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Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?

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The Sandman 17 Apr 17 - 08:49 AM
Jack Campin 17 Apr 17 - 08:00 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Apr 17 - 07:12 AM
Steve Shaw 17 Apr 17 - 06:34 AM
Bonzo3legs 17 Apr 17 - 06:25 AM
Big Al Whittle 17 Apr 17 - 06:17 AM
Thompson 17 Apr 17 - 02:31 AM
meself 16 Apr 17 - 08:51 PM
Gallus Moll 16 Apr 17 - 07:56 PM
Jack Campin 16 Apr 17 - 07:31 PM
toadfrog 16 Apr 17 - 02:54 PM
The Sandman 28 Jul 16 - 08:03 PM
GUEST,pauperback 28 Jul 16 - 04:37 PM
GUEST,Don Wise 25 Jan 12 - 04:55 AM
MGM·Lion 25 Jan 12 - 12:37 AM
Big Al Whittle 24 Jan 12 - 09:25 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 24 Jan 12 - 08:01 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 24 Jan 12 - 06:34 PM
Little Hawk 24 Jan 12 - 06:22 PM
Acorn4 24 Jan 12 - 04:01 PM
Spleen Cringe 24 Jan 12 - 03:28 PM
The Sandman 24 Jan 12 - 03:28 PM
Little Hawk 24 Jan 12 - 03:10 PM
Will Fly 24 Jan 12 - 02:43 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 24 Jan 12 - 02:12 PM
Little Hawk 24 Jan 12 - 01:48 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 24 Jan 12 - 01:14 PM
The Sandman 24 Jan 12 - 12:37 PM
Little Hawk 24 Jan 12 - 10:18 AM
GUEST,Don Wise 24 Jan 12 - 10:05 AM
Spleen Cringe 24 Jan 12 - 09:45 AM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 24 Jan 12 - 09:31 AM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 24 Jan 12 - 09:07 AM
TheSnail 23 Jan 12 - 12:32 PM
Vic Smith 23 Jan 12 - 12:16 PM
Vic Smith 23 Jan 12 - 11:14 AM
TheSnail 23 Jan 12 - 10:04 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Jan 12 - 09:05 AM
TheSnail 23 Jan 12 - 08:51 AM
TheSnail 23 Jan 12 - 08:45 AM
Vic Smith 23 Jan 12 - 08:19 AM
Vic Smith 23 Jan 12 - 08:09 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Jan 12 - 07:43 AM
GUEST,Allan Conn 23 Jan 12 - 06:48 AM
TheSnail 23 Jan 12 - 06:34 AM
TheSnail 23 Jan 12 - 06:30 AM
Vic Smith 23 Jan 12 - 05:29 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Jan 12 - 04:03 AM
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Paul Burke 22 Jan 12 - 07:06 PM
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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 08:49 AM

I think Masters of war is a good song, the tune is also taken from the tradition [was it taken from Jean Ritchies family tradtion?]. Bob dylans dream is a crap song[ imo] but he took the tune from the tradition again[ croppy boy/ lord franklin]
I understand why MacColl did what he thought was right, and it meant that the british reperttoire was strengthened, however I see no fault in singing Guthries songs, preferably in ones own accent, but better that they are sung than not sung at all.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 08:00 AM

Dylan's nod to the tradition was a relatively brief one - his history is mainly as a pop singer - he followed his career - when folk took a dive in the charts, he went elsewhere, nowt wrong with that

A kind of backwards Eddi Reader - when her pop career fizzled out she figured the folk scene might make an appropriate retirement home.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 07:12 AM

"anyone who thinks Dylan had no feeling for traditional song - either knows absolutely fuck all about traditional song,"
If he did Al, it didn't appear in his own songs or his interpretation of traditional ones.
Dylan's nod to the tradition was a relatively brief one - his history is mainly as a pop singer - he followed his career - when folk took a dive in the charts, he went elsewhere, nowt wrong with that
MacColl regarded Dylan as a threat to what his generation of folk singers had worked for - the opening up and dissemination of what they regarded as 'the songs of the people', particularly in respect to the national and regional repertoires
When Lomax came to Britain in the fifties, everybody was trying to sound like Woodie Guthrie, including Ewan and Bert Lloyd
Lomax argued that the native repertoire was dying because it was being ignored - MacColl and Lloyd listened and devoted their lives to our native traditions..... then along came Bobby
"The word 'tradition' comes from the Latin 'tradition' - I hand on..."
Wherever the word originated, when it is applied to song or music, it is fairly specific - I might hand on my old socks to a younger brother, but it doesn't make them traditional socks.
Don't know about you, but Bozo's predictably hysterical outburst convinces me I've chosen the right side
Hope his Vietnamese lady has been immunised against rabies!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 06:34 AM

