Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Printer Friendly - Home
Page: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]


2007 Ewan MacColl Bio - Class Act

Related threads:
Peggy Seeger biography 2017 (85)
New Books: Peggy Seeger / Billy Bragg (15)
Ewan Maccoll - Atheist or Religious? (23)
Lyr Req: Missing MacColl Albums (6)
Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!! (107)
Peggy Seeger- Again (5)
Ewan MacColl's trousers (110)
Peggy Seeger - In Her Prime (13)
What did you do in the war, Ewan? (297)
Ewan MacColl tribute-Maxine Peake/Joy of Living CD (15)
New book - Legacies of Ewan MacColl (80)
Ewan Macoll & Peggy Seeger Concert 1976 (4)
Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes? (176)
Peggy Seeger interview on Irish radio (3)
PEGGY SEEGER Folkways FP-49 (9)
Peggy Seeger on BBC R4's 'Loose Ends' (13)
Gulp! Ewan MacColl - Scottish or Not? (170)
BS: Who the hell is MacColl? (77)
Peggy Seeger, Desert Island Discs (16)
Obit: RIP Ewan MacColl (1915-1989) (8)
Ewan MacColl - real name? (78)
John Ross' discography of Ewan MacColl (19)
Folk 78 - Ewan MacColl & Peggy Seeger (5)
MacColl/Seeger LP-Identify? (9)
A new site: Ewan MacColl's discography (1)
Ewan MacColl autobiography - to be reissued (25)
Ewan MacColl and RTE (9)
(origins) Origins: Webnotes: Peg Seeger's newish trad album (1)
Ewan MacColl - coward or traitor? (109)
Ewan MacColl's accent (182)
Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe? (156)
MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl (174)
Why did Ewan MacColl write new songs? (58)
Ewan MacColl Collectors E-Mail List (7)
Complete Ewan MacColl Songbook (13)
Ewan MacColl and Stalin (65)
Ewan MacColl's CDs (12)
Ewan MacColl Weekend 27- 29 Sept 2002 (23)
Who's Ewan MacColl? (60)
Ewan MacColl - Recommendations? (27)
Peggy Seeger (18)
Seeger and MacColl Books (3)
Peg Seeger, Si Kahn & Sorcha Dorcha... (20)
MacColl Tribute in Salford - Sunday (13)
peggy seeger on u.k. radio (14)
Peggy Seeger on Desert Island Discs (11)
June 17th. Happy Birthday Peggy Seeger (11)
Ewan MacColl songbook out? (6)
What Peggy Seeger did last week... (6)


Big Al Whittle 04 Oct 07 - 07:50 AM
Folkiedave 04 Oct 07 - 07:58 AM
GUEST,guest 04 Oct 07 - 11:12 AM
curmudgeon 04 Oct 07 - 12:06 PM
Susanne (skw) 06 Oct 07 - 06:48 AM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 06 Oct 07 - 08:52 AM
Folkiedave 06 Oct 07 - 09:32 AM
Bonzo3legs 06 Oct 07 - 09:50 AM
Folkiedave 06 Oct 07 - 09:52 AM
stallion 06 Oct 07 - 10:00 AM
Joe_F 06 Oct 07 - 11:21 PM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 07 Oct 07 - 03:01 PM
GUEST,Winger 07 Oct 07 - 04:16 PM
Big Al Whittle 07 Oct 07 - 04:23 PM
Bonzo3legs 07 Oct 07 - 05:51 PM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 08 Oct 07 - 02:44 AM
stallion 08 Oct 07 - 04:10 AM
Big Al Whittle 08 Oct 07 - 04:20 AM
GUEST,Winger 08 Oct 07 - 12:27 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 08 Oct 07 - 02:02 PM
Big Al Whittle 08 Oct 07 - 02:21 PM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 08 Oct 07 - 03:54 PM
GUEST,Winger 08 Oct 07 - 04:14 PM
Big Al Whittle 08 Oct 07 - 05:09 PM
Les in Chorlton 09 Oct 07 - 03:15 AM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 09 Oct 07 - 03:46 AM
Les in Chorlton 09 Oct 07 - 04:06 AM
Llanfair 09 Oct 07 - 05:07 AM
GUEST,redmax 09 Oct 07 - 05:17 AM
Folkiedave 09 Oct 07 - 05:23 AM
curmudgeon 09 Oct 07 - 06:59 AM
Big Al Whittle 09 Oct 07 - 08:56 AM
Big Al Whittle 09 Oct 07 - 08:59 AM
GUEST,theleveller 09 Oct 07 - 09:31 AM
Bryn Pugh 09 Oct 07 - 11:11 AM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 09 Oct 07 - 02:20 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 09 Oct 07 - 02:54 PM
Les in Chorlton 09 Oct 07 - 03:22 PM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 10 Oct 07 - 03:10 AM
Folkiedave 10 Oct 07 - 03:50 AM
Bryn Pugh 10 Oct 07 - 04:51 AM
Les in Chorlton 10 Oct 07 - 05:01 AM
Bryn Pugh 10 Oct 07 - 05:07 AM
GUEST,theleveller 10 Oct 07 - 07:16 AM
Folkiedave 10 Oct 07 - 07:48 AM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 10 Oct 07 - 07:54 AM
GUEST,theleveller 10 Oct 07 - 08:23 AM
GUEST, Sminky 10 Oct 07 - 10:05 AM
Leadfingers 10 Oct 07 - 10:45 AM
Bryn Pugh 10 Oct 07 - 11:07 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 04 Oct 07 - 07:50 AM

