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Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?

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Richard Bridge 04 Jan 12 - 11:55 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 04 Jan 12 - 11:55 AM
Owen Woodson 04 Jan 12 - 11:06 AM
The Sandman 04 Jan 12 - 11:03 AM
GUEST,matt milton 04 Jan 12 - 10:47 AM
Acorn4 04 Jan 12 - 09:54 AM
Marje 04 Jan 12 - 09:09 AM
Richard Bridge 04 Jan 12 - 08:57 AM
TheSnail 04 Jan 12 - 08:52 AM
Marje 04 Jan 12 - 08:20 AM
Owen Woodson 04 Jan 12 - 08:03 AM
Acorn4 04 Jan 12 - 08:00 AM
greg stephens 04 Jan 12 - 07:54 AM
Baz Bowdidge 04 Jan 12 - 07:21 AM
melodeonboy 04 Jan 12 - 07:14 AM
Acorn4 04 Jan 12 - 05:28 AM
GUEST 04 Jan 12 - 04:11 AM
Dave Sutherland 04 Jan 12 - 03:36 AM
MGM·Lion 04 Jan 12 - 03:30 AM
GUEST 04 Jan 12 - 03:18 AM
MGM·Lion 04 Jan 12 - 01:32 AM
Little Hawk 04 Jan 12 - 12:56 AM
Little Hawk 04 Jan 12 - 12:54 AM
meself 03 Jan 12 - 08:03 PM
GUEST,999 03 Jan 12 - 07:56 PM
GUEST,SirCougsalot 03 Jan 12 - 07:54 PM
GUEST,Charlie Claude 03 Jan 12 - 07:31 PM
Lonesome EJ 03 Jan 12 - 07:30 PM
melodeonboy 03 Jan 12 - 07:28 PM
meself 03 Jan 12 - 07:19 PM
Mark Ross 03 Jan 12 - 06:48 PM
tonyteach1 03 Jan 12 - 06:46 PM
GUEST,SirCoughsalot 03 Jan 12 - 06:19 PM
The Sandman 03 Jan 12 - 05:59 PM
zozimus 03 Jan 12 - 05:42 PM
Little Hawk 03 Jan 12 - 05:20 PM
GUEST,guest Jim Younger 03 Jan 12 - 03:49 PM
GUEST,SirCoughsalot 03 Jan 12 - 03:14 PM
GUEST,Folknacious 03 Jan 12 - 03:02 PM
Lonesome EJ 03 Jan 12 - 03:00 PM
Leadfingers 03 Jan 12 - 02:39 PM
The Sandman 03 Jan 12 - 02:30 PM
Lonesome EJ 03 Jan 12 - 02:29 PM
GUEST,SirCoughsalot 03 Jan 12 - 02:20 PM
Acorn4 03 Jan 12 - 02:04 PM
matt milton 03 Jan 12 - 01:10 PM
Acorn4 03 Jan 12 - 01:09 PM
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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 11:55 AM

Oh. My. God. Thank you for the link, Acorn, but that is truly truly truly horrible. I don't much like the MacColl love song, but that Dylan one is awful.

To be fair, I hate most love songs, but I can immediately think of two that knock the Dylan into a cocked hat - "Love Has no Pride" (Libby & Kaz) - and I'm no fan of new country either, but it is a great song - and "My Lady D'Arbanville" (Cat Stevens - most of whose other stuff I largely dislike too) - yes I know it is a song after parting, but it's still a great love song.

On the other hand, they're ALL better than "Angie" (Rolling Stones - and I do like a lot of Stones stuff).


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 11:55 AM

"In the September 1965 issue of Sing Out!, singer Ewan MacColl wrote: "Our traditional songs and ballads are the creations of extraordinarily talented artists working inside disciplines formulated over time... 'But what of Bobby Dylan?' scream the outraged teenagers... Only a completely non-critical audience, nourished on the watery pap of pop music, could have fallen for such tenth-rate drivel.""

