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Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?

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Jack Campin 19 Apr 17 - 09:30 AM
GUEST 19 Apr 17 - 09:47 AM
Big Al Whittle 19 Apr 17 - 10:25 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Apr 17 - 11:23 AM
The Sandman 19 Apr 17 - 12:54 PM
Big Al Whittle 19 Apr 17 - 02:26 PM
GUEST,Mathew 19 Apr 17 - 10:47 PM
GUEST,Some bloke 20 Apr 17 - 02:57 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Apr 17 - 03:39 AM
Big Al Whittle 20 Apr 17 - 04:05 AM
GUEST,Mathew 20 Apr 17 - 05:42 AM
GUEST,Mathew 20 Apr 17 - 06:29 AM
The Sandman 20 Apr 17 - 08:04 AM
GUEST 20 Apr 17 - 09:09 AM
Big Al Whittle 20 Apr 17 - 09:56 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Apr 17 - 10:14 AM
GUEST 20 Apr 17 - 11:08 AM
Jack Campin 20 Apr 17 - 11:58 AM
Jim Carroll 20 Apr 17 - 12:08 PM
Jackaroodave 20 Apr 17 - 01:30 PM
The Sandman 20 Apr 17 - 02:03 PM
Jim Carroll 20 Apr 17 - 02:40 PM
Jackaroodave 20 Apr 17 - 02:59 PM
Jim Carroll 20 Apr 17 - 03:06 PM
Stanron 20 Apr 17 - 03:36 PM
GUEST,Mathew 20 Apr 17 - 07:09 PM
Jim Carroll 20 Apr 17 - 07:59 PM
ollaimh 21 Apr 17 - 12:48 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Apr 17 - 02:28 AM
Dave Hanson 21 Apr 17 - 03:00 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Apr 17 - 04:03 AM
Jack Campin 21 Apr 17 - 04:15 AM
akenaton 21 Apr 17 - 08:12 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Apr 17 - 08:31 AM
GUEST,Some bloke 21 Apr 17 - 08:46 AM
GUEST 21 Apr 17 - 10:24 AM
Jack Campin 21 Apr 17 - 11:11 AM
GUEST 21 Apr 17 - 12:23 PM
robomatic 21 Apr 17 - 05:12 PM
Steve Shaw 21 Apr 17 - 05:44 PM
Jackaroodave 21 Apr 17 - 08:38 PM
GUEST,Jar Jar Banks 22 Apr 17 - 01:35 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Apr 17 - 04:19 AM
Big Al Whittle 22 Apr 17 - 04:59 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Apr 17 - 06:02 AM
GUEST,pauperback ^ 22 Apr 17 - 09:06 AM
Steve Shaw 22 Apr 17 - 07:52 PM
Steve Shaw 22 Apr 17 - 07:55 PM
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Jackaroodave 22 Apr 17 - 09:53 PM
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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Apr 17 - 09:30 AM

Google "dylan bikel ticket" and you'll find it. Including a listing on a collectibles site for Bikel's own copy of Dylan's first album... unplayed, whatever statement that makes.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Apr 17 - 09:47 AM

Thank you.. I have now read two versions of this story, neither of which jibes with Jims telling of it. What I have read says that Bikel approached Albert Grossman and suggested that Dylan go to Mississippi. Grossman replied that Dylan could not afford it so Bikel wrote a cheque to cover Dylans costs. So it seems that Dylan never actually refused to go, it was Bikel and Grossman who arranged it without telling Dylan the source of the money. Am I correct in this ?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Apr 17 - 10:25 AM

totally ridiculous to grub through the minutiae of one's life to rationalise your reasons for disliking someone.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Apr 17 - 11:23 AM

