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Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???

DigiTrad:
DIRTY OLD TOWN


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In Mudcat MIDIs:
Dirty Old Town


GUEST,Shimrod 18 Jan 07 - 09:20 AM
Barry Finn 18 Jan 07 - 10:26 AM
JeremyC 18 Jan 07 - 10:40 AM
Big Al Whittle 18 Jan 07 - 12:01 PM
JeremyC 18 Jan 07 - 01:12 PM
GUEST 18 Jan 07 - 01:39 PM
Big Al Whittle 18 Jan 07 - 02:32 PM
GUEST 18 Jan 07 - 02:47 PM
JeremyC 18 Jan 07 - 03:52 PM
GUEST 19 Jan 07 - 04:07 AM
IanC 19 Jan 07 - 04:50 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 19 Jan 07 - 09:41 AM
JeremyC 19 Jan 07 - 10:13 AM
GUEST 19 Jan 07 - 10:50 AM
Big Al Whittle 19 Jan 07 - 11:24 AM
The Sandman 19 Jan 07 - 12:32 PM
The Sandman 19 Jan 07 - 02:03 PM
Alec 19 Jan 07 - 02:33 PM
Effsee 19 Jan 07 - 02:55 PM
GUEST,roomzero 20 Jan 07 - 09:56 PM
Roughyed 21 Jan 07 - 02:11 PM
Bernard 21 Jan 07 - 03:16 PM
Scrump 22 Jan 07 - 09:49 AM
Ruth Archer 22 Jan 07 - 09:52 AM
Alec 22 Jan 07 - 09:56 AM
Scrump 22 Jan 07 - 11:47 AM
GUEST 23 Jan 07 - 07:19 AM
Scrump 23 Jan 07 - 07:38 AM
Charley Noble 23 Jan 07 - 09:19 PM
GUEST,United Road 21 May 07 - 12:27 AM
Bernard 23 May 07 - 09:18 AM
Keith A of Hertford 23 May 07 - 09:53 AM
GUEST,wagga wagga 20 Sep 07 - 11:44 AM
GUEST,Noreen 20 Sep 07 - 01:31 PM
GUEST,Pauline mccance 08 Feb 08 - 08:29 AM
GUEST,PMB 08 Feb 08 - 12:26 PM
GUEST 13 Apr 08 - 03:22 PM
Tootler 13 Apr 08 - 05:44 PM
Snuffy 13 Apr 08 - 06:14 PM
GUEST 14 Apr 08 - 12:04 AM
Dave Hanson 14 Apr 08 - 03:32 AM
GUEST,mm 14 Apr 08 - 06:44 AM
GUEST,bill S from Perth 14 Apr 08 - 09:53 AM
McGrath of Harlow 14 Apr 08 - 12:22 PM
GUEST, Sminky 14 Apr 08 - 12:41 PM
Dave the Gnome 14 Apr 08 - 01:52 PM
Big Al Whittle 14 Apr 08 - 02:21 PM
Tattie Bogle 14 Apr 08 - 07:44 PM
Bert 14 Apr 08 - 09:22 PM
Dave the Gnome 15 Apr 08 - 03:11 AM
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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 18 Jan 07 - 09:20 AM

I know that I should really stop here - I really, really should! But while I was being blown down the road today, by a gale of 'Katrina-like' proportions, it occurred to me that it is rock fans who can be the real 'artistic fascists'. This is because they are so blinkered by, and saturated in, the all-pervasive stuff that they insist that all singers and musicians should sound like rock stars. Anyone who doesn't bellow into a microphone (whilst practically inhaling it), in a peculiar strangulated voice, or thrash wildly away at an electric guitar is 'beyond-the-pale' as far as they are concerned - particularly anyone who sings in their normal voice with minimal or no accompaniment (cue here for MacColl bashers to criticise his Scottish accent - roll up, roll up whose going to be first?).