The trouble is, Al, that this kind of discussion always ends up in polarisation. Your opening remarks are typical. It seems to always depend on whether one is a Dylan aficionado or not. The comment about the elder statesmen of the folk revival reeks of hyperbole to me. If that overwhelming influence is present, I don't see abundant signs of it all over the place hitting me between the eyes. The man himself regards himself as a rock singer. Can't deny he had influence on some people. But to suggest (not saying you are suggesting...) that he's some kind of pivotal or seminal figure in the folk music revival is pushing it way too far.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 06:25 AM

"Ewan MacColl was an arch communist" - yes a lunatic British communist, nutty as a fruitcake just like Corbyn and his bunch. Now I work with a North Vietnamese lady who is of course communist, very normal, and one of the nicest ladies you would ever care to meet, totally free of the preposterous hang ups associated with British lefties and worse!!!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 06:17 AM

anyone who thinks Dylan had no feeling for traditional song - either knows absolutely fuck all about traditional song, or absolutely fuck all about Dylan's work.

the word 'tradition' comes from the Latin 'traditio' - I hand on...

The work of Dylan and his versions of traditional song and attempts to inject modern resonances into traditional song forms is responsible for inspiring most of the elder statesmen of the English folk revival.

attempts to trash an important artist's reputation reeks of the profitless factionalism of an earlier age. Dylan's legacy speaks for itself to anyone of intelligence or awareness of how the folk music movement in England has developed.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Thompson
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 02:31 AM

It's understandable why someone whose political heart is in the solidarity of working class people would find Bob Dylan's "only a working man" image while Dylan is a true capitalist somewhat like the scraping of fingernails on a blackboard?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: meself
Date: 16 Apr 17 - 08:51 PM

Saying that Dylan "had no feeling for traditional songs" is simply stating an opinion. We are free to agree or disagree. ("Yes, he did." "No, he didn't." "He did." "He didn't." "Did." "Didn't.").

Maybe we could take one of those polls that they do nowadays on TV news programs: Our question: Do you think Dylan had no feeling for traditional song? x% of respondents say 'yes', y% say 'no'.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Gallus Moll
Date: 16 Apr 17 - 07:56 PM

I've not read through all of these posts, so don' t know what has been said before- but toadfrog -- I have to disagree!
Certainly some early Dylan songs were based on Scottish traditional / folk material!
And I know that Jean Redpath shared a flat 'way back when with a number of musicians, Bob Dylan was either one of them or session-ed with them - and Jean would have been singing Scottish ballads and the like! So it does not surprise me that something might have rubbed off onto him-----
I have certainly heard Scots . traditional (undertones? overtones? ) in some early Dylan songs -- -


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 16 Apr 17 - 07:31 PM

read his autobiography- the worst day of his life was the day the soviet union fell

He died on 22 October 1989.

The USSR fell on 25 December 1991.

(I have no idea if Conrad is still alive. I don't suppose it makes much difference to the chances of a fact getting through into his skull).


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: toadfrog
Date: 16 Apr 17 - 02:54 PM

Aside from political differences--
However talented, Dylan had no feeling for traditional songs, which McColl and Seeger did. McColl believed that the spirit of the songs he sang could be preserved. Dylan may have thought he understood that spirit. But he didn't.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Jul 16 - 08:03 PM

Dylan imo is pretentious,on occasions he wrote enigmatic songs that allowed others to read whatever message they liked.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,pauperback
Date: 28 Jul 16 - 04:37 PM

Baz Bowdidge Date: 22 Jan 12 - 10:54 AM


Not the brother of Judith Miller?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Don Wise
Date: 25 Jan 12 - 04:55 AM

@ Little Hawk:

as Bob Dylan put it,"I was so much older then,I'm younger than that now".