" I am sure. I can find no reference to it anywhere."
There was an interesting article in the Irish Times on it some years ago - I thought I'd saved it.
"So it seems that Dylan never actually refused to go,"
His manager did it on his behalf, but he had been approached personally by Pete Seeger and others to join them and he made the same excuse.
"totally ridiculous to grub through the minutiae of one's life "
I'm not doing that Al
I neither like nor dislike Dylan - though I tried very hard to like his music when some of my mates extolled his virtues
I gave up after a couple of goes.
I was actually responding to Ake's claim about the old socialists and why I believe it to be inaccurate
The sixties was a time when the music industry believed there to be some profit to be gained out of protest - as long as it didn't frighten the horses.
THe answer turned out to be 'Blowin' in the Wind' - mention "freedom", and you had a hit on your hands
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Apr 17 - 12:54 PM

THe answer turned out to be 'Blowin' in the Wind' - mention "freedom", and you had a hit on your hands.
yes, another example is Donovans "colours""freedom is a word i dont often use" but when i did i got a hit.
Donovan is in my opinion a more likeable character, but its the same old ding dong


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Apr 17 - 02:26 PM

well i don't think the prs were counting down in Alabama when the civil rights were using Dylan, Seeger and Carawan's anthems to sustain them.

it wasn't all about money. similarly when the kids in Soweto were chanting Pink Floyd's WE don't Need NO EDucation.

I admire MacColl and the work you have done for trad. song. But when the people use your music - it becomes rheir music. if you're lucky - some money comes your way - but its not why all of us are writing songs.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Mathew
Date: 19 Apr 17 - 10:47 PM

Jim Carroll,

As someone who admires Maccoll and read his autobiography, I have always wanted to attend one of his singing workshops/sessions.

Are these perhaps what you have personal recordings of? If possible, would you be able to share? The vocal techniques/exorcises sound incredibly interesting and valuable.


I would be more than grateful if you would share.

Cheers mate.

Mathew


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 02:57 AM

Nice one Al. When people use your music it certainly does become theirs. Over the years I've introduced songs from The Radio Ballads to new audiences by turning them towards different genres to that they were written in. Rock, mainly. Whether the old curmudgeon would have approved is another matter...

I suppose in the '60s with Wilson in government and universal suffrage, UK "folk" songwriters didn't see "freedom" in the same aspirational sense as those involved in the US civil rights movement. Dylan's prose was more abstract to UK listeners whilst those listening to MacColl could identify with more of his songs.

But to compare? I doubt I'd compare baroque with opera or compare Ballads with instrumental songs but judging by the thread title, some people obviously do. The thread degenerates into comparing based on your own tastes which can be silly. It also becomes a platform for Jim Carroll to dismiss anything to do with MacColl that he didn't know about. A regular feature on Mudcat.

(A bit of an aside; I was once asked to arrange a local operatics group performing light opera. As well as a medley of Gilbert and Sullivan, Benjamin Britten etc, I included MacColl & Seeger's "Cabin Boy" (from Singing The Fishing.). Musically within the same genre.)


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 03:39 AM

Mathew
Yes - I have masses of recordings of Ewan's classes - too many to get organised, truth be told.
If you let me have an e-mail address I am happy to pass some on via Dropbox.
As you're a non-member, best ask Joe Offer - he has been kind enough to help before.
Pat and I did two, hour-long obituary programmes on Ewan a couple of years ago which featured Ewan in teaching mode - it gives some idea of how he did things - happy to send copies of those to whoever wants them
There were several offshoots of The Critics Group down the years; I ran one in Manchester in the sixties before I moved to London, there was a long running one in Birmingham which eventually evolved into Banner Theatre, several dotted around England and Scotland....
When the Critics broke up, London Singers Workshop evolved and ran for fifteen years
These workshops are easy to set up and extremely effective - it only takes half-a dozen (or less) like-minded people who are prepared to work on each others singing in an analytical and friendly way
Let me know
Best
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 04:05 AM

Born in 1949 - I wasn't going to folk clubs in the 1950's.

