The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #142469   Message #3284169
Posted By: matt milton
03-Jan-12 - 01:10 PM
Thread Name: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
" I love his politics"

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

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

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

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

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