If only Ewan had played an elecric guitar - he would be regarded as a hero today, rather than the Devil's First Disciple. Why even 'JeremyC' might be praising his version of 'Dirty Old Town'.


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Barry Finn
Date: 18 Jan 07 - 10:26 AM

Bringing born & raised in a nasty part of Boston (USA), I was always able to relate to "Dirty Old Town" & didn't need much of the song to be spelt out. Where I grew up in the Mission Hill projects it was pretty nasty but like any loved place that needs tearing down it was still home to many. It now doesn't resemble what it once was, for the better in this case. I remember the 'West End'including 'Scolly Square' in Boston. A vibrant community just on the west slope of Beacon Hill (note that the Beacon Hill communiy is still there) it was leveled so that a bunch of expensive high rises could go in then the rest of the area was redeveloped in concrete & cement. By now I don't believe there are any West Enders alive today as a group. It wasn't nearly as dirty as the North End was at the same time nor as filthy as East Boston either but the property was becoming very valuable being so close to the Downtown/Financial/Business/Medical Districts. Progress?

Barry


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: JeremyC
Date: 18 Jan 07 - 10:40 AM

Haha, 'shimrod' (I guess I'll take your "...if THAT'S what you want to call yourself" approach), if you hold the opinion that there's some sort of independent standard for taste that people can be judged by and held to, than you are indeed an artistic fascist.

I also submit that you can't be bothered to read the posts of people you disagree with, since you're explicitly saying that I, as someone who enjoys rock music "insist that all singers and musicians should sound like rock stars," when this actually couldn't be further from the case. Oh--unless, to you, Bert Jansch, Pete Seeger, and the many other non-rock musicians I enjoy (since, as a genre, I like folk far better than I like rock) sound like "rock stars." I challenge you to point out where I insisted that Ewan MacColl should "sound like [a] rock star." Since, as a matter of fact, I listed Anne Briggs and Martin Carthy, both of whom frequently sing unaccompanied in "their natural voice" as performers I enjoy (and I also believe that A.L. Lloyd's unaccompanied performances are superior to MacColl's, based on the selections I've heard of both men's recordings), I'm wondering whether you read any further once I said I liked rock music.

All I said is that I have yet to hear a performance by Ewan MacColl that wasn't either 1) heavily americanized to an inappropriate degree (e.g., sounds like american pop) or 2) in a ridiculously thick-to-the-point-of-minstrelsy-accent*. I've been pointed to some other performances of his, and since, unlike you, I am open-minded, I am hoping I can revise my opinion of his performances.


* Regarding MacColl's accent: I know he's of Scots origin and raised in England, but I have no idea what spoken accent he had, as I've never heard a recording of him speaking. What I'm referring to is his delivery of certain traditional songs in such a thick and exaggerated archaic Scots that it is comparable to what you might have heard done in a "stereotypical" Negro accent during the days when blackface minstrels were popular. Neither is authentic, and both distract from the song. His use of Scots, in the small selection of songs I've heard him sing in this manner, is comparable to a white man saying "dem," "dese," "massah," and other such mutilated words.

Also, since you've elevated this discussion so much, I'm going to make one final assertion: Woody Guthrie kicks Ewan MacColl's ass all over the place. Better performer, better songwriter, and an all around awesome dude. Plus, considering he's the reason Lonnie Donegan got popular, I'm gonna say Guthrie is more influential on both continents than Ewan MacColl.


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Jan 07 - 12:01 PM

girls, girls, girls......! Now put those handbags down.

Lonnie and Ewan probably got their check shirts from the same store.

Both of them were very nice guys. You do them no honour by this hysterical nonsense and name calling.


Ewan spoke with an educated scots accent as I remember. very pleasant. His c background was the theatre and his delivery theatrical and he did his best, which was actually pretty damn good.

I didn't keep up with his kids progress but I remember talking to Peggy and she said both she and Ewan were pleased to see them messing about in bands when they teenagers. He wasn't half as narrow minded as half of his disciples, certainly not as some people on mudcat would have you believe.


