The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #153529 Message #3623346
Posted By: Jim Carroll
01-May-14 - 03:15 AM
Thread Name: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
This thread - like the Russian Revolution, seems to be getting bogged down in CULT OF PERSONALITY - another useful phrase to look up
It seems Dick 'protesteth too much' when it comes to "speaking ill of the dead" - he hasn't been backward in coming forward when it comes to giving his somewhat ill-informed opinions on MacColl in the past; nor have far too many other people.
Sure - let's talk about whether they were taken in by Stalin, or whether they were "elitist" or "arrogant", or "rude to people"..... or all the other personal (and in my experience, often highly inaccurate) things still being leveled at MacColl a quarter of a century after his demise - but not at the cost of discussion on their work, and the contribution they made to our music and our understanding of it - and what their efforts left behind.
Sometime this month, we hope (grant willing) to embark on two, hour-long radio programmes for Irish radio on the work of Ewan MacColl.
When we started gathering material together for the grant application, we realised that there is so much of it that has never been touched, so many aspects of the man's work that remains totally unexplored, that the problem was going to be in deciding what to exclude - there is far too much to use even to scratch the surface of the work he did, let alone, give a fair picture in what he covered in the field of folk song - in in the two hours we hope to have at our disposal.
This type of work should have happened while MacColl was living - as Peggy once said, "while he was still around to speak for himself" - to articulate and defend his own ideas.
Twenty-odd years after his death, it is still impossible to discuss MacColl's work without having first to scramble over the mountain of garbage that has been built - sometimes deliberately - around the man and his work.
It is this type of small-minded 'grave dancing' that has belittled the folk song movement and kept it in its adolescence - it really is time we allowed it to grow up and make its own way in the world.