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Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?

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GUEST 04 Jan 12 - 04:11 AM
Acorn4 04 Jan 12 - 05:28 AM
melodeonboy 04 Jan 12 - 07:14 AM
Baz Bowdidge 04 Jan 12 - 07:21 AM
greg stephens 04 Jan 12 - 07:54 AM
Acorn4 04 Jan 12 - 08:00 AM
Owen Woodson 04 Jan 12 - 08:03 AM
Marje 04 Jan 12 - 08:20 AM
TheSnail 04 Jan 12 - 08:52 AM
Richard Bridge 04 Jan 12 - 08:57 AM
Marje 04 Jan 12 - 09:09 AM
Acorn4 04 Jan 12 - 09:54 AM
GUEST,matt milton 04 Jan 12 - 10:47 AM
The Sandman 04 Jan 12 - 11:03 AM
Owen Woodson 04 Jan 12 - 11:06 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 04 Jan 12 - 11:55 AM
Richard Bridge 04 Jan 12 - 11:55 AM
greg stephens 04 Jan 12 - 11:59 AM
Dave Sutherland 04 Jan 12 - 12:17 PM
The Sandman 04 Jan 12 - 12:18 PM
greg stephens 04 Jan 12 - 12:24 PM
MGM·Lion 04 Jan 12 - 12:47 PM
Jim Carroll 04 Jan 12 - 12:54 PM
ollaimh 04 Jan 12 - 12:57 PM
greg stephens 04 Jan 12 - 01:05 PM
GUEST,grumpy 04 Jan 12 - 01:18 PM
Lonesome EJ 04 Jan 12 - 01:22 PM
Acorn4 04 Jan 12 - 01:57 PM
The Sandman 04 Jan 12 - 01:59 PM
The Sandman 04 Jan 12 - 02:04 PM
Jim Carroll 04 Jan 12 - 02:57 PM
GUEST,Derek Schofield 04 Jan 12 - 03:28 PM
The Sandman 04 Jan 12 - 03:49 PM
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Lonesome EJ 04 Jan 12 - 04:36 PM
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GUEST,matt milton 05 Jan 12 - 04:53 AM
greg stephens 05 Jan 12 - 05:15 AM
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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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: greg stephens
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 11:59 AM

GSS says MtheGM is in one of the pix. Is that soi. Who is he? Itriguing.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 12:17 PM

MacColl certainly used that description of Dylan's poetry in the interview with Karl Dallas; it is repeated in Robert Sheldon's "No Direction Home" and possibly other biogarphies. "Rehashed Ginsberg" was also used as a put down and in no way a defence; I don't recall Ewan saying anything good about Dylan. Dylan, to his credit, never publicaly responded to MacColl's diatrabes about him.
I'm at work at present but I'll check out the actual passages later tonight.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 12:18 PM

if my memory serves me right,he is sitting towards the front, cross legged and looks a bit like ringo starr, slightly to left of centre, as one looks.
mind you had better show me the pic again, in case I may have placed him in wrong position


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: greg stephens
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 12:24 PM

is he in this picture?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 12:47 PM

Dick & Greg ~~ No, you are in the wrong pic altogether. I had left London by the time of Dylan's gigs. I think you are thinking of one that was pub'd in Ewan MacColl's autobiog Journeyman (1990), of a session by Ewan & Bert Lloyd at the Princess Louise c 1956-57; I remarked in my review for The Times that you don't often get a book to notice with your own 40 year old mugshot in it.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 12:54 PM