Do you know, I think that there may be a grain of truth in that. You see I've got this theory that significant proportion of the people who attended folk clubs in the 60s were steeped in pop music and were drawn to folk clubs because they were expecting something from the 'folkier' end of the pop spectrum i.e. something guitar-based which 'rocked'.
MacColl, though, was middle-aged by then, though at the height of his powers as a singer. Obviously commercial popular music, designed primarily for teenagers, didn't appeal much to him and he probably dismissed it and even despised it. Instead of giving the 'rocking folkies' what they wanted he gave them ballads and politics - and they hated him for it. And some of them still do!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Owen Woodson
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 11:06 AM

"his poetry is punk". I can't remember who it was that said it, but it certainly wasn't MacColl. I recall the individual, whoever it was, making the statement in a magazine interview (possibly Sing Out) about the year 1965. This though, plus the bit about his poetry being rehashed Ginsberg. However, this was said in defence of Dylan's songwriting skills, and it's hard to imagine MacColl ever saying anything in defence of Dylan.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 11:03 AM

ubject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: greg stephens - PM
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 07:54 AM

Quite simple really: jealousy and ignorance. I have a couple of pix of Dylan singing in the Pindar of Wakefield with McColl and Bert Lloyd and co listening, in late 1962 or Jan 63. There are young sixties folkies there gazing enraptured at the juvenile Dylan, and so they should. They'd just had their first experience of Blowing in the Wind, live, acoustic and right in front of them. They were blown away. McColl, sadly for him, was too old and set in his Stalinist ways to have his ears open to what was happening in front of him, philosophically or musically. His loss
I believe M THE G M is in one of those photos


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 10:47 AM

Dave, did Ewan MacColl really say of Dylan "his poetry is punk", as you quoted?!

That's brilliant! Couldn't be more true! What a great piece of inadvertent prophetic critical analysis!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Acorn4
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 09:54 AM

Make You Feel My Love


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Marje
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 09:09 AM

When I wrote "Show my love for you" I meant, of course, "Make you feel my love". Richard, I hadn't heard of it either until I heard it sung at a wedding, but it's been a big hit for pop singer Adele, who does a great job with it. You can hear/see it on YouTube, or (for a better version) see her live performance at the Albert Hall, which is still on iPlayer for a few days. It's in the second half of the show.

Marjorie


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 08:57 AM

Baz - I've never even heard of "To make you feel my love".


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 08:52 AM

Oh, and Brian - I love the Wapping/Stopping rhyme

Maybe I've just got sensitised to it. It seems at odds with the rest of the song which is whimsical romantic, not comic.

As for Dylan's Buckets....


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Marje
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 08:20 AM

One thing that I'd guess would annoy MacColl is the way Dylan (from what I've seen of him in documentaries) generally refuses to discuss his work in an analytical way, whereas MacColl did so obsessively. Dylan tends to favour throwaway, tongue-in-cheek remarks that seemed intended to deter further questions, and is reluctant to discuss his choice of materials, his style of musicianship and singing, or his lyric compostions in a serious way. I can see how this would really get up EM's nose.

It can't be just the American idiom that's the problem, as someone has pointed out, because of EM's personal and musical involvement with Peggy Seeger. A song like "Dirty Old Town" owes more to the US tradition than the British one.

And as for why we want to discuss this at all - well, you don't have to read it if you don't think it's worth discussing. Many of us find it interesting to know what two much-respected folk singers and songwriters thought of each other, especially as the work of both men owed a lot to both the American and the British traditions.

But when you consider the love songs that both have written in their less politically-driven moments - say, "The First Time" and "Show my Love for You", maybe they're not so far apart.

Oh, and Brian - I love the Wapping/Stopping rhyme - I know it's silly and a bit Les Barker, but it makes me smile every time.

Marjorie


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Owen Woodson
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 08:03 AM

"Wasn't it a little bearded Scottish guy that shouted 'Judas!' when Dylan went electric? Dylan was heard to mumble 'Oh Ewan give us break'"

No. The incident happened at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester. Nobody knows who the heckler was and, having heard the tape that was made at the time, I certainly couldn't have identified a Scottish accent.
Dylan never mentioned Ewan. He shouted back, "I don't believe you". Then he turned to the band and say "Play it fucking loud".