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: JeremyC
Date: 18 Jan 07 - 01:12 PM

Cool, I'd always had the impression he was very rigid (although wasn't the folk scene at the time pretty hardcore about being traditional?) based on that statement of his that you shouldn't sing folk songs that didn't come from your country of origin, which has always struck me as silly.

Really, I'd like to enjoy his music, especially considering that he and Lloyd were both so important to the early development of the folk revival in England. And his political views are of a type that I alternately admire and abhor (a lot like Pete Seeger's views during the same time period), which makes him quite an interesting character.

This just happens sometimes. I can want to like someone's music as much as anything, but when it comes down to it, it just doesn't do the trick for me. It's the same way with a musician I know here--he's a great guy, a dedicated musician, a friendly, open, giving person, and on top of that, his views towards what music represents are very similar to mine. But I have one of his albums, and I can't get through it, as much as I wish I liked it. In his case, I actually feel bad that I don't like his music. With MacColl, I wish I liked it, but as it stands, I just don't. The most I can hope for is that I hear something new (to me) from him (or my acquaintance) that I can get into, and to that end, I keep checking out new things in hopes that I find something I can enjoy.


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jan 07 - 01:39 PM

JeremyC,
As you said in an earlier posting, liking or disliking MacColl is entirely (I think you wrote 'possibly') a matter of taste.
Personally, I listened to his singing and thoroughly enjoyed it for over thirty years. On the other hand, I wouldn't go anywhere near The Pogues with rubber gloves and a mask, but that's my taste.
MaColl wasn't, nor did he either claim or attempt to be 'traditional - whatever that means, on the contrary, his argument was that the tradition was a stepping stone to creating a modern song form.
The fallacious statement that he insisted that people sang songs from their country of origin has been hammered to death on other threads on this forum.
As somebody said earlier, the fact that you didn't like his singing makes you the loser; there were enough people around to fill his club and concert performances throughout his time in the folk scene.
Comparisons between him and Guthrie really don't mean much; again, it's a matter of taste.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Jan 07 - 02:32 PM

And we all say silly things. I'm sure he had his faults, but he and Peggy were among the good guys.

Jeremy's not a loser Jim,cos he doesn't like Ewan's voice - its not compulsory to like anybody.

The thing is though, Ewan did stuff with that voice, like those long ballads, that nobody really much has had a handle on since. his whole thing was, look I'm like an actor in a play delivering a great soliloquy. Not everybody was a fan at the time. But he WAS ambitious artistically. And that takes intelligence, committment, and a special sort of bohemian detachment from the music industry - a bit more than the gang of haircuts on the upper slopes of folk stardom these days. (Gimme a hit! Gimme a hit!)


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jan 07 - 02:47 PM

Jim, I think you are spot-on when you say, "...the tradition was a stepping stone to creating a modern song form."

McColl was steeped in traditional music but, as a Modernist, he was adopting the same principle as T.S. Eliot had done following his mentor Ezra Pound's advice to "make it new." This resulted in groundbreaking verse like The Waste Land, which many feel was the first truly modern poem because, while it concerned itself with the contemporary human condition, it was full of classical allusions.

Dirty Old Town is, in my opinion, a wonderful post-industrial love lyric which updaties timeless themes in the same way that, for example, The Collier Laddie drew on The Seven Yellow Gypsies.

As regards his apparent desire to destroy the setting for his song ("chop you down like an old dead tree")you have to remember that McColl was a socialist of the old school who believed that the working class should be transported from the slums into a brave new world of "shining steel." We now know that this was a misguided utopian ideal which resulted in the destruction of traditional communities to be replaced by estates of brutal, alientaing tower blocks which are only now being torn down from Bucharest to Bermondsey.


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: JeremyC
Date: 18 Jan 07 - 03:52 PM

We now know that this was a misguided utopian ideal which resulted in the destruction of traditional communities to be replaced by estates of brutal, alientaing tower blocks which are only now being torn down from Bucharest to Bermondsey.
Spot on. I'd drink to that (actually, it's enough to drive me to drink anyway).

