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Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?

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meself 06 Jan 12 - 10:41 AM
GUEST,999 06 Jan 12 - 10:54 AM
Little Hawk 06 Jan 12 - 01:20 PM
Big Al Whittle 06 Jan 12 - 03:04 PM
melodeonboy 06 Jan 12 - 04:52 PM
Little Hawk 06 Jan 12 - 06:05 PM
Stringsinger 07 Jan 12 - 01:56 PM
Mark Ross 07 Jan 12 - 02:21 PM
Lonesome EJ 07 Jan 12 - 04:08 PM
Acorn4 07 Jan 12 - 04:19 PM
Little Hawk 07 Jan 12 - 06:41 PM
The Sandman 07 Jan 12 - 07:51 PM
meself 07 Jan 12 - 09:16 PM
Jim Carroll 08 Jan 12 - 04:10 AM
GUEST,Allan Conn 08 Jan 12 - 04:41 AM
MGM·Lion 08 Jan 12 - 10:47 AM
meself 08 Jan 12 - 11:19 AM
The Sandman 08 Jan 12 - 11:23 AM
Stringsinger 08 Jan 12 - 01:31 PM
Big Al Whittle 08 Jan 12 - 02:00 PM
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Joe_F 08 Jan 12 - 06:01 PM
Jim Carroll 09 Jan 12 - 04:07 AM
Baz Bowdidge 09 Jan 12 - 07:55 AM
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GUEST,C. Ham 09 Jan 12 - 12:49 PM
The Sandman 09 Jan 12 - 02:12 PM
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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: meself
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 10:41 AM

"none of the bitter humour"

Of all the criticisms of Dylan I've come across, this is the first time I've heard him accused of lacking "bitter humour".

"Always have respected her, for doin' what she did in gettin' free-ee-eee" Nope, no bitter humour there.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 10:54 AM

Given the various posts to this tread--and they do seem to run the gamut from antagonistically stupid to well-informed--I opine that MacColl really did like and admire Dylan. He was simply too addicted to the portrayal of his 'image' to say so in plain language.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 01:20 PM

I think there's a lot of bitter humour in Dylan's songs, both in the love songs and the social comment songs.

Regarding his influences, yes, he was very much influenced by Woody Guthrie's recordings...and Ramblin' Jack's material. Ramblin' Jack was a hell of a good player in his prime.

Dylan hit a real high point in the mid-70s as far as I'm concerned. His singing and playing and lyrical outuput had never been more effective. "Blood on the Tracks" just might be the best album he ever did. If not, it's one of the best 3 or 4 he ever did. "Desire" is also very strong, and I absolutely loved "Street Legal". "Infidels" could have been another album at that same level if he'd included 2 or 3 of the best songs he had at that time (1983?), but he inexplicably left some of the best ones (such as "Blind Willie McTell") off that album.

Good Soldier Schweik - Regarding your comments about Tom Paxton...I don't really know how to compare Tom Paxton to Bob Dylan, because I haven't heard enough of Paxton's songs to say. The few I have heard...yeah, they're very good.

As for Phil Ochs...another poster had spoken of his material as better than Dylan's...well, Ochs wrote a handful of VERY good songs. Most of his songs, though, I find kind of painful to listen to. I just don't think they're that good, because they're too literal and strident, in a way. His sincerity is unquestionable, however, and I respect that. I don't consider him anywhere near Dylan in a lyrical sense. Ochs himself considered Dylan to be the finest songwriter of the time and defended him against his harshest critics in the folk scene, even when Ochs and Dylan were not speaking to each other. That speaks very well for Phil Ochs.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 03:04 PM

Ewen MacColl just didn't like Dylan
One wanted sex, the other wasn't willin
It might have been Bob
Who whipped out his nob
Perhaps they did, and it wasn't fulfilin'


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: melodeonboy
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 04:52 PM

Ha, ha! Good one!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 06:05 PM

That's an interesting bit of speculation there, Big Al. ;-D Maybe you should write a tell-all book about it and make big bucks!

Yup, I can just imagine Ewan MacColl seething with unsatisfied lust whilst watching lean young Bob plow his way bravely through "Gates of Eden" at the Royal Albert Hall or some such venue...