"Quite simple really: jealousy and ignorance."
Not in a thousand years Cap'n
MacColl and Dylan as performers and in objectives were chalk and cheese - they were coming from different directions and Dylan changed course in mid-stream anyway and totally abandoned the tradition in pursuit of the big bucks - and made no pretence of doing otherwise.
Whether you prefer one or t'other is a matter of taste - personally, as much as I agree with people's comments on some of MacColl's more ephemeral pieces, which were songs for the moment, not intended to outlive the events they covered, I believe songs like Freeborn Man, Shoals of Herring, Dirty Old Town, Joy of Living - and many, many more (even Sweet Thames) will, still be sung long after all here have joined the 'choir invisibule'.
I've never really understood why 'First Time Ever' surfces in these discussions - it certainly was never, or never considered to be - one of Ewan's best songs, by him or anybody else. Both he and Peggy were staggered and, I believe, slightly embarrassed when it 'made it big-time' though it did allow them to set up Blackthorn Records which, IMO gave us four of the best albums of traditional ballads ever.
Personally, I found Dylan's first few efforts mildly interesting, but they soon faded and his later stuff became jaded and poetically pretentious.
As a protest singer, Dylan will always be - for me anyway - the rising star who refused to join Seeger and the others on the Civil Rights Marches because he "couldn't afford the fare", until he was 'made an offer he couldn't refuse' by singer/actor Theodore Bikel - a free bus ticket South.   
"Wasn't it a little bearded Scottish guy that shouted 'Judas!'"
A similar incident was reported following Dylan's appearance at Newport - the offended party was said to have been Pete Seeger.
As a 'folk' performer Dylan was somewhat disregarded by MacColl and Lloyd, and other figures in the revival, their main concern being that he might get in the way of singers exploring their own traditions - Alan Lomax's idea originally - thankfully he didn't.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: ollaimh
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 12:57 PM

i think it's quite unfair to disparage dylan's guitar and harmonica playing. he is an excelent finger picker and a good electric lead player. his harmoinica style is often unique but among the best.

that being said i don't really like either all that much. if i judge by how often in put on their records its a tie, about once every two years.

i like few mccoll songs and think they will last. such as shoals of herring. i worked on a fish boat when i was young and he gets the feeling, even if he didn't ever do it hinself. however his folk beliefs were oure british empire inspired nonsense. those "revolutioaries" were unconscoius to their place as folk mediators. they got in the way of working class people and ethnic people who had real folk and set them selves up as the "leaders" that was disgusting. back in the seventies i was singing nova scotia and newfoundland folk songs, and some in gaelic and getting told it wasn't acceptable folk music by the mccoll cultists and many others. in scotland they often said it was country music. of course no one cared about or listened to gaels. they were beyond the fringe, inn fact the "n people" back then. now the better educated and less biased ethnomusicologists realize we were keeping the real traditional music alive. the bourgeoius folkies were like most bourgeoise. they appointed themselves the leaders. mccoll faked he was a gael with that fake name. its an insult and it's bigotry of the worst kind.   he did it because no one listened to or talked to gaels back then.

i think dylan saw all the fakery and went his own way. to his credit. he faked a name but at least he had a good reason. jews are widely persecuted . mccoll was born with a fine and respectable loewlander name but that wasn't good enough. he had to be "leader" of the gaels.

well our music was doing fine before his kind came and still is without them. and will go on without the bourgeuise folk"leaders".when they are forgotten gaels will be doing thier music and loved for it.

so i say mccoll was a thinnly disguised bigot whose revolutionary ideas were poorly thought out elitist bullshit. the revolutions brought about by those types all ended up discriminating against ethnic minorities because just like in the folk scene they out ideology befor human values and they put theor egos before music


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: greg stephens
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 01:05 PM

Jim Carroll: leaving aside any controversy about MacColl andf his opinions, isn't the picture I posted a few minutes ago a wonderful bit of history of those years? MacColl's expression is enigmatic. Listening intently, as were most people there, I suppose.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,grumpy
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 01:18 PM

It might be, Greg, if the link worked.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 01:22 PM

greg, would it be possible for you to identify the listeners in your photo for those of us who were unenlightened and still listening to the Beach Boys at that time?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Acorn4
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 01:57 PM

The link works fine from my laptop.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 01:59 PM

Jim Carroll I did not say this;"Quite simple really: jealousy and ignorance."
Not in a thousand years Cap'n


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

JIM CARROLL, it was.
Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,999 - PM
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 12:47 PM

"Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?"

