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Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?

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Jim Carroll 06 Oct 19 - 12:21 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 06 Oct 19 - 12:08 PM
Jim Carroll 06 Oct 19 - 11:56 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 06 Oct 19 - 11:54 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 06 Oct 19 - 11:48 AM
Dave the Gnome 06 Oct 19 - 11:37 AM
Dave the Gnome 06 Oct 19 - 11:35 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Oct 19 - 11:30 AM
GUEST 06 Oct 19 - 11:13 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Oct 19 - 11:02 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 06 Oct 19 - 09:47 AM
GUEST 06 Oct 19 - 06:56 AM
Jim Carroll 06 Oct 19 - 06:22 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 06 Oct 19 - 06:05 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Oct 19 - 09:44 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 05 Oct 19 - 08:58 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Oct 19 - 08:45 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Oct 19 - 08:36 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 05 Oct 19 - 08:34 AM
GUEST,ji bainbridge 05 Oct 19 - 08:19 AM
GUEST 05 Oct 19 - 06:29 AM
Jim Carroll 05 Oct 19 - 03:36 AM
GUEST,Malcolm Storey 04 Oct 19 - 09:35 PM
Jim Carroll 04 Oct 19 - 01:00 PM
Brian Peters 04 Oct 19 - 11:49 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Oct 19 - 11:36 AM
GUEST,Jack Warshaw 04 Oct 19 - 10:11 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Oct 19 - 09:44 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Oct 19 - 09:31 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 04 Oct 19 - 07:02 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Oct 19 - 04:59 AM
GUEST,Ray 04 Oct 19 - 04:19 AM
GUEST,Malcolm Storey 03 Oct 19 - 08:41 PM
Jim Carroll 03 Oct 19 - 03:49 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Oct 19 - 07:45 PM
Big Al Whittle 01 Oct 19 - 03:05 PM
Jim Carroll 01 Oct 19 - 03:02 PM
Stringsinger 01 Oct 19 - 02:18 PM
GUEST,Cj 01 Oct 19 - 02:11 PM
GUEST,Ray 01 Oct 19 - 02:07 PM
GUEST,CJ 01 Oct 19 - 02:04 PM
Jim Carroll 01 Oct 19 - 01:51 PM
GUEST,Ray 01 Oct 19 - 01:27 PM
Jim Carroll 01 Oct 19 - 12:44 PM
Jim McLean 01 Oct 19 - 12:14 PM
Jim Carroll 01 Oct 19 - 11:07 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Oct 19 - 11:05 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 01 Oct 19 - 10:53 AM
Jim Carroll 01 Oct 19 - 10:33 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 01 Oct 19 - 10:27 AM
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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Oct 19 - 12:21 PM

"Freddie Star are Ewan MacColl's hamster"
That's terrible Grammar Dave
Surely that should be "Freddie Starr IS Ewan MacColl's Hamster ?"
Jim


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 06 Oct 19 - 12:08 PM

Gandhi encouraged locals to weave their own cloth (and carried a spinning wheel around with him, apparently), and MacColl encouraged folks to sing their own songs.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Oct 19 - 11:56 AM

Not much of a nationalist, but a socialist and a humanist - people like me believe they go together 'like a horse and carriage'
Jim


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 06 Oct 19 - 11:54 AM

...and he certainly had a great folk voice.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 06 Oct 19 - 11:48 AM

Some people here clearly know him better than me but I gather that, like Gandhi, Ewan was a socialist and a nationalist, which I like.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 06 Oct 19 - 11:37 AM

Ate of course...


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 06 Oct 19 - 11:35 AM

Freddie Star are Ewan MacColl's hamster. Or was it the other way round?