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 Jan 12 - 12:37 AM

"Ewan MacColl was an arch communist
read his autobiography- the worst day of his life was the day the soviet union fell"
.,,.
A chip off the old block, his father Will, indeed. One of the most moving moments in the whole of Ewan's autobiography Journeyman is the account of Will Miller, on the day that Lenin died, sitting in front of the fire for hours, weeping uncontrollably.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 09:25 PM

wish someone would retool me


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 08:01 PM

Dylan was arch capitolist chameleon folk music market server and

Ewan MacColl was an arch communist

read his autobiography- the worst day of his life was the day the soviet union fell

part of the communist take over of folk music him and seeger

dylan just wanted the money and re tooled himself to suit


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 06:34 PM

LH, I never take offence at anything that you write. Although, occasionally, I may not agree with some of your views or opinions, you are obviously a thoughtful and sensitive person and I have only respect for you.

I believe strongly that we should all be able to engage in vigorous debate, on this forum, without giving each other offence.

Having said that though, it does sometimes bring out my 'competitive' side and, well, nobody's perfect!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 06:22 PM

No, GSS I am NOT suggesting that people who "didnt like rock" were narrow. Not liking rock would merely be a matter of personal taste. Nor am I suggesting anything personal whatsoever about you in this or any other comment. Reread my previous post a lot slooooooower this time, think about what I actually said in it, and you may this time get what I was actually saying. It's all there in the previous post.

And it's summed up in this one short statement:

"I was suggesting that people who have become deep enthusiasts of (any) ONE particular style of music AND who automatically (therefore) look down their patrician (or otherwise) noses at virtually EVERY other style of music are narrow-minded."

I obviously wasn't saying that about YOU. Or Shimrod. I was saying it about myself at the age of, say, 16 years old. I was a musical snob who thought nothing was any "good" except folk music, and it had to be folk music that was sung a certain way too...Bob Dylan sure didn't sing it that way. I was verrrry particular.

I've seen a lot of 16-year-olds with that kind of snobby attitude about the music they liked. I've seen a few older people with it too. It's understandble in a 16-year-old.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Acorn4
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 04:01 PM

I think the Oyster Band have probably consistently done the folk/rock thing the best, though I appreciate that many will not like their approach.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 03:28 PM

"folk and rock [imo] just does not gel"

Try this: Shelagh McDonald: The Dowie Dens of Yarrow

Enjoy!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 03:28 PM

little hawk,you are suggesting that people who didnt like rock were narrow.
ISAID I DIDNT LIKE FOLK ROCK, that is not the same as saying i do not like rock, even if i didnt like rock that would not make me narrow, neither did i say i only liked folk.
if you like Dylan that is great,but dont expect everyone else to do so. as a matter of fact I like some of his songs but not others, Ithink he has written some good songs and also some crap, same as EWAN.
I would be more inclined to singing Ewans songs though probably mean more to me as a singer, you probably feel that way about Dylan, DOES THAT MAKE EITHER OF US NARROW. NO


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 03:10 PM

I am not suggesting that "people who don't particularly like rock music are "narrow-minded", Shimrod. You misinterpret me. I don't expect everyone to like rock music any more than I expect everyone to like opera...or jazz...or folk music.

I was suggesting that people who have become deep enthusiasts of ONE particular style of music AND who automatically look down their patrician noses at virtually EVERY other style of music are narrow-minded.

I'm not suggesting you are such a person, so you need not take it personally.

I'm just explaining what I meant by the word "narrow-minded".

What I "always find myself ruefully amused by", Shimrod...is my own self as a younger person, utterly sure of his own tastes, who was a folk purist to the core, and who despised virtually all other forms of popular music, looked down his nose with disgust at any person or group who played rock music, country music, pop music, bluegrass or ANYTHING at all that I didn't rate as "folk music". I was inexperienced, narrow-minded, arrogant....and very young. I eventually grew up some. I started to appreicate music in many different genres...not all of them...but many.