Perhaps something as simple as jealousy. After everyone has had their shot at Dylan, he has done more for music than MacColl ever did (from a North American perspective).

Dylan's finger picking in his earlier work was as rawly refined as finger picking gets. And his approach to blues was also good. I still see people nailing him for his voice. IMO, MacColl was not much of a vocalist--certainly not as much as HE thought he was. I found him to be quite 'put on' in some of his material, and maybe just a tad precious about his place in the music world and his affect on it.

None of it is news that musicians ride each other's coattails. You need proof, look at the crawling up each other's arses that happens on Facebook. Great songs from MacColl? Indeed. Some of his songs have stayed around for decades, and that speaks to the value of his writing. His Radio Ballads are brilliant works of art and meaning: protest at its best. But please don't try to turn him into a god-like writer or performer. He was a guy making a living, just like Dylan.

Dylan has been Dylan since the early 1960s. Many of his detractors are as good in their best moments as Dylan was in his worst. Perhaps people generally don't know what's good. They do know what they like, however. And looking back, more people liked Dylan than liked MacColl. IMO.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 02:57 PM

"isn't the picture I posted a few minutes ago a wonderful bit of history of those years?" Greg - Yes, it is, but nothing like the complete picture. I have seen it before, but I have also spoken to some of the people who were there at the time and got very mixed interpretations of how Dylan was received. I know Bert regarded the evening as an "interesting non-event", certainly when we asked him about it.
It would have been taken around the time when Martin Carthy claimed Dylan 'stole' Scarborough Fair from his singing; when Joe Heaney was being boo-ed off stage in Dublin, when we were still surrounded by the blandness of the 'folk boom' - the revival was very much in flux at the time and one of the few influential constants was The Singers Club, which continued to be the case right up to Ewan's death.
"he has done more for music than MacColl ever did"
Wow - never heard that one before Cap'n - you might as well claim the same of Elvis - MacColl and Dylan were out of totally different stables, making such comparisons somewhat silly; the only difference being MacColl persisted at what he was doing while Dylan.... well - work it out for yourself!
Now if the rest of us went around claiming "Perhaps people generally don't know what's good", we'd all end up as fully qualified member of The Folk Police - I really wouldn't go there if I were you.
Putting criticism down to "jealousy" is a sure path to what you graphically describe as "crawling up each other's arses" - wouldn't go there either!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 03:28 PM

Apart from Ewan, Bert and Bob Dylan, i don't know anyone else in the photo, but I know who took it - Brian Shuel - and it's his copyright!

i think Dylan just did a floor spot at the Singers' Club - is that correct Jim?

I think Jim gets it about right with regard to EM and BD (12.54 posting). I would guess that Ewan wanted folk song to be the medium and style with which to lead a political musical attack on capitalism ... and probably hadn't reckoned on that attack (such that it was) coming via pop music, which I believe he hated. Perhaps because pop music was firmly commercial and part of the capitalist system ... and I suppose he was proved correct when Dylan moved away from protest song to a more personal repertoire, and no doubt became a millionaire!

The Newport/Dylan/Seeger story has been through so many tellings, but I don't think Pete ever called out Judas. I tend to believe Joe Boyd's account in his book White Bicycles - Joe was one of the sound men. Pete did not try and cut the cable with an axe - he was trying to get the sound guys to turn down the volume and stop the distorted sound as he was keen for people, himself included, to hear the lyrics! I don't believe he was against electric instrumentation - after all, as I've just read very recently, Howlin' Wolf played an electric guitar on stage at Newport the previous day.

Pause while I google ...

Ah, in 2001, Pete 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.