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Oct 19 - 11:30 AM

Don't understand a word of that - I said what she apologised for- for laughing at a young singer
I think we're finished here - don't you?
Jim


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Oct 19 - 11:13 AM

Jim

From your post above quoting Peggy:

"She apolgised for having done so, but she pointed out that the policy was for The Singers Club residents"

I accept that "Sixteen Tons" was probably the title I had in mind.
I won't ask which accent he used.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Oct 19 - 11:02 AM

I don't know if my last post was removed or if it was, why
I will repeat what I believe to be the essential bit of it
I am here to discuss MacColl's work based on the time I spent working with him
If you are not interested in doing so. please allow me to unhindered
Jim


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 06 Oct 19 - 09:47 AM

Yes Jim- I did revive this thread & explained at the time and I did so because I needed to apologise to Vic Smith for an error I made about the origin of THIS current thread & the former had been closed by the management.

I also said I hoped the same didn't happen on this one. If it does, it won't be my fault. I have said many times that I respect the work EM did but won't be repeating my own reservations here- I could reiterate my own views on the tradition but I have no wish for an argument & you seem to thrive on it & it would degenerate from there.

The thread is NOT anti- EM, but a revealing thread otherwise, so hope we can leave it at that


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Oct 19 - 06:56 AM

Fell in love with his singing as a child and as well as A.L. "Bert" LLoyd. Dick Gaughan's tribute to Ewan sums it up for me, on his old website, now gone,If I can find it, I will post, I can't say it any better than Mr.Gaughan!


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Oct 19 - 06:22 AM

"I believe that MacColl once recorded John Henry."
Never heard that
He did record 'Sixteen Tons' for a film made by The National Coal Board

I didn't say Peggy said she was responsible - I said she laughted at a young feller who trid to sould like the member of a Chain Gang - nnd apologised for having done so
The decision was a Singer's Club Audience Committee one made after E and P left the B and Blues
I have no idea what the BandB policy was but I know Ewan supported the idea of singing in the accent you were familiar with, which he was introduced to By Alan Lomax
That's always made sense to me too - I can't think of anything more off-putting than folk songs sung in Mid-Atlantic accents
Ewan wrote an article entitled, 'Why I am Opening a New Folk Club' explaining that it was because he wished to move to a situation where such sensible policies were supported
He wished to develop support for indigeanous music (wherever it came from) performed by the people whose heritage it represented
I really have never understood why that has been such a big issue - wanna copy of the BBC Recording Project to see what I mean ?
Yours for the asking - anybody
Jim


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 06 Oct 19 - 06:05 AM

I spent an enjoyable evening once in the company of Bob Copper at his social club where we talked about various music that we enjoyed. From this it was obvious that Bob had a liking for jazz and blues and probably an even wider range. He obviously enjoyed singing blues and I recall hearing a recording of him singing and accompanying himself on a Sleepy John Estes number. I can't say that it was a great listening experience.

If my memory isn't playing tricks I believe that MacColl once recorded John Henry.

You quote Peggy above pointing out that she was responsible for the policy for The Singers Club, However it was at The Ballads & Blues Club before the existence of The Singers Club that MacColl introduced it.
As I have mentioned before, I was there.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Oct 19 - 09:44 AM

Peggy wrote a brilliant letter to The Living Tradition (entitled "I confess, It was Me" if I remember) explaining the whole thing about 'singing local songs'
She explained how she had instinctively bust out laughing after a young Walthamstowe lad had attempted to sound like a black Texas chain-gang convict
She apolgised for having done so, but she pointed out that the policy was for The Singers Club residents - an audience committee decision
Nobody has a right to dictate what should happen at other clubs but everybody should have a right to express an opinion
Must confess, the idea of Bob Copper singing 'Take this Hammer, Give it to the Cap'n' raises a grin
Jim


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 05 Oct 19 - 08:58 AM

...I recall a BBC documentary on Bob Copper (and that's another problem here as such programmes are now as scarce as hen's teeth) where he admitted being taken hook, line and sinker by American music before seeing the light and doing so much good work at his own good culture.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Oct 19 - 08:45 AM

Just read your, as ever, interesting posting W.B.
I agree entirely with your take on local songs but to be fair, the impetus for this came from Alan Lomax who came to Britain in the fifties and found English singers trying to sound like Dust Bowl Dwellers and Prairie cattle perders and Kentucky coal diggers, including Ewan and Bert
He kicked them up their collective butts and all of a sudden everybody was singing Harry Cox and Sam Larner and Cecilia Costello songs
I find myself eternally grateful to all of them for that
Jim


