle revival,skiffle encouraged so many young people to take up home made american based folk music., it was the antitnesis of the present dayuk folk revival which in the hands of commercial agents appears to worship the pursuit of money and passive consumerism turning the music in to another form of sanitised folky flavoured pop music


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 03:59 AM

"he was a mediocre musician,"
You have me there Dick - what did he play?
He was a brilliant tune adapter - he seldom used tunes lifted straight from other songs but adapted them out of all recognition to the original
When Peggy published his songbook she sent us a list of a dozen tunes she couldn't trace
He and Peggy, Lloyd and Lomax started the reviaval with a gang of other enthusiasts
He was far from hmourless - he was actually enjoyable and stimulating company
He neverf patronised, on the contrary, he told you what he thought of you and your singing straight from the shoulder if you asked him - that was why some people disliked him
Over and over again, i saw singers at the club sing from the floor and go to MacColl for comments - he told you exactly what he thought, what he thought was good and how he felt it could be improved
That was how The Critics Group worked - we all did exactly that to each other's singing -
I still do when I think it will be received in the manner it is offered and I expect the same from others when I sing
Pat and I work this way at home though she no longer sings because of vocal problems - it is an ideal way to keep on form
After your opening comments on this thread, I hardly think you are in the position to call anybody patronising if you don't mind me saying so (I'm sure you do)
They didn't isolate themselves from the revival - theyy were largely ostracised because they didn't go with teh flow, accept the increasingly crap standards and stuck to an identifiable type of song
You can still get dozens of newly-re-issued MacColl and Seeger albums - most of them, in fact
How many folk stars can you say that about?
As you say - the proof of the pudding...
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 05:53 AM

that is your opinion, some of what you say is true,some of it i disagree with. yes i have listened to some of the critics group meetings, and my opinion is different from you, he was trying to help, but in my opinion he is overbearing and controlling the situation, Ewan was in charge.
I also listened to the clip of the meeting with Ewan, Bert, alex campbell and bob davenport, and in my opinion AlexCampbell talked more sense than anyone else when he said and i quote,
"does that mean Icannot sing woody guthrie songs because i am not american". Jim ,the singers club policy was flawed, that was a ridiculous decision that prevented scottiish people from singing woody guthrie or american songs at their club.
meanwhile peggy seeger who was not from the appalachian mountains was allowed to sing appalachian songs, despite not being from appalachia, just completely bizarre


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jackaroodave
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 06:47 AM

"By the way EM V BD - in your dreams"

Now there's a ghastly thought. ;-)

I admire BD this side idolatry, but his proposition, "I'll let you be in my dream if I can be in yours" struck me as one of the worst "lose-lose" bargains I'd ever heard. Throw EM in there with him and I wake up screaming.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Vic Smith
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 06:47 AM

The two gentlemen with the same forename appear to differ in their memories and appreciation of The Singers Club, so I thought that it might be useful to have a third view on the subject. This is text-scanned from pages 81 - 82 of The Elliotts of Birtley by Pete Wood Herron Books [2008] ISBN 9 780954 068233 In fairness it ought to be pointed out that one of the Jims is quoted in this extract :-

Some time in the early '60s there was a Club trip to the Singers' Club in London at the request of Ewan and Peggy. A 40-seater coach was duly filled and down they all went. Some have mixed feelings about the trip, saying MacColl was arrogant and didn't let them sing. They had thought they were taking over the Club for the night. In fact, however, it was just the Elliott family that had been asked to go. Imagine the effect of these boisterous Geordies, all het up and raring to go, on the staid Singers' Club audience of that time!
However, as Bob Davenport, the Gateshead singer long exiled in London, comments, Jack was told what to sing at the Singers' Club. It seemed he was there as a performer, obliged to pop up from time to time in order to illustrate a point from MacColl's 'lecture'. He was delighted to find that when invited to sing at the Fox Club in Islington, he could sing anything he liked when he liked! (Different approach, different people, the Folk Revival had it all.)
Jim Bainbridge, long-exiled singer and musician, and member of the legendary Marsden Rattlers of the 60s and 70s, has this to say:
"Tolerant folk clubs taught many of us that, given the opportunity, most singers improve with time and experience, and that this serves the tradition much better than the quality control exercised at Ewan MacColl's Singers Club. MacColl was a wonderful songwriter and promoter of the tradition as he saw it, but as a man of the theatre - with little time for imperfection - his ideas for improving the quality of singing were applied via technical advice and analysis rather than absorption by exposure to the perceived inadequacies of unbelievers. No less a singer than old Jack Elliott of Birtley was once castigated by this crowd - after a return visit to the Singer's Club, disappointment was expressed that his singing hadn't "improved" since his last visit -What a damn cheek!"
There was also apparently a comment by either Ewan or Peggy that Jack "hadn't moved on", implying that they expected him to develop a stage act, much as they had done. It's sad that they didn't see the true value of such a natural singer who had such a wide appeal without artificial devices. Certainly the way the Elliotts' visit to the Singers' Club was treated looks like that, but for Graeme Miles there was something more. For him, doing it that way was just as artificial a way of presenting the material as was the Owen Brannigan/Peter Pears approach. It seems the essential point here is the different reasons for singing. Both McColl and Brannigan were professional singers, and in my opinion therefore professional entertainers, and they needed a worked-out stage act to make a living. So folkies like me can take a lofty view of Brannigan's style as decidedly 'art' rather than 'folk'. But then McColl didn't sing like a working man or a traditional singer either. (This area will be taken up in more detail later.) But like most things involving MacColl, it was never as simple as that.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 07:57 AM

Thanks for posting that Vic I hadn't seen it before.

I know of a somewhat similar situation, I was not there but a long time friend (40 years plus) of one of the two people involved was. I make this clear for the sake of The Chief Policeman of Folk Music who has been known to post here.

Mike Seeger was booked at the Singer's Club. In the audience was a regular attendee Tom Paley. I expect that most people here will know that Mike and Tom together with John Cohen were The New Lost City Ramblers who in the minds of many were responsible in a huge way for reviving a huge interest in folk music.

Mike thought it would be a good idea if Tom Joined him for the set as they had worked together so well in the past. I am sure that this would have gone down very well with the people who had paid to see Mike.

However Mike was told NO, he was booked as a single and could only perform solo. I am told that this was little sister's ruling.

Hard to understand.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 08:04 AM

And, OH YES THE SINGERS CLUB and Peggy Seeger bursting out laughingat a supposed cockney singing a " leadbelly song", by extension Peggy should not be singing appalachian material, as she was not from the appalchians I believe the offending singer who later became quite famous, was from the watford area, not a feckin cockney at all.
" Both McColl and Brannigan were professional singers, and in my opinion therefore professional entertainers, and they needed a worked-out stage act to make a living " quote.
professional entertainers do need a worked out stage act, but they need to be able to vary the act, but they need flexibilty to suit differing audiences., one of the best examples of this that i saw was John Foreman, I was doing a concert with him[ a split gig]at a caravan camping club, John was brilliant he had the audience eating from his hand,his jokes appeared to be spontaneous and were geared towards the campers.
In my opinion MacColls only weakness as a performer was a lack of spontaneity, a tendency to sing the song the same way every time, however despite that he was a very polished professional performer


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Feb 18 - 03:55 AM

Ewan was not averse to skiffle at one point in his career in earlier times having recorded with alan lomax ramblers, he then does a complete about turn and is idactic about eveyone other than tom paley and peggy seeger singing songs from the area they come from.Whether this decision was to do with his connection with the CPGB,or whether it was entirely due to Alan Lomax and his influence, is debatable, that is if it is possible to debate with Jim Carroll, anyys as Alex Cambell said, it [prevented scottish people from singing WoodyGuthrie songs at the singers club, which was idiosyncratic and eccentric considering MacColls political views


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 05 Feb 18 - 04:03 AM

It certainly would be well over 50 years ago that Marsden Inn booked MacColl and Seeger Jim B as I recall being disappointed not being able to get to see them as at that time I was too young to visit licensed premises (rules were much more strict in those days).
However if that was their attitude it had changed immeasurably when they were booked across town at South Tyne Folk and Blues three times between 1969 and 1972. They populated the club room throughout the night; Ewan was most complimentary regarding the standard of the residents and the organisation of the club and both were highly receptive of requests from the audience for certain songs. On one occasion during the interval two of our resident musicians, Terry Kelly and Matty Scott, were playing a few tunes Peggy went across with her concertina and joined in the session playing, as I recall, "The Weaver's March".
The last time we booked them at the end of the night Ewan was asking me all sorts of questions regarding the North East scene such as how Birtley club was doing and how were Ed Pickford and Benny Graham?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Feb 18 - 06:54 AM

I booked them in the 1980s at a folk club Ewan was very interested in the surrounding area, i explained that the main employment was the brewery and the sugar beet factory, they gave a very good evening and listened to all the performers throughout the night.
i did a support for them in concert int the 1980s, Peggy and i had a long conversation about a number of things including songwriting, she said to me when we go abroad we hear lots of good songwriters, but nothing in the uk, I was flabbergasted because at that time there were many good songwriters in the uk, PeterBond, BillCaddick, leon Rosselson keith hancock, to name a few.
on reflection, I can only conclude that they had lost touch with what was going on the rest of the uk folk scene, this was possibly because the often did concerts and preferred to not have any support acts, and that the folk clubs that they did do were only a small minority of their overall gigs


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Feb 18 - 01:33 AM

No, he wasn't; he was somebody who evolved a unique approach to the singing of traditional songs; quote Jim Carroll. the same applies to Martin Carthy, Bob Davenport, they allhave their own unique style and approach.
adjective: unique
    being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else.
my impression of listening to recordings of the critics group meetings is this, Ewan pointed out that he did not like a particular approach by another singer to a song , but the way that he said it on the recording was schoolmasterly and authoritarian.to my ears it comes across asEwans way was the only way, my opinion is this;that if people listened uncritically to ewans approach they would sound like Ewan, now


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Feb 18 - 01:38 AM

Ewan was a good singer, and his advice on vocal warm up exercises IMO is good and on breath control, but then so would the advice of an opera singer, but IMO every singer should be unique and sound like them selves, they should not sound like PeterPears Ewan or anyone else but them selves


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Feb 18 - 03:02 PM

" they should not sound like Peter Pears Ewan"
Course they shouldn't Dick yet the revival you refereed to as Ewan and Peggy    "being out of touch with" was full of Carthy and Joanie Clones, Bellamy Bleaters (Peter's own description of his singing) and Wannabe Waterson mini choirs - all names conveniently overlooked by you.
The whole point of the work of the Critics Group was for each singer to find their own natural voice and develop it as far as possible - traying to sound like anybody other than yourself was discouraged (exapt for being used as an exercise in lerning how the voice was produced by different people.
"I am told that this was little sister's ruling."
The only people to make any "rules" AT THE Singers Clubwas the audience committee - I know bevcause I served on it for years
Nice to see the technophobe have all risen from their ow2n graves while I was away
Back tomorrw with my sharpened stake
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 10 Feb 18 - 09:12 AM

Jim c- don't think we'll ever agree on this! I have stated my objective view of MacColl, with my view of some of his faults. I just can't abide your canonisation of the man. I reject your charge of 'unprofessional nastiness' by me- this is totally unfounded and intended to provoke, which is your style, really.

Nor am I a professional, and although I have been paid for my music, it has never been my whole living- never wanted it either! and I can't rival you for nastiness- you say you served five years at the Singers' Club- you deserved more....

Another misnomer- please do not describe me as a 'fallow (sic) PERFORMER'
. That's the nub of this, really - what I took from Bob Davenport was his music with the Rakes, of course, but also his desire to blend into any company, and like Bob, have always tried to be a catalyst for the music rather than a PERFORMER.

Yes i've done concerts and folk clubs, but i think my real place in the movement is in such as the 'open bar' informal song/music/story sessions we did for five years in Leitrim, or which Rosie Stewart still does so well at her singing/music sessions at McHugh's in Glenfarne, Leitrim..
Bob excelled at the social 'public bar' situation, very often well away from any 'folk' context! I recall one night Bob & the Rattlers returning north after a concert at the concert hall in Harrogate. We stopped for a pint in a lively pub a few miles up the road. We chatted to the locals about where we'd been- they asked us to give them a tune. What resulted was a memorable night playing for the 'folk' who knew nothing about 'folk.
We were also once chucked out of a pub in Glencoe for playing 'dirty tunes'- I'll leave you to ponder that one, so it didn't always work! (Bob wasn't there but Donal Maguire was..)
.

Bob Davenport guided us all that evening & many times since and I'll be eternally grateful to him.

