The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #142469   Message #3285431
Posted By: Little Hawk
05-Jan-12 - 04:50 PM
Thread Name: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
Richard - ""oh it's not fair your mum and dad they fuck you up and the world will be better when I rule it".

What????? I have no idea how you get that from Dylan's songs, Richard. I see nothing anywhere in his work that suggests he had the slightest notion of ruling the word. He seems to have always seen himself as an independent individual seeking his own path...not a leader of others. He did protest various common forms of hypocrisy and conformity that we see all around us in society. Did you ever read the lyrics in the song "It's Allright, Ma...I'm Only Bleeding"? That song protests just about everything, and it's a brilliant piece of work. In fact, I'd say it stands alone. Nothing else really comes close to that one.

"part of the patrimony of those he found boring" It wasn't exactly that I found those guys in the Toronto UK-folk clubs boring so much as just plain arrogant, superior, and snide toward anyone not already in their clique. But that's a problem in a great many cliques, isn't it? It's a problem on this forum, for times.

Dylan was also inclined to be quite arrogant at times...and I gather that MacColl could be that way too. No wonder they rubbed each other the wrong way. ;-D

In any case, they both had a great deal to offer to the listener, in my opinion.


The process of "raiding folk songs" for a tune, a structure or a theme is as old as the music itself. It's been going on for hundreds, even thousands of years. Woody Guthrie was constantly stealing tunes from other songs. No one seems to mind. The American national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, for instance, was written by Francis Scott Keys to the tune of a popular British pub song of the time! Another major American anthem was written to the tune of "God Save the King". When you look through the history of folksongs, you find the same tunes recycled again and again with similar or totally different lyrics. So what? What was Dylan doing that thousands of others had not done before him...except this one thing: he succeeded professionally in a very big way while doing it.

That's why people object to him having done it...because he succeeded. If he'd remained relatively unknown and not made a lot of money, they wouldn't give a hoot about it. He'd just be another minor player in a very old tradition of reworking traditional songs.