My argument, Shimrod, is not some kind of attack on you or someone else here on this forum. It's my reaction and reflection upon my own youth, the youth that I left behind when I became a bit less narrow-minded. The only real enemy I will ever have in this life, Shimrod, is the negative voice inside ME. For about 10 years of my life it shut my ears to a whole bunch of very good music and fooled me into thinking I was more "special" than some other people because of that. That was a lie, but I didn't know it at the time.

Maybe that's why Dylan replied to the young man in England in 1966 who yelled at him "Judas!" (for playing electric music).....Dylan replied to him "I don't believe you. You're a liar!" He was right. That kid was a liar, but he just didn't know it at the time.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Will Fly
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 02:43 PM

Surely rock is a limited, highly stylised form that has been heavily promoted over the last few decades.

Oh well, here we go: define "rock". No easier than defining "folk", is my guess.

No music is a "waste of time". Whether you like it or not is just personal taste. If it has validity for someone, it's not wasting their time. I like bits of Bob Dylan, Steeleye Span, Fairport Convention, Martin Carthy, Lindisfarne, Davy Graham, Bert Jansch, Dave Swarbrick, Anne Briggs, June Tabor, Cream, the McPeake Family... blah, blah, blah...


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 02:12 PM

I always find myself ruefully amused, LH, to be told that people who don't particularly like rock music are "narrow-minded"! Surely rock is a limited, highly stylised form that has been heavily promoted over the last few decades. Personally, I think that people who are fixated on the rock form, and ignore most other musical genres, are the truly narrow-minded ones!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 01:48 PM

I was initially utterly contemptuous of all rock music in all its popular forms, and I wouldn't listen to it. That was when I was a folk purist...between about 1960 and 1968. It was also, basically, when I was a teenager. I probably would have agreed wholeheartedly with MacColl's view of Dylan at that time.

In 1969 that all changed. In a process that took literally one DAY I came to totally appreciate Dylan's electric music, unite it firmly to my already existing love of traditional folk forms, and after that I loved both folk music AND good rock music (by "good", I mean with lyrics that are worth listening to). There's been quite a bit of good rock music by now, although how much of it gets on the radio? Well, a bit of it...amongst a sea of dross.

Is it a good thing to be narrow? I don't think so. That's why they call it "narrow-minded" when you are. I dropped my narrow-minded outer style-based folkie prejudices in 1969 and I increased my appreciation of popular music tenfold from that point on. Who do I thank for that? Bob Dylan. And the respected friend and teacher who advised me to listen carefully to him.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 01:14 PM

"I think people today who were born into a rock world, with all its assumptions about the variety of sound possible, and who haven't passed through that change, can have no idea what a catastrophic overturn it was. It is an imaginative feat to put yourself in a world without rock—"

Yes, rock has become a dominant form which nearly eclipses all others within the 'popular' musical genres. I suspect that for many people, of the last few generations, who don't have specialised musical tastes, if it 'doesn't rock' it 'doesn't compute'.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 12:37 PM

Come to think of it, MacColl must have been close to a coronary with the treatments Fairport,Steeleye,Lindisfarne,5 Hand Reel, etc.,etc.......gave to traditional numbers."
and rightly so, most of the time they were a waste of time,Steeleye [imo]were the best of a bad bunch,probably due to Martins influence,folk and rock[imo] just does not gel, it would be interesting to get some of Martins quotes and earlier opinions on Steeleye.
in fairness to Steeleye, I have heard many folk rock bands since, and they have all been pale imitations, that in comparison have faded into insignificance.
in my opinion, to make folk rock work the musicians need to have absorbed and been steeped in both folk and rock, very few musicians come into that category.
the same goes for musicians trying to blend folk and jazz, to be successful the musicians need to be steeped in both kinds of music, not many are


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 10:18 AM

That was an absolutely great set of posts, Bob Coltman, the best explanation of what happened that I've heard yet. My initial reaction to Dylan's sound was very negative....and that was because I was a folk purist...wedded to the old sound, just like a lot of the other people in the folk audience who rejected the young Bob Dylan. He sounded too extreme to me...not like "folk music".

But I barely listened to him at all or even thought about him at that time...1961 to 1968, approximately.