You may call yourself a performer, I don't know you, and MacColl also was more interested in the PERFORMANCE of the music he was part of, but I never have been and that' s all I have to say on the matter, except that you become a bit less abrasive and start listning to folk intstead of lecturing them.
nb Bob is fine & living in London, as always
   

I'm NOT a performer


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Feb 18 - 02:18 PM

Jim you are being silly billy again, wannabe waterson choirs?, nonsense name me a group who was a copy of them, the other harmony groups were very different examples english tapestry, songwainers,wilson family valley folk, please stop talking codswallop. i can only remeber a few carthy clones ,most poeople using open tunings played in their own style.
anyway jim carroll whoever made the rule at the singers club, it was a flawed rule because it meant english or scottsh people could not sing woody guthrie songs at the singers club, what was also ridiculous was that peggy and tom were allowed to sing songs that were not from their cultural background, they were not from appalachia, the whole thing was an exercise in misguided control


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 04:35 AM

Jim Carroll you have just illustrated your complete lack of understanding of the Watersons music , they were a unique hamony group that had Mike weaving up and down in an unconventional way that has never been copied, they also had an special music that is particular to families singing together, your pontification has only illustarted your lack of understanding and portrays musical ignorance


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 04:47 AM

Sorry - missed this - swept up in a day of concertinas and pipse)
"I have stated my objective view of MacColl"
A few brif views cross a crowded room is hardly objective
You and your bunch of ghouls sally forth, garlic, crucifixes (and typos) firmly in hand, each tie the name "MacColl" is uttered to make sure his ideas are never given an airing
Five years at the Singers Club - I attended it from 1969 up to Ewan's death, and a few times when Peggy revived it.
I have no idea what the "professional" bit is about - I knew very few of them, I am certainly not one of them
"fallow"
Another typo raises it's head - "fellow" of course
My point stands - I know of nobody whp received the mindless kicking MacColl is still getting from other enthusiasts - he never turned on others the way they turned on him
Davenport, in my experience was a boorish lout who shouted down people he didn't agree with at public meetings and spoke loudly over singers who did what he didn't approve of - I gave my examples
Personally, I didn't lie his "when in doubt, shout" approach to singing, and if I wanted to hear an out-of-tune rendition of 'September Song' I'd dig out Walter Houston's beautiful version, but that's a personal taste thing.
I am not a performer - I sometimes sing publicly, but not as often as I would like
I believe that when I do, I should do it with respect both to the songs I am singing and to the people who have the good manners and tolerance to listen
I stopped going to folk clubs when that stopped happening
You describe me as nasty - perhaps you should read your own postings
"name me a group who was a copy of them,"
Around the time I stopped visiting clubs widely you couldn't throw a stone without hitting one that wasn't full of mini chirs trying to sound like on superstar group or another or trying to copy Martin Carthy's hiccoughy phrasing or intrusive guitar accompaniments, or Joanie clones, or Dylan doublers....
It gave justification to all those outsiders who claimed that "all folk songs sound the same" - in many cases they did.
Nowhere did I come across anybody being forbidden to sing songs from anywhare
We had a club policy that encouraged singers to sing songs from their own backgrounds - but that was for the club residents
All clubs have a policy of sorts - I and others were asked on numerous occasions not to sing political songs - as were Ewan and Peggy at some clubs
Some clubs didn't even like any contemporary songs "we are strictly traditional"
I sing Irish and Scots songs and a couple of American ones - if they Anglicise
If they don't, I don't sing them, not because I have ever been "forbidden£", but because they never work in phony 'mid Atlantic', or 'Oirish', or 'Jimmie Glaswiegan' - they sound what they are - false when I can't sing them in my own accent
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 05:46 AM

Jim,

Unless the date 1969 in line five of your above posting is another typo, this would indicate that you didn't attend the Singers club for the first eight years of it's existence. Neither if my memory is correct did you ever attend the Ballads & Blues association club from 1956/7 to 1961.

That is a total of about twelve years that Ewan and Peggy were performing together which you never witnessed personally.
However you are still ready to criticise/insult anyone here who did know them in those years and relate their own experiences. I did personally witness Ewan not allowing an English girl to sing an American song but that was around eight years before your time.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 06:05 AM

From Peggy Seeger's letter to Living Tradition (https://www.folkmusic.net/htmfiles/edtxt39.htm)

The editor wants to know "Who are Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie?" They were members of the Critics Group for most of the life of that group. They were two of the most loyal, industrious and intelligent members by far. It is possible that they have inherited some of Ewan's intransigence and argumentative temperament (that's the way things go?) but there is no doubt that their work in the folksong world has been invaluable and dedicated. Most of the collectors who've done that have had a kind of tunnel vision, without which their work would not have been as productive. They stuck their necks out and their heads are getting chopped off. They are in good company.

Ewan's intransigence and argumentative temperament

Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie have inherited SOME of that. What does that say about MacColl?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 06:19 AM

" this would indicate that you didn't attend the Singers club for the first eight years of it's existence. "
Not sure I was ever at The Ballads and Blues, but I certainly visited the Pindar of Wakefield and the Boys Club in Red Lion Square whenever I was in London
I moved there in 1969
I first saw Ewan and Peg at the Spinners Club in Liverpool in the early sixties
" I did personally witness Ewan not allowing an English girl to sing an American song "
Isla Cameron maybe?
I hope nobody ever digs up something I did nearly sixty years ago
The policy of singing songs from your own background was aimed at moving audiences away from getting singers to move away from trying to sound like Woodie and Huddy and open up their own repertoires - it was Lomax's idea originally
It led to a healthy, genuine revival of all folk songs, in my opinion
When he first met Ewan and Bert they were both singing American songs with pseudo- American accents
Happy to be described as "intransigence and argumentative" by someone I respect as much as Peggy - I agree what she says about "tunnel vision" and its values
Would the revaival had the same "tunnel vision" when it came to choosing what toput on in their clubs - it might not have led to today's mess
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Vic Smith
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 06:37 AM

'September Song'.....Walter Houston's beautiful version....
This sounds intruiging, but I cannot find any link to it. Can anyone help me?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,John Bowden (not a typo!)
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 06:58 AM

Vic: here you go:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3mAT-4FdP4


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 07:04 AM

Thanks John - nice to hear it again
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Vic Smith
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 07:07 AM

Thanks, John. For some reason that Youtube link did not come up on my internet search for his name. I liked the gentle underplayed way he sang it. It puts the song in a different light. To me it's a fine song whoever sings it.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,John Bowden (not a typo!)
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 07:16 AM

Jim, Vic, you're welcome! There is a Shortened version which misses out the introductory "back story", and this isn't as effective as this "long" version. It's certainly a demonstration of the fact that you don't need a "perfect" voice to give an effective performance!


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 07:36 AM

Jim,

Not Isla Cameron, Isla sometimes deliberately sang American songs because of Ewan's attitude, she freely admitted that.

"I hope nobody ever digs up something I did nearly sixty years ago" ????

Much of what you constantly put down took part in those years.

1969, you were the new kid on the block.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 07:44 AM

did personally witness Ewan not allowing an English girl to sing an American song but that was around eight years before your time" I understand this was lisa turner a fine blues singer and guitarist, who wasc told afterwards publicly the rule.
you see Jim,I have been on the uk folk scene since 1965 since the age of 14, not as a profesional performer but as a singer and visitor to folk clubs a little bit longer than you. Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 07:47 AM

the song was single girl or single boy. Jim, you need to show a little respect to others


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 07:52 AM

"Not Isla Cameron, Isla sometimes deliberately sang American songs because of Ewan's attitude, she freely admitted that."
Then she deserved to be stopped for deliberately sabotaging club policy, whether you7 agree with it or not
I refused to sing at clubs that asked me not to sing contemporary or politiical songs, not because I agreed with them but because I respected their right to have a policy
Behaviour such as this is typical of the shit thrown around in the revival
"1969, you were the new kid on the block."
I came onto the scene around the time of my 21st birthday - much earlier than 1969 unfortunately
As I said, I heard Ewan and Peg live a couple of years later, got to know them and stayed with them for week-ends around 1965, lived with them for a month when I moved to London, spent a couple of years in the Critics Group, was part of running the Singers for about six years, interviewed MacColl over a six month period, have spent about eight years digising and annotation nearly ten years worth of Critics Group meetings recordings and two years ago spent a month putting together two hour long programmes on MacColls life, which included three dys interviewing Peggy - The Princess Louise half a century ago - what the **** do you know about MacColl?
You haven't left the starting line yet Hoot
Stick around
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 07:52 AM

i even remember the days in 1966 when ralph mctell sang blues not his own songs, mainly blind blake songs and that his real name is ralph maytand that he named himself after blind willie mctell, you seeJim i was there before you.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 08:07 AM

ralph may , typo apologies


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Vic Smith
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 08:21 AM

I remember Ralph May in the early 1960s on the south London folk scene. He used to be accompanied by his brother who was also his 'agent' and he was as obnoxious and awkward as Ralph was friendly and amenable.

Sorry, following a thread drift.....


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 08:26 AM

"you see Jim i was there before you."
What's up with your numeracy people? - 1962 comes before 1966 on my calendar
It's not important who was here first - it's the work that has been put in in the period that counts
Proper research beats "one enchanted evening - across a crowded room" any day I don't give a toss whether people like MacColl's singing, or took to him during 'Brief Encounters'
I have my own personal experiences which I'm happy to compare with those who knew him well, but I say what I know to be the case as far as I knew it.
What concerns me is that MacColl and the CG put in a decade's worth of work on folk song which, as far as I am concerned, has no precedents
This, along with all the work done by others, Vic Gammon, Roy Plamer, Mike Yates.... and all those who took folk song seriously, holds clues to an extremely important art form
It should not be necessary to scramble over mountains of garbage such as this in order to discuss it - yet it happens each time the subject comes up.
What are you people afraid of?
If MacColl and the rest of us were wrong 0- why can't we state our case instead of this personal mudslinging (in this case, at a long-dead corpse)
If that's not ghoulish in the extreme, I don't know what is
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 08:33 AM

Jim you were not the only one who was around at that time, hoot, VIC SMITH and I were all around Hoot and I know that it was different form how you describe, I understand Lisa Turner was told by Ewan publicly in front of the whole club that we have a rule in the club, the rule is that singers must sing songs from their own background, this was after she sang Single girl, are you denying this, Jim?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 08:40 AM

I also remember visiting groombridge folk club about 1970, this club was run by IsobelSutherland, the booked artists were some members of the critics group including terry yarnell, whilst they were all good singers ,in my opinion they chose some unsuitable songs, this club was a club that encouraged children to perform, the guest artists did not seem to have a clue about whether the songs they sang were suitable for children, imo a classic example of not knowing about performance. apologies for thread drift


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 09:36 AM

Dick - I don't give a toss what happened half a century ago - I really don't
I am concerned about the overall contribution of MacColl, Seeger and all the others that put folk songs on the map for me and thousands of others, whatever mistakes thye might have made on the way
Would tyoy like me to put up the story of the little shit who put up phony "Traveller" recordings and came within a whisker of sabotaging one of the most important radio programmes that helped change the life and conditions of Britain's Travelling people?
Or how about the folkie superstar who used to throw up over the front row of club audiences as an encore, because of the amount of booze he'd consumed
None of these things ever happened at the Singers Club - yet you have defended both, as Jim Bainbridge has defended Bob Davenport's loutishness
The number of Robert Zimmerman's groupies who have banged on about MacColl's name change is countless - none seem to have noticed the ridiculousness of their criticism
It seems you have to have to be a member of a certain club to be able to get away with some things
Give us a break
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 09:42 AM

"this was after she sang Single girl, are you denying this, Jim?"
I take it that as you only "understand" this you weren't there
Any proof of this Dick - or is it just another story?
That wasn't even a "rule" for The Singers Club" - it was expected from the residents but as I said, all clubs have policies
How many times have you banged on about not being able to use a musical instrument?
Whether you like the practice, you respect it - if you don't like it, stay away
We had to do this with folk clubs that stopped giving us folk songs
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Vic Smith
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 10:04 AM

This, along with all the work done by others, Vic Gammon, Roy Plamer, Mike Yates.....

I will resist the obvious joke about a typo; a joke fades with constant repetition, though very many examples are still being provided by he who posted this; far more than those from another poster who he insults as 'dyslexic'. No, the mention of one of the correctly spelled names in the quotation brought this to mind:-

There are those who think that the experience of the Critics Group and the Singers Club have enriched their lives and they continue to benefit from it. Their opinions are valid but they must not be regarded as facts that cannot be disputed.

There are those who are of the opposite opinion; that it did more harm than good and this includes former members of CG and regulars at SC. Their opinions are valid but they must not be regarded as facts that cannot be disputed.

In the early 1990s I was interviewing Vic Gammon on my BBC Radio Sussex folk music programme Minstrels Gallery. Vic was leaving Sussex to take up an academic post in the north. His contribution to the local scene had been massive as a performer, singer, musician, organiser, dance band musician, researcher, journalist, broadcaster.... etc. The long interview was sort of valedictory broadcast for all that he had achieved.
At one stage I asked him for his opinion on three figures who are regarded as the pioneers of the developing scene in the UK - Henderson, Lomax and MacColl. I looked up my transcription of that interview and here's what Vic said in the relevant section:-
I think that Ewan MacColl was the greatest vernacular songwriter in Britain since Robert Burns. I have learned many of his songs and I often find myself singing them in clubs. He never lost that power, his later songs are amongst his best. I am less impressed by him as a performer and his approach to learning and improving singing has ultimately proved to be unhelpful. With the Critics Group and their self- and peer-opinions, he was leading those involved into a blind alley. The fact that this has not been replicated since is proof of that. There are plenty of workshops now; I run them myself; I go to others led by people that I feel have something for me, but they all have the attitude that says, "Don't take it as the Gospel truth but here's what I have got to offer you".

Vic Gammon's opinions are valid but they must not be regarded as facts that cannot be disputed.

All this, I write and quote to try and point out that it does not matter who was there first, or what any pro or anti statements attempt to prove or disprove. One thing is certain and that is that all the repetitious circumlocution that has seemed endless on Mudcat for years (decades?) will amount to nothing more than a difference of opinion from firmly entrenched positions.

Perhaps it is time to move on.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Iains
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 11:00 AM

Perhaps it is time to move on.

YES!


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 11:05 AM

"Their opinions are valid but they must not be regarded as facts that cannot be disputed."
They can be disputed by those who know what they were Vic - that includes Vic's opionion
In the years I have been involved, the work has never been given a fair hearing, though the dozen or so albums, including the twenty-odd Poetry and Song albums speak for themselves - groundbreaking stuff
THe relaxation, voice, analysis and interpretation work still remains a mystery
So far it has been impossible to even discuss them
Carthy's 'How Folk Songs Should be Sung' was a spiteful distortion
If today' revival had left us with a healthy scene with some sort of future, all this work might have been superseded - the no-future shambles that we have left makes any effort to find a way out worthwhile
"it does not matter who was there first"
I've already said this
"Perhaps it is time to move on."
As with Steve Roud's reinvention of folk song, I think it worthwhile to continue with trying to bulldoze these garbage-mountains aside and get som decent discussion on this going - feel free toi join in but don't feel obliged to do so
"the obvious joke about a typo;"
An acknowledgement of the stupidity of reducing discussions to this level might repair that particular bit of damage
"YES!"
There - you've got the endorsement of someone who is so interested he hasn't bothered to post to this discussion so far
What more could you wish for?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Vic Smith
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 11:17 AM

Does anyone think that the post at 11 Feb 18 - 11:05 AM could be regarded as bearing elements of all the repetitious circumlocution that has seemed endless on Mudcat for years (decades?) that I referred to in my previous post?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Kenny B
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 11:38 AM

Vic Smith
Yes and I hate to admit it but I agreed with Iains


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 11:40 AM

JIM.