Contact Griel Marcus at once!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 07 Jan 12 - 01:56 PM

The problem is that those who claim Dylan's very good songs are not really defining why they think that these are good. My contention is that a good songwriter in the folk tradition can write succinct and pithy ideas with few words. Dylan is far too wordy for my taste. I'll take Woody's writing any day. Ludlow Massacre,1913 Massacre and Pretty Boy Floyd are folk masterworks. I feel the same about Jean Ritchie who is not as well recognized for her "L and N Don't Stop Here Anymore" and "Black Waters".

Most of Dylan's work impresses me as being preachy and pseudo-profound. The songs cited above as his best work, well I don't agree that they stand up that well.

Dylan cut an image for his time as the rebellious youth taking his initial appearance from Woody Guthrie's stance as an active socialist. Dylan was not that and I think he was kind of an imitator. He took on Woody's "raggedy" image for a show business market and many young people of the time identified that as being "honest" and "real" which I don't think it was. Having known Woody prior to his disability, I can say that Woody was real and who he was and he played a damned good harmonica as well.

A lot of cultish enthusiasm for Dylan's work has more to do with his "attitude" and "image" than a realistic view of his work.

I don't sense a real sincerity in his earlier work as I do with Woody. Tom Paxton is
a brilliant satirist and cogent writer as is Tom Lehrer. I think the latter two fall into the tradition of Yip Harburg who was one of the greatest lyricists of all time in my opinion. "Brother, Can You Spare A Dime" is a classic well-written protest song.

I know that my point of view will be contentious in some people's opinion, but I sense a falseness and hollowness in Dylan's work. "Like A Rolling Stone" was an interesting song but not one I would enjoy singing. "Tomorrow is a Long Time" is more sensitive and in my opinion may be one of Dylan's best songs and one I have enjoyed singing in the past.

McColl was a scholar of folk music and understood its function in a social context as well as an artistic one. This might be dismissed as some as being "political" but in the early days, Dylan seemed like he cashed in on the "protest market" because it was in vogue. McColl approached folk music much differently and over a period of time developed an appreciation that I don't think Dylan has shown.

I don't care for the pretentiousness of many revival folk singers who trade on appearance and image rather than the quality of their performance. Woody was who he was, not trying to push an image for the show business market. Burl Ives was a trained singer who presented his songs very simply early on with a trained pleasant tenor and a rudimentary guitar accompaniment. His early output were tried and true folk songs that he grew up with (except for the songs of John Jacob Niles). Richard Dyer-Bennet never tried to be anything other than what he was, a classical singer who interpreted folk music with musical taste and expertise. Josh White was a unique guitarist and singer who fashioned his act for the night clubs but he was a tasteful musician who wouldn't be sloppy in his presentation and would be embarrassed to display a pretentious harmonica blowing and passing it off as good playing.

In summary, there is much about the "revival" folk which is pretentious and image driven. The contemporary singer-songwriter has much to learn from the old masters such as Harburg, Johnny Mercer, Ira Gershwin, Gus Kahn and others.
Paul Simon and Joni Mitchell (her earlier work) along with Kate Wolf show a craft and sincerity as well as sophistication in the technique of songwriting.

Pete Seeger's presentation has been of a consistent high musical quality (there are very few banjo players that can match his clean articulation and exciting sound) and his "Darling Corey" album for Folkways is a high standard for a revival folk album.
The same can be said for Peggy Seeger's "Songs of Courting and Complaint".

The commercial output of much rock and roll has made pretentiousness more
accessible.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 07 Jan 12 - 02:21 PM

As Utah Phillips used to say, "There is a big difference between 'How many roads must a man walk down, before he can sleep in the sand?', and 'Dump the bosses off your back!'.


Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 07 Jan 12 - 04:08 PM

Frank, I really find your opinions on this topic informative and incisive. I certainly agree with your comment that Steve Earle is far closer to being cut from the same cloth as Woody than BD is. And frankly, I prefer Steve Earle's songwriting to Bob's.
Part of my devotion to Bob comes from an obsession with the Byrds as my gateway into Folk/Traditional, and a love for their soaring versions of Dylan's songs.
Steve Earle is certainly of the activist strain that includes Phil Ochs, Pete and others. My guess is Ewan Macoll would probably have an even greater objection to Mr Earle's rock stylings than to Bob's, though.
Maybe it's the drums? :>)


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Acorn4
Date: 07 Jan 12 - 04:19 PM

I seem to remember that "Hard Rain's a Gonna Fall" was written with every line as a possible song title, because it was at the time of the Cuba crisis when we all thought we might be heading for Armageddon, meaning BD wouldn't be able to write all those songs, so there wouldn't appear to be any long term agenda on that one.