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Oct 19 - 08:36 AM

"and would hope that you can acknowledge those differing views are also valid?"
Sharing views are dependent on fully understanding what they are and being able to discuss them and compare them with your own
This thread began 12 years ago and this and other threads have shown since that not only do not many people understand MacColl or his work but basically, they are not interested in doing so - the level that many discussions have sunk to indicate that some people are hell-bent on making sure nobody ever will
If you revived this thread you are Jim Bainbridge - your own postings have shown an open hostility towards MacColl and his work
I believe that that work was an important contribution to the understanding of folk song and its performance and needs to be discussed rationally - and laid to rest, if necessary

I have busted a gut trying to get this work discussed - each time, it has become bogged down in irrelevancies and personal antipathy that verges on necrophobia
I'm don't care whether people liked Ewan or his singing - my memories are my own
I do care that there is a mass of work which might or might not improve the fortunes of a very sick revival, lying untouched and unexamined because a few world rather discuss name changes and war records.
The music I've spent so long listening to, performing and researching is far too important to allow pettiness, old jealousies and back-biting to stop serious discussion of half a lifetimes dedicated work by one of Britain's leading exponents of folk song
If someone wants to discuss MacColl, this is what they are going to get from me

I'm not posting off-topic here - my arguments are based on 20 years worth of personal experience of knowing and working with Ewan and Peg
So far I am about half way through my intended description of what we did in The Critics Group - at least two more episodes to come
If you're not interested in reading them - feel feel not to - I live in hope that somebody is and I keep getting messages confirming that 'there is sentient life out there'
Sorry - 'bout that
Jim


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 05 Oct 19 - 08:34 AM

"Pity interest in real folksongs has waned to the level it has in the UK" (JC)/England (me)...that is largely due to the relentless promotion of internal ethnic diversity here - it is our world/our United Nations that should be multicultural NOT each nation NOT England, and Ewan's encouragement/insistence on folks performing songs local to them WAS a good thing. More here.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST,ji bainbridge
Date: 05 Oct 19 - 08:19 AM

sorry that was me although you may have guessed


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Oct 19 - 06:29 AM

Jim C-
I didn't revive this thread to rekindle any flames surrounding the memory of MacColl. He obviously was an important figure, and we're all grateful for what he did.
Jim C- your musical life has obviously been seriously influenced by your time with him & his disciples. No problem with that, but some of us have different inspirations, and would hope that you can acknowledge those differing views are also valid?

I'm totally with you about checkpoints & insane politicians, having spent a year living in the North two miles from the border.

Mind you, Britain and Ulster have no monopoly on loony politicians- their ignorance is staggering- my nearly 20 years in the South taught me that in the south, arrogance,corruption & incompetence is pretty high on the Richter scale. (Larry Goodman, cervical smears, Garda cover-ups not to mention the bankers)- I mention these for those who see the Republic through rose-coloured glasses!

So much so, that now living north of the Scottish border, and having joined the SNP in despair at the Scottish Labour party, I applaud the ambition of the SNP but based on my Irish experience, advise many can only warn enthusiastic SNP members to be careful what they wish for...


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Oct 19 - 03:36 AM

I'm not interested in stories about MacColl Malcolm - they have been used far to long to avoid discussing the essence of the man and his work, as has been shown here, where people would bust a gut discussing why he changed his name nd ignor the fact the the work done by him, Peggy and The Group represents the most extensive attempts to understand and develop the singing of folk songs that ever took place in the Revival
The Critics Group tapes - several hundred of them - are digitised and fully listed and have been for several years now, since which I have been trying to draw attention to them and get them discussed and used
The way things are heading, they will be bequeathed to Limerick University, along with our library and personal collection
There no longer seems to be the interest and energy in the UK to continue to try to get a copy of it housed there too