Derek


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 03:49 PM

JimCarroll, for f### sake read properly, that is not my post but guest 999


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 04:00 PM

From "No Direction Home" Robert Shelton pp296:-"To the purists led by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger success spelled compromise. In September 1965, in a Melody Maker interview, MacColl predicted "We are going to get lots of copies of Dylan – one foot in folk and one in pop….Dylan is to me the perfect symbol of the anti-artist in our society. He is against everything – the last resort of someone who doesn't really want to change the world….I think his poetry is punk. It's derivative and terribly old hat…..Dylan songs accept the world as it is"
As opposed to the seventies counter culture MacColl uses the word punk in it's, even then, old fashioned meaning of immature.
Interesting seeing the picture of Dylan at The Singer's Club as in his book "Class Act" Ben Harker suggests that on the night of his visit MacColl and Seeger were uptight at being upstaged in their own club.
And on the subject of pictures Mike, I got down my copy of "Journeyman" – I presume the top photograph of Ewan and Bert singing together; where are you?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 04:36 PM

This is a pretty interesting thread, actually.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 04:38 PM

Perhaps taste.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 05:16 PM

Dave ~ I am the young man, dark hair, white shirt, whom the perspective makes to seem to have his left ear almost against Bert's right elbow: see where I mean?

~M~


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Brian May
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 05:32 PM

When I saw the title of the thread, I immediately thought 'jealousy' as has been said above. I still reckon in his pomposity he objected to BD being RICH.

I never met Bob Dylan, but I did meet Ewan MacColl and I thought he was a miserable git quite frankly, his most redeeming quality was Peggy Seeger.

Bob Dylan's most redeeming feature is that everybody could do his songs better than he could - he probably cried all the way to the bank.

At the end of the day, it really doesn't matter does it?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 06:54 PM

Hells bells if there was ONE thing I could take off the Ewan MacColl LPs I have it would be that fricking out of time out of tune banjo!

I have no Dylan LPs. Not even for stuff to learn.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 12:27 AM

My condolences, Richard! ;-D I can arrange to send you a care package...

****

Brian May - While I agree that some people sing some of Dylan's songs better than Dylan does (and one could say that of Leonard Cohen and some of his songs too)...I think that Dylan has sung certain of his songs better than anyone else ever did...if you go back to when they were first recorded. The original versions are unbeatable.

For instance:

Blind Willie McTell
Like a Rolling Stone
Visions of Johanna
Ballad of a Thin Man

(just to mention 4 songs where I think Dylan's original version remains THE definitive version)

And the other useful point, which I think you did sort of acknowledge is: If Dylan had not written those songs, nobody would have gotten to cover them. So, thanks to Bob.

Ewan MacColl did some wonderful stuff. I have a record of him doing Robert Burns material. I love it.

But...I think he was a fairly typical tight-assed, snobby, pretentious folk purist of the type I've seen in action ever since I picked up a guitar. They are besotted with their own supposed musical purity and their imagined sublime superiority over EVERY other form of music other than what they call "folk music", which means only their narrow version of it. They sneer down their noses at practically everybody except a tiny little in-group of similar bastards who are playing the same exclusivity game they are. They treat young people and singer-songwriters like garbage, and they perform music as if they were museum curators wheeling out a sacred relic in a glass case.

They are pompous, tiresome, and vain. Most of them are fat, ruddy-faced, caustic men with beards. They infest certain little dimly lit clubs where they make it so unpleasant for anyone not in their in-group to go that they can be assured to have the place pretty much to themselves.

I've seen them ever since I, a person utterly in love with folk music at the tender age of 21, tried to go and play a few folksongs at some "folk" venues where these pretentious gits were ruling the roost. Yes, their contempt for youngsters like me who dared to play an original song....or a Dylan song... or a Neil Young song...or any song not from the UK and not written prior to 1900...was palpable.

A pox on their bloody houses, I say! They are not very likable chaps. May they be dragged from their sodding ivory towers, denied their daily ration of ale for at least a week, thrown into pits full of famished hedeghogs, and then made to walk naked through the streets of Soho to teach them a little humility and common brotherhood.