You can't really expect much else to happen when virtually the entire population is forced to survive a school system geared towards elimination of creative or critical thought, with an ultimate goal of making thousands of docile (happy? Nah) little factory workers--oh, and spend their formative years being taught that large companies are their friends. Seems like a handful manage to escape somehow, but, like in "Brave New World," the majority is never going to listen. But that's just my opinion.

Jim, the Guthrie thing was a bit of deliberate childishness intended to highlight the general childishness of deriding someone for his or her taste. Guthrie and MacColl were both admirable and highly influential musicians who came along at a time when they were sorely needed. I'm glad MacColl had fans, because without him, some of the people I DO like to listen to may not have made the same great music. So as far as I'm concerned, it's in every way a matter of taste, and where taste goes, I think everyone has their own reasons for liking/disliking things.


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Jan 07 - 04:07 AM

WLD
I wrote 'the' loser, not 'a' loser - no offence intended, just that JC lost out by not appreciating MacColl - which he is, of course, entitled to do.
JC
I too enjoy Guthrie's singing, but I never heard MacColl sing 'Tom Joad', nor Guthrie, 'Jock O' The Side' (interesting thought!). I take your point about your remark.
Dirty Old Town.
MacColl's Salford was a rat-ridden slum unfit for human habitation, which was eventually replaced by high rise slums, also unfit for human habitation. I know this because I experienced both thirty miles away in Liverpool (Cardboard box - you were lucky!).
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: IanC
Date: 19 Jan 07 - 04:50 AM

Now that the BBC's about to move to Salford, anyone got any ideas for a celebratory verse?

;-)


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 19 Jan 07 - 09:41 AM

"All I said is that I have yet to hear a performance by Ewan MacColl that wasn't either 1) heavily americanized to an inappropriate degree (e.g., sounds like american pop) or 2) in a ridiculously thick-to-the-point-of-minstrelsy-accent*."

Are we talking about the same Ewan MacColl here? Personally, I don't recognise this description at all. For the record, his speaking voice was sort of 'posh Lancashire' (I was going to say 'educated Lancashire' - but that would be offensive to my Lancastrian friends who all speak in an educated way, no matter how broad their accents!). I suppose that this voice was a result of his training as an actor. He also had a 'BBC voice' which was a slightly posher version of his normal speaking voice (listen to the 'Song Carriers' recordings, that he did for the BBC, if you can find them).
As for his Scottish accent, we have to remember that both of his parents were Scots and some of their ways of speaking must have rubbed off on him. Actually, my experience of him singing such ballads as 'Sir Patrick Spens', 'Clerk Colvill' and 'The Swan Swims Sae Bonny', albeit in 'thick, archaic Scots', I count as some of the truly great artistic experiences of my life (I can feel the hairs standing up on my neck, now, as I write this). I believe that these ballads only really work in the original Scots and although there have been some creditable attempts to anglicise them, some of the poetry of the Scottish versions is lost. I really do believe that, if he was to do them justice, Ewan had to attempt to sing those ballads in a Scottish accent. Personally, I think he did a credible job - but then I'm not Scottish.

Finally, 'JeremyC', I realise that some of my remarks above were churlish and intemperate and I apologise - of course you are entitled to your opinion and your own tastes! It's just that, although I'm not normally given to hero worship, Ewan had a huge formative influence on me. It's difficult to describe the impact his singing had on me when I first heard it. These days, though, all we seem to get is a sort of petty and mean-minded chipping away at his reputation and my objectivity tends to go out of the window! As Jim Carrol has often said we need to forget all of this silly sniping and concentrate on his formidable and impressive achievements.


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: JeremyC
Date: 19 Jan 07 - 10:13 AM

And see, Shimrod, I'm describing the selection of his songs that I've heard, which is far from a complete or even a representative sample. If you have any particular tracks to recommend, I'd be happy to check them out.