Perhaps the fear we all felt at that time of nuclear confrontation may have accounted for the nature of the some of the writing at the time.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 07 Jan 12 - 06:41 PM

It's a matter of personal taste, that's all.

I love how Bob Dylan writes lyrics, I find it totally satisfying, and that's my personal taste.

I'll add to that that I think the finest lyricist around nowadays is....

Mary-Chapin Carpenter

And she doesn't write at all the way Bob Dylan does. And I love both of them.

It's a matter of personal taste.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Jan 12 - 07:51 PM

no, not entirely little hawk, for a song to be good is not just a question of taste.
if a potential song writer goes to a song writing workshop, he will learn that there are certain highest common factors that occur in all well written songs.
Ewan MacColl was a trained playwright this imo would have been a help to his song writing,Ewan also understood stage craft[ possibly/probably through his involvement with the theatre.
MacColl undoutebdly analysed dylans songs.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: meself
Date: 07 Jan 12 - 09:16 PM

So - Dylan's songs don't pass the "song writing workshop" test? Oh, dear.

And MacColl "analysed dylans songs" - and? I suppose he too found they didn't pass the "song writing workshop" test? Well, that settles it, then.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 04:10 AM

"And MacColl "analysed dylans songs"
Did he really? - missed that one.
MacColl wrote a sartirical piece on Dylan under the name 'Speedwell' around 1965, before Dylan became a somewhat middle-of-the-road pop-star
Never came across a mention of him by MacColl after that - can someone point me in the right direction?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 04:41 AM

"he will learn that there are certain highest common factors that occur in all well written songs"

Frameworks for what has gone before surely! Rules are there to be pushed and broken to the limit or perhaps just ignored. Otherwise nothing would progress and everything would sound similar. If a song is good then it is good no matter how it is contructed.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 10:47 AM

Leaving aside the argument as to quality of BD, which we have all rehearsed at length ~~ must say I can't see much similarity between Tom Paxton and Tom Lehrer. I like them both; but would not regard them, even if both might be termed 'satirists' tout court, which IMO is arguable, as at all the same sort of satirist.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: meself
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 11:19 AM

But there is a certain similarity in their first, Christian, or given names.

--------------------

Jim: Perhaps GSS's post slipped past you - he wrote, "MacColl undoutebdly analysed dylans songs"; no suggestion that this was a public exercise.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 11:23 AM

"Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: meself - PM
Date: 07 Jan 12 - 09:16 PM

So - Dylan's songs don't pass the "song writing workshop" test? Oh, dear.

And MacColl "analysed dylans songs" - and? I suppose he too found they didn't pass the "song writing workshop" test? Well, that settles it," I did not say that.
Finally,MacColl may never have admitted that he listened to Dylans songs, but in the 1960s they were rather difficult to avoid listening too, and of course I was surmising, but as someone that has attempted and written songs[not that I am in MacColls class]I do analyse other peoples songs as I am sure most song writers including MacColl do and did


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 01:31 PM

Paxton and Lehrer were for the most part satirists. Their material was topical. They were also funny. Not true with Dylan.

Jim, I'm sure that McColl analyzed Dylan's songs, maybe not in print. As a devotee of traditional ballad forms, there would have had to been a comparison in his mind.
I know that Peggy would have made some.

The idea that rules are arbitrary obstructions in any art form is not understood. There are principles that are contained in good songs such as 1. specificity 2. economy of words 3. painting word pictures 4. a stanza that scans cohesively 5. a singable tune that is wedded to the lyric 6. an avoidance of cliche images 7. a relevance for the time you live in and oxymoronically all time. (There are more).

I have never attended a songwriting workshop that made much sense except maybe one.
Lehman Engel's BMI Musical Theater Workshop in L.A. Most workshops are conducted by songwriters who go along with the prevailing kinds of songs that they hear in clubs, radio, etc. Songs become vogue-ish.

I agree with LH in that songs are a matter of taste. Some are in bad taste. I could elaborate but I don't want to beat this subject to death.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 02:00 PM

I always thought Bob Dylan's sense of humour pretty good.

However both paxton and Dylan wrote some beautiful lyrical pieces.