the first folk music, as folk, was aware of was probly stuff on the mainstream radio - the kingston trio singing Tom Dooley.

the first folksong that registered as relevant to me was Seeger's Where have all the flowers gone? A short bike ride from our town Boston, in LIncolnshire took you past THor missiles loaded with an H bomb presumably pointed at Moscow.

having said that - the schools radio (which Ewan must have had some input with) taught us many UK folksongs from when we were very small.

i wonder if they had accompanied the singing together material with guitar instead of piano - would we have made the connection, and prevented the internecine traddy/contemporary warfare that has dogged so much of the folk music revival.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Mathew
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 05:42 AM

Thank you very much Jim,

mathewrferrari@gmail.com   (


(My public email so I don't mind giving it out here)


I really appreciate this, is there anything I need to do with dropbox aside from enabling it with my email?

I used to be a member but it has been so long that I forget the information.

Maybe I should rectify that soon.

Again, thanks a million mate, I think this is so cool.


Mathew Ferrari


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Mathew
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 06:29 AM

I just find it so interesting to hear candid sounds of one of my idols from someone who knew him personally.

I may be having a bit of a fan boy moment, but I cannot wait to listen to these recordings.



I could help you organize them, if you'd like, depending on how you want it to be organized


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 08:04 AM

I was playing folk songs in 1958, age 7, mainly american folk songs, we were taught english folk songs at primary school, o no john nightingale early one morning boney was a warrior, i dont think schools radio was anmything to do with Ewan. I seem to remember tubby the tuba was one, that doesnt sound like ewans style.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 09:09 AM

Neither can I find any evidence that Pete Seeger or anyone else approached Dylan about going to Mississippi or that he ever refused to go. This seems to cast aspersions on Dylans character without there being a shred of evidence. So an I an curious about this story which is often repeated here.What is the actual source?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 09:56 AM

I definitely remember Ewan 's name being in the Singing Together book for some reason or other.

he was always present. When I first used to buy Oak publications books of folksongs - some of his songs were always in there.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 10:14 AM

"This seems to cast aspersions on Dylans character without there being a shred of evidence."
I've had to get used to that sort of thing in the arguments I have had about MacColl down the years, comes with the territory, I'm afraid
It seems those who are still hppy to dance on MacColl's grave are not as happy when it happens to their particular flavours of the month.
I first came across the story in the Irish Times and it was confirmed in a brief conversation I had with Pete Seeger the only we met him while we were recording choruses for Ewan's 'White Wind' South African piece
Not prepared to go any further than that - sorry
And people wonder why I bother with stories about MacColl
Ah well!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 11:08 AM

I have no argument about McColl. My question was about the veracity of your ever changing Dylan story.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 11:58 AM

With at least four people who could have directly reported the story, it's surprising it hasn't diverged more.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 12:08 PM

"I have no argument about McColl. My question was about the veracity of your ever changing Dylan story."
I've never changed it - if I have, where?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jackaroodave
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 01:30 PM

Look, a miniscule number of people who supported the civil rights movement actually went to Mississippi. Bob Dylan was one of them.

The vast majority did not. I was one of them and so, I am pretty sure, are most of the posters here who ragged on him.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 02:03 PM

imo,The sooner guest postings are banned on this forum the better


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 02:40 PM

Dylan made his name as a 'protest singer' and did quite well out of it.
Going to Mississippi would have been a small thank you for a launched career
I saw the remarkable Baldwin documentary last week which told how Bobby Kennedy was invited to walk into the all-white school in Louisiana with the brave black girl, Ruby Bridges
He declined
What a difference it would have made if a few more personalities had put their money where their mouths were
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jackaroodave
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 02:59 PM

But he DID go, Jim.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 03:06 PM

"But he DID go, Jim."
Reluctantly, it would appear
It really isn't that important now - just an indication of how shallow his commitment to the people he sang about was.
It is also how shallow the whole of the sixties was - it took Paris to shake it out of its lethargy
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Stanron
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 03:36 PM

So he wasn't guilty but the accusation was a good one.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Mathew
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 07:09 PM

Jim, please let me know about those recordings.