I can appreciate your points about the accent (it's a tough choice--do you perform with or without? Either can sound inauthentic, so you just have to go with what you think you can pull off), and I see why he wanted to do that. Maybe with repeated listenings it would come across as less of a shock to me (and even with people I really enjoy, some of their songs have to "grow on me" so to speak). I'm not very familiar with Scots, but I know it must have its own poetic qualities if that's how Burns chose to write, and translations will often lose some of their impact. It's a tough problem, and he made his choice. Maybe I can get used to it, because I certainly think the songs themselves are good and well worth being sung.

The feeling that you get when an artist comes along and changes your approach to things is very intense. I have the same kind of affection/admiration towards Martin Carthy and Phil Ochs, because hearing each of them changed the way I thought about hearing and playing music. I'm glad we can agree to disagree on matters of taste (with the proviso that I'll be happy to agree upon sufficient exposure to MacColl to find something I really like, since, given his level of support here, I'm sure there's something).


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Jan 07 - 10:50 AM

Sorry,
I missed the 'Americanised' bit.
I know of only one record out of hundreds where he adopted an American accent (to sing choruses for eggy's songs) and that was the Folkways 'Two Way Trip'.
Can somebody put me right on this one - I thought I had all his records.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Jan 07 - 11:24 AM

I sort of know what he might mean. Bruce Turners clarinet gives the original Dirty Old town a trad jazz feel - this must have been when trad was really kicking ass commercially. And trad is American in origin

When you compare to what say Carthy did with Byker Hill - which was nailing England's folksong colours very firmly to the mast of a ship sailing in the opposite direction - modal scales, Bartok like rhythmic complexity, the sort of celtic origins hinted at in AL Lloyds Folksong in England.

Its a point of view and one that was held very firmly in some quarters in the 1970's.

the bad old days - when you had to decide whether you were Jasper Carrot or Martin Carthy and nothing much in between was tolerated.

best wishes to all survivors of that bloody campaign

Big al whittle


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Jan 07 - 12:32 PM

on ,the subject of clarinet,Sue Miles provided lovely clarinet and bass clarinet on The dunmow flitch[S F A 106] and CHEATING THE TIDE [g v r 227]both on vinyl,thse lps are worth getting just for the clarinet parts and Jez Lowe and Martin Carthys guitar.


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Jan 07 - 02:03 PM

I agree with Jim Carroll.


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Alec
Date: 19 Jan 07 - 02:33 PM

I was intrigued by interpretation of the melody weelittledrummer (& I hear what you hear when I hear Martin Carthy)so I thought I'd try it on the Harmonica (diatonic in c)
Have to say it evoked a sense of the North West of England in the thirties for me.
This is obviously subjective as I was born in the North East in 1962.
It is possible it's because I have seen to many kichen sink drama's & watched to many Boulting Brothers films & it's true I hear something similar in "Love Me Do" but whilst their may be something of Jazz in it I hear more of Industrial Lancashire making it's own entertainment.


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Effsee
Date: 19 Jan 07 - 02:55 PM

I've been mulling over this thread since it started, and even more so over JeremyC's first and subsequent postings. I've been a great admirer of the work and singing of Ewan MacColl for over 40 years. I can honestly say IMO that I've never heard anything by him which I thought of as having "sucked". (Always allowing I might misunderstand the definition of the word) My ears do jarr slightly on some of the early recordings/arrangements and when he introduced vibrato/tremolo(?) into his singing.
I think, JC, if you were to hear later recordings of his singing such as that as the Folk on 2 CD, Ewan MacColl & Peggy Seeger, (includes Ian Campbell, Ray Fisher,Belle Stewart and MacColl family members),MASH CD 002, released by Cooking Vinyl 1996 you may fare better.
Tracks 9-12 feature My Old Man/Spinning Wheel/ and the very poignant story of the making of The Joy of Living/then an interview with (Hellooow I'm) Jim Lloyd, in which you can hear his natural speaking voice, which to me has a sort of general Scots burr. Another CD which features his later singing is "Naming of Names", COOK CD 036, 1999, which if I'm reading between your lines correctly, might well appeal to you. Both CDs are readily available from Cooking Vinyl.
Hoping that you'll enjoy them if you get round to hearing them.