I think this is crazy stuff. Its like when my dad used to say Picasso was rubbish - and all abstract painting was just people who couldn't draw.

If you don't get MacColl, paxton or Dylan - its your loss. And given the availability of these very successful artists work - I think you're being as cussed as my Dad was.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Baz Bowdidge
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 02:28 PM

Pete Seeger himself approved of the 'young fella' despite his reported derision of his later output.
Click Here
Perhaps being 'Anti-Dylan' was a family thing.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Joe_F
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 06:01 PM

Did he have a crib pasted on his guitar? He kept looking down.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 04:07 AM

"no suggestion that this was a public exercise. "
Then how would anybody know MacColl analysed Dylan's songs if he didn't discuss them. I can't find any reference to him having done so, other than the Speedwell article (1965); at the time many people in the revival (described by Edward Lee as 'The Old Guard') looked on Dylan as a diversion to their aim of persuading folk enthusiasts examining their own traditions rather than turning to the US, as they had in the past - a suggestion of Alan Lomax's in the early 50s.
Sorry - this is all a bit of a waste of time.
In the sixties everybody (for or against) was talking about Dylan - Dylan moved away from folk song and did something else - the songs being cited here are at least four decades old.
As far as I know, MacColl seldom commented on what was going on in the revival - except maybe in privare conversations - there; I'd be very grateful if aybody could point out any examples of him having done so and where I can get hold of them.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Baz Bowdidge
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 07:55 AM

>As far as I know, MacColl seldom commented on what was going on in the revival - except maybe in privare conversations - there; I'd be very grateful if aybody could point out any examples of him having done so and where I can get hold of them.
Jim Carroll<
I thought the whole dislike thing was legendary as if he ever did analyse CG style clearly in writing he summed up 'Bobby Dylan's' repetoire as 'watery pap'.
To me McColl comes across as a manifest of creative intelligence and narrow-mindedness and it must have been hard for him to see his beloved 'traditional roots' evolve and descend into watery pap of skiffle, folk-rock, East Coast, West Coast etc.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Baz Bowdidge
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 08:39 AM

>From: Joe_F - PM
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 06:01 PM
Did he have a crib pasted on his guitar? He kept looking down<

I thought that too Joe or could have been track sheet style floor gaffered.

Baz


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

EM wrote a piece, I think for Sing Out!, which was re-published in a paperback on the Great American Folksong Revival (pardon me, but my brain is not working as well as it could this early). He clearly disses Dylan's writing. When I wake up, I will search for the book and post again later.


Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Baz Bowdidge
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 11:07 AM

Apparently it was 'watery pap' and 'tenth-rate drivel'.
McColl fitted my dad's and uncle's critical post-Victorian generation and location all 'stodgy' attitudes and in Beckenham!(my uncle's house was actually 300yds from McColl).
I always felt war-time austerity and living through it made them like that.
In fact in the 60's if there was anything new and a bit flash my dad would dismiss it as an 'American idea'.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 11:22 AM

Mark, a lot of the reported speech in these posts where MacColl disparages Dylan's work emanate from the original Sing Out article.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 12:43 PM

I get the distinct impression that more has been said about what Ewan said on Dylan than he ever actually said. I wonder whether it would please him that he are talking about this minor quibble all these years later.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,C. Ham
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 12:49 PM

"Paxton and Lehrer were for the most part satirists."

To say that, Frank, I suspect you haven't heard a lot of Tom Paxton's output. Yes, he has written many, many satirical songs, but they hardly make up the "most part" of his songwriting catalog. He's also written many deadly serious songs, personal songs, children's songs, etc.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 02:12 PM

baz, Ewan sang skiffle too?so why should he be think skiffle was watery pap. From what I can make out, he was not against skiffle, but believed that the traditional music of the british isles should be encouraged and promoted, he did point out to Lisa Turner when she sang an american song at the club he was involved in, that the club had a policy which was:singers should sing songs from their own tradition.
Ewan was only one of the several people who decided this policy.
was Tom Paley one of the organisers? nobody rails against Tom, I mean he is a lovely guy, but it seems EWAN takes all the flack.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Tootler
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 06:59 PM


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,scratch
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 08:00 PM

1. Because he was young.
2. because he was American.
3. Because he was Jewish.
4. Because he was jealous.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 11:23 PM

Well said! ;-D And with such brevity.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 04:06 AM

