The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #105162 Message #4023152
Posted By: Jim Carroll
11-Dec-19 - 11:12 AM
Thread Name: 2007 Ewan MacColl Bio - Class Act
Subject: RE: 2007 Ewan MacColl Bio - Class Act
There is no problem whatever in discussing MacColl's political beliefs Joe - there never has been - they are obvious from the contents of many of his songs anyway
The problem is that this is not what is happening here -
Discussions like this sometimes feel like a session of the H.U.A.C. where it becomes necessary to repeat over and over again "MacColl was not and never has been a member of The Communist Party"
MacColl departed from Party Politics in the late 1940s - he said so to me and we have him doing so as part of a six month interview Pat and I carried out in the early 1980s - as far as his Political affiliations are concerned, that should be good enough to leave alone - it is something that happened 75 years ago and needs top be laid to rest
MacColl's politics, his war record, his name-change, his so-called arrogance...... has been discussed dozens of times over- it is impossible to open a thread under his name without one or other - usually all these things being brought up and usually used as weapons to attack a thirty year long dead singer who added so much to the lives of so many people
Discussions on these things have invariably led to hostility (some of which has been on display recently) and has closed threads
Because of this, discussion on MacColl has become almost a no go area
I have tried on numerous occasions to discuss the groundbreaking work MacColl, Seeger and the Critics group did on singing - always without success
Each time it has fallen at the pre-war politics - name change - Scots or English..... fence - these have become zn insignificant and totally unnecessary hurdle to discussing Ewan as an artist and an innovator
It has become fashionable for moderators to decide when subjects have run their course and close threads - surely these hoary old chestnuts have had their day by now and it's time to discuss the artistic work of this man ?
Are we really happy to treat him like THIS ?
This is something Peggy wrote after Ewan's name had been dragged from the dead once more to be administered yet another kicking
"Ewan MacColl was one step nearer to being a folksinger than I, having been brought up in a Scots community in Salford. He is a man who is a perfect example of the old saying “stick your neck out and someone will chop your head off”. I didn’t know, until after he died, just how many enemies and ex-post-facto critics we had made. WE. Please remember that he and I were in this together and you can now aim your missiles at someone who is still here and who is quite articulate on the matter. Pity more folks didn’t have the courage and the knowledge to talk with him while he was alive. He was actually an interesting, approachable person and was happy to talk to anyone who approached with a less-than-hostile attitude. I learned so much from those years. And of course, I am biased! I am also fed up with people who criticise him with only hearsay and second (third, fourth, umpteenth) knowledge on which to base their opinions.
Like Ewan, I’ve always got lots more to say but I don’t care to argue all this out nitty blow by gritty blow. By the way, I’m just finishing up a book of his songs. 200 of them. ‘The Essential Ewan MacColl Songbook’ (Music Sales, autumn 2000). Those of you who have followed or partaken in this controversy might find my long critique of him as a person and an artist enlightening. It won’t be what you expected from the person who was his lover and working partner. Information is on my website: www.pegseeger.com.
Peggy Seeger, North Carolina"
The Living Tradition Vol. 39; July 2000.