My post:

"Not Isla Cameron, Isla sometimes deliberately sang American songs
because of Ewan's attitude, she freely admitted that."

Your reply:

"Then she deserved to be stopped for deliberately sabotaging club policy, whether you7 agree with it or not".

I only heard her at the Ballads & Blues club. We did not have that policy. Read the label.

PS. I have no idea who the other 6 are that you refer too.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 11:45 AM

"Yes and I hate to admit it but I agreed with Iains"
Why do people do this?
Neither you nor Iains have participated in this discussion yet you feel free to walk in and end it whenever it takes your fancy
Pehasps it's time to make MacColl a no area along with "what is folksong"
This becomes ridiculous in the extreme
Why not start a petition?
Repetition Vic - is that really all you've got as a substitute for argument?
You really should be ashamed of yourself - you should have stuck to typos?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 12:59 PM

"PS. I have no idea who the other 6 are that you refer too."
Another typo merchant rides again - perhaps it's time to form a club!!
Are you so bereft of intelligent argument that you have to indulge in barrel scraping of this sort?
Checked for typos - can't find any here - will try better next time
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Kenny B
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 01:38 PM

From: Jim Carroll - PM
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 11:45 AM

"Yes and I hate to admit it but I agreed with Iains"
Why do people do this?
Neither you nor Iains have participated in this discussion yet you feel free to walk in and end it whenever it takes your fancy

Dear Jim
When people read thereads they dont neccessaily join in however
freedom of speech belongs to eveyone
There are many subjects that u comment on that you have never taken part in but formed opinions based on reading and media reports.
Who are you to deny others the right to do the same thing?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 02:41 PM

"freedom of speech belongs to everyone"
Quite - why are you trying to close a thread then?
"There are many subjects that u comment on that you have never taken part "
Not many, if any, but I have never attempted to close a thread down, whether I'm participating in it or (especially) when I'm not.
Nowt "free" about that Kenny - on the contrary
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Kenny B
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 02:54 PM

1 I have no influence in the closing of threads
2 If you are going to quote someone do the decent thing and quote the whole sentence, being selective does you no favours
3 I agree with nowt free part if used responsibly and not in a contrary fashion


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 05:11 PM

I have been out gigging, Jim, has dug himself a hole, he will soon be through to Australia.
Jim please take note of the first verse of this next song.
Sweetheart, I'm bidding you fond farewell
I would be yours some day
I'm bound for a new land, my fortune to try
And I'm ready to sail away

Far away in Australia
Soon will fate be kind
And I will be ready to welcome at last
The person I've left behind

Oh, you can't leave me Jim Boy replied
I would not let you go
But I must leave you, he gently replied
If for only a while, you know

Far away in Australia
Soon will fate be kind
And I will be ready to welcome at last
The person I've left behind

Now it's success or a failure
I will always be true
I'm proud in each day in a land far away
I've been choosing a home for you

Daily he waits at the old cottage gate
Watching the whole day through
Then one day a message from over the sea
And I'm hoping these words are true

Far away in Australia
Now us called the time
When I am ready to welcome at last
The person I've left behind


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 06:08 PM

"Are you so bereft of intelligent argument that you have to indulge in barrel scraping of this sort?"

Jim I have no wish to argue with you I see from the bitchy insulting replies that you make to about 99% of those that don't see things quite the way you do. It's a pointless excercise.

What I have done on several occasions is correct something that you have or somebody else has posted which you/they did not witness and I did. It's no big deal.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Feb 18 - 03:36 AM

"Jim I have no wish to argue with you"
You don't argue Hoot, you are no different from those who make your statement and run away - you are every bit as abusive as I have been, I have certainly not been "bitchy" (a nasty, sexist term which needs to be left in the sexist Jurassic Park where it belongs) - I have returned like-with-like
I come here hoping for honest, open, freindly, vigorous discussion - an exchange of ideas - that's what forums like these are supposed to be about
"which you/they did not witness and I did"
Likewise
My experience is just as valid as yours; minbe is more up-to-date, it covers a much longer period than and it is more detailed as it is not based on interpretations from afar, but on a long-time association with MacColl and personal experience of his work and ideas, much of which I was able to put to the test in thirty years of recording traditional singers
Mac'Coll's arguments o folk song made sense when put to a litmus test
I believe folk song needs that type of thought at present
"I have no influence in the closing of threads"
I agree entirely Kenny - then why support the suggestion that you and the proposer are not involved with, should be closed?
Sorry - didn't understand your other two points
"Jim please take note of the first verse of this next song."
I certainly hope you live up to your promise in the first line Dick
"Sweetheart, I'm bidding you fond farewell"
You have my full permission to ignore your promise to be mine!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Feb 18 - 03:40 AM

"Whether you like the practice, you respect it - if you don't like it, stay away"Jim Carroll
that was exactly what i decided to do, along with a lot of others,however that does not mean IM NOT ENTITLED TO POINT OUT THE FLAWS IN THE POLICY OF THE SINGERS CLUB.
on the other hand people like Cyril Tawney went around folk clubs and spoke to singers and in a pleasant way and persuaded many to look at and research and sing songs from their own cultural background[ something that Tom Paley and Peggy were not doing lets face it, they were not from appalaschia,Cyril used a much more effective and less dictatorial approach, I know I was there, and Cyril spoke to me and persuaded me to do just that.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Kenny B
Date: 12 Feb 18 - 09:43 AM

Jim
My sentence was
There are many subjects that u comment on that you have never taken part in but formed opinions based on reading and media reports.

Your copy or copy and paste was
"There are many subjects that u comment on that you have never taken part "

I was agreeing with Iains & Vics suggestion to "move on" not close the thread did you not understand that?.

Do you understand what you read and do you read your posts critically before you post them or are you like politicians and answer the quiestion you think should have been asked?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Feb 18 - 10:06 AM

"something that Tom Paley and Peggy were not doing lets face it"
Can't speak for Tom - he wasn't a resident
MacColl and Seeger gave their home over to researchers to use their books and recordings - they held weekly meetings in their home for getting on ten years as a response to a request to take classes
Nobody else in the revival ever did that
They and other Critics members gave seminars all over the country - and spoke at schools and colleges whenever they were asked
The Group co-operated with some of Britain's finest actors to mak two series of albums of poems and folk songs aimed at children - Poetry and Song and Voices - 22 albums in all
The Singers Club held public talks on the subject of song and music
I do know Tom took instrumental classes
Very few other clubs did any of this and those who did were usually influenced by MacColl and Seeger - Manchester and Birmingham, to name two
If you ever say them appear in public you'll know that their song introductions were an education in themselves
My whole point here has been to get a discussion around the masses work Ewan left behind based on encouraging singers and non-singers to lift the corner and look at what lies beneath the songs we sing - I'm digitising around 200 tapes worth of recordings of the MacColl working with younger and less experienced singers
What planet do you and your meaningless Australian song live on Dick?
You are entitled to put up any flaw you believe exists in any club policy for discussion, just as I am entitled to give an opinion on it.
So far, you haven't come anywhere near what MacColl, Seeger, The Critics, or the Singers Club was about and you have shown about as much interest as mot of the other contributors here - reducing the discussion to "Jim, has dug himself a hole,"
In your dreams Dick
Perhaps you'd like to put your name on the petition to close thids thread?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Iains
Date: 12 Feb 18 - 10:10 AM

I have followed many discussions on Ewan Maccoll with interest. I have made no contribution because I do not regard the man in any particularly positive light. He wrote some good songs. I do not care for his singing and he came across as an actor rather than performer, complete with affectations and convinced his way was the right way. As I did not know the man personally and thus was reluctant to make what would be a negative contribution. However the mighty carrol has spoken and I would hate to disappoint him.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Feb 18 - 10:45 AM

"I would hate to disappoint him."
You don't Ian - I expected no less/more
"mighty carrol "
I come here in the hope of having a discussion on a subject I believe to be important - you come to close threads you obviously have no interest in and to present your 'spiteful child' persona
You've done one of those quite effectively
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Iains
Date: 12 Feb 18 - 12:02 PM

It is not a discussion. It is a diatribe of frothing abuse to all who hold alternative views to your own.
First you whine I have not contributed, then you whine when I have.
If there are any children in the room it surely has to be you. Who is the idiot that keeps cleaning the spit off your dummy and handing it back?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Feb 18 - 12:03 PM

Can't speak for Tom - he wasn't a resident" he was a regular attendor stop being silly.
Far away in australia is not meaning less, do you really not understand the meaning of the song that an eight year old would understand
MY ABILTIES AS A SINGER AND PERFORMER ARE NOT RELEVANT TO THE DISCUSSION, and whatever they are do not prevent me from being a critic of a musical policy that was flawed and proscrptive.
I do remember Peggy Seeger complimenting me... not on my singing but on on my concertina playing when she came to Bury st edmunds folk club, which was satisfying because i rated her as a very good song accompanist, she clearly had a different opinion to you, and since i respect her as a performer that matters to me more than your opinion.   Both Ewan andPeggy.. again passed complimentary remarks about my singing when i did a support for them at leicester phoenix theatre., as i respected them as performers this was pleasing.
Jim you do not understand , i am criticising a policy not Ewan and Peggy as performers


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Feb 18 - 12:56 PM

"I was agreeing with Iains & Vics suggestion to "move on"
If I have misunderstood your point, I apologise
It's a little difficult to know where to move on to when nobody is responding to arguments (except with personal abuse and self-promotion) except with yet more urban legends about somebody who has been dead for nearly three decades
Like the clubs I used to visit- I'm here for the music I've spent most of my life being entertained by, nothing else
Dick - I really have nothing more to say to you or your ego - go find somebody who is interested in your abusive self-promotion
"First you whine I have not contributed, then you whine when I have."
If you believe personal abuse is contribution we work from different dictionaries Iains
I have neither insulted, nor have I frothed or whined
In three short postings you have have done little else
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Vic Smith
Date: 12 Feb 18 - 02:20 PM

It is very difficult to be able to discuss things with a mindset that believes that writing:-
Dick - I really have nothing more to say to you or your ego - go find somebody who is interested in your abusive self-promotion.
and:-
I have neither insulted, nor have I frothed or whined
and believe that the two statements are compatible and not contradictory.
How can discussion be possible when we are faced with such inconsistent, logically opposite statements? Does making barbed comments with each post strengthen the impact of the points that are being made? If it is felt that Dick is only interested in promoting himself, might it not be more effective to enunciate the reasons for this belief rather than making a bald statement that about him that can only be regarded as insulting?

In my opinion, there has been a considerable amelioration in postings emanating from Ballydehob of late.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Feb 18 - 02:40 PM

" really have nothing more to say to you or your ego "
Fair and even handed as ever Vic
Now try it in context
"and believe that the two statements are compatible and not contradictory. "
Like typos - a bit of pedantry goes a long way
Apart from not having to respond directly to arguments, what do you hope to achieve Vic
"amelioration"
Yeah
Gather your anti MacColl knockers while ye may - as the man said
A wordy post saying nothing
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Vic Smith
Date: 12 Feb 18 - 03:37 PM

Apart from not having to respond directly to arguments, what do you hope to achieve Vic
Fairness.
Exchanges that address previous points that are raised.
A willingness to accept that the opinions of others are valid.
The insertion of humour when things get too heavy.
Addressing ideas in a way that can be free of rancour.
Seeing others treated fairly without comments that belittle them being made.
Discussion
Logical progression of ideas.
Clarity of thought and the way it is expressed.

All of these things.

I am phrasing my words carefully here so as to avoid confrontation. I am reaching out to achieve purposeful exchange which is the goal of interchange of ideas.
It seems that all the post at 12 Feb 18 - 02:40 PM is directed to me, but what I am expected to make of Gather your anti MacColl knockers while ye may - as the man said?
How does Amelioration Yeah explain or advance things?
I'm really trying hard here to see what is behind Like typos - a bit of pedantry goes a long way so that it can be made clear how I should respond.
Please read this in the peace making way it is intended because at the moment nothing is being achieved.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 12 Feb 18 - 03:59 PM

Jim, Peggy Seeger says that you have inherited SOME of Ewan's intransigence and argumentative temperament. If she is right (and you say she is) then you are probably doing more to harm his reputation than anyone else.
Just a suggestion, but before clicking submit, why not pause and ask yourself "Would Ewan say this?"


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Feb 18 - 04:06 PM

"Jim, Peggy Seeger says that you have inherited SOME of Ewan's intransigence and argumentative temperament."
And you are taking what Pegguy had to say about me out of context Bryan
I have spent a lot of time with Peggy over the last year or so and hse really has no problem with how we work and what we have achieved - she has actually put this in writing in The Living Tradition if you wish to confirm it
I really didn't want to reduce this to being about me

As one sided as ever Vic
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Feb 18 - 04:07 PM

"English means never having to say "sorry".
Jim Carroll" 17 dec 07, quote
we live in a world of constant change, but here we are 10 years on and Jim Carroll doesnt change, ten years on and he is doing his best to keep up English Traditions, carry on Jim you are showing the world what a fine englishman you are a trusted defender of an English Traditions, never say Sorry.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 12 Feb 18 - 04:10 PM

It's not about you, Jim, it's about what you say. I am just suggesting that you stop and think before you click submit.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Feb 18 - 01:57 AM

Apologies for thread drift but jims comment"English means never having to say "sorry" is Wide of the mark anyway but the first thing that springs to mind was The Queens   remarks here
She told guests from the northern and southern Irish communities: "It is a sad and regrettable reality that through history our islands have experienced more than their fair share of heartache, turbulence and loss ... with the benefit of historical hindsight we can all see things which we wish had been done differently, or not at all."

