The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #7910   Message #49325
Posted By: Bob Bolton
13-Dec-98 - 08:02 PM
Thread Name: BBC Radio Ballads by Ewan MacColl/Chas. Parker
Subject: RE: BBC Radio Balads by Ewan McColl/Chas. Parker
G'day again Steve,

Now that I look at my vinyl collection, I see that I actually have only 5 LPs of the radio ballads - and that only 6 ever made it onto vinyl. The ones that I have are: The Travelling People Decca/Argo DA 133 mono The Ballad of John Axon Decca/Argo DA 139 mono (Argo RG 474 mono). The Big Hewer Decca/Argo DA 140 mono (Argo RG 538 mono). The Fight Game Decca/Argo DA 141 mono (Argo RG 539 mono). Singing The Fishing Decca/Argo DA 142 mono (Argo RG 502 mono).

The one that I never saw in shops was: On The Edge Decca/Argo DA 136 mono.

I have clear recollections of Song of a Road, but no record seems to have been made. This is the only one that I actually heard as a radio programme. In the 1960s, when I was working on the Tasmanian Hydro-Electric Scheme, it was broadcast by the ABC (the Australian Broadcasting Commission) ... presumably while it was doing the colonial repeats circuit! This one made a great impression on me - especially as it was so relevant to my lifestyle at the time. The characters it deals with are those you will find anywhere in the world in the big construction game and some material, particularly The Fitter's Song, has stayed with me ever since.

The other Radio Ballad was The Body Blow about 5 polio victims.

As the songs are not presented separately in the actual Radio Ballads, but are integrated into the entire performance, many of the most popular have been recorded (and published) separately. I have two LPs called The World of Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger, Volumes 1 & 2 (Argo SPA 102 & Argo SPA-A 216, respectively) and these have many of the Radio Ballads songs - indeed the 2nd volume is subtitled; Songs From Radio Ballads.

I suppose the most we can hope for is that the song albums will be swept up in the inexorable process of re-release on CD. The Radio Ballads would each make a lovely CD but no producer, these days, believes that a profitable proportion of the paying audience has sufficient attention span. I would be first in line if they brought out Song of a Road on CD!


Bob Bolton