The thing also to remember is that Ewan and Peggy were gigging musicians - a bit like a cottage industry.

I remember one night they were both somewhat dispirited because a record company (I can't remember if it were Argo or Decca) had refused to sell them their own records to sell at gigs. This record company had decided instead to pulp all their records, because 'it wasn't the company image they wanted to project'. Ewan and Peggy were like the rest of us - in competition with the big boys of the industry.


The point I'm trying to make is that when you are presenting your work to the world - you look for the most entertaining and engaging way to present yourself (well you do if you have a scintilla of sense!). Not necessarily the most factual.

I think for this reason the Christy Moore book is pretty amazing. Instead of a chronological blow by blow account - he tells his story song by song - all the songs that have graced his professional repertoire. How they cam to be there and what he thought that made him want to inhabit them. I think Christy must have put this book together when he was probably so ill that he thought his playing days were almost over - for some of the soul searching and truth telling has a real ring of honesty.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Folkiedave
Date: 04 Oct 07 - 07:58 AM

I do not know about his father but I seem to remember his mother was a good singer.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 04 Oct 07 - 11:12 AM

"I think for this reason the Christy Moore book is pretty amazing. Instead of a chronological blow by blow account - he tells his story song by song - all the songs that have graced his professional repertoire. How they cam to be there and what he thought that made him want to inhabit them. I think Christy must have put this book together when he was probably so ill that he thought his playing days were almost over - for some of the soul searching and truth telling has a real ring of honesty."

Could not agree more, weelittledrummer. A book like this is hard to beat... but also, a man like Christy is hard to beat. Lucky he was wrong about his touring days being over ! He's kicking as never !

Is the EM autobiography available still ? would be interesting to read both books together ...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: curmudgeon
Date: 04 Oct 07 - 12:06 PM

"Journeyman," MacColl's autobiography can be had for between $67.00 and $307.00 US


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 06:48 AM

What good luck I got it for 11 pounds in 1993! Still, there were questions it left unanswered, so I'll be looking forward to getting my copy of Harker's book. (Is he any relation to Dave Harker, by the way?)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 08:52 AM

(Is he any relation to Dave Harker, by the way?)
God , don't think so and sincerely hope not - go and wash your mouth out!
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Folkiedave
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 09:32 AM

The last copy of Journeyman on Ebay went for £85.00 or thereabouts.

I reckon (speaking as a bookseller) that £35.00 - £50.00 depending upon condition would be a good price.

Speaking from memory the problem with it (as Peggy identifies right at the start) is that it misses out almost as much as it admits. Hardly anything about Jean Newlove for example, very little about any of his children.

Still, his autobiography he can write what he likes.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 09:50 AM

But he was a nasty little control freak, was he not?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Folkiedave
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 09:52 AM

And tell me how do you know that?

Met him a lot of times did you?

Spend a lot of time in his company?