The remarks, at a dinner in Dublin Castle, former headquarters of British rule in Ireland before independence in 1922, came as dissident republicans staged a small but violent demonstration.

Opening her speech in Irish with "A Úachtaráin agus a chairde [president and friends]", the Queen spoke of the importance of forbearance and conciliation, "of being able to bow to the past but not to be bound by it", and of the many who have suffered the painful legacy of loss. Lord Mountbatten, her husband's uncle, was killed by the IRA off the west coast of Ireland in August 1979. She said: "To all those who have suffered as a consequence of our troubled past I extend my sincere thoughts and deep sympathy."

The Queen spoke also of increasingly strong bonds and values: "The lessons of the peace process are clear: whatever life throws at us, our individual responsibilities will be all the stronger for working together and sharing the load ... The ties of family, friends and affection are our most precious resource ... the lifeblood of partnership across these islands, a golden thread runs through all our joint successes so far and all we will go on to achieve."

The Irish president, Mary McAleese, said the Queen's visit marked a new chapter in relations between the two countries "that may still be a work in progress, but happily has also become a work of progress, of partnership and friendship".

McAleese said: "I am particularly proud of this island's peacemakers who, having experienced first hand the appalling, toxic harvest of failing to resolve old hatreds and political differences, rejected the perennial culture of conflict and compromised enough to let a new future in."


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Feb 18 - 01:59 AM

And for the record, I happen to be someone who believes the royal family should be replaced, again apologies for thread drift


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Vic Smith
Date: 13 Feb 18 - 05:46 AM

As one sided as ever Vic
Jim Carroll

Again trying to phrase carefully and avoid provocation, there are no "sides" in my previous statement. I don't see myself being on any "side" and don't see myself a member of any group or gang. It was an attempt to advocate fairness, civility, clarity, consideration and respect for the opinions of others in postings. It was an attempt to move away from seeing demeaning comments made about others merely for expressing an opinion. If I have been attempting to do otherwise, please explain any objections to what I have been advocating in a lucid manner. I am not on any personal vendetta here. I am seeking at atmosphere where there can be a stimulating and interesting exchange of ideas where differing or opposing ideas and opinions can be made and received without derogatory responses.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Feb 18 - 07:45 AM

"Again trying to phrase carefully and avoid provocation, there are no "sides" in my previous statement."
You carefully pint out my outburstts of bad temper and avoid the insults that caused them
Don'tt ever volunteer for Jury duty Vic
I'd comment on the relevance of an ironic comment I once made on Britain refusing to accept responsibility for the Empire - "English means never having to say "sorry" - and the effort that went ino digging it out but I'm sure you'd add that to your list
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Vic Smith
Date: 13 Feb 18 - 08:04 AM

Well, at least I tried.....


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Feb 18 - 08:14 AM

"Well, at least I tried....."
Not hard enough Vic
You did exactly the same when Steve Gardham was slinging around his personal insults on the 'Roud Book' thread
It doesn't help the "atmosphere" in any way to single out just one culprit - that is taking sides
It's you people who have made this about me - I have attempted to stick to the subject of MacColl
As for the other accusations of "intransigence"
Hands up all those who have shifted their position one iota on this or the Rod book argument
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Feb 18 - 08:50 AM

Whoops - another 'typo'
"Roud" book, of course
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Vic Smith
Date: 13 Feb 18 - 09:08 AM

You did exactly the same when Steve Gardham was slinging around his personal insults on the 'Roud Book' thread
It doesn't help the "atmosphere" in any way to single out just one culprit - that is taking sides


Ah yes! The Roud thread. That would be the thread where Jim Carroll was insulted on 09 Jan 18 - 04:18 AM when it was written -
you're a doddery old fool, and very few here respect your views.

and I responded straight away by posting
This is a very unhelpful comment and lowers yourself to the main perpetrator of insults on this thread. and I followed it with a request that this insult be removed - which it duly was.
I dislike such rude insulting comments and frequently react to them, sometimes in the thread, sometimes in PMs, sometimes by informing the moderators.
Please accept that the way I have been challenging your comments is not a personal vendetta.... but it isn't going to stop me doing so when I consider that you are out of order.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Feb 18 - 09:51 AM

"That would be the thread where Jim Carroll was insulted on 09 Jan 18 - 04:18 AM when it was written -"
You forgot the "self promoter" ad "attention seeker" and the rest of the diatribes Vic
It was after these that your one sided reprimands came
Enough of this - it's interfering with the ghoulish MacColl kicking ritual
Those who quote Peggy might like to recall the time she castigated those who attacked her dead husband "who is no longer around to defend himself"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Feb 18 - 10:05 AM

Jim, Dick prodded this thread back into life back in January with a, perhaps, contentious remark about MacColl. You did not contest what he had said, you attacked him personally.

When Hootenanny raised some old row by asking for an explanation of why you had called him dishonest, you responded by calling him "A dyslexic, a megalomaniac and a typo-stalker - three for the price of one!"

You set the tone.

As for the other accusations of "intransigence"
That came from Peggy Seeger and a couple of days ago you seemed to wear it with pride. Out of context? I quoted the whole paragraph and gave a link to the letter in Living Tradition.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Feb 18 - 10:46 AM

"you attacked him personally."
Because it's a long standing practice of his Bryan
Dick reached his height when he threatened physical violence if ever I came into his home territory
Enough is enough with some behaviour, as far as I am concerned
Hoot deanded an answer he had already been given about half a dozen times and when I stopped responding he kept it up - stalking, as far as I'm concerned
In both cases, the "tone" had been long set
"That came from Peggy Seeger and a couple of days ago you seemed to wear it with pride."
And I still do - the whole quote, that is - you choose to concentrate on the "intransigent" bit
"is possible that they have inherited some of Ewan's intransigence and argumentative temperament (that's the way things go?) but there is no doubt that their work in the folksong world has been invaluable and dedicated. Most of the collectors who've done that have had a kind of tunnel vision, without which their work would not have been as productive. They stuck their necks out and their heads are getting chopped off. They are in good company."

I ask again - how many here have moved one iota from their original position on this or the Roud book thread
I have no problem with those who stick to their guns except when they use other people doing the same as a weapon
Somewhat two-faced in my book
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Vic Smith
Date: 13 Feb 18 - 11:21 AM

In both cases, the "tone" had been long set
But people, not just me, are saying that a rude tone is objectionable and we all need to move on. The fact that is 'long set' doesn't justify it; they are looking for a new approach where posters can concentrate on expressing their opinions without having their opinions scorned or put down. Why not start afresh now? Let's write what we believe and let a variety of opinions stand without recourse to negativity.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Feb 18 - 11:29 AM

I'll leave most of that.

Your style of argument is never going to move anyone one iota from their original position because you don't present an argument. You state THE TRUTH and respond extemely aggressively to anyone who disagrees with you.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Feb 18 - 11:29 AM

"But people, not just me, are saying that a rude tone is objectionable and we all need to move on. "
Yes we do Vic - so stop ignoring your favourites
Personally, I no longer care too much what you think of me - I jut wanted to prick your 'neutral' bubble
If you want to comment - make it a general one
"Why not start afresh now?"
Absolutely
Some of you might start by responding to what I have put up about Ewan rather than digging up more urban myths
Maybe it might be worth discussing one of the comments MacColl made in a six-month series of interviews we did with him in 1978/79
"I used to think that Traditional song would never die as a performed art; now I am not too sure
It seems that the folk clubs have fallen into the hands of people who neither understand nor like folk song"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Feb 18 - 12:15 PM

Some of you might start by responding to what I have put up about Ewan rather than digging up more urban myths

I understood this thread was about 'Class Act: The Political and Cultural Life of Ewan MacColl' by Ben Harker not about your remniscences. Lot's of people have said things about MacColl. What makes your opinions more important?

"I used to think that Traditional song would never die as a performed art; now I am not too sure
It seems that the folk clubs have fallen into the hands of people who neither understand nor like folk song"
MacColl

And you still don't understand why some people got pissed off with him?

(Actually, I quoted more context than your quote in red.)


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Iains
Date: 13 Feb 18 - 12:27 PM

""I used to think that Traditional song would never die as a performed art; now I am not too sure
It seems that the folk clubs have fallen into the hands of people who neither understand nor like folk song"

I find it hard to believe anyone could actually make such statements and believe them. You would need some ego and level of conceit to pontificate in such a way.
It rather puts me in mind of the BBC radio broadcasts of earlier days where the announcer would be compelled to be in evening dress to talk into a microphone. Totally divorced from the real world.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Feb 18 - 12:55 PM

"Lot's of people have said things about MacColl. What makes your opinions more important?"
Who said it was and what's that got to do with urban myths?
"And you still don't understand why some people got pissed off with him?"
When we have to put our archive in Limerick to attempt to get Walter's recordings out to the public and when we have to take a gamble on whether we will come home from a folk song having heard a folk song - it makes sense to me
Just read the viciousness when 'What is folk song' comes up on this forum, or count the number of complaints about feeling not welcome when you sing an unaccompanied songs
How about the description of "elitism" when you suggest a basic standard, or the defence of crib-sheets?
Go count the number who walked away from the scene when standards took a nose-dive and the choice was taken away
Your somewhat self-satisfied - "if you want to hear a good, well-sung folk song come to our club" summed the complacency for me Bryan.

You aren't really suggesting that all's well on the folk scene after all that has disappeared are you, Bryan?
"(Actually, I quoted more context than your quote in red.)"
Then why have you and others concentrated on the out-of-context "intransigence" as if I was the only one to display such a characteristic

Incidentally, this was part of a letter Peggy sent to The Living Tradition after she had moved to Nort Carolina after Ewan's death
"Ewan MacColl was one step nearer to being a folksinger than I; having been brought up in a Scots community in Salford. He is a man who is a perfect example of the old saying "stick your neck out and someone will chop your head off". I didn't know, until after he died, just how many enemies and ex-post-facto critics we had made. WE. Please remember that he and I were in this together and you can now aim your missiles at someone who is still here and who is quite articulate on the matter. Pity more folks didn't have the courage and the knowledge to talk with him while he was alive. He was actually an interesting, approachable person and was happy to talk to anyone who approached with a less-than-hostile attitude. I learned so much from those years.... and, of course. I am biased! I am also fed up with people who criticise him with only hearsay and second (third, fourth, umpteenth) knowledge on which to base their opinions."
Sums all this up for me perfectly
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Feb 18 - 01:18 PM

"Dick reached his height when he threatened physical violence if ever I came into his home territory" please find this quote , i do remeber something on these lines which was meant as a joke, however there no emoticons on this forum to make it clear


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Feb 18 - 01:33 PM

"please find this quote ,"
We've been through this several times Dick - noot by me
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Feb 18 - 02:27 PM

well come on lets have the quote, so you claim i threatened you phsically once i say it wasmeant as a joke , you however have consistently insulted people on this forum over and over, it is a shame because you have a lot to offer ,you have been helpful to people on this forum passing on info on all kinds of folk related topics, but your hasty temper diminishes your helpfulness


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Feb 18 - 02:34 PM

"you however have consistently insulted people on this forum"
I give as good as I get Dick - though some people choose to ignore that fact
I've never threatened anybody
Go away - finished with dialogues with you
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 14 Feb 18 - 08:47 AM

".... What makes your opinions more important?"
Who said it was

You did.

and what's that got to do with urban myths?
Haven't a clue.

From what I have heard, Topic rejected you recordings of Walter Pardon because they weren't of sufficient quality to do him justice and they had other sources.
You can hear unaccompanied traditional songs at many clubs in the UK if you'd care to visit, not just ours. We don't impose standards on our floor singers. Some clubs do to the point of not having any at all on guest nights. That doesn't strike me as a folk club, more like a concert but each to their own. I would rather people didn't use crib sheets but I'm going to encourage them not to rather than drive them from my door.

Go count the number who walked away
I can't Jim, they aren't here. You're the only one I know about. I can only count the ones who stayed and stuck with what they believe in. Some of them are on this thread.
You don't feel that calling me self-satisfied and complacement might not be insulting?

You aren't really suggesting that all's well on the folk scene after all that has disappeared are you, Bryan?
That wasn't the question and is far too big a subject to go off into here. The point was that MacColl said "It seems that the folk clubs have fallen into the hands of people who neither understand nor like folk song. Do you honestly not see that the people that was directed at (basically everyone involved in the UK folk scene at the time) might be offended by that? MacColl said it forty years ago and you've been saying it ever since.

Then why have you and others concentrated on the out-of-context "intransigence"
It wasn't out of context, I quoted the entire paragraph including everything Seeger said about you. You were lambasting people for not taking part in reasoned discussion when you totally refuse to do so yourself and even Seeger describes you as intransigent and argumenative and Ewan possibly even more so.