It's always been my intention to assemble a singers 'User Pack' of the voice and relaxation exercises and the experimentation work on analysing the songs and relating to them as singers, but things tend to get in the way (like stupid squabbles about name-changes and war records)
I've recently discussed the MacColl recordings (which now amounts to a sizeable archive) with his family, so whatever happens, they will have a full set sooner or later
In the meantime, I've always been happy to pass on some of what we have to those who I believe will use them responsibly
Pity interest in real folksongs has waned to the level it has in the UK
Ewan once said that would only happen if they fell into the hands of people who didn't understand or like them
We live in Clare - The Wild West (The widely recognised home of Irish Traditional Music nowadays)
I tend only to visit the UK nowadays for funerals and what's happening to it at present makes even that unlikely - I detest checkpoints and insane politicians !
Happy to meet with you anytime; I don't think we've met, but I've certainly heard you speak when I spent time working with the EFDSS and the Library - good days, good experiences
Jim


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST,Malcolm Storey
Date: 04 Oct 19 - 09:35 PM

Not picking a fight Jim.
Perhaps my dealings with Ewan were not as good as they might have been.
I would rather not dwell on that but am still interested in dates and whether the tapes are still around and playable.
Perhaps I might get over to the emerald isle next year (god willing) and we could meet up for a week or three!


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Oct 19 - 01:00 PM

"I'm interested, Jim, to hear that Harry Boardman was involved in some kind of 'singing classes' with Ewan and Peggy"
Harry was one who went to the initial meetings but decided he couldn't make the move to London
Terry Whelan fas forced into the same conclusion
As far as I know, Harry never followed through with the idea - my mate, Barry Taylor and I residented in a couple of his Manchester Clubs and the subject never came up
I set up the group in Manchester, largely because Terry Whelen, who expressed an interest in doing so never got around to it
I invited a number o the singers on the scene to turn up regularly in my flat (which I'd taken over from Mike Yates) we met twice a month I think
They included Mary Humphries and her partner Ned, Geoff Lowe from Wigan (who was a Harry Cox nut and had his songs off superbly), Bryn Pugh, Roger Woodcock and a couple of others - all were better and more confident singers than me, but things worked out pretty well - neither my workshop, not The Critics Group were really intended to be classes, though some people referred to them as such
Ewan and Peg invited me to stay with them and take recordings of the Critics Meetings, which I copied and passed around   
The Group lasted till I moved down to London - I still talk to Mary and occasionally Bryn on line and Roger moved to London and became part of The London Singers Workshop good days - good memories
Jim


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 04 Oct 19 - 11:49 AM

I'm interested, Jim, to hear that Harry Boardman was involved in some kind of 'singing classes' with Ewan and Peggy. Was this the same group you mention having been involved with in Manchester? I knew Harry was influenced in his early days by MacColl, but was never sure exactly how this came about.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Oct 19 - 11:36 AM

Thanks for that Jack
Hi from both of us
Jim


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST,Jack Warshaw
Date: 04 Oct 19 - 10:11 AM

For all his faults and sometimes autocratic behavior he was Britain's greatest modern songwriter in the folk idiom, and one of the greatest interpreters of traditional song. What I learned from him in my 20s I've held onto for 5 decades, so far.

There can be no better source of "anecdotes" about him than Peggy Seegers book "First Time Ever." I promise.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Oct 19 - 09:44 AM

Sorry - should readf
"Comes nowhere near that the MacColl I knew"
Slip in editing
Jim


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Oct 19 - 09:31 AM

Why is that "a confession" Hoot
I knew Ewan well enough to know damn well that the description of him given by his knockers comes nowhere near that of his knockers
That's not the MacColl I knew and it's not the MacColl that come over at present from the hundreds of recordings of workshops I'm indexing
Ewan and Peg weer the ones who fed me and turned out their youngest son from his bed to accommodate me when I needed it
They opened thour home library and arcive of recordings to singers looking for new songs and information once a week for nearly ten years and they didn't return the spite that poured in (and is still circulating) when those who were doing far less (mainly nothing) to help less experienced singers
I don't know another couple who researced as much as they did and shared it with others as much as they did
I think I've asked you before but here goes again - do you ?
What's with you people !!
My attitude to what I accumulated and learned from the time I spent woring in folk song was "It's not ours, there to be passed on"
Ewan and Peg were the ones I first heard advocate that and Walter Pardon was the last
Coincidence or what !!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 04 Oct 19 - 07:02 AM