Sandman, you're a silly sod


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 07:59 PM

Mathew
I sent you an e-mail
reply so I know I have our address right
Jim


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: ollaimh
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 12:48 AM

i am not a dylan fan. however he was a great very good song writer who didn't do anything hypocritical just promoted himself. that's show biz.

on the other hand mccoll
s adoption of a fake gaelic name, the name of one of the last of the great gaelic bards in the ancient tradition, was cultural appropriation amounting to racism. so i should call my self william shakespeare. if dylan had done that people would have howled but mccoll's appropriation shows the total distain for gaels amongst our british friends. they committed genocide so they continue with cultural genocide. mccoll was a decent song writer but a garden variety brit racist.

i went to his singers club once as a teenager on the europe tour. some hard faced super serious guy was singing dark island in english. back in nova scotia we sang the verses in english but the chorus in gaelic. so i was excited, they were singing a song i knew! (first one) then they got to the chorus and i was the only one singing "oh chi , chi me na morbheanna" etc. they all stopped and stared at me. i stopped . the hard faced guy came over and said we sing the songs of our own country. i said that's a song from my country. he said no it's not. i was young and didn't understand their complicated theories of hate for gaels. i just thought well he must know something i don't know ans shut up and left.

    anglos think if their hate is complicated enough then it's ok, trump didn't jump from the head of zeus full grown, he's a the fulillment of anglo culture. (as is richard bridges and his hate)

however what he knew was just hate.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 02:28 AM

"however what he knew was just hate."
Which just about sums up your posting Ollie
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 03:00 AM

ollaimh, is ' Bob Dylan ' not a fake name then ?

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 04:03 AM

Ollie's post was exactly what I needed as an example of the totally irrational attitude to MacColl and his work
A vitriolic outpouring of abuse from someone who has obviously never met him or spoken to him and saw he one "as a teenager".
An outpouring of hate from someone accusing MacColl of "hate", from an anonymous individual using a faake name castigating MacColl for using a fake name - you couldn't make it up
I couldn't have got a better example if I had faked it myself
Many thanks Ollie - give my love to Stan
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 04:15 AM

some hard faced super serious guy was singing dark island in english. back in nova scotia we sang the verses in english but the chorus in gaelic. so i was excited, they were singing a song i knew! (first one) then they got to the chorus and i was the only one singing "oh chi , chi me na morbheanna"

So you were singing the chorus of a completely different song.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: akenaton
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 08:12 AM

The Dark Island is a "pop" song anyway, written for a TV series of the same name.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 08:31 AM

It's a load of invented crap anyway
If a member of the Singers Club had behaved like that to a visitor, he'd have been heaved out on his ear
Another of those urban legends
Don't know where Ollie is from, but how the **** did his "hard faced guy" know where he came from
Jeeze - if you're going to invent stories you need a bit more imagination than that
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 08:46 AM

And so it goes.

Jim Carroll defending MacColl whilst adding Bobby Kennedy to the list of people he slurs. Someone getting songs mixed up whilst pointing out Dylan isn't right wing enough for him and more than one on here calling others liars without foundation on the basis it makes their waffle look flaky.   Heresay regarding both protagonists in the thread title from all of us and what do you get?

I've never met Dylan, a few concerts are the nearest I've got. I know a few people who knew him many years ago and to be honest, even their first hand knowledge isn't enough for me to think I know something about this complicated genius.

I met MacColl a number of times though, booked them twice and interviewed them for radio twice. I'm no expert on him, just as nobody else is, but I can agree with those who mention he was a grumpy old sod who tried laying down arbitrary rules about what is at the end of the day just entertainment. I hadn't been born in 1954 never mind took minutes of a committee convened to get excited about putting rules around artistic creation...