Or did someone tell you and you have repeated it?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: stallion
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 10:00 AM

Ben is a lovely man, a very good guitarist and has toured, and possibly still is touring, the folk clubs with his wife Emily Weygang. I would like to think we are good friends and he and Emily are sorely missed since they moved to Manchester


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Joe_F
Date: 06 Oct 07 - 11:21 PM

Does it reveal, at last, what he did during W.W.II?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Oct 07 - 03:01 PM

"Does it reveal, at last, what he did during W.W.II?"
Don't think Ben was in W.WII.
If you mean MacColl - Many of us know what he did during W.W.II; we've discussed it ad nauseum; however, I'm sure it will be a great excuse not to talk about him as the great singer he was.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Winger
Date: 07 Oct 07 - 04:16 PM

Well, some of us have discussed it, Jim but we're none the wiser. Those who claimed to have known him personally seem to prefer to draw a veil over MacColl's WWII service and chide the rest of us for "prying".

I was one of those who laid out the cash for "Journeyman" when it was published and was disappointed at how selective it was about certain periods of his life. Can you enlighten us, Jim?

Oh, and he was a great singer, too.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 07 Oct 07 - 04:23 PM

well he wasn't really left wing enough to join MI5 (most of whom were Colonels in the KGB). And as someone who'd spent most of his time poncing about onstage, he was hardly great material for the killing machine - so I suppose he started working towards creating a vision which became the English Folk Scene.

I doubt if it were time wasted, whatever he did. he wasn't that sort of bloke.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 07 Oct 07 - 05:51 PM

How to be a control freak!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 02:44 AM

MacColl deserted from the army, was on the run for a period (don't know where but it doesn't matter), then returned to the North of England and joined Joan Littlewood working with Theatre Workshop.
I'm pretty sure Ben Harker has all this period covered.
We were all aware of this in The Critics Group, and he was not averse to discussing it with us.
Would you include in your autobiography that you had broken the law and were technically still a criminal?
It has been an issue, along with his name change, his Scottishness and his singing with his hand over his ear while sitting back-to-front on his chair, that has prevented a serious discussion on his singing and his ideas on that subject.
I hope it will not be the case this time, but I won't put money on it.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: stallion
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 04:10 AM

Knowing Ben, he wouldn't let sentimentality get in the way of scholarship, he has probably dealt with his sources sensitively, coaxing rather than bullying, I don't think one will find any journalism in it, he is a very thoughtful academic. Having said all that I am sure there will be detractors cos they can. I haven't read it yet but I shall look forward to it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 04:20 AM

Don't get so het up Jim. At least people are talking about him - they haven't forgotten him.

Most of us will make as much lasting impression as wee in the River Thames. Keats said something to that effect.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Winger
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 12:27 PM

Thank you, Jim, for shedding at least a little light on MacColl's WWII life. I'd like to learn more, and maybe Harker's book will do that.

Whilst many will prefer to stick to discussing MacColl's singing and his ideas on that subject, others (myself included) see his influence as much wider. His songwriting was undoubtedly politically inspired (both locally and globally)and therefore I find it interesting that he decided to sit-out (if that's what he did)the greatest conflict in human history and completely ignores it in his autobiography (self-incriminating risk acknowledged).

If he was merely a "singer", Jim, I'd agree with you, but he wasn't. Inquiring into his beliefs, his actions, his influence doesn't mean that we're anti-Ewan, just as it doesn't mean that we believe in St. Ewan.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 02:02 PM

I've got this sneaking suspicion that if Ewan MacColl had played an electric guitar (perish the thought - but let's just imagine!) no-one would have given a toss about his politics, his name change, his war record etc., etc. After all 'guitar heroes' and rock stars are expected to behave badly and can drink to excess, take drugs, have sex with hundreds of groupies, smash up hotel rooms, adopt obscure religions or political philosophies and are idolised for such behaviour. Was Ewan's real sin that he didn't bow down before the 'Great God Rock'? And then did he compound that sin by having strong beliefs and by being a highly original artist who followed his own vision - rather than being a slave to fashion?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 02:21 PM

no. his 'sin' was that he bad mouthed people who were in the folk club movement, who may not have conformed to his vision - but they were still on the side of the angels - and he did have some very dim followers who took it upom themselves to be rude to the young Donovan/Dylan clones who were flooding the folk clubs - and that was no way to treat young would be converts. His dullard friends emptied the folk clubs, but that wasn't his fault.

However his virtues far outweighed his faults. he was a great man, and I am glad I met him. he was intellectual without being superior in attitude - he wore his knowledge very lightly. he was passionate about his desire to be an artist. he worked damned hard to put a good show on, and he really did encourage you to do 'your' thing - if he didn't feel it was some homogenised crap you had picked up off the radio.

