The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #135224 Message #3083989
Posted By: Jim Carroll
28-Jan-11 - 08:35 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req:Jock Hawk's Adventures in Glasgow (MacColl
Subject: RE: McColl or Harry Lauder-Jock Hawk's Adventures
"Those of us who seek to protect MacColl's reputation are not doing so because we are 'anti-criticism'"
Shimrod's posting here is spot-on.
Personally, I couldn't give a toss what kind of a person people believe MacColl to have been - my memories of him are exactly that - my memories, and not the 'Chinese Whispers' information and deliberate misrepresentations that discussions like this invariably throw up.
MacColl, through his work with The Critics Group, produced some serious aids for singing - voice and relaxation exercises, methods of analysis, suggestions of approach to songs, song writing techniques, research aids, discussion and practical work on accompaniment... ten years of research and experimentation that helped singers understand and perform the songs they chose to sing.
These techniques, in my opinion, helped singers to improve; they were by no means perfect, nor did they represent the only work done on singing, but they were head-and-shoulders above the workshops I have visited since, where a song sheet is handed round, a tune is taught, and all present are encouraged to sing cold from the printed word.
I am still staggered at the amount of work done and the territory covered by The Critics Group during the ten years of its existence, yet it still remains a total mystery, largely thanks to cul-de-sac discussions such as this one, and deliberate vindictive misrepresentation, amply represented by Dave Harker in his 'One For The Money':
"In public, MacColl made no serious theoretical contribution; but fortunately, some of his training sessions were SURREPTITIOUSLY recorded".
Virtually all the Critics group meetings were recorded by a group member, were archived and were passed on to anybody wishing to use them - I found them invaluable when I set up a singing workshop in Manchester in 1968. These recordings are at present housed with the Charles Parker Archive at Birmingham Central Library.
Harker makes little effort to hide his hostility towards MacColl, who he lists in his index as 'Jimmy Miller' (Robert Zimmermann, of course appears as Bob Dylan - double standards or what - or maybe just agenda-driven scholarship?)
If those of us who still enjoy MacColl's singing and value his contribution to folk song, over-react to criticism of him on occasion, perhaps it might have more than a little to do with the frustration of trying to get his work discussed seriously instead of having to scale the shit mountains that appear every time his name is mentioned.