The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #35395   Message #4085796
Posted By: GUEST,Rory
31-Dec-20 - 03:21 AM
Thread Name: Lyr ADD: Shift and Spin (Ewan McVicar)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Shift and Spin (Ewan McVicar)
The song was written by Ewan in about 1985.

Here's what is written in Mainlynorfolk:

Ewan McVicar was a social worker in Paisley near Glasgow when he transcribed some interviews he had made with the Paisley thread-mill workers, and ended up with this song, Shift and Spin.

Fiona Hunter sang Shift and Spin in 2014 on her eponymous solo CD Fiona Hunter. She commented in her liner notes:
Ewan McVicar was asked to write short pieces of songs for a local history project in Paisley that was documenting the lives of workers in the Paisley thread mills.

The song is from the perspective of a woman working in the mill. It is about the boredom of working in a large factory, where the noise is so loud you are alone with your machine and your thoughts.


Further comments from Scots Language Centre:

This song began as only a verse and chorus. Ewan McVicar was asked to write short pieces of song for a local history project in Paisley that was documenting the work of workers in the Paisley thread mills. Singer and festival organiser Danny Kyle of Paisley then nagged Ewan to write more verses.

Ewan did, making them as a duet to be sung by Glasgow musician and actor Alan Tall and actress Lillian Cattigan in a show about the history of Glasgow. This show was specially written in three languages – English, German and Glesga – to be performed in Glasgow’s twin city of Nurnberg in 1985 as a part of official twinning events.

Then Ewan reworked it a little to make it a solo song. He sent this to Glasgow singer Ray Fisher, who taught it to various other singers. But Ray did not use the first part line of Ewan's original tune. Most singers sing her version, not Ewan’s original. And when introducing the song Ray sometimes says the song is about the Dundee jute mills. But it is about Paisley.

This process of songs and the stories that surround them being altered as they pass from singer to singer is known as the Folk Process

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