Incidentally, this was part of a letter Peggy sent to The Living Tradition
I know, Jim. I quoted from it and gave a link to it. Here it is again.
https://www.folkmusic.net/htmfiles/edtxt39.htm

She also said "By the way, I'm just finishing up a book of his songs. 200 of them. 'The Essential Ewan MacColl Songbook' (Music Sales, autumn 2000). Those of you who have followed or partaken in this controversy might find my long critique of him as a person and an artist enlightening. It won't be what you expected from the person who was his lover and working partner. Information is on my website: www.pegseeger.com.
I imagine you have that book, why not give it a read?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Feb 18 - 12:27 PM

"I imagine you have that book, why not give it a read?"
Read it Bryan - I'm sure you don't mean this bit
Jim Carroll
The tributes feel good -the degree awarded to Ewan after his death by the University at Salford, the tree planted in his honour in Russell Square in London, the plaque placed in Salford near Coburg Street (which has now vanished), the letters I get, the requests for his songs, the enemies who will always be there for both earned and unearned reasons, our mutual friends with whom I am still in touch . . .
Coda
I love Ewan MacColl and I miss him daily, even though it’s twelve years since he died and I now have a new partner. Writing this book has been hard for me. I shared so many of my best days with him. He filled my life and our house with ideas and singing and if there is anything about him that I miss more than anything else it is the sound of that dark chocolate tenor . . . and waiting for him to haul up another creation from that fountain that was capped only by death. The songs in this book- axes and scalpels, war cries against war, silk purses and cleverly wrought sow’s ears—are now as surely his as they are yours. They cannot be taken from him as were his beloved Theatre Workshop and the Radio-Ballads.
Ewan: This book is my last material gift to you, from your companera who wants it to be known that whoever, whatever you really were, you did manage to become the best part of what you wanted to be.
Peggy Seeger North Carolina, 2001

I replied to the rest of your points, but the message did not get sent = it's happening aa lot with this forum
I'll send it again if I decide to be arsed replying to points I've answered a dozen times in the past
It really doesn't seem woth the effort


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 14 Feb 18 - 12:44 PM

It's not which bits I mean, it's which bits Peggy Seeger meant when she said "Those of you who have followed or partaken in this controversy might find my long critique of him as a person and an artist enlightening. It won't be what you expected from the person who was his lover and working partner.
Doesn't seem to fit the brief bits you've quoted.

The rest of my points go unchallenged. Good.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Feb 18 - 01:05 PM

"Doesn't seem to fit the brief bits you've quoted."
That was Peggy's dedication to Ewan and hius work - perhaps you can enlighten me on the bits I missed
"The rest of my points go unchallenged. Good."
You really are the pits, aren't you
I've explained what happened to my posting - much easier, (if not particularly honest) to pretend I have no answers
For the record - Topic did not "reject" our recordings as such - they decided they didn't want to do what we wished to - give an in-context picture of Walter rather than just a collection of songs
The recordings were, as all our recordings are, "kitchen quality" with ticking clocks - at no time have we ever aimed at putting our recordings out commercially - not what we did.
They did suggest that, as some recordings were made when Walter was getting on in years, perhaps it didn't show him at his best - probably true, but again, not the point of our involvement in the project
It's somewhat snide of you to concentrate on the recording quality - just as you concentrated on Peggy's suggestion of my(and Ewan's "intransigence" while ignoring her qualification of that statement
As I said before, I have no problem with her suggestion in that (ignored) context, particularly when the comparison was with the feller she wrote about in the book extract I have just put up   
Now - how about all those bits I missed Bryan - won't hold my breath though
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Feb 18 - 01:28 PM

Maaaaaybe it was this bit I missed Bryan

Appendix III The Critics Group And The British Folk Song Revival
In 1968, Ewan wrote:
If any single event can be said to have been instrumental in launching the British folk music revival it was the BBC?s broadcasts in 1952 of the series of radio programmes known as Ballads and Blues. Prior to these programmes, the emphasis had been on North American folk songs. The knowledge that there existed in Britain a huge corpus of exciting traditional songs and ballads was confined to ; mere handful of individuals. By presenting English, Scots and Irish songs in an historical and social context, these programmes transformed the situation overnight and triggered what was to become known as the folk song revival, the most extraordinary bout of public music-making Britain had ever known. It was the nineteenth-century industrial folk songs that made the first impact. These songs evoked an immediate response from working-class audiences throughout Britain, particularly among young people. Soon scores of new, young singers appeared on the scene and the audience began to reflect other class orientations
Since those early days the revival repertoire has been extended to include pastoral songs and ballads, urban broadsides, forebitters (recreational songs of the seamen), shanties (work songs of the seamen), regional songs, contemporary songs in the folk idiom and political and educational songs.
The bedrock on which the revival stands is the folk song club movement. At the present time, the number of these clubs is variously estimated at figures ranging from 800?1000, with a minimum membership of about 750,000. Almost from the very beginning of the revival there has raged a debate on the definition of folk music, a debate which (in its simplest form) has been reduced to a struggle
11, Peggy adds:
In actual fact, Ewan was the instigator, the facilitator and the person who held the group together. He poured all his training from Theatre Workshop into the group and worked like a demon when The Festival was on each year. He had no Joan Littlewood to take his script and bring it alive?he did that himself, training the singers into actors and sitting each night taking notes to bombard us all with at the end of the performance. The members of the group proved themselves worthy of the task and of the scripts. They all had 9-to-5 jobs (which in reality are 7-to-7 jobs), and everyone poured their All into the common cause. Ewan was _ a brilliant if tyrannical teacher and he and I learned and developed along with everyone else. I took over the teaching of accompaniment techniques, sightreading, script typing and duplicating, stage managing and general organisation. We carried many of these techniques into our songwriting and concert work after the group broke up.
By the time it dispersed in 1971, the Group had said hello and goodbye to three or four dozen members. Among them were: Frankie Armstrong, Bob Blair, Brian Byrne, Bobby Campbell, Jim Carroll, Alistair Clare, Aldwyn Cooper, Ted Culver, Jenny and Tony Dunbar, John Faulkner, Richard Hammerschlag,Richard Humm, Allan and Maggie Ives, Luke Kelly, Donneil Kennedy, Enoch Kent, Sandra Kerr, Hamish MacColl, Gordon McCulloch, Pat MacKenzie, Jim and Sally O?Connor, Charles Parker, Brian Pearson, Mike Rosen, Buff Rosenthal, Dave Smith, Suzannah Steel, Dennis Turner, Jack Warshaw . . . and many others.

Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Vic Smith
Date: 14 Feb 18 - 02:58 PM

I have only just followed the link that Bryan posted on 11 Feb 18 - 06:05 AM to a letter from Peggy Seeger to Living Tradition. The date is not given but it was when she was living in Asheville, North Carolina. Can anyone let me know the date? Bryan only quoted the last part of the letter but reading all of it, I must say that I was impressed by it for a number of reasons. It is well written and it sticks to the matter in hand; it is open and honest. She does not attempt to cover up things where she considers that she was in the wrong or that she made mistakes. It comes over as a truthful, straightforward and sincere
I can imagine that it was not an easy thing to write, but when someone is prepared to admit faults and regret them, it somehow manages to make the reader regard any claims of achievements as being equally free from bluster or falsehood.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Feb 18 - 03:16 PM

"Can anyone let me know the date"
It was written at the end of the nineties, if I remember rightly
It was part of the response to a letter/article I wrote entitled 'Where Have All the Folksongs Gone' so it should be searchable under that title
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Feb 18 - 03:43 PM

none of the above alters the fact that i was criticising a flawed club policy,not criticising Ewan as a performer, what does Jim do ..he replies with piffle about me threatening him, tell you what Jim take me to court about this threatening behaviour,you will be a laughing stock, further more if i was to threaten anyone, which i have no intention of doing it of whatever size it would certainly not be a small ginger haired pipsqueak or an old man


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Cj
Date: 14 Feb 18 - 03:44 PM

It’s a good letter, EM comes out of it well, as does JC. Certainly paints a more welcoming version of events than JC’s more spiked defence. I may just buy that book of hers. And dare I say, the MacColl biography (not) being discussed here...


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Vic Smith
Date: 14 Feb 18 - 03:57 PM

The post at 14 Feb 18 - 03:43 PM. Come on, Dick we are trying to move away from insults - all of us


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 14 Feb 18 - 04:38 PM

I've explained what happened to my posting
You also said I'll send it again if I decide to be arsed
You still haven't.

You're right, it wasn't just the recording quality. Your failure to cooperate was also part of it.
http://www.mustrad.org.uk/articles/pardon2.htm

I haven't got the book. I'm relying on what you can tell me and what the quote you put up from Peggy Seeger says. What you have quoted from the book is very interesting but doesn't seem to constitute the "long critique of him as a person and an artist" that she says will not be "what you expected". I am relying on your honesty to tell us what the book says.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Feb 18 - 05:04 PM

The MacColl bio is very interesting, it covers his years in the thirties his work in theatre and his thoughts on performing and songwriting, it is excellent


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Feb 18 - 07:33 PM

"Your failure to cooperate was also part of it."
How ****** dare you - fail to co-operate with what exactly?
We withdrew from the project, which hadn't even reached the "notes" stage because Topic had rejected what we wished to do - it was no longer our project
We still have Mike's letter requesting permission to use some of our material, which we readily gave
Mike's finished album bore no resemblance whatever to what we wanted to do and at not time did he ask for our co-operation other than our permission to use some of our recordings
We said from the beginning that we did not want "another Walter Pardon album" simply because we felt that Bill Leader's and Mike's were as good as it gets.
What are you people on Bryan?
You and your mates weigh in on the reputation of s singer who has been dead 29 years
Dig up thirty odd year old slanderous stories to malign his character, despite a plea from his widow in the article you linked to that it was time this sort of ghoulish behaviour stopped
You then take the words of his widow (out of context) to malign my character by accusing me of "intransigence", yet no one of you bunch has moved a single inch from your original position on two long threads despite being unable to respond to agruments
Kicking a fellow folk enthusiast who has been dead for thirty years is sick enough - now you appear to have gone viral and have dragged in our efforts to produce a picture of the most important traditional singer for the folksong public.
What kind of sick behaviour is this
I hope you people never have the ****** nerve to denigrate MacColl again, after this display
"I haven't got the book. I'm relying on what you can tell me and what the quote you put up from Peggy Seeger says"
So you chose to use a book you haven't read to attack me and MacColl - get's better and better with every posting !!
No wonder the revival is in the mess it it if this is anything to go by.
I trust Vic is not going to ignore this one - Dick's behaviour fades into insignificance after this display of viciousness
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Feb 18 - 07:43 PM

"not be a small ginger haired pipsqueak or an old man"
Missed this - gem - gets even better
I have had dark hair al my life - now have a fine hair of grey
You really can get nothing right "except ageist abuse)
Jay-******-sus
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 12:54 AM

what makes you think i was a dressing you , i never mentioned anyone by name, I HAVE NEVER BEEN VIOLENT TOWARDS ANYONE, OLD WOMEN, OLD MEN, GINGER HAIRED PIPSQUEAKS, DARK HAIRED LIVERPUDLIANS, YOUNG WOMEN YOUNG MEN BLACK PEOPLE ESKIMOS or anybody at all, both you and vic are barking up the wrong tree. i have never met you,so why would i be adressing you i have no idea or interest in your appearance


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 03:33 AM

This vicious, grave dancing discussion seems to have gone as far as any discussion on MacColl is ever likely to go on this forum
Like all our other field-recordings and research, our own collection will soon end up in an Irish educational institute to be used by students in their Worlk-music department - hopefully more of it will go on-line - this time with the interviews.
Walter Pardon's and Ewan's and the Revival section will be accompanied by the note - "this is what the future of folk song could and should have been about - it stands more than a chance of surviving in Ireland than it does back home"
The Critics Group ended (amicably) at the beginning of 1971 when a number of members led by Ewan, went off to form a theatrical Group - it lasted a year and broke up far more acrimoniously than any disputes that ever took place in The Critics Group - we weren't part of that break-up, so we never quite understood what happened.
Over a decade later, Karl Dallas arranged a symposium to celebrate Ewan's life and work - a number of Folk and Theatre figures from Ewan's past turned up to pay tribute - Alan Lomax, Hamish Henderson. Theatre Workshop's Howard Goorney, Leslie Shepherd, some of the old mass-trespassers.... and an array of singers and musicians - a truely memorable, shit-free week-end for Pat and I.
A few weeks before the event I was asked by Ewan and Peg, to speak on The Critics Group - in the circumstances surrounding the break-up I was, to say the least, petrified and only agreed to do so if I could interview previous members of the Critics Group and get their impressions of the experience - I did the best I could to a somewhat divided audience
Like all the talks Pat and I have given, it was fairly carefully scripted.
If anybody would like a copy of my summing up of the Critics Group, as limited as it is, they are welcome to a copy
It seems the only way to discuss MacColl and his work afer three decades since his death, is off-line - that says something about someone or something!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 05:37 AM

How ****** dare you - fail to co-operate with what exactly?

It seems that Topic felt that these later recordings failed to show Walter at his best and so Jim and Pat withdrew from the project, leaving Topic with a single CD that was without notes or documentation.
Michael Yates
Almost two years ago, after parting with Topic, Jim and Pat asked me if I would be interested in releasing the 'second' CD - and I readily agreed. We exchanged a letter or two, but they then got involved in a protracted move to Ireland which seemed to take up most of the summer. I phoned them several times afterwards, but it seemed clear that they had lost motivation for the project.
Rod Stradling

I haven't got time for this fight. You'd better take it up with Yates and Stradling.

Dig up thirty odd year old slanderous stories to malign his character
Could you produce ONE example of where I have ever done that?

I hope you people never have the ****** nerve to denigrate MacColl again, after this display
Could you produce an example of where I have done that either in this thread or at any other time?

YOU quoted MacColl as saying
"I used to think that Traditional song would never die as a performed art; now I am not too sure
It seems that the folk clubs have fallen into the hands of people who neither understand nor like folk song"

I asked you whether you couldn't see that some people might be pissed off at him for that. You haven't replied.

YOU quoted Seeger as saying
Those of you who have followed or partaken in this controversy might find my long critique of him as a person and an artist enlightening. It won't be what you expected from the person who was his lover and working partner.
I haven't got access to that book so I asked you about it. You have been evasive to the point of not acknowledging that the critique exists.