Guest scratch -
1 MacColl devoted a night a week for over six years to work with young singers - name one one other professional singer who did that!
2 He was married to an American, brother in law to Mike and Pete Seeger, son-in-law to Charles Seeger, performed regularly with Americans like Tom Paley, Jack Warshaw and Buff Rosenthall and a close friend of Alan Lomax who flew across from the States especially to take part in the symposium held on his 70th birthday.
3 He devoted too much of his working life to anti-racist causes to have been one himself
4 He had no reason to be jealous - he wasn't in the same field of work as Dylan - who pissed of to become a pop star anyway as soon as he'd milked the protest song market dry.
Next???
Don't suppose you've any examples of MacColl's dislike of Dylan either - won't hold my breath.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 07:32 AM

Agree with the overall post Jim but is it fair to say Dylan milked the protest song market then moved on? It was before my time but from documentaries etc I have seen it looked like while it may well indeed have been a bit of a bandwagon he was on - he jumped off it while there was still a body of people who wanted much more of the same from him. Couldn't part of his change just have been that he just wanted to play some of what was emerging and what we now call rock music?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 08:16 AM

dylan later jumped on theGod BANDWAGON, He was fairly good at having an eye for bandwagons to jump on, a sort of Michael Mainchance, perhaps EWAN had him sussed as a careerist protest singer than later a careerist later day gospel singer,god monger


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 08:30 AM

Alan
Dylan sang the songs yet distanced himself from the actual movement - see Civil Rights/Theodor Bikel story.
I wouldn't want to be dogmatic about it but I remember a description of Dylan by Joan Baez - must admit he came over as a user.
Anyway - all water under the bridge now
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 09:23 AM

I've just read the comment from 'Guestscratch' that one of the reasons why MacColl didn't like Dylan was because he (Dylan) was Jewish! Now that really is a low and loathsome blow!

I didn't know MacColl well but he was an important figure, among many of my peers and I, when I was a teenager and a young adult. I can assure you that there was never a hint of any racism in that milieu - in fact anti-racism was a powerful theme. There was certainly never a hint of anti-semitism, and any such prejudice would have been regarded with horror!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 09:31 AM

They used to say in NYC's Greenwich Village that Dylan could give opportunism a bad name.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Acorn4
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 10:25 AM

Yet when everything else was going heavy metal/progressive, Dylan made a country and western album.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 12:13 PM

It should be plainly clear to anyone who reads a number of excellent biographies of Bob Dylan that he was tremendously enthusiastic about playing music...and that his enthusiasm kept him moving rapidly through various styles of music until he had thoroughly gone into them and done everything he was curious about...then he usually moved on to something else.

This does not imply a grand scheme to make money, it implies a natural enthusiasm for the music.

His first strong interest was: the country music of Hank Williams. This was when he was a young teenager.

Next: Rock and roll by Buddy Holly, Little Richard, and others. His love for that music led to him forming and fronting some high school bands which played VERY LOUD rock music. Dylan played piano in some of those bands, Little Richard style, and he played electric guitar. One of those bands was called The Golden Chords.

Next: He became fascinated by acoustic folk & blues music, got rid of the electric guitar, and started listening to every old blues and folk record he could find, borrow...or steal! He devoured the old blues and folk ethos and started covering songs by everyone from Odetta to Woody Guthrie, with Guthrie being the biggest influence.

Nothing could be more obvious than that he did it because he loved their music and wanted to be like them. This had also been the case previously with his interest in Hank Williams, Buddy Holly, etc.

Isn't that why we all go into music when we're young? We LIKE it, that's why. And we want to do it ourselves.

So Dylan was still in the acoustic folk/blues idiom when his career really began, and he turned out to be very good at it, but more importantly, he turned out to have a gift for writing a lot of new songs, and songs which were admirably suited for the time.

He always dove into a new interest and immersed himself in it...usually for a period of about 3 years, I'd say, until he'd done it "to the nines", as the expression goes...meaning to the limit. And then...he would get restless for something new, and he'd move on.

For people to cast this as some sort of Machiavellian scheme on Dylan's part to make a ton of money reveals nothing about Bob Dylan, but reveals something about the deep cynicism and negativity and sheer nastiness of themselves in regards to reacting to another person's success.