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Acorn4
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 08:00 AM

That reinforces the ""generation" thing I suggested originally, doesn't it?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: greg stephens
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 07:54 AM

Quite simple really: jealousy and ignorance. I have a couple of pix of Dylan singing in the Pindar of Wakefield with McColl and Bert Lloyd and co listening, in late 1962 or Jan 63. There are young sixties folkies there gazing enraptured at the juvenile Dylan, and so they should. They'd just had their first experience of Blowing in the Wind, live, acoustic and right in front of them. They were blown away. McColl, sadly for him, was too old and set in his Stalinist ways to have his ears open to what was happening in front of him, philosophically or musically. His loss.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Baz Bowdidge
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 07:21 AM

Dylan joined the pantheon of successful Jewish songwriters and musicians (most of whom also changed their names):
Jewish Songwriters
Dylan toured extensively sought fame and achieved it. McColl preferred the parochial folky way.
To this day I hear more covers of 'To Make You Feel My Love' rather than McColl's 'First Time'.
Wasn't it a little bearded Scottish guy that shouted 'Judas!' when Dylan went electric? Dylan was heard to mumble 'Oh Ewan give us break'.
In the September 1965 issue of Sing Out!, singer Ewan MacColl wrote: "Our traditional songs and ballads are the creations of extraordinarily talented artists working inside disciplines formulated over time... 'But what of Bobby Dylan?' scream the outraged teenagers... Only a completely non-critical audience, nourished on the watery pap of pop music, could have fallen for such tenth-rate drivel."
Says it all about 'extraordinarily talented' McColl doesn't it?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: melodeonboy
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 07:14 AM

Thanks, Little Hawk. A very measured, clear and articulate response; and food for thought!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Acorn4
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 05:28 AM

Interesting to note that Pete Seeger, Peggy's half brother was quite a fan of BD's lyrics - this is from the Wikipedia entry:-


"An early booster of Bob Dylan, Seeger, who was on the board of directors of the Newport Folk Festival, became upset over the extremely loud and distorted electric sound that Dylan, instigated by his manager Albert Grossman, also a Folk Festival board member, brought into the 1965 Festival during his performance of "Maggie's Farm". Tensions between Grossman and the other board members were running very high (at one point reportedly there was a scuffle and blows were briefly exchanged between Grossman and board member Alan Lomax). There are several versions of what happened during Dylan's performance and some claimed that Pete Seeger tried to disconnect the equipment. Seeger has been portrayed by Dylan's publicists as a folk "purist" who was one of the main opponents to Dylan's "going electric", but when asked in 2001 about how he recalled his "objections" to the electric style, he said:
I couldn't understand the words. I wanted to hear the words. It was a great song, "Maggie's Farm," and the sound was distorted. I ran over to the guy at the controls and shouted, "Fix the sound so you can hear the words." He hollered back, "This is the way they want it." I said "Damn it, if I had an axe, I'd cut the cable right now." But I was at fault. I was the MC, and I could have said to the part of the crowd that booed Bob, "you didn't boo Howlin' Wolf yesterday. He was electric!" Though I still prefer to hear Dylan acoustic, some of his electric songs are absolutely great. Electric music is the vernacular of the second half of the twentieth century, to use my father's old term. "


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 04:11 AM

I'm not sure it has anything to do with `music'.

I only heard the last 15-20 mins of the programme - and I don't know if Martin Carthy wrote the script for it - but I got the impression that the Critics Group ended up as a vehicle for criticising, with EM as chief critic, where it would become unacceptable behaviour to say `that was nice'. It is a fairly common control mechanism.

And I got the impression from the programme that several of the members of the Critics Group felt EM was the `first amongst equals' at handing out the criticism, while being none too happy about receiving any, which seems to be a reasonably common social structure, particularly with authoritarian socialist organisations. The connection was made to the fact that EM ended up living rather well in the stockbroker belt.

Under such circumstances I'd be surprised if EM ended up liking anybody's music, except perhaps that music from a very small sub-set of his inner circle. Someone like BD would be outside control and therefore `bad' by definition.

The programme showed EM as something of an authoritarian control freak who would even tell members of the group what subjects they should write songs about (and the line they should take). That sounds a bit like subversion of the roots of folk music. I can't imagine one plough boy, back in the day, saying to another plough boy "you must write a song about how terrible the farmer is by next Wednesday," (and with what sounded in the programme like the threat of a `black mark' against your name if you failed).