I was listening, though, to all the other rising young folk stars such as Joan Baez, Peter/Paul/Mary, Simon & Garfunkel, Judy Collins, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Ian & Sylvia, Leonard Cohen (a bit later), Joni Mitchell (again, a bit later), all of them people who, unbeknownst to me, admired Dylan's work and were certainly influenced by it. (I don't know if Paul Simon admired Dylan...he made fun of him in one song...but I can't help thinking he was influenced by Dylan).

I also, funnily enough, liked the Dylan songs that Joan Baez had recorded better than anything else she was singing...and I was aware that Dylan had written those songs, so I decided that although I didn't want to hear him sing them, he was a really great songwriter. To that extent, I accepted him.

So here I was, this folk purist, hated the way Dylan sounded, but was very impressed by his songwriting. And I basically ignored his music until 1969....at which time I suddenly "got it"! (mainly because the one person in the world whose opinion I most respected at the time advised me to buy "Highway 61 Revisited" and actually listen to it all the way through at least 3 times.)

I listened to it once and was totally converted into a huge Dylan fan, and I agree with you that he "came into his own as a world-class performer when he had the electric backing and could work with it". That resulted in 3 incredible albums in '65 and '66 that will stand forever.

I also think, though, that his earlier acoustic work from the 2nd album on was often stunningly good and that it changed everything in modern folk music from that point on. He wrote the songs nobody else had written...and that (by his own testimony) is why he wrote them...because he simply couldn't find cover songs or trad songs that said what he personally wanted to say. He opened the door to everything that followed, not only in folk music, but in rock music too.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Don Wise
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 10:05 AM

To widen Bob's comments......Those of us who grew up in the UK in the 1960s probably remember the initial reaction of our parents to Dylan,The Beatles,The Rolling Stones et al.('call that music!?','Turn that infernal row off!' etc.etc.) In that sense, MacColl was a product of his generation. What really takes the biscuit though is the shere unadulterated arrogance in his remarks in the Melody Maker interview, at least in the remarks Robert Shelton quotes in his book. A trip to The British Library or The Public Records Office (for example) ought to reveal the interview (assuming that newspapers,periodicals etc were/are obliged to supply copies to such institutions).
       Come to think of it, MacColl must have been close to a coronary with the treatments Fairport,Steeleye,Lindisfarne,5 Hand Reel, etc.,etc.......gave to traditional numbers.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 09:45 AM

Excellent couple of posts, Bob.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 09:31 AM

As to specifically why MacColl didn't like Dylan, put yourself in his shoes. He revered above all the great world of British balladry and song lore. He preferred singing unaccompanied much of the time.

The following is just an interpretation based on best guess. I did not know MacColl but I heard most of his traditional song recordings, solo and with A.L. Lloyd and others. This is how I think he must have been stricken, as many traditionalists were, by the Brave New World of folk rock represented by Dylan's rise.

The pure note of the old way of singing closed his mind to many kinds of innovation. Certainly he was far from ready to enjoy folk-rock as it thrashed through its growing pains. The style was too foreign, the instrument playing crude to his ears, he who at most favored the kinds of sensitive accompaniment—song always coming first, sound second—that Peggy Seeger could provide.

He seems to have been somewhat more liberal when dealing with song compositions, and he had an appreciation for what that sort of folk-based accompaniment can do. It has always surprised me that he wrote "The First Time Ever," which was so unlike his style. But even that departure, and others like "Dirty Old Town," were quiet and reflective. At most he could be strident in a good cause. But an innovation in sound was likely to turn him off.

I think people today who were born into a rock world, with all its assumptions about the variety of sound possible, and who haven't passed through that change, can have no idea what a catastrophic overturn it was. It is an imaginative feat to put yourself in a world without rock—without Dylan in fact, he was that revolutionary—that had no conception of what was coming.

It was like war, folks. And, as usual after a war, things settle down in the new orientation, and people coming later wonder what all the fuss was about.

I wish I could express it better, but there it is. Between the worlds of Ewan MacColl and Bob Dylan was a spread of light-years in comprehension. When the rest of us crossed that gulf, McColl's profoundly and admirably retro musical tastes, along with those of many others (just think of all the pop bandleaders!) were simply left behind.