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: GUEST,roomzero
Date: 20 Jan 07 - 09:56 PM

I was unaware of the geographical origins of this song until I ran across this thread. I picked it up from a pub in Milwaukee in the states and fell in love with the vocal melody. Although I do respect the loyalty certain individuals have to Salford, and for making sure that the original intent of the song is translated to those of us far away from the UK, it stands to reason that a good song is a good song and you can't keep it in one place. It's a bit like ordering people in the UK or Ireland not to play any Johnny Cash because they've never been to the South, never shot people in Reno Nevada, or ran from their failing marriage to Jackson Mississippi (though if they did, that would be quite eventful). Better yet, ordering people NOT to play Muddy Waters songs because they don't know the Southside of Chicago from the North (That means no Stones, Yardbirds, etc). In the Midwest, and especially around the great lakes, we're definitely experiencing a massive decay of our more industrialized areas (yeaaa globalization) so a song like this is very relevant today. This is the kind of song that applies to many of us in the flyover zones of the upper Midwest, and to people all over the world, who despite the intense feeling of incarceration by their surroundings, manage to derive some kind of appreciation for life. Because no matter how run down and dodgy your town is, there's always a girl worth kissing by the factory wall (though I wouldn't go dreaming a dream by the Chicago River).


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Roughyed
Date: 21 Jan 07 - 02:11 PM

Of course everyone from wherever should be able to sing this song if it connects with them. But I don't think you should sing a song when you don't respect it (unless you're getting paid lots and lots of lovely money).


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Bernard
Date: 21 Jan 07 - 03:16 PM

The art of writing a good song is in making it so that people can readily identify with it.

Dirty Old Town is a classic example of such a song.

Yes, it's originally about Salford (but so was Ray Davies' Waterloo Sunset!!), but there's really nothing in the song that pinpoints it to one place. Another good example is Paul Simon's 'Homeward Bound', written whilst waiting for a train on Widnes station during a tour of UK folk clubs.

I drive past the 'Gasworks Croft' mentioned in the first verse most days of the week... at the end of the M602! Ewan would never have seen the M602...

I suppose that's what sets some songwriters apart from the rest. Some merely write their experiences into a song almost as a diary entry, but the good ones have a knack of generalising enough so as not to limit the song's appeal.

Who am I to talk, though... I couldn't write a song even if my life depended upon it!!

;o)


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Scrump
Date: 22 Jan 07 - 09:49 AM

Yes, it's originally about Salford (but so was Ray Davies' Waterloo Sunset!!),

Hmmm, I didn't know there was an underground railway in Salford :-)

but there's really nothing in the song that pinpoints it to one place. Another good example is Paul Simon's 'Homeward Bound', written whilst waiting for a train on Widnes station during a tour of UK folk clubs.

I don't think Simon said anything in the song to say he was at Widnes - he could have been on any railway station, anywhere, at least in the western world at the time. When I first heard it I imagined him being in a US rail station, before I later read he had been on tour in the UK when he wrote it.

As for Waterloo Sunset, that is clearly about Waterloo in London. Although the sentiments expressed in the lyrics could apply to lots of other places, the lyrics refer explicitly to one location. Dirty Old Town and Homeward Bound don't.

I don't think a song has to be 'generic' in terms of location for people to be able to identify with it. I'm sure people who've never been to London could identify with Waterloo Sunset, even though it is more or less 'pinpointed' to that place.


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 22 Jan 07 - 09:52 AM

Where's Widnes? Billy Bragg reckons he wrote it in Barking...