MacColl's view on Dylan? About as relevant as my rants about celery and greyhound cruelty. Both genuine but at the end of the day, facts about my views, not debating points.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 10:24 AM

Jim, you appear to have changed your story, you said that Bikel approached Dylan and offered him a ticket. But Bikel did not approach Dylan, he approached Dylans r Manager, Albert Grossman, to whom he gave money to cover Dylans fare to Mississippi. So you now seem to accept that Bikel did not speak to Dylan on this subject. That is how your narrative has changed.
Sandman, my many years of coming to this forum leads me to observe that people seem only to wish to ban Guests who disagree with them. That is certainly true below the line.
Many people have good reason for remaining Guests and should not be barred from music discussion because they may disagree with other posters.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 11:11 AM

Many people have good reason for remaining Guests

Mainly, and in your case, because they think they'd never live it down if their friends knew they indulged in such trivial nitpicking.

Hint: your friends know you're a pettifogging twat already.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 12:23 PM

It is not trivial nitpicking to ask that people verify accusations. I have heard this Dylan story many times, I was curious as the source. Simple as that. It is pompous asses like you Jack who make people want to be anonymous.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: robomatic
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 05:12 PM

An earlier posting in this thread:

"Dylan joined the pantheon of successful Jewish songwriters and musicians (most of whom also changed their names):"

I would put it, (if it must be put at all), that Dylan joined the pantheon of successful songwriters who were of Jewish origin.
There's a bit of separatism and more than a bit of condescension in how many of the 'trad' crowd view those of certain ethnic origins.

For the record, Ewen MacColl was born James Henry Miller.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 05:44 PM

It was Ewan, actually, not "Ewen." If he was a grumpy old sod, then equally it could be said that Dylan is an exceptionally ignorant old sod. As if it matters. Which it doesn't. Grumpy old sods are often grumpy because they have to deal with twats. The greatest man who ever lived, Ludwig van Beethoven, was the grumpiest old sod in eternity. He offended his friends, alienated his fellow musicians and accused all and sundry of cheating him out of his money. Who cares. Just listen to the sonata in A flat, Op. 110. That'll shut you up.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jackaroodave
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 08:38 PM

As an ignorant old sod and a newbie here, I was very pleased that this thread from 2012 had been revived. I had heard of MacColl, but I think I thought he and Ed McCurdy were the same person. Not only did I read this thread through, but I looked at a number of other lengthy MacColl threads, and I feel I have a sense of him as an undeniable force and a greater awareness of what I have yet to learn. I'm grateful to both Jim Carroll and those who differed with him for a fascinating portrait of a complex, gifted, and dedicated contributor who wasn't always easy to get along with. (Not unlike the other figure in this thread.)

However, after a few minutes into these threads, the answer to the question it posed was staggeringly obvious: Dylan seemed put on earth expressly to push every one of MacColl"s buttons: one was a Stalinist, the other an individualist anarchist (or capitalist swine if you prefer); one spent an enormous amount of energy raising and enforcing standards, the other in disrupting them. Their attitudes towards tradition were antithetical, to the extent that some of MacColl's followers don't admit any legitimacy in Dylan's use of tradition at all. And of course, in breaking the rules and setting standards at defiance, Dylan was successful beyond ANYONE's dreams during the Great Folk Music Scare. MacColl must have felt at times, "There is no Materialist Dialectic."

So, when we get yet another post informing us that Ewan MacColl was born Jimmy Miller, It seems to me we're well into the rinse-and-repeat cycle. I'd love to see a thread on MacColl's theater work. I wouldn't mind if it replaced this one.