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 03:36 AM

MacColl had made up his mind about Bob Dylan long before he ever plugged in an electric guitar as between 1963 and 65 there were a whole raft of articles and interviews where he continually dismissed Dylan. "A youth of mediocre talent", "his poetry is punk, re-hashed Ginsberg, terribly old hat", "he has muddied the pool where folk song is concerned" were among his descriptions of Dylan and in a memorable interview with Karl Dallas in Melody Maker around 1965 he launched a scathing attack on Dylan in particular and the American singer/songwriters in general (Paxton, Baez, Ochs etc) "Are they the voice of young America? Yes, and that's more the pity; they are not saying anything with which Lyndon Johnson could disagree" He went on to declare if they wanted to hear protest singers then they should listen to Aunt Molly Jackson.
Maybe it was because the works of the young Americans was reaching an audience far wider than the folk scene? I don't know.
What I did know was at the time, as an impressionable teenager, it put me in an awkward position as they were then, and remain so to this day, my two favourite songwriters


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 03:30 AM

Well, obviously, Guest, all the people who have taken the trouble to post. So what a silly question!

~M~


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 03:18 AM

Forgive me but I find that there is an element of 'light the blue touch paper and run' about this kind of thread title.   I mean, frankly, who cares?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 01:32 AM

On Dylan's poetic merits ~ Might be worth drawing attention to this, perhaps unexpected, enthusiast, whom I knew slightly and used to discuss Dylan with when he was a fellow of my Cambridge college, Christ's, before he went to Boston:

--Sir Christopher Bruce Ricks, FBA (born 1933) is a British literary critic and scholar. He is the William M. and Sara B. Warren Professor of the Humanities at Boston University (U.S.) and Co-Director of the Editorial Institute at Boston University, and was Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford (England) from 2004 to 2009. He is the immediate past-president of the Association of Literary Scholars and Critics. He is known as a champion of Victorian poetry; an enthusiast of Bob Dylan, whose lyrics he has analysed at book-length... ~ wikipedia

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 12:56 AM

(Oh, by the way...I think Bob Dylan really likes the way Sinatra sings. But I don't.)


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 12:54 AM

I'd agree with that. Anyway, if you listen to his whole catalogue, his harmonica playing varies a great deal. Sometimes it's wild and primitive, sometimes it's gloriously ornate, sometimes it's very clean, sometimes it's joyously bluesy, depends on the song and the occasion.

That goes for his voice too. Through his whole career you hear a lot of different vocal styles from Bob Dylan.

Melodeon Boy - I didn't say that everyone who doesn't like Dylan is envious. I said "I think it's sheer envy or else utter incomprehension that causes most people to slag Dylan."

There's an "or else" right in the middle of that statement. I do gather, yes, that you are not envious of Mr Dylan.

While I think there are some songwriters who are at times as good...or better lyricists than Bob Dylan...I sure don't think his lyrics are mediocre. I think they're exceptional in the case of a good half of his material. Mediocre in some of his songs? Yes. But in other songs he did things lyrically that were utterly revolutionary for the time in which he wrote them, that changed the whole scene in a lasting way, and people were blown away by those songs...specially in the years 1963-66.

Joan Baez has said of Bob Dylan that he wrote "the best songs", and that people either get what Dylan's saying...in which case his stuff goes "way deep" for them...or they don't get it, in which case it makes no impression at all on them.

Sounds to me like that's what you experience when you hear his songs. They don't connect for you. That doesn't mean they're mediocre, but you will probably always think they are, and there's not a thing anyone can do about that.

It's like me and Sinatra. While I do realize he was very good at what he did, I just can't relate to it. He radiates an attitude and a lifestyle that I can't identify with, therefore he simply doesn't move me at all. This doesn't mean Sinatra is mediocre. It just means he doesn't represent anything I can believe in.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: meself
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 08:03 PM

I disagree with everybody. Dylan plays harp the way he wants to, to get the sound he wants. He's been playing guitar with harp in the rack for fifty or sixty years now; with very little effort, he could play as cleanly as you could wish - it's not that hard. He doesn't want a clean, polished sound. And I don't think he plays "bad" by any means. He plays in a manner that is consistent with and contributes to his overall sound, which is the whole point.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 07:56 PM

GSS, I am speechless.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,SirCougsalot
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 07:54 PM