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Alec
Date: 22 Jan 07 - 09:56 AM

I met Martin Carthy once who had been in the next room when Paul Simon wrote the song (he did confirm it was Widnes) apparently it took Simon an hour to come up with a rhyme for station.


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Scrump
Date: 22 Jan 07 - 11:47 AM

nation - that took me about 3 seconds.


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Jan 07 - 07:19 AM

perhaps he had vebal constipation


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Scrump
Date: 23 Jan 07 - 07:38 AM

I can imagine Martin saying: "Are you going to be much longer in there, Paul? There's people waiting out here!"

PS: "Almost done... I'm stuck on 'All my words come back to me in shades of... shades of...' - Dagnabbit, what rhymes with that?"

MC: "Mediocrity?"

PS: "Hey, that's it! Thanks - I'm done now!"

:-)


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Charley Noble
Date: 23 Jan 07 - 09:19 PM

Well, it's nice to sift through this thread again and actually see people communicating with each other. Most of the time, living as I do in the States, I haven't a clue about the devisive issues involved in listening to Ewan MacColl sing. I usually was interested in his songs first, primarily the topical ones, and favorably impressed with his presentation.

My mother was always fond of his renditions of Child ballads and his recording of Scottish Drinking Songs.

His singing of Dirty Old Town remains one of my long time favorites.

I was surprised to learn some years ago that he had changed his name but I respect his reasons for doing so. It seems childish to me to consider that an important issue.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble (not my real name)


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: GUEST,United Road
Date: 21 May 07 - 12:27 AM

Manchester United fans have started to sing this song, expect it to hear it on the terraces next season.


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Bernard
Date: 23 May 07 - 09:18 AM

Only just re-read this...!!

Scrump said: As for Waterloo Sunset, that is clearly about Waterloo in London.'

Agreed - but that was after he re-worked it to make it more 'commercial'. The song was 'inspired' by the river Irwell in Salford! At least, that's what Ray Davies said many years ago in an interview. And he should know, I reckon!

Apart from the mention of 'Waterloo', it could really be anywhere...


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 23 May 07 - 09:53 AM

Anywhere with a busy underground and a river crossing.


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: GUEST,wagga wagga
Date: 20 Sep 07 - 11:44 AM

God found this site... and there's my request asking who sings 'Dirty Ardoyne' posted 2 years ago... and not a single answer... Come on give us a hand !!


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: GUEST,Noreen
Date: 20 Sep 07 - 01:31 PM

1 year and 19 days to be exact, wagga wagga.

Your query would get more notice and then possibly some replies, if you started a new thread with 'Dirty Ardoyne' in the title.


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: GUEST,Pauline mccance
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 08:29 AM

Can anyone tell me about this address on a birth cert i have,
i think it was nearcross laine salford, 21 Artisans Dwellings.
i think it was used as a downe and out accomadation. when i was young.
can anyone help on this. Pauline


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: GUEST,PMB
Date: 08 Feb 08 - 12:26 PM

I've a vague memory of these - but if they are the ones I'm thinking of they were nearer Oldfield Road and Salford Station. I'll try to look it up tonight, if the maps I've got go back far enough.


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Apr 08 - 03:22 PM

Hi all
I was wondering is there a version of the song recorded with the Salford lyrics in it. I'd love to have that

Thanks
Andy


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Tootler
Date: 13 Apr 08 - 05:44 PM

I don't know about a recording, but when I was at University in Salford, I am sure I heard the third line in the third verse sung "Smelt the spring on the Salford wind" on several occasions.

Mind in those days "Smokey" and "Salford" were synonymous [g]


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Snuffy
Date: 13 Apr 08 - 06:14 PM

And "sulphured" as mentioned by Firinne above in June 2002


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Apr 08 - 12:04 AM

Thanks guys
will keep on trying


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 14 Apr 08 - 03:32 AM

Guest Pauline mccance, if you are talking about Ewan, he was born in Coburg Street, Salford.

eric


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: GUEST,mm
Date: 14 Apr 08 - 06:44 AM

Perhaps coming from America Clinton doesn't know what a gasworks is or looks like . Gasworks are industrial plants which produce gas from coal in the the process of which they emit a disgusting smell. They appears as hideous oval-shaped , grey lumps of metal dominating grim and gritty urban landscapes.