Maybe it's not my place to suggest it, but I sincerely believe there are better ways to see MacColl clearly than by refraction through the prism of his dislike for Dylan.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Jar Jar Banks
Date: 22 Apr 17 - 01:35 AM

Yeah but what did you do for the civil rights movement ollaimh ?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Apr 17 - 04:19 AM

This is the last time I have any intention of responding to this level of discussion - it is, as it always has done acted as a diversion away from the contribution MacColl made to Folk song
It's like dismissing Einstein's theory of relativity because he picked his nose - true or not - trivia.
Let's get the easy, hoary old chestnut out of the way first
"For the record, Ewen MacColl was born James Henry Miller." (Ewan - for the record)
For the record - Bob Dylan was was born Robert Zimmermann - do you people continually bring up that fact as a criticism of his work as an artist and will you be doing so a quarter of a century after his death?
What on earth is the relevance of this piece of trivia?
The reason MacColl changed his name is easy enough to work out, if it interests anybody enough.
He was first and foremost an actor and a playwright - go count the number of actors, singers, writers who changed their names from Archie Leech, or Ethel Gumm, or Doris Kapplehoff, or, more or to the point, from James Leslie Mitchell or Christopher Murray Grieve (the artists who influenced MacColl
Ewan had an added reason of altering his name as he was attempting to steer clear of the authorities (including MI5) in order to set u a working class agit-prop theatre.
"Stalinist"
Ewan had been a Stalinist, as had been a large section of the left and middle-left movement at a time in our history when Stalin was flavour of the month to millions of people and believed him to be the leader of the world's first Workers State.
Around the time of my birth, it might be said that the British statesmen of the day were 'Stalinists' because of the part Russia was playing in the war - I've yet to hear anybody refer to Winnie Churchill as a Stalinist"
Over the period I knew and worked with Ewan. I never got the slightest impression that he still held those views -
On the contrary, Ewan was first and foremost a humanist (with a small "h") who believed 'ordinary people were getting a shitty deal out of life and were nor recognised for either their achievements or their massive potential - a view I have always held as did my family before me.
Ewan's social songs (such as those he wrote for the Radio Ballads) reflect Ewan's humanism and his respect for working people perfectly
His political songs did not advocate the setting up of gulags or holding show trials (that was and still is a feature of contemporary politics such as the House Un-American Activity Courts of Joe McCarthy and later, Guantanamo (though the latter has even done away with the trials).
His political songs were observations on how he saw what was happening in the world at the time, the best of the philosophical ones probably being 'Song of Choice' and 'Seven Days of the Week'.
MacColl's 'feigned' Scottishness'
He was born into a Scots family, fairly recently come out of Scotland.
When I moved to London, I lived with Ewan, Peggy and Ewan's mother, Betsy for a short period.
At mealtimes, to listen to Ewan and Betsy talk was sometimes like sitting at a meal with an Urdu family - in those days I wasn't as familiar with the Scots dialect and vernacular as I am now.
Scots was MacColl family's form of communication.
Ewan adored the ballads and thought them important enough to keep them alive (he breathed fresh life into sometimes multiple versions 175 of the Child ballads in his career as a singer)
In order to make them accessible to as many people as possible, he adopted the old theatre trick of neutralising the accent he was familiar with at home.
It most certainly worked with me - I am still hooked on the ballads after half a century of listening to and singing them, thanks to his influence.         
Ewan's earlier influence of Scots songs came from home too
I know from discussions with some of his early contempories, historian, Eddie Frow being the main one, that both his parents sang at home, particularly his father William, who "had hundreds of bits and pieces of queer old songs and ballads he would bust into whenever he'd had a few drinks".
This is a description of Ewans first being discovered singing for pennies in a cinema queue in the 1930s:
"Ewan MacColl was himself a victim of the Depression. The son of an unemployed Glasgow steelworker, who had moved to Salford in search of work during the twenties, he had suffered every privation and humiliation that poverty could contrive for him from the age of ten. His memories of his early years are still bitter—like his recollection of how to kill aimless time in a world where there was nothing else to do: "You go in the Public Library. And the old men are there standing against the pipes to get warm, all the newspaper parts are occupied, and you pick a book up. I can remember then that you got the smell of the unemployed, a kind of sour or bitter-sweet smell, mixed in with the smell of old books, dust, leather and the rest of it. So now if I pick up, say, a Dostoevsky—immediately with the first page, there's that smell of poverty in 1931."
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. Not only did he give MacColl a handout; he also advised him to go and audition for Archie Harding at the BBC studios in Manchester's Piccadilly.
PROSPERO AND ARIEL (The rise and fall of radio, a personal recollection – D G Bridson 1971)"
I really can't be arsed to take this too much further
I don't care who likes or dislikes Ewan's or Dylan's singing - that is a matter of personal taste and has no place here
I personally believe Dylan to have been a user in his scramble to the top - that is the impression I got from reading what Joan Baez had to say about him, but h doesn't interest me enough beyond his effect on our understanding of our own traditional songs
I did not "change my story" about Dylan's Civil Rights attitude - I really don't care enough to make the effort on something so unimportant, though I am amused that people who are quite happy to denigrate one artist long after he is dead, leap on their chairs with their skirts above their knees when their own pop idol is criticised.
MacColl cared enough about traditional songs and about people to take his work as a singer far beyond entertainment and putting bums on seats and that got up the noses of a lot of people who saw it as a career that could be as viable as anything turned out my the music industry, and were prepared to compromise it in order to get there.
He wasn't a "grumpy old sod", Steve, at least not in my experience, but I'd be happy to compare our experiences over a pint - not here.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Apr 17 - 04:59 AM