You have described this as a display of viciousness.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Vic Smith
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 06:10 AM

I trust Vic is not going to ignore this one - Dick's behaviour fades into insignificance after this display of viciousness
It is the job of the moderators to police Mudcat and I am not one of them. I am not prepared to take the on-going role of unofficial referee. I have made an effort to bring the qualities that I mention in a post 12 Feb 18 - 03:37 PM but this behaviour has become ingrained in some Mudcat threads which is a pity because it lowers the enjoyment and spoils the discussion. In fairness to Bryan, I can read anger, outrage and frustration in his recent posts, but nowhere does it tip over into insult though my view would be that he is getting into a situation that has no easy resolution.

If anybody would like a copy of my summing up of the Critics Group, as limited as it is, they are welcome to a copy
I think that I would find these useful to read though I would suggest that sending them by PM or email might be better than posting them here.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 07:13 AM

You don't happen to have Peggy's book do you Vic?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Vic Smith
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 07:20 AM

No, Bryan. It's on the list of the books that I want to buy but it hasn't come to the top yet.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 07:53 AM

"It is the job of the moderators to police Mudcat and I am not one of them"
Hasn't stopped you in your one-sided moderation of me Vic
Never mind - call it an experiment on my part - turned out as I knew it would
Bryan - I gave my position on the Walter album - it was exactly as I said
If I was the slightest bit interested in what you thought I would produce it - I am not
It was a piece of venomous spite to put it uop here anyway - it was meant to malign our work with Walter which confirms there id no place for him in today's revival
"I asked you whether you couldn't see that some people might be pissed off at him for that. You haven't replied."
Of course I can in a revival that considers itself above criticism - plenty of evidence of that here, if further were needed
"I haven't got access to that book so I asked you about it."
I found using a book you hadn't read unworthy of response - however, I have you the many comments Peggy made on Ewan' influence and abilities - including her describing him as a "tyrant" (which I as a member who received the sharp end of Ewan's tongue on occasion, which she never did) somewhat of an overstatement - she's still as prone to such as she ever was.
The book contains no condemnation of Ewan - some political criticism, but that's it - I had those with him.
Using the widow of a long-dead man to continue to dig him up and kick him is as vicious as it gets, especially when you haven't ever read what she has to say and prefer one-liners to make your accusations
Peggy said what she said about Ewan as an artist in the sections i put up - in full - not "extracts" as you snidely suggest
You really do confirm everything I've heard about you
Both Peggy's autobiography and Jean Freedman's study of her are a must for understanding the work of Ewan and Peggy, though Jean's is far more analytical and objective -
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 08:08 AM

" I would produce it "
Should be "I would produce the correspondence on it"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 08:51 AM

Jim your regular and consistent insulting of people on this forum diminshes the good side of your character your willingness to help others. I read Peggys biography,and much asrespect her as a songwriter musican and singer, I did not find it as intersting, Ewan imo had a more varied career having been involved in hunger marches,and protests against enclosure of land to prevent rambling, theatre, writing plays as well as performing, which imo made a more interesting read


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 09:09 AM

"Jim your regular and consistent insulting of people on this forum diminshes the good side of your character your willingness to help others"
Don't be yso-self-righteous Dick - not with your serial behaviour af abusing and insulting people with no provocation at all - members and non-members alike.
It wouldn't take too much of an effort to provide a string of examples
Leave it to Vic - he does it far better than you
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 09:34 AM

"I read Peggys biography,and much asrespect her as a songwriter musican and singer, I did not find it as intersting, Ewan imo had a more varied career having been involved in hunger marches,and protests against enclosure of land to prevent rambling, theatre, writing plays as well as performing, which imo made a more interesting read"Jim do you agree or not what is your opinion of theTWO biographies


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Vic Smith
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 09:52 AM

Hasn't stopped you in your one-sided moderation of me Vic
I know I shouldn't but let me try one more time.
I think that we need to have a look at what is meant by 'insults'. Let's make it simple by restricting ourselves to these most recent exchanges between Bryan and Jim. Now we know their attitudes are miles apart an that there is not much likelihood of them agreeing on this subject, and others for that matter
I have pointed out the Bryan has been pretty heated in his comments, but to my mind he stays the right side of the line.
Now let's look at the post at 14 Feb 18 - 07:33 PM. If two sentences were removed, I would say that the post was acceptable. However, look at these two questions:-
What are you people on Bryan?
What kind of sick behaviour is this?

It is these unnecessary interjections that spoil things. The first suggests that he (and unspecified others) are drug takers. The second implies that some unpleasant mental attitudes or conditions are involved. These false derogatory jibes do not put you in a good light and detract from the power of the case that you are making.
It is this constrant drip of defamatory comments that throw a smokescreen over understanding the points that you are trying to put over.
You say that you object to my "one-sided moderation" of your comments. I would really like you to see that this is because you are by far the main perpetrator. Time and again these rude barbs appear in your posts.
In recent posts you have mentioned being asked to give presentations at Irish universities and of writing a critique of The Critics Group (a difficult task for anyone I would think). How did you express yourself in those situations? If differently, then why?
Earlier in the thread you were advised by someone to check what you have written before clicking "Submit message" and it was very good advice.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 11:16 AM

"but to my mind he stays the right side of the line."
Thought you d=said there were no sides
Personally, i find attacking dead men and using their widows words (out of context) to attack both her dead husband and a supported/friend/beneficiary of his generosity... way beyond any acceptable behaviour
And still you select a couple of my responses to outrageous behavior without reference to what they were a response to - I think we get the message loud and clear - some insults are more acceptable than others, as Orwell nearly said.
I post far more than most on these subjects and thae fact that what I have to say tends to be somewhat out-of- step puts my in the firing line for far more personal abuse from people like Dick, Bryan and Steve Gardham than I dish out - I don't react to personal abuse too well - macColl doesn't have to bother about it - he's dead
You pick two examples and totally ignore th fact that Bryan has dragged in our work on a proposed CD on Walter which he has searched out as a stone to throw, which he obviously knows sfa about and which has nothing whatever to do with the subject under discussion
If you find that unworthy of comment or response, we were brought up in different stables
Similarlty, you chose to ignore Steve's attacks on both mine and Ewan's character based on a book he has not read and has top go cap in hand to get those have to tell us what is in it.
And you consider yourself fair,
Yeah, sure you are!!!!
All this corpse-kicking has gone of far too long Vic - it has prevented discussion on (in my opinion, of course) an important body of work, and it continues to besmirch the memory of(also in my opinion, of course) one of the founders of a revival that brought us altogether in the first place and has provided us all with a great deal of pleasure and food for thought.
At present, I am digitising articles from some of the early folk-song magazines so the originals can be donated to an archive.
MacColl came in for some stick back in the sixties, but nothing compared to this - his death seems to have opened the floodgates on a deluge of sewage.
One of the problems I am having is stopping myself from re-reading the masses of intelligent and inspiring arguments and opinions - a breath of fresh air and a welcome freak from all this stench
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 11:24 AM

Me? Heated? Surely not? I thought I was being remarkably calm under the circumstances. I think three was plenty more to take objection to in that post than those lines. I'm not too keen on "this display of viciousness".
Anyway, since Jim has now started taking issue with what Peggy Seeger says, there isn't much point in carrying on.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 11:47 AM

"Anyway, since Jim has now started taking issue with what Peggy Seeger says, there isn't much point in carrying on."
WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Can you manage to get this any lower Bryan - you are doing your best?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 12:03 PM

What tedious self-indulgence since this thread came back. Sheer ennui.    Wby is reverance for Peggy Seeger's musicianship sacrosanct? (Ok, she could strum an autoharp.) For all the good they did, she and McColl made an arrogant pair. McColl indeed was a pain in the arse, in whicb respect Jim McC is proving a worthy disciple.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 02:44 PM

I've heard this before but it is rather interesting
How Folk Songs Should be Sung


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 03:04 PM

"I've heard this before but it is rather interesting"
It's a gross distortion of how the group worked
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 03:27 PM

I was going to avoid engaging with you at all, Jim, but...
You are now saying that Sandra Kerr, Frankie Armstrong, Brian Pearson, Richard Snell, Phil Colclough were all lying?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 04:23 PM

Jim, please answer my question what did you think of the 2 biographies


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Brian Peters
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 05:25 PM

Wby is reverance for Peggy Seeger's musicianship sacrosanct? (Ok, she could strum an autoharp.)

Unpleasantly patronising. Peggy is is an excellent banjo frailer and concertina player and, at a time when instrumental virtuosity was less common in the folk music world than it is now, was indeed an instrumentalist others looked up to. Oh, and she's a great singer and a pleasant and generous person. More generous than that comment, certainly.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 06:15 PM

Why don't the two of you make out a list each. A list of the issues you disagree with each other about.

Then we can bear that in mind, when you both express an opinion.

I'm sure you are both represent different strands of opinion in the world of traditional folk music.

Its sort of nearly interesting that you disagree with each other.   On the other hand, neither of you agree with me about anything much, but it doesn't make everything valueless that I have to say. And to me you are both GOM of folk music - I cannot conceive of either you holding an insincere or uninformed thought about folk music.

If you can get to the point where you say this my opinion , and I come at the subject from this direction. I think a harmonious and respectful dialogue could be achieved.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Cj
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 06:23 PM

Dick, I'm a fan of your music but that ridiculous post about the ginger man is a disgrace and you should apologise for it.

Regardless of who came up with the idea and how lax the rules were for EM and PS, I applaud the "sing in your own accent" ideal. An impression of an Appalachian, Irish, Devon or Jamaican accent is one step away from BnW Minstrels not to be taken particularly seriously.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 08:23 PM

some of us - don't give a shit about being 'taken seriously'.

but we do take our music seriously. we entertain. and in this way we wring a living as performing artists from the dull earth.

being told to sing in our natural accents is frankly as f---ing stupid as telling Dustin Hoffman playing Tootsie to play the part using his natural accent.The people who wrote the songs we sing have and usually had lives quite as removed from most folksingers lives, as Dorothy was from Dustin.

There are far too many folksingers concerned with being taken seriously rather than applying themselves to doing a decent well presented professional performance.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 03:19 AM

I applaud the "sing in your own accent" ideal. An impression of an Appalachian, Irish, Devon or Jamaican accent is one step away from BnW Minstrels not to be taken particularly seriously
that was exactly what the lad [i believe it was long john baldry] was doing when singing Rock ISLAND LINE.singing it with a south east english accent, PEGGY SEEGER burst out laughing.
I found the anecdotes about Brendan Behan in Journey man particularly intersting, it is a very interesting book.
CJ ,i have nothing to apologise for i have no idea what Jim Carroll looks like i have never met him, I did not name him, he apparantly has black hair i have never attacked anyone whether they were eskimos black haired ginge haired,wering amohican or anything else   if i did meet him I would be polite, say good morning and move on , i have more interesting things to be doing


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 03:25 AM

So it is ironic, singing in your own accent was encouraged yet when a so called cockney lad sings rock island line he is publicly laughed at, the whole episode is reminiscent of the mad hatters tea party


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Cj
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 03:25 AM

See for me Al, I find UK people singing in American accents ridiculous. Sure, they may be professional, but they're not themselves. It's just Stars In Their Eyes.

Knock away the "seriously" word if you like, but I find the "professional" word just as galling. A professional what? A proffesional mid-atlantic dj?

Eaxh to their own though. And the important thing to remember was, this rule was only for their club. There were hundreds of other clubs where you could wear a cowboy hat and sing about life on the trail.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 03:30 AM

Professional[imo] means trying to to a job to as high standard ,that means practising, turning up to a gig on time and not getting drunk so that one cannot [perform well.
it also has a different meaning which is getting paid for doing a job, but i do not think that is the interpretation that is meant in this thread


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 03:32 AM

but the the rule may have just been for this club, however i was there at the time and the influence spread way beyond that.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 03:38 AM

Brian Peters, can you clarify who made that post about Peggy , IT CERTAINLY WAS NOT ME


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 04:01 AM

"Jim, please answer my question what did you think of the 2 biographies"
Why should I Dick, you haven't answered any of mine?
I think it is a rather meaningless question anyway - like "what do you prefer, a Madras Curry or a sticky-toffee pudding - I like both, they both give me different sensations and satisfy different cravings
Ewan and Peggy came from different backgrounds and both brought different experiences to the music scene - one is no more or less valuable than the other
Peggy introduced me to a totally different aspect of traditional song than Ewan could possibly have done - and vise versa
I became totality hooked on her ballad singing, just as I did with Ewans
I got masses of new information from Ben Harker's book that I didn't know, but I half filled a notebook with critical comments on some of his conclusions.
Harker's problem was that he never knew MacColl so he had to rely on the often contradictory opinions of others, many who also didn't know MacColl
Harker interviewed us and he told us that everybody he had interviewed who had worked with him were incredibly defensive and guarded in what they said even though the acting group had broken up acrimoniously
That was the way it was with MacColl - you took what he had to offer and, if you had any sense, you filtered out that which you were not sure about or didn't agree with - isn't that what you do with every genius (like him or not, that was what Ewan was as far as passing on his analytical approach to performing - I've heard both his enemies and his friends describe him as such).
What made Ewan unique was his desire to share ideas and pass on opinions, information and material.
Of all the things I got from Ewan, it was the desire to pass on anything we have to anybody who would make good use of it that has stuck with me.
Before I moved to London I spent half a dozen week-ends staying with them, copying their recordings - fieldwork, lectures - anything they had was there for the taking
Peggy had a filing cabinet draw of song texts she had assembled from various places, all in multi copies - she told me to help myself as long as I didn't take the last copy of a song so she could make more duplicates for the next person - that's the way they organised their lives
I remember feeling sorry for their youngest son Calum, whose small bedroom had been rigged out with two linked tape recorders so that visitors could use it as a copying studio and a spare bed - every time a visitor turned up he would be turfed out to share a bed with his brother Neil so we could work away for a couple of days
Say what you want about MacColl and Seeger - I never knew another person on the scene who did that (Charlie Parker did to some extent, but he was away from home a lot)
Both Ewan and Peggy have two books on their lives - Ewan has his own 'Journeyman' and Ben Harker's biography
A roughly accurate picture of his life, in my opinion, would be got by reading the two and sorting the wheat from the chaff in both
The same with Peggy - her own book is basically an outpouring of her life, full of personal information without too much analysis - a pleasure to read
Jean Freedman's book is analytical and well researched. with masses of information from others
Jean told us when she interviews us on line that she got the same guarded defensiveness about Ewan from everybody she interviewed
Like Ewan, the two Peggy books work hand-in-hand
Peter Cox's 'Set into Song' is a brilliant analysis of the work that went into the Radio Ballads - a must.
I've yet to read Alan Moore's and Giovanni Vacca's 'The Legacy of Ewan MacColl' - only just got it
It's a waste of time if you read these books uncritically, but it's equally pointless to read them with some of the preconceptions and misinformation that has always surrounded the work of Ewan and Peggy.
They really did have a lot to offer, and they offered it far more readily than anybody I ever met - on the folk scene or anywhare else in my life
They deserve more than the garbage that has been built up around their work - usually by people who offered to share nothing
Jim Carroll
Sorry if this is a mess - a stream of semi-consciousness from somebody who hasn't woken up yet


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 04:44 AM

I meant getting paid. If you don't get paid, you can't afford decent instruments, recording oppotunities.