The song contrasts the love and dreams of a sensuous young man in springtime to the oppressive ugliness of his industrial surroundings .
For a picture of what a gasworks looks like in all its glory see:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/raver_mikey/2334376874/


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: GUEST,bill S from Perth
Date: 14 Apr 08 - 09:53 AM

Enjoyed the thread, I also went to Salford Uni in the late 60's and lived locally. Regarding the soap suds, I used to cross the footbridge below the weir off the Crescent and the pollution used to give rise to a mountain of suds which used to take to the air along the river and you had to dodge between the huge globs. Croft as a few people have said, was a wasteland for playing by day and coortin at neet. Undercroft was a common name for the huge cellar area below railway stations used for goods and storage especially Piccadilly and StPancras.
Incidentally, no-one has pointed out that Salford was the first city in England to go smokeless and ban open coal fires. Manchester Exchange was in Salford and shared England's longest railway platform with Victoria, the only intercity station platform. Salford was a City then in its own right with a cathedral that nobody knew about. (go back far enough and Manchester was part of Salford)
I was on the folk club committee at the Uni, we used to get up to 300 people there, mainly locals from the tower blocks, but never had McColl in my day.
I remember an evil sulphury smog in 1968 there but never saw another that yellow. The towpath along the Rochdale Canal was a great way to see the city from a different angle.
Wassail
Bill


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 14 Apr 08 - 12:22 PM

Gasworks did smell pretty bad - but gasometers (which is what mm presumably means by "hideous oval-shaped , grey lumps of metal"), which is where the has is stored (these days natural gas) can look pretty good.

As the song puts it:

"Though the gasworks isn't violets, they improve the local scene
For mountains they would very nicely pass..."


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 14 Apr 08 - 12:41 PM

There's a scene in the film Hobson's Choice where Maggie and Will are sat by the river/canal in Salford and you can see the suds blowing up off the water.


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 14 Apr 08 - 01:52 PM

I always thought that the bridge over the sudsy bit was called 'Cock Robin Bridge' but now I look up that name it wasn't that bridge at all! Unless that one also had the same name as the footbridge over the railway at Brindle Heath? Stranger things have happened...

Anyway. Couple of things - The Spinners may just sing 'Salford Wind' - One of them is from Salford.

The Artisans Dwellings, otherwise known as just 'The Dwellings' were at the top of Oldfield Road - More like a Tenement block than a place for down and outs. That pleasure was reserved for the Doss House!

Cheers

Dave.


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 14 Apr 08 - 02:21 PM

When I was about six I used to visit my uncle in Warrington and we'd stand watching the canal, and the river was all beautiful colours because there was oil all over the surface. I was so jealous that our river in rural Lincolnshire didn't have all these pretty colours.


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 14 Apr 08 - 07:44 PM

Pub session on Friday: young lady comes up and asks "Can you do Dirty Old Town by the Pogues?" Wonder what Ewan would have thought of that! We did it our own way!


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Bert
Date: 14 Apr 08 - 09:22 PM

Gas is made from oil nowadays. I remember spending a fine summer's day measuring the tide in the Thames at Fulham Gasworks. They needed to know how much to dredge to get the oil barges in.

Although commonly known as gasometers the correct name is gasholders.
Planes going to Heathrow used to line up on Gasholder 1, just outside of our office. They would come in really low, much lower than the regulation minimum of 500 feet. And that damned gasholder used to rise considerably when they filled it. Kinda scary.

Oh and for what it's worth Fulham Gasworks has the oldest gasholder in the world. "Number 6" built in 1860 something.


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Subject: RE: Help: Dirty Old Town? Meaning???
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 15 Apr 08 - 03:11 AM

200!

:D


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