Jim Carroll confesses:

   "My problem was that I knew Ewan for as long as I dis"(d)


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Oct 19 - 04:59 AM

"They obviously involved a very small (relatively) number of people and took place in London (the centa of everything!?)."
Groups using the ideas adopted by the Critics appeared all over Britain Malcolm - from Scotland down
With the assistance and encouragement of Ewan and Peg, I ran one in Manchester - the Birmingham group still exists as 'Banner Theatre' - I have a list of them somewhere and I still have the recordings of some I was involved in other that The Critics

Can't see for the life of me why anyone should refuse to forgive the failts of somebody who has been dead for three decades unless they were incredibly horrendous
My problem was that I knew Ewan for as long as I dis - I knew many of his faults from personal experience and they seldom coincide with the "stories" that have become a public blood-sport
Whatever his faults, his knowledge of folk song, his dedication and his generosty and willingness to share and his legacy makes them pale into insignificance - for me at least
I would no more reject Ewan's contribution than I would reject The Theory of Relativity if I found out Einstein picked his nose and ate it
Sorry
Jim


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 04 Oct 19 - 04:19 AM

...... but they’re not just “unique” they’re “totally unique”. I however agree with you that London is the centre of everything!


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST,Malcolm Storey
Date: 03 Oct 19 - 08:41 PM

Hi Jim
As usual I agree with most of what you say (I exclude excusing Ewan his faults) but must take issue with you over your last point about the sessions you recorded and their part in the folk song revival.
They obviously involved a very small (relatively) number of people and took place in London (the centre of everything!?).
Some dates would be useful to help determine whether your view is viable.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Oct 19 - 03:49 AM

I've started, so I'll try to finish
In the early sixties Ewan was approached by a number of singers on the scene, Bob Davenport and Gordon McCullough among them, who were not happy with what was happening in the clubs - they asked him to 'take classes' in singing
Others involved were Terry Whelan (a friend of ours who we interviewed about this period) and Harry Boardman
A group of the malcontents met at Ewan and Peggy's home and Ewan said he didn't want to teach, but would help set up a mutual self-help group to work on each other;s singing (based loosely on some of the work that had taken place in Theatre Workshop
This became (stupidly named IMO) The Critics Group which met weekly (and sometimes more regularly) in Beckenham
The earliest member included Charles Parker, Alastair Clayre, Luke Kelly, John Faulkner, Sandra Kerr, Peggy Seeger and Frankie Armstrong.
Ewan chaired the sessions and devised exercises for relaxation and voice development which also came from T.W.
He took Laben's theory on movement which his wife, Jean Menlove had adapted for S.W. and further adapted it for exploring the voice
Part of song analysis used Stanislavski's 'Method' for assisting singers to relate to their songs
Sounds comlicated, but in fact it was brilliantly easy and efefctive - been there, done that and am still using it

The Group covered many aspects of traditional singing from technique to analaysis
The main wok was based on a singer being asked to prepare a short programme of songs - 3 to six usually, sing them to the group who would discuss them, point out where they thought they worked and suggested where they could be strengthened - no rules, no commitment to taking up what was suggested, just friendly advice
The singer would usually be asked to bring their results back at a later date
Ewan acted as chairman so a mutually agreed line of work could be arrived at and embarked on
Following the 'criticism' a workable aspect of the discussion was selected and experimented with

Singing for criticism for the first time was the hardest thing have ever done, but after the first time it became easy and since those sessions I have never been nervous in front of an audience since
It worked brilliantly if you were prepared to put in the work and it could be adapted to be used by as little as four people (or less) and as many as a dozen (beyond that, it gets difficult)