In fairness, MacColl could and did change. I heard MacColl, Peggy Seeger and their son in concert late in his life, and with his son's driving guitar accompaniment MacColl, on some songs, appeared to be making an accommodation with the big new sound. Whether he was comfortable with it, or merely felt it necessary if he was to engage a contemporary audience, I don't know. In his own way he was an innovator; but no two people differ so clashingly as a couple of innovators in disparate styles.

Perhaps Peggy would have some useful insight on this.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 09:07 AM

With MacColl's set of preconceptions, there is no possible way he could have found Dylan even half listenable.

I myself enjoy and am inspired by Dylan as one of the most vital songsters of the 20th century. But his early days, as represented by his presence after coming to NY and what we hear of it on his 1st album, he had everything to make the folk world hate him. There was little sign then that he was not a poseur, bad imitator, destroyer of perfectly good songs, etc.

He was first recorded before he was ready. He had to grow up and become seasoned in public and some of the results were less than good. In the year or so thereafter his difference continued to be just too drastic. He got a lot of rejection—just like anyone who changes things too sweepingly.

The greatness began emerging with the second album, which began to show he wasn't just hacking around. And it took some people a long time to see it. For example, in my book Paul Clayton and the Folk Revival I quote the late, great Sandy Paton who bridled at seeing Paul carrying Dylan's guitar to a gig, saying flatly that Dylan was not fit to carry Paul's guitar.

My own conversion to a Dylan fan happened, oddly enough, not before, but ~when~ he went electric. What went before had some really good songs ... but IMHHHO he only came into his own as a world-class performer when he had the electric backing and could work with it—one of his great less-noticed talents has been his restless creativity in welding a group of disparate musicians into a dazzling lever for innovation. And IMHHHO not until then were his creative talents fully developed.

Okay, fine, take a crack at me ... but you needed to be there as everything was changing to feel how powerful the resentment against Dylan was, Jan 1961-mid-1963, in the honest hearts of a number of musicians and audiences.

And I say this as an enthusiastic fan who loves the broad range of his life's work.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 12:32 PM

But, Jim, that comment did come from Bryan

But did not refer to the book. I think Jim needs to cut down on the knee-jerk reactions.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 12:16 PM

Jim wrote:-
"My response was to "I think MacColl's treatment of her leaves a lot to be desired." which I assumed referred to the book, and I mistakenly misread it as coming from Bryan"


But, Jim, that comment did come from Bryan (22 Jan 12 - 01:24 PM)

Please read comments carefully before responding without attributing things that Bryan did say when he didn't and what he didn't say when he did.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 11:14 AM

The Scots travellers were some of the finest singers of Country & Western songs that I have ever heard in these islands. Around 1972 I remember that Sheila Stewart was at our table at the Kirklands Hotel in Kinross at one late late session during a TMSA festival. It must have been sometime after 2am and through a haze of alcohol I can remember that Aly Bain, Tom Anderson and Peerie Willie Johnson playing some Eddie Lang/Stephan Grappelli/Django-style jazz and people were enjoying it but blethering away over it. Aly Bain then announced, "Ye'll hae tae listen now. I gonna' call up oor wee lassie vocalist." Up struggles Jane Turriff on her crutches and with the trio accompanying her she sings a selection of Jimmy Rodgers songs - complete with really excellent yodelling. Sheila noticed how much I was enjoying it and said, "A' the travellers love Country & Western, Vic. It's what we sing maist efter oor ain sangs."

Next morning, Jane Turriff was in a concert singing her ballads in a way that sent shivers down my spine. She was only one of the great singers who could sing both styles without compromising the other.

Another time, during a Blairgowrie Festival, Tina and I were at a ceilidh at the Stewarts house in Rattray which had all their freens which included many of the great Scots traveller singers, Whytes, Stewarts, Higginses, McPhees etc. Amongst the large crowd there were a handful of young folk enthusiasts. Shuggie (Hugh) Higgins latched on to Tina and I knowing the sort of people we were and said, "I've got just the sang that you two would enjoy; and with a twinkle in his eye he launched into:-
South of the Border.
Down Mexico Way.....

He was looking at us all the time he was singing to gauge our reaction. He finished the song and then said, "Now, what do you think of that?" As far as I remember, I said something to the effect that my mum has a recording of Frank Sinatra singing that song, but that I preferred his way with it. Whatever I said, it must have be the right sort of response, because he then said something like, "Well, here's something that you will enjoy" and sang a stunning version of The False Knight On the Road. I remember thing that though I had my cassette recorder with me that it would have been inappropriate to get it out at that point.