To assert that he went "religious" in the late 70's as a marketing ploy is utterly asinine. His move to what seemed like a very dour Christian fundamentalism alienated and drove away probably 2/3 or more of his past loyal audience...and certainly did not attract enough new audience to make up for that. It really pissed off and puzzled a lot of his former fans.

Hell, the man always played only the music he wanted to play, period. He did exactly what he wanted to do at any given time. Sometimes it helped his career, sometimes it lost him a big chunk of his audience and hurt his career, but he did what he wanted to do, not what the public wanted him to do, and he had enough real talent to survive the backlash to the changes he made.

And that's why people got angry at him. He wasn't out to please them, he was out to do whatever fulfilled him and made him feel like playing music. As soon as he got bored with anything, he moved on.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 12:21 PM

Thanks for that bit of common sense, LH. As someone who, over the years, has played everything from traditional tunes to blues, ragtime, '20s dance music, '50s rock'n roll, '60s funk & southern soul, jazz and more, that's exactly how some minds work. I've even made a modest income (at times) from doing this. It's a marvellous way of improving your musical knowledge and - though you might not think so - immersing yourself in a musical genre for two or three years at a time is intensely satisfying. Why, I've even played the odd Dylan song - many, many years ago.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Baz Bowdidge
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 12:53 PM

Was Dylan a one-man band? Of course not, from the start he had management (Hammond and Grossman) and the marketing force (Rock Machine) of Columbia Records (CBS now Sony) behind him.
He still has and touring worldwide at 70.
His relentless output culminated in creating the brilliant BD and The Band.
The Band were brilliant in their own right - 'The Last Waltz' is one of my favourite movies (clips on Youtube). A DVD I recommend.
If the answer to this thread was ever true McColl's dislike was decided in a fleeting moment in time compared to the 50 year career of billionaire Bob Dylan.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 01:48 PM

Bob Dylan the singer who was happy to sing Paul Metsers song Farewell to the gold, all the time he thought it was traditional, but immediately dropped it when he found it was another contemporary singer songwriters composition, yes Bob wrote four or five good songs, but he was a much bigger pillock [imo] than Ewan.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Acorn4
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 02:01 PM

GSS - you learn things all the time! - I didn't know that - we know Paul M quite well and never realised that Bob D covered it as well as Nic Jones. Will ask Paul next time we see him - good news is he's gigging again!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,grumpy
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 02:05 PM

'Four or five good songs'? You've no idea about Dylan, have you, GSS?

If you're wondering what I'm on about, get hold of a copy of 'Highway 61 Revisited', or 'Blonde on Blonde' or 'Blood on the Tracks'.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 02:18 PM

I'm puzzled. If MacColl didn't dislike Dylan, why are so many people so determined to prove that he was entirely justified in doing so?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Don Wise
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 03:11 PM

Who cares? Seems to me that the whole matter is merely a footnote of history to be turned over and over again by people with too much time on their hands and perhaps a few axes to grind.
I would suggest that,in the UK of the sixties, Dylan probably introduced more young people to folk music than Commissar MacColl and his coterie in 'The Smoke' did. Those of us in the 'provinces' didn't subscribe to Sing-Out or whatever. We happily gave out our pocket money for Dylans records,learnt the songs,discovered a local folk club where we could even play and slowly began a journey by which we eventually arrived, perhaps, at traditional music.
Furthermore one should perhaps look at the MacColl-Dylan thing in terms of the sixties in the UK. As Dylan perceptively noted, "The Times Were a'Changing", not only in music but also in the theatre, cinema, fashion, art, social attitudes etc.etc. A lot of 'established' people who had no doubt believed that when, from whatever direction, the revolution came they would obviously be asked to 'look after and guide' their particular field, found themselves being overtaken quickly on the inside. The general response to this was to slag off the supposedly 'untalented' etc.,etc., who were setting the pace and cocking a snook at accepted procedures, structures etc. In this sense,in so far as Commissar MacColl apparently slagged off BD he was doing no more than others of his generation were doing in their respective fields.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 03:35 PM

Actually, I don't give a toss i) if Ewan McColl didn't like Bob Dylan and ii) why Ewan McColl didn't like Bob Dylan. This thread does show that his Bobness still causes a hell of a lot of teeth grinding and clothes rending in some quarters.

Bearing this in mind you might not want to watch these wonderful live clips:

Bob Dylan - Simple Twist Of Fate (Live 1975)

Bob Dylan - Hurricane (Live 1975)


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