In short, one of the good guys.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 03:54 PM

"If he was merely a "singer", Jim, I'd agree with you, but he wasn't."
No, he wasn't; he was somebody who evolved a unique approach to the singing of traditional songs; but in order to discuss this you have to climb the shit mountain of name change, Scottishness, politics, war-record, and his refusal to be a member of the folk Luvvies.
Describing his decision to opt out of the war as "sit-out (if that's what he did)the greatest conflict in human history", is somewhat simplistic, as I know personally coming from a left-wing family background.
"No. his 'sin' was that he bad mouthed people who were in the folk club movement, who may not have conformed to his vision "
Where? the problem was he hardly wrote anything and what he did write was concentrated in putting forward his own ideas, rather than pulling down those of others (would that the same could be said of his critics (with a small c). Any badmouthing he was said to have done was in Chinese whispers form, and about as accurate.
Is anybody going to take odds on how many column inches are going to be spent on this thread on MacColl as a creative artist?
I agree with 'im (Shimrod).
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Winger
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 04:14 PM

"you have to climb the shit mountain of name change, Scottishness, politics, war-record, and his refusal to be a member of the folk Luvvies"

You talking to me, Jim?

Whatever relationship with Ewan MacColl, it appears to have taken you to a place where you can only suffer those of a like mind who wish to worship at the shrine of St. Ewan.

Maybe this is a good time, Jim, to put aside those personal memories and take a considered look back at those wonderful songs he wrote, his superb recordings and the many other activies he was involved in. Your paranoid response to questions about his WWII days is akin to a pubescent girl's adoration of a pop star.

What the frig is a "folk Luvvie" anyway?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 08 Oct 07 - 05:09 PM

well the badmouthing was in the form of interviews - there were always people who wanted to interview him. and journalists love a Oasis bashes Blur type face off - without seeing that there could be implications.

I think the thing is - you can be laudatory about an artist's purple patches - but its not really what interests people in biographies and autobiographies of this type.

what people want to know is - how did he become what he was? What was it about how he lived and where he came from that made him a great creative artist, as a opposed to me - who became a nobody.

and if you shroud periods of your life in mystery and mythologise your past - you're not really playing the game. after all - you're taking the people's money.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 03:15 AM

I saw him and Peggy once and have some records. For what it's worth I think they were as good as it gets. They wrote some great songs and they were a massive influence on the second revival.

I suppose a reasonable question to ask is something like:

What was the longer term effect of going AWOL from a war that most people, including those on the left, would say had a good outcome? I guess Jim would have a view?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 03:46 AM

I have no real interest in talking about MacColl as an individual; I knew him long enough to be able to make an assessment of what kind of an individual he was, and that's enough for me.
What I would like to see discussed is his ideas on singing - have been persistently disappointed in this over the last thirty by side tracks and cul-de-sacs such as above.
No Winger, I am not talking to you specifically, it was a general comment.
What is a Folk Luvvie - well; as I was just saying to Martin the other day................
In the early sixties MacColl, a reasonable successful professional singer, took the decision to work with less experienced 'wannabe' singers. While others in his profession (most of whom queued up to get the boot in on him) were happily getting on with their careers, he and Peggy devoted an evening a week to greenhorns like me who were struggling to become reasonable singers of traditional songs and songwriters using traditional forms. They did this for nearly ten years. The end result was around 300 tapes of workshops of ideas, excercises, experiments, performances.... a decade of work on traditional singing absolutely unique.
Those tapes now lay in Birmingham Central Library largely unused (with another set on the shelves behind me as I write).
Because of the mantra that usually follows the mention of MacColl's name, the ideas that were tossed around, tried out, succeeded and became established with those involved, or failed and were discarded, will probably never see the light of the folk club, which I believe to be an awful shame.
The same goes for the 6 month long interview Pat and I did with him on his ideas on singing after The Critics Group broke up.
It seems to me that the revival as it stands today has largely run out of steam, yet there is this reservoir of energy and ideas lying dormant: daft I call it.
I confess I get prickly when I see the same old usual dragged out about MacColl; call it my sense of fair play.
Ewan and Peggy devoted the time and energy they did to the music they loved unstintingly, without expecting any return. Nobody else in the revival other than those who were influenced by them spent anything like the time they did helping other performers.
No, they certainly weren't/aren't saints. Working with MacColl could be difficult; he often got it wrong and jesus, some of his ideas were off-the-wall. But he cared enough about the music to put the hours in and he shared what he had and what he believed. They threw their home open, and made available their library and the result of their researches to anybody who asked.
I don't know many others in the revival I can say that of.
Jim Carroll
WLD' you didn't respond to my comment about MacColl not knocking other singers, but there again, it was a rhetorical one.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 04:06 AM

Jim,

I would PM but you are a guest. It is difficult for most of us to recognise the influence of Ewan and Peggy. They were probably the biggest influence on the revival. Perhaps they were simply much more influential than anybody else. They sang, they recoded, they collected they wrote,they organised clubs, they toured, they supported other people on a greater scale than anybody else.