The travellers were cute. They knew what they had; they knew what was important but it didn't stop then enjoying and indulging in other aspects of popular culture. And certainly, time after time, I felt myself being tested out to see what my reaction would be, just as I was in the example that I have given.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 10:04 AM

Having re-re-re-read that section, I realise that it WAS Brune who went up to the berryfields to teach Sheila Stewart the song so I reinstate my judgement of him to "reprehensible". In her account, she sounds considerably less than enthusiastic about learning the song.

Had Brune's fakes gone in as such it would have undermined the credibility of the whole programme - this is why I feel it an important issue.

But they didn't because Brune himself prevented them from doing so. Judge the man (and he has much to be judged for) for his whole actions not just selected parts. As I said from the start, I don't think he intended any harm to the Traveller Community. His target was MacColl and he thoughtlessly used Sheila Stewart to that end for which he is much to blame.

As far as the offence given, I have never trivialised it, nor have I attempted to deny it - I simply do not know what it is - I am insulting nobody.

Then find out. You could start by reading what Sheila Stewart said in the interview and then, as Vic suggested, contacting her yourself before issuing airy "I don't see the problem" comments. Sheila Stewart says there is a problem therefore, there is a problem. To suggest otherwise is an insult to her and her family.

I notice you have not commented on my evidence for why I think MacColl's behaviour towards SS left much to be desired. (Who was "this man"?)


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 09:05 AM

Sorry - this is getting convoluted; and most of the misunderstanding is mine.
My response was to "I think MacColl's treatment of her leaves a lot to be desired." which I assumed referred to the book, and I mistakenly misread it as coming from Bryan; that is not the case, my apologies.
There has never been any suggestion whatever that Sheila was reluctant to sing the songs; they were to open and close the radio ballad as examples of Traveller made songs. Had Brune's fakes gone in as such it would have undermined the credibility of the whole programme - this is why I feel it an important issue.
As far as the offence given, I have never trivialised it, nor have I attempted to deny it - I simply do not know what it is - I am insulting nobody.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 08:51 AM

@%$£*&@! Forgot to Preview. Sorry for repeating a long post but this one is more intelligible.

Jim Carroll

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


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

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


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

In the interview, Sheila Stewart says -

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Please climb out of your gutter for a few minutes

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


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 08:45 AM

Jim Carroll

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


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

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


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

In the interview, Sheila Stewart says -

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Please climb out of your gutter for a few minutes

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


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 08:19 AM

Whoops - I'll try again

Oh Dear! Oh dear! here we go again....

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


Actually, it was not Bryan (please, once again, note the spelling) but Vic Smith who posted that comment.

Jim Carroll (to Bryan Creer) 20 Jan 12 - 03:04 PM :-
"My sincerest apologies for my remark."

Jim Carroll (presumably to Bryan Creer - it is not totally clear) 23 Jan 12 - 07:43 AM
"Please climb out of your gutter for a few minutes."


Is it just me, or is this thread taking a totally surreal quality?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 08:09 AM

Oh Dear! Oh dear! here we go again....

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


Actually, it was not Bryan (please, once again, note the spelling


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 07:43 AM

"but you again raise the matter of why the Stewarts were offended..."
No Brian, you raised it, I responded to your doing so.
"Actually, having re-read the interview with Sheila Stewart, I realise I misunderstood part of it and would now upgrade my judgement of his behaviour towards her as reprehensible. Equally, I think MacColl's treatment of her leaves a lot to be desired."
Given your objection to MacColl and SEEGER'S (you seem to be selective in your lying the blame) behaviour to the Stewarts, I thought you might be able to enlighten me on why their behaviour was "reprehensible" and "leaving much to be desired" - apparently you can't.
"Jim seems to have moved on to insulting bigger fish than me"
Now you are really scraping the bottom of the barrel; I said that having read the book twice and searched deliberately for the examples of offence, I have failed to find them.
I made a point of saying "I am not disputing that offence was taken, but I am totally in the dark as to what that offence was,"
Have you actually read the book?
Please climb out of your gutter for a few minutes.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 06:48 AM

"MacBeth, son of Bedha, son of Finlay" You are right in that Mac was used but not as a surname. Surnames weren't used until later. Macbeth MacFinlay (anglicised) was the son of Finlay. The personal first name Macbeth as I understand it did not mean 'son of Bedha' and was in fact not even really a patronym but was a first name meaning something like 'son of the church' or 'holy person'


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 06:34 AM

Jim McLean

The Snail, MacBeth, son of Bedha, son of Finlay (various spellings) reigned in the mid 11th century.