What the professional folkies don't get is that their 'natural' accents are as bloody pathetic to actual dialect speakers, as any cabaret artist being Johnny Cash or Tom Jones. American accents are the lingua franca of working class music - has been since American acts became popular in music halls in the 1880's.

Ian Campbell once told me that his Dad's biggest influence as a singer was Al Jolson.   My Mum sang in an approximation of Americanese. Didn't speak that way - but that's how she sang.

My father in law's Derbyshire was impenetrable to me when I first met my wife. Apparently his Dad spoke in an even more unintelligible stain of Derbyshire.

No name no packdrill, but I've sat through evenings of Derbyshire folksong, that were about as convincing as Laurence Olivier's rasta Othello. To date, to my certain knowledge - no one has ever conquered the Eastwood accent in any DH Lawrence production known to man.And considering the eminence of Lawrence's talent - that's a pretty sloppy response by the educated classes.

I'm not saying attempts by middle class folks to sing folk songs is valueless - but for Christ's sake - get off your high horse about pro- singers who venture outside the Hundred Acre wood of English folk club type audiences.

Why do we have such bile towards other singers and artists. And why for God's sake can't you just do your own thing without criticising and telling us about how bloody superior your vision of English folksong is?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 05:11 AM

by coincidence i sat in Budds cafe in ballydehob this morning the first song was Rock Island Line sung by jo henry and billy bragg, Ienjoed it despite billy singing in a strange accent, it was imo not as good as leadbelly but better than lonnie donegan, but it was a pleasure to hear an american folk song in a public place rather than what is available in most places which is bland 90s pop often the lyrics are banal and the music seems very samey.
on the subject of singers and singing it really is subjective for exam-ple there are two well known uk revialist singers one has a beautiful voice ut in my opinion lacks interpretation, the other is a good interpreter but i cannot take to his voice, then you have singers like Carthy who have good voices and are good interpreters and good accompanists.
in my opinion Peggy was a good singer a good musician a good accompanist and a good songwriter, and generous with her time as was Ewan


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 05:24 AM

Dick suggests that the "Cockney lad" was Long John Baldry so this is interesting reading - https://www.theguardian.com/news/2005/jul/23/guardianobituaries.artsobituaries
Scroll down for the reference to MacColl but not a Cockney.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 06:25 AM

Find you diatribe against regional accents interesting Al - are you suggesting we all shoulfd sing in phony accents that are not our own?Folk songs are stories or thoughts set to music - try telling a story or expressing an opinion in a phony accent and see how many people you convince
Some people need to be a fly on the wall after a Yank or Brit singer has left a session after a Yank or Brit has attempted an "Oirish accent"
I'm pretty sure American or Scots audiences are no different
You can SING in any accent you wish - I don't believe you can INTERPRET any song in any accent other than your own - that's the difference
In fact the Linga Franca of song being American is a relatively new thing - up to the beginning of the 20th century, when pop music overwhelmed folk song in people's culture, people tended to sing in their own accents without feeling the need to copy any other accent
Any performer who can't take friendly criticism needs to stay at home and sing in the bath to their rubber duck
What audiences don't say to your face they'll say behind your back - I know which I'd rather have
If you are able to listen to criticism with an open mind and without resentment from people who come to listen to you you might gain something from it
Thinking yourself above criticism is for Prima Dons and Donas - they've always been a pain in the arse, no matter how good they are

Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 07:03 AM

Thanks to TheSnail for posting that obit. It's been a long time since I read it.

If Peggy was correct in claiming that the song was sung by a "Cockney Lad" then it certainly was NOT Long John Baldry. John's normal speaking voice was far away from that.

There is an error in the obit re The Steampacket but I won't go there or I'll be accused of thread drift and probably a lot more.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 07:52 AM

On the other hand, Baldry was there at the time and is likely to have sung Rock Island Line. Peggy's perception of British accents might not have been that great.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Cj
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 08:24 AM

Hey Al, not sure how much of that was aimed at me, but I'm happy for anyone to sing however they like, I merely prefer when they don't do it in somebody else's voice - be it from the otherside of the world or the other side of England.

Each to their own. Personally, I enjoy the personality of the performer. Everyone has their own personality - why try and copy someone else's?

There's a couple near me who sing Gillian Welch songs, attempting her and David Rawlings accents. They get it as close as they can and yep, it has its place, but for me, well, it's more an homage than anything particularly personal or interesting. I mean, it's nice hearing what someone has done in their kitchen, but not particularly thrilling. Singing it as themselves would just add a layer of intrigue and individualism.

But absolutely, each to their own. 'supposed to be fun, after all.

Not on my high horse - that galloped off decades ago.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 10:09 AM

no i'm not saying i'm against regional accents. but all my family were regional accent speakers, as i suspect yours were jim,   you're a scouser, n'est-ce pas?

and you've got to admit its not just phoney American accents that can be toe curlingly embarrassing. Remember all those Americans with Beatle accents around the time of the fab four? my parents and me had lancashire accents.

I think it was my year doing English for A level that I realised the Lancashire accent was taking me weird places.

The first line of TS Eliot's poetry I ever looked at was

Let us go then you and I
When the moon is spread out against the sky.

I read it out loud, and it was at that point I realised I had never used the word 'I' in my life. My accent went...Ah'm doing this or Ah'm doing that.

if you have to change your accent for poetry, why not song?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 10:11 AM

correction , when the evening is sspread out against the sky -s'been a long time!


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 10:25 AM

that was my whole point earlier PEGGY did not know a cockney accent, i belive the singer had a southern accent. anyway the whole thing was ridiculous as well as impolite, there is peggy singing appalaschian songs with a northern american accent, and she laughs at someone singning rock island line with an english accent as for jims remak about interpretation more bull shit, billy bragg interprets the song rock island lin4e very well admittedly he is singing with jo henry, it is a good version imo better than lonnies


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 10:27 AM

but all my family were regional accent speakers, as i suspect yours were jim"
I still have a strong Scouse accent - I tend to modulate it when I sing without (hopefully) sounding phony because that's what we were taught to do in school - to "speak properly"
MacColl was often slated for his 'phony' Scots accent, but it wasn't
He grew up in a Scots family surrounded by Scots people - he grew up speaking in one accent at home and another in the street, as did many families of exiles
I had meals with Ewan, Peggy and Ewan's mother and sometimes, when Ewan and Betsy were talking, sometimes you might have been siting in on a Bangladeshi conversation.   
Even now, when I'm on the phone talking to my sisters, Pat will know who I'm talking to because my accent changes
This is a thousand miles away from the phony Mid-Atlantic accents that are used by so many singers - neither fish nor fowl
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 10:28 AM

by the way it was long john baldry and Baldry's birth was registered in Brixworth Registration District in Northamptonshire, some feckin cockney, for god sake


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 10:32 AM

Baldry's birth was registered in Brixworth Registration District in Northamptonshire in the first quarter of 1941. He was born to William James Baldry (1915-1990), a metropolitan police constable and his wife, Margaret Louisa née Parker (1915-1989). His early life was spent in Edgware, Middlesex where he attended Camrose Primary School until the age of 11, after which he attended Downer Grammar School, now Canons High School. Just before his death, he attended the school's 40th anniversary celebrations."
that still does not make him a cockney, I WAS BORN CLOSER IN BLACKHEATH ,BUT I AM STILL NOT A COCKNEY, It is rsther liker calling a teesider a geordie, feckin ridiculous and incorrect


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Vic Smith
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 11:11 AM

he grew up speaking in one accent at home and another in the street

Don't tell me about it! I use to joke about being bi-ligual is Scots and English according to which parent I was talking to - but it means that the songs of rural Oxfordshire and rural Aberdeenshire both seems to trip easily of my tongue.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 11:20 AM

"feckin ridiculous and incorrect"
Don't know what this ill-mannered outburst is about Dick - you seem happy to behave in the way you've critcised others for bahaving
The young singer was not Baldry - it was an East London lad local to the club according to Peggy
If you can't tell the difference between a Londoner trying to sound like a black American convict and an American singer singing an American song in their own accent you should not be debating this
It was always an issue of trying to sing in a phony accent that had no part in your lives that was the issue
I think I know a dozen shanties and two songs that probably originated in Liverpool
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 11:37 AM

Jim an east londoner is not a cockney unless born within the sound of bow bells. Jim, it,is fec kin ridiculous and incorrect.
no jim, an a north east american singer singing appalachian songs is no more valid accent wise than a londoner singing geordie songs., stop talking balderdash.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 03:35 PM

joe henry and billy bragg sing rock island line billy sings in an american accent ,it is a good version stop talking crap,it does not prevent a good perfomance, the singers club with their proscriptive rules, they were so earnest, they seem to have forgotten that most people want to hear just a good perfomance billy bragg proves my point go on to you tube and open your ears and listen it is a good version his american accent does not ruin the performance.
long john recorded rock island line and attended the singers club, and yet you seem to think it was not him
"What made Ewan unique was his desire to share ideas and pass on opinions, information and material"of course that was generous of him ,but he was not the only one doing so ,he was not unique, for example davey graham spent a whole 12 hours showin MARTIN CARTHY DADGAD


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 03:50 PM

Dick,

Used to be the Bells of St Mary le Bow Church in the City of London but some East Enders seem to think it was St Mary at Stratford atte Bow in Bow Road in the East End.
Problem for me is do I or do I not qualify?

"it was an East London lad local to the club according to Peggy"

Just to clarify Ballads & Blues meetings were at that time held at The Princess Louise which is in Holborn which is NOT local to the East End.

The obit linked by TheSnail above also says that MacColl Made an exception for John Baldry. Is that right? John was a regular at the Ballads and Blues and was there at it's final evening as was by co-incidence the lady that Ewan would not allow to sing an American song some years earlier when he and Peggy were regulars at the Princess Louise.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Cj
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 05:09 PM

"davey graham spent a whole 12 hours showin MARTIN CARTHY DADGAD"

12 hours showing him how to detune 3 strings? Wow. Either a crap teacher or a dense student.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 07:14 PM

It's a gross distortion of how the group worked
Jim Carroll

You are now saying that Sandra Kerr, Frankie Armstrong, Brian Pearson, Richard Snell, Phil Colclough were all lying?
Me
And, of course, Peggy Seeger was involved in the programme.

Perhaps I'll never know.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Feb 18 - 11:04 AM

You are now saying that Sandra Kerr, Frankie Armstrong, Brian Pearson, Richard Snell, Phil Colclough were all lying?
And, of course, Peggy Seeger was involved in the programme."
Damn - never noticed that Bryan - I could have sworn that Martin Carthy made the programme and drew the conclusions - silly me !!
AS has been proven over and over again by you, among others, taking statements out of context can prove anything
Themisleading title was enough to show the direction the programme took
"Jim an east londoner is not a cockney unless born within the sound of bow bells. "
Who said they were Dick - what on earth are you referring to
If you're going to continue your aggressive bad behaviour I suggest you desist from it yourself
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 17 Feb 18 - 11:42 AM

Guest Cj above would appear to have little knowledge about guitar playing. Personally I think that it would take more than 12 hours to learn to play in a completely different tuning.

I never have enjoyed the work of either of the musicians involved but there is no denying that they were, or in Martin's case is still excellent musicians. Neither being crap nor dense.

Yet more uncalled for insults.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Feb 18 - 11:51 AM

There was a scouse country and western band in the 1970's who were very good called The Hillsiders.

Made a great album....Okie from Muskogee, She's Mine, Yes Virginia, Crying in the Rain,

Almost a blueprint for how to be a 1970's country band.

Just a different tribe.. They were playing the miners welfares, holiday camps. WMC's and Irish centres. Great singers and musicians.

The music had a great resonance for miners. I remember a 12 year old kid singing in class Merle Travis's Dark as a Dungeon, and the whole class joined in.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Feb 18 - 11:53 AM

"no jim, an a north east american singer singing appalachian songs is no more valid accent wise than a londoner singing geordie songs."
Neiether Peggy or Tom Paley ever attempted an "Appalachian" accent - not in my hearing anyway
As yo so rudely say "stop talking balderdash." and if you re going to continue being so arrogantly rude, stop whining about others
Get a grip
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 17 Feb 18 - 01:29 PM

Ah, the "out of context" defense. Totally meaningless and totally unanswerable.

gross distortion of how the group worked

Who are you accusing of gross distortion?