That is why people want to know what they were like and what made them tick. And that's why I think it is reasonable to ask questions like:

What was the longer term effect of going AWOL from a war that most people, including those on the left, would say had a good outcome?

The Marxist left, particularly the Communist Party of Great Britain, was strong and influential in the 50's because of the success of the Soviet Union in the war. How comfortable was McColl in that climate?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Llanfair
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 05:07 AM

Have you never thought of getting those sessions published, Jim? I for one would be delighted to hear them and learn from them.

I sing some of Ewan McColl's songs, learning them before I knew they were written by him. I have most of the "Radio Ballads", which I love, and I have huge respect for the man, even though I haven't always agreed with his politics.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,redmax
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 05:17 AM

I'm looking forward to this, it's been a while coming. Having spoken to Ben a few times about it I'm sure he was the right choice for this work. As has been mentioned above, he's a good, clever guy who's really done his homework on this.

Sad to see the sledgehammers coming out. Perhaps it's a backhanded compliment to the scale of MacColl's achievements that his faults are magnified so. Who can look back on each and every chapter of his/her life and be proud of all of them? Perhaps his complete omission of WWII years in Journeyman was a little craven, but on the whole when I read it I didn't feel his ego seeping through the pages!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Folkiedave
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 05:23 AM

It seems to me that the revival as it stands today has largely run out of steam

Jim all of what you say I would agree with - except that bit.

There is a big resurgence of interest in folk music at the moment in England and Scotland as far as I can see, and I do go to a lot of around festivals.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: curmudgeon
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 06:59 AM

"What I would like to see discussed is his ideas on singing..." - Jim Carrol

I'm in complete agreement with your sentiment, Jim. However, you seem to be the only person on Mudcat who really knows a lot about this. Please expand and elucidate, probably on a new separate thread .

Thanks - Tom Hall

BTW, my copy of the book was shipped yesterday.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 08:56 AM

Well Jim - of course the problem is that you can't see its an insult when you tell someone what they're doing isn't folk music - when that's exactly what they've put considerable effort and commitment into trying to create.

But it is an insult.

However i really liked and respected him and Ewan.

As for his work going to waste - I don't think so. and if it does - join the club - none of us are getting any younger. I imagine a greater proportion of Ewan's work will be remembered than most peoples.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 08:59 AM

that should read
'However i really liked and respected him and Peggy.'


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,theleveller
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 09:31 AM

Personally, I thought he was an arrogant pain in the arse. He applied rules to everyone else but not to himself. I went to the Singers' Club once in the 60s, sang a very old trad. song called Robin Hood and the Fifteen Foresters which starts 'Robin he would to fair Nottingham'. However, as I come from Yorkshire he said afterwards thatI shouldn't be singing it - even though there's far more evidence that Robin Hood originally came from Yorkshire than Nottighamshire. I think I told him to f**k off and walked out (I believe that Bert Jansch did pretty much the same thing). Loved Peggy Seeger, though.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 11:11 AM

I could be wrong, and I am prepared to be, but I had the privilege of hosting Ewan McColl and Peggy Seeger on more than one occasion at MSG.

I don't like all the non-traditional material they were responsible for ; I wouldn't go out of my way to buy any one of the Radio Ballads. That said : -

I couldn't give a flying fuck about name change, Ewan's politics, or any of the other canards that people trot out whenever his name is mentioned - and I would bet a month's salary (and I am a qualified Lawyer !) that those who trot out said canards got it fourth or fifth hand, and never met Peggy, Ewan, Jim Carroll or me.

What I remember is their unfailing courtesy, that Ewan drank brown over bitter and Peggy drank cider. The only time Ewan ever marked my card was when I announced 'Jowl and Listen, Lads' as traditional.

