The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #142469   Message #3294939
Posted By: TheSnail
23-Jan-12 - 08:51 AM
Thread Name: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
@%$*&@! Forgot to Preview. Sorry for repeating a long post but this one is more intelligible.

Jim Carroll

"but you again raise the matter of why the Stewarts were offended..."
No Brian, you raised it, I responded to your doing so.


You have a long record of attacking me for things I haven't said but I think you have surpassed yourself this time.

"Actually, having re-read the interview with Sheila Stewart, I realise I misunderstood part of it and would now upgrade my judgement of his behaviour towards her as reprehensible. Equally, I think MacColl's treatment of her leaves a lot to be desired."
Given your objection to MacColl and SEEGER'S (you seem to be selective in your lying the blame) behaviour to the Stewarts, I thought you might be able to enlighten me on why their behaviour was "reprehensible" and "leaving much to be desired" - apparently you can't.


I know nothing about Peggy Seeger's behaviour towards the Stewarts so I'm not in a position to comment on it. It was John Brune's behaviour towards Sheila Stewart that I described as "reprehensible" not MacColl's (or Seeger's). In the full knowledge that I will receive a torrent of abuse in return, I will explain why I described MacColl's (but not Seeger's) behaviour to Sheila Stewart as "leaving much to be desired".

In the interview, Sheila Stewart says -

"Ewan MacColl had got a bee in his bonnet that there was one particular song that I had to learn, because he wanted me to open the programme and finish the programme. So he sent this wee Austrian man John Brune to teach me a song that had seemingly been collected from a Maggie Johnson down in England, but I had to sing it in an Irish style. And I said, 'Well I'm sorry John, but I cannae waste time, I'm at berrypicking, I need the money, I've got kids to raise.' 'That's quite all right.' he says, so he came out to the berryfields with me and he walked up and down the berryfields with me, teaching me this song, how to sing it."

Having re-re-read that passage, it is unclear whether it was MacColl or Brune who went up to the berryfields to teach her the song. Be that as it may, it was clearly MacColl's decision that she should sing it and it's pretty clear that she didn't particularly want to. One of MacColl's famous policies was that people should only sing songs from their own native tradition but here he is insisting that she sing a song she didn't know from someone she had never heard of in an Irish style for goodness sake. Even if Maggie Johnson had been real and the song genuine, I can't see the justification for that.

There is another example of MacColl's attitude further on in the interview -

Once, a long time ago, at the end of a festival, she was cajoled on to the stage to sing Hank Williams' Jambalaya. "I got the first verse and the first chorus out; everybody was a' jiving and dancing, then the door flew open and this man come up. 'STOP!' he said. And of course everybody stopped. 'I am gonnae get in touch with Ewan MacColl,' he says, 'to tell Ewan l that the Stewarts of Blair have gone pop!' My face was like a beetroot. I put the mike down and come off stage. Three days later, I got a tape through the post fae Ewan. 'I think you need taking down a little bit Sheila. I've just had a letter and a 'phone call from this man, saying that you've gone pop.' And he sent me two songs, must have been forty, fifty verses each, 'don't ever, ever let me hear that you've been singing other than your ballads.' He played hell with me for doin' it, so I've never ever done it again - never ever tried to sing with music again."

What in heaven's name made him think he had the right to talk to her like that? (I wonder who "this man" was.)

"Jim seems to have moved on to insulting bigger fish than me"
Now you are really scraping the bottom of the barrel; I said that having read the book twice and searched deliberately for the examples of offence, I have failed to find them.
I made a point of saying "I am not disputing that offence was taken, but I am totally in the dark as to what that offence was,"
Have you actually read the book?


No, I haven't read it but I have read what Sheila Stewart said about "This horrible book!". The Stewarts were clearly outraged. You clearly don't realise how offensive you are being by making light of their feelings.

Please climb out of your gutter for a few minutes

A while ago, I asked if you really wanted to take part in an intelligent, adult discussion. Clearly not.