Off for a very pleasant evening at the club. One of tonight's guests knew Walter Pardon.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Feb 18 - 01:47 PM

Ah, the "out of context" defense. Totally meaningless and totally unanswerable."
If I spent the effort you do calling you a liar and saying you have no idea what is happening in you7r club you would have every justification in complaining about my behaviour
You really are a nasty piece of work aren't you Bryan?
You are providing a perfect example of the shit throwers who snapped around MacColl's heels when he was living and are now doing the same now he is dead
Get a life, fori crying out loud
"One of tonight's guests knew Walter Pardon."
Why not ask him why there is no place in the UK for Walter any more?
You ought to be ashamed of yourself Bryan


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 17 Feb 18 - 01:49 PM

Who are you accusing of gross distortion?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Feb 18 - 01:52 PM

jim you are missing the point agaim, peggy and tom were singing in an accent that was their own[ but not authentic appalchian] at the singers club, yet peggy laughs at someone else singing in their own accent bcause it was not like leadbellys yet it was their own accent.the singers club is beginning to sound like the mad hatters tea party


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Feb 18 - 01:58 PM

"peggy and tom were singing in an accent that was their own"
That's what I said Dick
Nobody hads ever suggested that people should sing songs that originated in their own backyard - most of us don't have access to those songs
Why are you belaboring this point
"Who are you accusing of gross distortion?"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Feb 18 - 02:01 PM

I am not a shit thrower Ewan was a polished professional performer an excellent songwriter and a good singer, he was generous with his time but not unique in that respect, one example has been given that of davey graham, so he was not the only one who was generous with his time, he along with others imposed a flawed rule[ i have pointed out the flaws[ before.the rule was proscriptive and as i have pointed out reminscent of the mad hatters tea party, that is criticism of the rule, it is not a criticism of Ewan as a performer or song writer, that is carefu;l criticism plus praise for his abilties, it is not shit throwing.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Feb 18 - 02:14 PM

Bryan is a hard working club organiser who along with others also organises workshops. I found him to be an agreeable person and a good performer. Ihavenever met you and as i do not judge people until i have met them in the real world , Iwill not comment o you as a person your behaviour on this thread and others imo diminshes your good actions eg generous help to others on this forum


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 17 Feb 18 - 02:37 PM

"Why not ask him why there is no place in the UK for Walter any more?"

Unless I have mis-read things, from re-reading the Musical Traditions articles referred to a few days back it would appear that there is a place, at least two in fact which have collections of recordings of Walter Pardon The NSA and the Vaughan Willliams library at Cecil Sharp House.

There would appear to have been several people who have recorded Walter over the years so perhaps the organisations in the UK have what they consider sufficient material already.

In addition I am sure that the excellent collection put out by Rod Stradling on the Musical Traditions label is still available.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Feb 18 - 02:38 PM

"I found him to be an agreeable person "
I'm sut=re yiou do - I find him gratuitously nasty - a sign of low self-esteem in my experience - not unlike necrophilia and shit- throwing
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Feb 18 - 02:49 PM

ah but you have not met him, you are judging him on your communications here on the net something that i have not done with you, it is a mistake to judge people when you have not met them, i have also met keith a of hertford, in person he is a -pleasant man with an interest in traditional songs, you have not met him but you insult both bryan and keith though you have never met either of them.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Vic Smith
Date: 17 Feb 18 - 03:12 PM

I find him gratuitously nasty - a sign of low self-esteem in my experience - not unlike necrophilia and shit- throwing

Dick knows Bryan slightly but likes what he has seen, I have known him well for over forty years and have worked with him on quite a lot of projects. We have been fellow members of the organising committee of Lewes Folk Festival for around a decade now and I find him very pleasant company and very easy to work with. Apart from the work on this festival, he puts a lot of hours into being involved in sharing the running of the folk club in Lewes, running regular tune sessions and other events in the town. He is also the webmaster for a number of local folk music websites, I would not like to say how many hours he puts into behind-the-scenes organisation each week but I would reckon that the figure must be at the higher end of those spent by committed folk enthusiasts.

Jim has never met him yet feels able to make the sort of appallingly denigrating judgements in a post that has no discursive content but only contains foul insults.
I address a question to Joe Offer and other Mudcat adminstrators and ask them how far this man is allowed to go with such baseless, damagingly dangerous slurs on a public forum?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Feb 18 - 03:24 PM

Yeah even handed as ever Vic
You seem to overcome yopur inability to intervene quite well when it suits
You should e ashaemed of youreslf as well, but like Bryan, I'm sure you're not
JIm Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Feb 18 - 04:23 PM

I get it.

Theres some sort of angst going on.

but what the hell is all this about?

Where does Ewan MacColl and his biography come in?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Feb 18 - 05:00 PM

well i have tried in recent threads to divert the discussion back on topic asking jims opinion of the two biographies but to no avail


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Feb 18 - 06:12 PM

There's a lot of good and interesting information in this thread. Let's keep it that way. Personal invective is of little interest to anyone other than yourself. I don't care if you're trying to preserve your honor or whatever, it isn't of interest to the rest of us. We don't want to hear it. And from this point on, I'm going to delete anything that has animosity or squabbling in it.

It's.just.so.fucking.boring.....

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: 2007 Ewan MacColl Bio - Class Act
From: keberoxu
Date: 17 Feb 18 - 06:36 PM

Joe, You RULE.


    Thanks, but please don't respond to my message in the thread. It's better just to get back to the subject of the discussion. If you wish to discuss what I said, please contact me by personal message. Thanks.
    -Joe-


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Subject: RE: 2007 Ewan MacColl Bio - Class Act
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Feb 18 - 04:29 AM

"well i have tried in recent threads to divert the discussion back on topic asking jims opinion of the two biographies but to no avail"
Did you miss this Dick?
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 04:01 AM
I went to great length to not only give my opinion on the books but to point out there are no comparisons between the two - different talented people from different backgrounds
It really doesn't help the atmosphere here by repeating such requests when you have been given a response

"Where does Ewan MacColl and his biography come in?"
Some of the subjets touched on by Harker's book have been dealt with in depth Al - far too few in my mind, but discussing MacColl rationally is as discussing "what is folksong" - it has become virtually impossible to get beyond name changes and war records - if you don't believe me, go some of the "related threads" listed at the top of this one.
Pat and I gave interviews to Ben Harker willingly and looked forward to its publication with anticipation - it fell far short of our expectations, mainly due to the conclusions he reached
I don't think I'm speaking out of turn when I say Peggy felt the same.
I experienced working with MacColl - a life-changing experience, and Pat and I interviewed him at length - 20 tapes worth over a long period
Our object was not to get a repeat of the already covered biographical details but to explore in detail his approach to his art
I also acquired all the recordings of the Critics Group meetings - masses and masses of detailed work on folk song by a bunch of talented and enthusiastic people who were generous with their time and their abilities and who knew what they were about and were prepared to put themselves out in order to try and improve their own and other's understanding of the Folk-song genre and related subjects
I have spent several years digitising, listing and annotating those meetings - originally I hoped to make them more widely available, but, like Walter's recordings, I have come to the sad conclusion that there is no home for them in Britain, so they will end up with the MacColl family and as part of our own personl collection, wherever it is housed, which is a crying shame.
One of the constant problems I have had in working on the Critics material has been that it is so absorbing and inspiring that the documentary process gets slowed down to a standstill by being forced to listen in detail - not always helpful when indexing
I react, sometimes badly, when I hear accusations of what I know (from personal experience) to be unfair and inaccurate, often unbelievably spiteful and personal statements about Ewan, Peggy and the work of the Critics.
As far as I can see, today's revival needs all the inspiration it can get if British folk song is to survive beyond this present, ageing generation.

I agree totally with Joe's response - if there is blame to be meted out it is to be accepted by all responsible
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: 2007 Ewan MacColl Bio - Class Act
From: Iains
Date: 18 Feb 18 - 04:38 AM

I have found the conversation about singing in different accents fascinating. Having spent most of my working life surrounded by many different nationalities, but mainly dominated by Americans for a considerable period, I have ended up with a polyglot type of accent that veers off subconsciously to mimic in part the person/s I am speaking too. My default accent is a kind of mid atlantic with a touch of Aussie. So does singing with a different accent a case of mimicry, affectation, or what? Some accents are extremely difficult to understand, the Geordie accent and some scottish accents in particular. At the end of the day does it really matter?
What is a person looking for from a folksong. Clarity of expression,
interpretation (whatever that may mean), delivery in the accent of the songs origin(if known) or what?
The over analysis of the who, what, why, when, where probably only applies to some, others just want to listen to the songs and music.
All types comprise the audience. I think sometimes this is forgotten.
Does an enthusiastic audience who happen to be drinking in a pub during a mixed session rank as second class folkies because they do not go to folk clubs. Do you even need to go to a folk club to appreciate folk? You tube offers a very comfortable alternative.


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Subject: RE: 2007 Ewan MacColl Bio - Class Act
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Feb 18 - 05:18 AM

....'What is a person looking for from a folksong. Clarity of expression,
interpretation (whatever that may mean), delivery in the accent of the songs origin(if known) or what" absoluteley correct, when i play folk music in pubs no one gives a flying fart if i sing irish songs in my accent american songs in an american or english accent.
"As far as I can see, today's revival needs all the inspiration it can get if British folk song is to survive beyond this present, ageing generation."
fair cmment, but it will survive, there are many young singers and instrumentalists in the uk and in ireland, the uk scene will probably change, the venues will probably change it may be that the songs get given a different treatment, i do not see much wrong with thin liziie treatment of whiskey in the jar. neither do ihear much wrong with MacColls version of dirty old town or joseph taylors version of brigg fair they are imo all valid


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Subject: RE: 2007 Ewan MacColl Bio - Class Act
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Feb 18 - 05:31 AM

"Does an enthusiastic audience who happen to be drinking in a pub "
You are right of course Iains, but as with any art form, it is not just the audience or even the performer who has the say on what is important and what is not.
Some (most) of us came and still come from both sides - performer/listener and researcher
Your argument, if taken to its logical conclusion, would exclude ann researchers and documentors
Forums like this need to cater for both
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: 2007 Ewan MacColl Bio - Class Act
From: Iains
Date: 18 Feb 18 - 06:52 AM

Jim I have no argument that those that collect, analyse, interview, dissect etc etc.have a valid place. They all make a contribution for archiving material among a myriad of other functions.
However for folk to survive it is the audience that is crucial. Their level on interest in the medium will cover all levels from intricate dissection to just enjoying the song/music and ambience generated.
Certainly some include the multiple role of performer/listener/researcher/etc. but I think many more wander along for purely for the entertainment. Surely a broad church needs to be encouraged although obviously some venues will have a more focused/specialised approach (As is their perfect right) After all we still tolerate Morris Dancers!


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Subject: RE: 2007 Ewan MacColl Bio - Class Act
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Feb 18 - 07:33 AM

"However for folk to survive it is the audience that is crucial."
Of course it has, but to put one above the other just doesn't work, especially when you are talking about the survival of a genre that is rapidly disappearing from the public memory.
I doubt if anybody ever did just "wander in" to the music - song as apparently alien as for song needs to be promoted
The interest of our generation came mainly through a process - a rejection of what the machine had to offer, Jazz, Blues, Country and Western, American folk then finally tour home grown product - each shift was a conscious one
That just doesn't happen now, an extremely aggressive and all-pervading music industry gets to decide what is readily available - anything has either to be sought for or stumbled across
When our County Library put our Clare Collection on line it was a lifelong ambition realised, but the most important outcome was when the Council appointed two singers in residence to take the songs around local schools - last year the kids produced a CD of their singing.
All this took research and hard work - from the collecting, indexing, assembling and finally annotating the material.
I must have have given talks to around a dozen schools - it was common in London to here Joe Heaney's and Ewan's singing being described as sounding like 'Paki music"
It has to be far more abut winning hearts and minds than about just bunging it up for passers by to find.
Then there are the further implications, social national and historical aspects of the songs being made and passed on in the first place - all in need of reasearch
One of the hardest jobs in promoting our music lies in raising funds in order to do so - a group of us from different sections of the arts fought for years to try and get funding - it ended in dismal failure because neither the authorities not the established arts were interested - most were actively hostile to folk music.
When we moved to Ireland (in the middle of the 'Celtic Tiger' period, asking for funding was pushing on an open door, but even then you had to prove your interest went beyond having a good night out - you had to show you knew what you are talking about
You'll never get that in a thousand years if you can't even agree on what you mean about "folk"
Jim Carroll
Incidentally - U-tube audiences fill me with horror
Folk music and song is a manifestation of social interaction and the clubs were a suitable compromise on that
Once you remove that social aspect, you drain it of its life-blood


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Subject: RE: 2007 Ewan MacColl Bio - Class Act
From: Vic Smith
Date: 18 Feb 18 - 07:49 AM

One of the hardest jobs in promoting our music lies in raising funds in order to do so - a group of us from different sections of the arts fought for years to try and get funding - it ended in dismal failure because neither the authorities not the established arts were interested - most were actively hostile to folk music.

I will be able to react more fully when I hear the results of the current application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a 6 figure funding of what we see as the vital work that Sussex Traditions are planning over the next three years. The application is very thorough and ambitious but there are very hopeful signs. More news as it emerges....


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Subject: RE: 2007 Ewan MacColl Bio - Class Act
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Feb 18 - 08:09 AM

Good luck with that Vic; It's sorely needed
I am reminded of the closure of the Leeds University Folklore Department when the head of department described the participants (Tony Green et al) as "tree-huggers"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: 2007 Ewan MacColl Bio - Class Act
From: Iains
Date: 18 Feb 18 - 10:27 AM

Strange that The British Council encourages UK music of all genres overseas while the indigenous vine withers. Totally irrational, but that is government I suppose.


http://music.britishcouncil.org/resources/uk-music-funding-and-support

A close relative of mine toddled around the Middle East and S. America for several years on paid musical "jolly" excursions.


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