Why doesn't Alex Campbell, equally as dead, and who couldn't sing two consecutive verses towards the end, get the shit that's thrown at Ewan McColl ?

My comment in an earlier thread, that he damaged the Folk Scene, was based on a misunderstanding of the 'ethnic' jibe, and I apologise to Ewan's shade for this.

Jim C - I think we're (you, in particular) flogging a dead horse, old son ; as someone once wrote (paraphrasing, cos I can't remember the exact quotation) the good men do is interred with their bones ; the evil lives after them.

I never understood the Irishism "begrudgers".

I do now.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 02:20 PM

"The Marxist left, particularly the Communist Party of Great Britain, was strong and influential in the 50's because of the success of the Soviet Union in the war. How comfortable was McColl in that climate?"
Les,
The Marxist left was in total disarray over the war. At the outset it was condemned as an Imperialist adventure by the Communist Party of Great Britain - then the Soviet Union was invaded and they did a somersault. The Gen. Sec. of the C.P, Harry Pollitt, resigned over the change of policy.
My father had 3 brothers, one joined the tank regiment and was decorated as a war hero, two refused (as Irishmen) to have anything to do with it.
It was an academic argument as far as my father was concerned as he had been wounded in Spain and came home to find himself with a police record as a 'premature anti-fascist' - work that into the general run of things if you can; I can't!
I hope to select some of the important bits of our recordings of Ewan's work and offer them to whoever is interested (if anybody).
"Well Jim - of course the problem is that you can't see its an insult when you tell someone what they're doing isn't folk music - when that's exactly what they've put considerable effort and commitment into trying to create. But it is an insult"
WLD; I didn't say what he is doing isn't folk music - I said he wasn't a traditional singer, which is different.
Sorry, getting confused - doesn't this belong to another thread?
Jim Carroll
PS I will get my membership sorted as soon as I get the time (when the bloody grass stops growing in the acre we euphemistically refer to as a garden).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 02:54 PM

Jim,

If you get the chance to get some of MacColl's work on singing into the public domain, please do. As I've said before I attended one of Ewan and Peggy's weekend workshops in the late 60s (in a schoolroom in Huntingdon, if I remember correctly). It was elecrifying stuff!

Admittedly, I was an impressionable lad - but nothing has made such a big impression before or since - a complete revelation. Obviously (and regrettably) the details have faded over the years but I like to think that the basic principles that I learned in the course of that weekend have stayed with me.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 09 Oct 07 - 03:22 PM

Jim,

I understand the points you make about the Marxists and the war. But after Stalingrad and the Yalta the CP put all that behind them and were able to feel that the Nazis had been defeated by the Soviet Union and so their version of history gave them rising membership at least until 1956 and Hungary.

Perhaps that is the climate which created McColl's reluctance to talk about what he did in WW2?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 03:10 AM

theleveller
Sorry - I don't believe you. It was never the policy of The Singers Club to demand that singers from the floor sang only songs from their region, or from anywhere, and to make such a demand would have been insane.
The idea that a singer from Yorkshire shouldn't sing a song from Nottingham is, frankly b******* (or bollocks, as we say in Lancashire).
The Club policy was outlined in a letter from Peggy Seeger in the correspondence pages of The Living Tradition, No 39. July-August 2000, (in the good old days when that magazine had a correspondence page).
Every club had a policy (even if it was a policy not to have a policy).
There were those that forbade instruments, or those where you only sang English songs, no matter where you came from, there were American based clubs where, if you sang something else, it was made quite clear you would not be welcome back.
Our policy was decided by an audience committee, was aimed solely towards the residents and, of course, those we booked.
It was originally suggested by Alan Lomax and was aimed at opening up and establishing the British repertoire, and you know what-it worked!
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 03:50 AM

And here is a link to the article that Jim mentions.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 04:51 AM

Thank you, FolkieDave, for this.

Thanks to Peggy Seeger's candour and not least her humility, the "ethnic" canard can now be consigned to the dustbin of history.

That said, here is a warning to the next person to trot it out -

If you are in my hearing, and within my reach, I shall do you a bad and a woeful.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 05:01 AM

Steady Bryn, seek legal advice first. Must go have to walk the Irwell Valley way, for obvious reasons


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 05:07 AM

I am a Lawyer - whose advice would you like me to seek ?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,theleveller
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 07:16 AM

Jim Carrol said:
"Sorry - I don't believe you. It was never the policy of The Singers Club to demand that singers from the floor sang only songs from their region, or from anywhere, and to make such a demand would have been insane"

Frankly Jim, I don't give a stuff what you believe - that's what happened. I don't think anyone has the right to tell you how a folk song should be sung. That's the whole point of folk music - it's comes out differently with every performer and changes over time. Ewan wanted everyone to do things his way and you got short shrift if you didn't.