The friendly intelligent approach of the singers involved never ceased to move me - shortly after I moved to London to join the group a knock came at the door of my bed-sit - it was Dick Snell, who 'happened to be passing and wondered if there was anything he could do to help me understand the Group work - and maybe go over to The Edinburgh Castle for a pint later?
It was the friendly, laid back generosity of the Group that makes the chosen title for the radio programme "How Folk Songs Should Be Sung" the misleading nonsense that it was
Many of these sessions were recorded and will, hopefully be fully archived and made accessible when I've sorted them out
They are totally unique and, in my opinion, an invaluable part of the Folk Song revival

I'll leave it there and continue later, if I am allowed
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Oct 19 - 07:45 PM

"is this the ten minute argument?"
Worthwhile things come in bigger bundles than that Al unless you apply the BBC's 3 minute rule
Jim


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Oct 19 - 03:05 PM

is this the ten minute argument?


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Oct 19 - 03:02 PM

"1949 was only 70 years ago) your spelling leaves much to be desired"
Game set and match if we're down to my poor maths and typos I think
Let's move on
Of course Ewan was flawed - people who aren't are spooky
This of us who knew him decided that his strengths were fast stronger than his weaknesses so we worked around them - and we were repaid in spades
Ewan came from a poor background in teh Depression in a Town Engels used to describe the poor conditions of England's working people
He educated himself while he was unemployed after being discovered busking outside a Manchester Cinema, became a leading light in English contemporary theatre; Shaw described him "Apart from myself this young man is the most exciting figure in today's theatre"
He rose to the top in experimental theatre and helped for Theatre Workshop with Joan Littlewood
When they moved to London he decided that wasn't for him - instead of going for fame, he devoted the rest of his life to popularising what he believed to be 'The Workers Voice'
Anybody who makes that sort of contribution would have to eat babies for breakfast before I rejected their contribution to my life and knowledge

Lot more to say about this
More tomorrow, as my mam used to say
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 01 Oct 19 - 02:18 PM

Ewan had great regard for the traditional unaccompanied ballad which was being
musically butchered by well-meaning uninformed folkies and that could have contributed to what some might say his arrogance. He and Alan Lomax hated the commercialization of folk music and often reacted negatively when they disapproved of the way it was being mishandled. See Mighty Wind for details. Peggy grew up with hearing the traditional ballads and may have transcribed some for her parents.

The "Great Folk Scare" as Van Ronk called it had both good and bad sides. Some of the revival folkies were good songwriters and musicians and influenced musical tastes in
the pop culture. Interest in Bluegrass, Old Time and Blues came out of this. The bad side is what Ewan and Peggy wanted to counteract.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST,Cj
Date: 01 Oct 19 - 02:11 PM

Give over, Ray.

Jim may he prickly, but he has good reason - anytime his buddy is bought up it reverts to a slagging match. I find EM interesting yet flawed, flawed like the rest of us. I enjoy Jim's insight and wish we could read more of it without this tiresome nit-picking.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 01 Oct 19 - 02:07 PM

Not only are you lacking in the maths department (1949 was only 70 years ago) your spelling leaves much to be desired. You will also find the word “gobshite” in any good dictionary and, I believe, that it’s also an OK word to use on the BBC.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST,CJ
Date: 01 Oct 19 - 02:04 PM

Jim, I find your story about EM "correcting" your lisp rather disturbing. It makes it sounds as though he was smoothing off your rough edges - is that a fair assumption? Did the CG do this with all vocalists? I like rough edges on vocals - I'll take Jimmy Macbeath over Val Doonican - and surely, if anywhere, the "folk" world is where to celebrate those rough edges?
Or, perhaps it was more the case you were nervous and the CG was helping you beyond nervous tics?