Dylan most certainly did not play exactly like Woody Guthrie. You can listen to Woody Guthrie playing the harp, and listen to Dylan, and you can surely tell the difference. I agree with Mr. Claude.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Charlie Claude
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 07:31 PM

Its not supposed to be, I dont think he intentionaly tried to play the harmonica bad. And concerning the Question, lots of people dont like dylan.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 07:30 PM

Dylan played harmonica exactly like Woody Guthrie. And Steve Earle plays like Dylan. And Jay Farrar plays like Steve, as does Colin Meloy of the Decembrists.It's a style that has more to do with guitar players honking on harps in neck holders than anything, and I happen to like it.
Here is Meloy playing Woody-style. Has a nice wild sound to it. It ain't James cotton, and it ain't for everyone, but I dig it.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: melodeonboy
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 07:28 PM

"I think it's sheer envy or else utter incomprehension that causes most people to slag Dylan. God knows, they've got quite a bit to be envious about! ;-) "

Really? I don't envy Dylan at all. I just find him boring and mediocre. His commercial success always seemed, to me, to be at odds with his unremarkable talents as a musician and a singer, and his rather average lyrics.

I think it's a case of "The Emperor's New Clothes"!

Spokesman for a generation? Yeh, right!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: meself
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 07:19 PM

Of course, his harmonica-playing, like his singing, is SUPPOSED to be a little bit on the sloppy side.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 06:48 PM

His harmonica playing is a little bit on the sloppy side, but it's effective for what he does. His guitar picking is the same, but I would rather listen to the people he learned from.


Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: tonyteach1
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 06:46 PM

In my youth in the 60s and 70s selling out ie actually making money out of writing and performing was regarded as not the done thing by certain sections of the UK folk world


Mr Dylan has made and probably continues to make a lot of money out of his songs - good luck to him I cannot stand his voice but thats my problem not his

He has remained a top performer for over 40 years some people choose not to like this


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,SirCoughsalot
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 06:19 PM

Does this really have to come to personal attacks?

Regarding Dylan's guitar/harmonica playing: They're a lot like his voice, I guess; they aren't for everybody. I mean, music's all subjective. Personally I like Dylan's guitar playing. Most of the time it's not fancy, but it does what it needs to do, and he can play some really good stuff. His first album is one of my favorites, and he plays some great blues on it. His harmonica playing, while I agree it is not technically perfect and sometimes is borderline off-key, is the reason I play the harmonica and I still like it. It's good enough for me. Heck, I even like his singing.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 05:59 PM

that is hilarious from Folknacious, personally I think i would rather pass my time with Ewan, for all his faults, than Pooters like foLk nacious.
Maybe he just didnt like him, does he have to have had a reason, Imean I dont like the cyberspace folknacious, although in real life he might be as good company as Oscar Wilde, do i have to have a reason for liking cyberspace folknacious, does Ewan have to have a reason for disliking Dylan, if he disliked him


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: zozimus
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 05:42 PM

My understanding was that Dylan got up a lot of people's noses in the U.K Folk scene by recording their sessions and then using the melodies for the songs he wrote, of which there are numerous examples. Perhaps this is why MacColl did'nt like him. As regards Bob's singing voice, he can sing clearly and distinctly when he likes. Himself and the late Liam Clancy used have great crack where Bob would imitate Liam's voice and Liam would imitate Bob's. However, both had a great feel for what sells, and kept this to themselves.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 05:20 PM

That's right. And I might also mention that Rick Fielding, who is virtually a saint on this forum....and who was a great man, I might add...often said that he thought Dylan was a really fine guitar player and harmonica player and songwriter. I heard him say that. I saw him say it on this forum.

What was he then, just another deluded Bob Dylan fan?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,guest Jim Younger
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 03:49 PM

I don't get the "Dylan is a mediocre guitarist/harmonica player" bit at all. He's a damn fine flatpicker who is willing to take a chance out of first position - and as good a harmonica player (in his own way) as he needs to be ... which is pretty good to my ear.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,SirCoughsalot
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 03:14 PM

Well, from what I hear, Bobby isn't exactly Mr. Congeniality either. He seems stuck up, most of the time. But I like his music. Ewan MacColl didn't like the Pogues either when they did Dirty Old Town. The joke was on him when his daughter joined them for Fairytale of New York.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Folknacious
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 03:02 PM

In a similar vein, MacColl to Bert Jansch (possibly apocryphal): "Ah yes, my children have some of your records."