Someone asked why Alex Campbell doesn't get flack. Probably because he was a nice guy and thought folk music was fun. Having burst loudly into the room when I was singing at a pub in Bayswater, he came up after and apologised and told me that the first song I'd sung (Robin Hood as it happens) was OK but the second one was s**t. We had a good laugh and he bought me a drink - or was it the other way round?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 07:48 AM

Time after time the members of the club I helped to run asked us to book Alex Campbell and time after time the committee refused.

The local university booked him and he was appalling, drunken, boorish behaviour with long boring anecdotes about nothing in particular and about three songs in an hour. At least we never had the question of booking him raised again.

I seem to remember he apologised after that as well. He certainly had a drink.

There were in the past a number of folk performers with alcohol problems. One or two of them were could still perform drunk and some of them couldn't. He was one of those that couldn't.

And I do have every sympathy with people with alcohol problems. An awful disease.

I have seen Ewan in a blazing temper and Peggy in tears immediately after a concert, but he was still courteous.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 07:54 AM

"Frankly Jim, I don't give a stuff what you believe -"
Pleased to hear it.
"Ewan wanted everyone to do things his way and you got short shrift if you didn't."
No he didn't.
Around 1965 MacColl and Lloyd attempted to draw together some of the dispirit section of the revival, so they called a meeting in a pub in Soho, The John Snow. I have a recording of it.
The three speakers were Lloyd, Campbell and Bob Davenport, MacColl was the chairman.
Lloyd spent his 20 minutes being nice to everybody; Davenport told them that art was middle class and 'not for the likes of us workers' and Campell (somewhat 'tired and emotional') said 'ah love the auld folk' then whined incessantly about 'young performers getting the same fees as me'.
Davenport shouted down every speaker from the audience who disagreed with him and brought the proceedings to an explosive conclusion by declaring the Jeannie Robertson was a crap singer.
Personally I'd prefer a bit of friendly advice offered by Ewan.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,theleveller
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 08:23 AM

Ah, happy days!

Being used to the friendly, laisser-faire atmosphere of Yorkshire folk clubs I couldn't stand the bitchy, proscriptive atmosphere I found in most London venues so i stopped playing for years (sighs of relief all round)until I eventually drifted back to Yorkshire in a round about way. Anyway, the beer's better, so I'll be drinking a toast to Alex Campbell - drunk or sober I thought he was a nice guy and he certainly had more influence on me than Mr MacColl, but probably not in a good way.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 10:05 AM

Shirley Collins (SC) in an interview by Johan Kugelberg (JK):


JK: And I know how central Ewan MacColl is to the history of British folk music but as far as him as a performer and a singer, he is an exclusivist.

SC: Absolutely. I'm so grateful to find somebody who is on the same wavelength as me here. I've always been slightly on the edge of all this. Because MacColl and Seeger and Peggy Seeger, they're such proselytizers. They've got an agenda and everything is going to fit that, and I mind that terribly. They're usurping all these songs to make their own point and that's not what these songs are about. What you're doing is representing generations back. The minds and the hearts and the work of all those people, and you haven't got the right to take it over and make it a political statement.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Leadfingers
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 10:45 AM

Jim - You cant deny that Ewan was somewhat hypocritical about what was and was not acceptable as a folk song - A definate case of "Do as I say , Not as I do !"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 11:07 AM

Jim Carroll has already posted, whether here or elesewhere, that Ewan McColl

'frequently got it wrong, and jesus some of his ideas were off the wall'.

Apart from Shirley Colins's statement (which is her opinion to which she is perfectly entitled)posted by Sminky, where, Leadfingers is your evidence of hypocrisy ?

I thank FolkieDave for hisa posting to the effect that many people who never met Ewan McColl labelled him arrogant.

Suggest you take a look at the thread started by redmax - I think you'll find that people who met Ewan McColl, like me, accepted him for what he was - a courteous encourager of talent great and small.

Dis it ever occur to the begrudgers (see my earlier post) that Ewan McColl was never comfortable with being lionised ?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
Next Page

  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 19 July 6:32 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.