so that bastard Einstein was picking his nose all the time...


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Apr 17 - 06:02 AM

That's the theory Al
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,pauperback ^
Date: 22 Apr 17 - 09:06 AM

Disingenuous.
Everyone knows,
Deep down inside,
Why they don't like,
A jew with a welch name!


Bob Dillion, who knew! 


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 22 Apr 17 - 07:52 PM

Hey, Jim, I didn't say he was a grumpy old sod, just a what-if-anyway - you knew him and I didn't and I never believe the naysayers, you should know that about me by now! 😉


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 22 Apr 17 - 07:55 PM

And that offer of a pint (or ten) is very enticing. You pay for the first eight, and, don't worry, I'll get the rest...!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: toadfrog
Date: 22 Apr 17 - 08:24 PM

Meself:
I guess the question whether Dylan understood, or bothered to try to understand, the traditions he used and pretended to be a part of, is a "matter of opinion," as you say.

But the question was, why did Ewan McColl not like Dylan. And McColl definitely felt that Dylan abused folk material which McColl valued. Even I heard him say so several times, and many of those who actually knew McColl heard it many more times than that. And Pete Seeger agreed, at least to the extent he cut Dylan's cable with an axe. So that is a legitimate answer to the question, why McColl did not like Dylan. It was because Dylan abused traditional material. And maybe that is also a sufficient answer.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jackaroodave
Date: 22 Apr 17 - 09:53 PM

According to Bob Spitz"s biography of Dylan, here , Seeger never cut a cable. He threatened to cut The Butterfield Blues Band's cable, not Dylan's, and the person who persuaded him not to was . . . .Theo Bikel!

Spitz is obviously relying on a detailed eyewitness report, and equally obviously, everyone involved--Al Grossman and Peter Yarrow, vs George Wein and Pete Seeger, with Bikel tipping the balance--was an interested party. Bikel allegedly said, "Pete, those kids out there, they're us 20 years ago." I would guess that Bikel is the source of the very circumstantial account, because he comes out lookihg the best.

Also, what we can agree is true is that MacColl disliked Dylan because he thought he abused the tradition, not that Dylan in fact did so. I wrote before of Dylan's ruthlessly using his tradition, overlapping with, but different from MacColl's, for his own ends, but I think that is paying it true homage. It's what artists do.


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