You are quite right, Jim. That occurred to me in the early hours of the morning. Sloppy research on my part, I do apologise. I think the general drift was right though.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 06:30 AM

Jim seems to have moved on to insulting bigger fish than me so I'll leave him to it.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 05:29 AM

Jim Carroll:-
"I am not disputing that offence was taken, but I am totally in the dark as to what that offence was, and as far as I can make out from the lack of information, so is everybody else not directly concerned.
I certainly do not believe it was either intended or manufactured - why should the authors set out to deliberately offend a family who, as has often been said by both sides, had total respect for each other? As far as I know they remained friends right up to MacColl's death in 1988."


You speak about protecting the sensibilities of members of the traveller community on a public forum - admirable - but you again raise the matter of why the Stewarts were offended by Till Doomsday In The Afternoon on a public forum which seems somewhat inconsistent.

Jim, you must know that the only person who can answer your question is Sheila Stewart - the only surviving member of the generations of her family that were interviewed for the book. Sheila uses email frequently - I am in contact with her and we exchange news and messages. Surely, if you were genuinely interested in this information. you would seek it from her directly which would seem to be the best way of doing so to me and the way you appear to do when you say I am somewhat uncomfortable debating this on an open forum - it has always been our practice not to drag traditional singers into public arguments.

You should feel uncomfortable - this is not the right place for such statements as you have made. PM me asking for Sheila's email address if you really want to know the answers to your confusion.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 04:03 AM

"trivialising unexceptable behaviour."
I have said all I intend to say on this - I suggest that, unless you wish to continue to make this a one-to-one on this thread we take it elsewhere, otherwise let people decide for themselves on the basis of what has already been written - I very much doubt if either of us is likely to change our minds.
As far as the Stewart's book is concerned, I'm afraid I find all this somewhat Kafka-esque
I have read the book with great pleasure twice, and when the controversy surfaced I re-read the authors' notes searching for the offending commentary - and failed to find it; I wonder if anybody can enlighten me?
The few references that touch on personal matters and may have given offence are accompanied by transcriptions of speech from members of the family - is it being suggested that the authors forged these transcritions - or that the conversations were recorded surreptitiously - what??
I am not disputing that offence was taken, but I am totally in the dark as to what that offence was, and as far as I can make out from the lack of information, so is everybody else not directly concerned.
I certainly do not believe it was either intended or manufactured - why should the authors set out to deliberately offend a family who, as has often been said by both sides, had total respect for each other? As far as I know they remained friends right up to MacColl's death in 1988.
I do know from personal experience that making public, information you have been given as collector can be a minefield. Our first efforts in doing this was spoken commentary from Clare singer Tom Lenihan, who described to a friend whose recordings of speech we used for the album, how a local dancing master would "hit the pupils' legs hard with his walking stick if they got a step wrong".
We were gently corrected by a family member of the D.M. for including this (it might have been more serious if the family member had not been a friend).
We have recorded hours of information from Travellers that we will never use publicly because we have been asked not to - including the best Traveller-made song we have ever come across.
I am somewhat uncomfortable debating this on an open forum - it has always been our practice not to drag traditional singers into public arguments - it really isn't what they signed up for when they generously gave us their songs, stories and information. One bitter experience by a vengeful reviewer who was quite happy to take his spite out on our singers some years ago has reinforced this opinion.
I am only pointing this out to explain why my input into this topic will be limited.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 03:51 AM

The Snail, MacBeth, son of Bedha, son of Finlay (various spellings) reigned in the mid 11th century.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 07:06 PM

mac mc or m' in front of a name is a prenom that comes from a language other than english. IT'S GAELIC!!

Judas Maccabeus? Lou Macari?


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