(wicked grin)


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 02:33 AM

I've seen that fantasy before LH. I don't know what you ate before you dreamed it, but I suspect it included cheese.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Acorn4
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 03:31 AM

"They treat young people and singer-songwriters like garbage."

But EM was a singer/songwriter.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 04:53 AM

"Hells bells if there was ONE thing I could take off the Ewan MacColl LPs I have it would be that fricking out of time out of tune banjo!"

Horses for courses, but it's the other way round for me. Peggy Seeger's arrangements and playing are what redeems the majority of MacColl's back catalogue in my book. The arrangements are unshowy, unpretentious, economic, while often being quite sophisticated. They're a good foil for the stridency (and, let's face it, often pompousness) of MacColl's delivery.

On a technical level, if you're referring to Peggy Seeger's banjo playing, then there's nothing out of time or out of tune about it on any of the MacColl/Seeger albums I've heard. (And I've heard pretty much all of them.)

Just as there was nothing out of time or out of tune about her playing when I saw her play the other week, at an age at which she'd be forgiven for the odd fluffed note or two.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: greg stephens
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 05:15 AM

Agree with Acorn4. Little Hawk: you are a bit off target. Ewan MacColl was by no means against song writers, one of the functions of the Critics Group was to criticise the songs the participants wrote. In practice he may have been against most songwriters, because he didn't like their songs. Which is a perfectly reasonable intellectual stance, though it will have limited his social life.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Brian May
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 08:08 AM

Little Hawk,

No real argument with that (and the Leonard Cohen reference - which is why razor blades were invented in my book).

I found Peggy Seeger charming and witty, Ewan just glowered - they were trying to unload me of a song I'd had a hand in writing.

As I've said earlier on Mudcat, I still owe her 4d (4 pence in old money as we horse-traded that she'd pay the postage).

Bob Dylan truly did some of his stuff well, often because nobody else covered it . . . ?

I really think tracks such as 'The Times They Are a'Changin'and 'Blowin' in the Wind' are as true now as when they were written.

They deserve to be sung some more. Ewan MacColl however, I'm surprised he could even breath - with his head up there . . .

Have fun all


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 08:12 AM

"(wicked grin)"
MacColl has been dead now for 22 years - he was cremated and his ashes scattered over the location of one of his favourite hill-walks
Perhaps you might catch his spirit, put it in a bottle and then subject it to what you have in mind during one of these corpse-kicking exercises.
Aotehr wicked grin
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 08:13 AM

Can some kind tooth-fairy combine these two bloody threads before we all go barmy
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Baz Bowdidge
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 08:58 AM

Bob Dylan's songs were and are legendary (2nd most covered artist), Ewan McColl's songs never were.
It is only those in the know and the folk music fraternity who could place McColl.
'The First Time...' is generally known as a song by Roberta Flack or as a girlfriend put it 'I love that love scene song in 'Play Misty For Me''.
Play misty for me - The first time ever I saw your face


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Acorn4
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 10:07 AM

"Can some kind tooth-fairy combine these two bloody threads before we all go barmy?"

LOL - I just thought that it would be a good idea to limit the focus a bit to try to avoid going over old territory, which seems to have worked a bit more than on the other thread, although both have been interesting to someone like me who wasn't involved at the time these things were going on.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 10:33 AM

I dunno if they didn't like each other. or why they they didn't like each other. Perhaps they didn't. perhaps they did. who knows.

What I do know is the fact that it is suspected they didn't like each other, has played merry hell with English folk music; English folk clubs; the English folkmusic movement. The perceived argument has ballooned out of all proportion.

All so unnecessary and divisive.

They were both pretty damn good. Listen to that first album and close your eyes and imagine a twenty year old Bob Dylan standing there in the corner playing for you. The readings of traditional material as good any you will hear anywhere.

I saw Ewan and Peggy lots of times. they were never less than impressive. if you weren't impressed by the creativity of the Radio Ballads and the power of his delivery - you must have been made of stone.


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