MacColl seemed to be a pompous, opinionated, self-obsessed and unpleasant man on the evidence of the programme - in that aspect he'd have fitted in very well on Mudcat. He wrote some good songs. His singing hasn't aged well. Now of historic interest only.

Whether Dylan wrote more good songs or had a more attractive voice is entirely down to personal taste. Arguably - from their relative fan bases - Dylan had much more charisma, unless you were part of the MacColl inner circle.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 03:00 PM

Yep, Terry, Article 12 Section 9 says "..and no one shall criticize, or speak to the detriment of, the following: Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, or Cisco Houston." Therefore its still open season on Ewan and Bobby.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 02:39 PM

Pray tell !! Is there a 'Folk' law that says any of us MUST like anything ?? In MY opinion its a pointless question !


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 02:30 PM

because he saw him as a mediocre lyricist?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 02:29 PM

yep there's always that, Sircough


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,SirCoughsalot
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 02:20 PM

Because Dylan played rock and roll.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Acorn4
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 02:04 PM

Matt, your post tends to echo what I've said at the beginning about the "generation" thing. E Mac was a near contemporary of Woody Guthrie ( whom BD of coures originally modelled himself partly on)- during the thirties they were both doing the same thing of irritating and generally getting up the noses of the "establishment".

For EMac the folk singing/writing seemed to be a mid life career change having been basically involved in theatre when he was young.

If he'd have been a generation later, might he have gone in the same direction as Bob? Could he not recognise someone who had a lot in commmon with himself when he was younger?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: matt milton
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 01:10 PM

" I love his politics"

what, even his Stalinism and Maoist phases? What about his homophobia?

When I read the two MacColl biographies, I often thought it's a shame he hadn't been born a decade (or so) later. The boy done good in many ways: he had pretty much no schooling, but made radical and intuitive connections between politics and theatre, and then politics and song. But he was way too hampered by reactionary, authoritarian, top-down notions of class struggle.

That oh-so-literal pamphleteering is all there in his lyrics. But it has none of the back-to-basics sneer of punk: instead it's an ersatz lyricism that in many ways patronises its subjects.

Me, I think MacColl's art was at its best when it was at its most fusty and antiquarian. His Broadside Ballads are the kind of beautifully mildewed steamfolk that I'm sure Sedayne would dig (if he doesn't already). I like Ewan MacColl best when he sounds posh - it's, ironically when he sounds the least affected: he sounds a bit like Tom Baker as Dr Who.

(There's also the early MacColl, duetting with Isla Cameron, in which he doesn't overthink things: a rare instance of MacColl doing a lyricism that doesn't try to valorise The Working Man the way Soviet Propaganda films did)


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Acorn4
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 01:09 PM

The comment Ewan about not liking Dylan because he was steeped in the American tradition doesn't really hold water considering who his partner was.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 01:08 PM

Several folks have made a career out of disparaging Bob Dylan. Bob never made claims to be a protest singer or a revolutionary, so those who feel he sold out his principles weren't listening in the first place. Dylan committed the unforgiveable sin of scoring enormous popular success and having his songs covered by everyone from Joan Baez to the Turtles. That success does nothing to diminish his craft in my opinion.

Songs like Blowin in the Wind, Don't Think Twice, All Along the Watchtower,Like a Rolling Stone, and countless others earned him the title of Spokesman for a Generation, but he laid no claim to it. The songs attained tremendous success because they were accessible and well written.

Is Dylan a poet? He has never said that, to my knowledge. And while many of his lines hold up to comparisons to Cummings and Eliott, there were clearly a lot of weak rhymes and tongue-in-cheek images.

No the only claim Dylan ever made for himself was that he was a songwriter. And in my opinion, he's not only right, he is one of the very best, no matter what Ewan MacColl says.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: bobad
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 01:07 PM

Sometimes I'm glad that I am totally ignorant of the technical aspects of music - that way I can appreciate whoever I like to listen to.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 01:05 PM

"Got all them buckets comin' out of my ears"!?

Sorry, but it jars in an otherwise excellent song just as MacColl's Wapping/Stopping rhyme spoils Sweet Thames for me.


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