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Oct 19 - 01:51 PM

" think the abuse is actually coming from you Jim"
Then please point out where instead of alluding to it bty saying "you think" it does
YOu slag him off by making an issue of a name change that took place well over a century ago
Would you make an issue of others who have done the same, Dylan, Johnny Handle - ?
I've never known any others doing so
Most people of my gneration know he changed his name and have accepted it fully - some use it to avoid discussing MacColl's work and ideas - as is happening now - this is all that concerns me
It's about as important about colour of hair, or height or whatever
What does it matter that he chamnge his name - why should he have "seen fit to" - do you disapporve of him doing so - why is it an issue with you when most people either don't give a toss or don't know   
I know exactly who has insulted whom here - the one who uses terms like "gobshite" has
I have no idea who you are o what you have done - you have my name and you can check my work on line
Please leave your abusive behaviour outside the door when you vist this site - it's not a polite way for a guest to behave
Finished you you until you learn some selsf-assestment and manners, I'm afraid
Jim carroll


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 01 Oct 19 - 01:27 PM

I think the abuse is actually coming from you Jim. Exactly where/how have I “slagged him off”? I know he changed his name, you know he changed his name, most people know he changed his name. It might be of interest to people to know when he saw fit to do this and nothing I’ve said can’t be worked out from the public record.

If you take exception to this, you clearly have a problem. On the occasion I met him and Peggy, I found them pleasant and approachable even though it was clear that he was not a well man. Consequently, I don’t believe that he needs a gobshite to defend him.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Oct 19 - 12:44 PM

I've just been listening to recording of The first time I sang at the Critics group in 1969
After saying all sorts of encouraging things about my singing, he pointed out the habit I then had of singing my s's slightly lispy - he said I sounded gay (not in those words in those less enlightened days)
He ws right - (I had the sometimes Liverpool habit of singing with my tongue against my front teeth
The Group worked with me at it and by the end of the evening I had it licked (pun)
I'm happy to say that, after that I managed to lose the habit
It's that sort of work I vauled most in The Critics Group
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 01 Oct 19 - 12:14 PM

He once berated me for wearing a tartan tie, he was in his British working man mode. "My name IS McLean, Mr Millar, I replied ... he nearly burst blood vessel.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Oct 19 - 11:07 AM

By the way, the abuse that got the last one closed is still accessible if anybody cares to open up the closed thread so as to check what to avoid
Jim


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Oct 19 - 11:05 AM

Amen to that Jim
That's why I'm trying to stick to the topic rather that the personalities
Jim


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 01 Oct 19 - 10:53 AM

My post of yesterday was purely to correct an error I was unable to correct on the CLOSED thread I mentioned there.
It was not to encourage the kind of abuse which got the other one closed down.
I think the topic of this one is interesting so don't repeat the closure here.......


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 01 Oct 19 - 10:33 AM

"the official records show that he was using the name at least until 1949."
That's what I said - it was changed then
"I have no idea who you are Jim,"
I was a friend of Ewans for twenty years - when you slag him off u are slagging off a fear friend
He and Peggy kindly gave me a bed when I moved to London, I was in the Critics Group until it broke up and continued to work with them when it broke up
Pat and I still see Peggy, I went to Oxfortd for three days for a 2 part radio programme we did on Ewan to mark his 100th anniversary
Some time before he dies, Pat and I interviewed him in datail over 6 monthsd - on his work and ideas rather than his life, which has ben cob=vered ad nauseum and to fasmily friends who grew up with him
I spent hours talking to his mother Betsy
With the co-operation of the family, I am now putting together many hours worth of recordings of classes and seminars Ewan and Peggy did and the few things he wrote so thtat, even if you people aren't interested the most important body of work ever done on singing folk songs, over thirty years worth, will not be lost
Waddya wanna know !!!
If you continue to behave and contemptuously and as arrogantly as you are at present, nobody who matters is going to tell you anything
What are you people afraid of - he's not gonna come back from the dead ad bite your arses
He was a nice guy and he and Peggy were the only people I knew in the revival who were prepared to give large lumps of their time energy and experience to help other, less experienced singers like me
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 01 Oct 19 - 10:27 AM

Well,

it didn't take long. I believe it was an American ball player "Yogi"

Berra who uttered the phrase "It's like Deja Vu all over again"


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