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2007 Ewan MacColl Bio - Class Act

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The Borchester Echo 12 Oct 07 - 12:30 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 12 Oct 07 - 12:33 PM
GUEST,Winger 12 Oct 07 - 12:34 PM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 12 Oct 07 - 01:35 PM
The Sandman 12 Oct 07 - 01:52 PM
Big Al Whittle 12 Oct 07 - 01:56 PM
curmudgeon 12 Oct 07 - 02:00 PM
The Sandman 12 Oct 07 - 02:26 PM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 12 Oct 07 - 03:13 PM
Big Al Whittle 12 Oct 07 - 05:49 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 12 Oct 07 - 06:02 PM
Big Al Whittle 12 Oct 07 - 06:23 PM
GUEST,Winger 12 Oct 07 - 10:59 PM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 13 Oct 07 - 03:12 AM
Folkiedave 13 Oct 07 - 09:54 AM
TheSnail 13 Oct 07 - 10:44 AM
Big Al Whittle 13 Oct 07 - 11:17 AM
curmudgeon 13 Oct 07 - 11:19 AM
TheSnail 13 Oct 07 - 11:34 AM
Folkiedave 13 Oct 07 - 11:41 AM
TheSnail 13 Oct 07 - 11:44 AM
Jeri 13 Oct 07 - 12:00 PM
The Borchester Echo 13 Oct 07 - 12:21 PM
TheSnail 13 Oct 07 - 12:21 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 13 Oct 07 - 12:29 PM
TheSnail 13 Oct 07 - 01:02 PM
Jeri 13 Oct 07 - 01:21 PM
TheSnail 13 Oct 07 - 01:37 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 13 Oct 07 - 01:56 PM
Folkiedave 13 Oct 07 - 02:03 PM
TheSnail 13 Oct 07 - 02:29 PM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 13 Oct 07 - 03:57 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 13 Oct 07 - 07:26 PM
TheSnail 13 Oct 07 - 09:03 PM
TheSnail 13 Oct 07 - 09:05 PM
Effsee 13 Oct 07 - 09:34 PM
TheSnail 13 Oct 07 - 09:46 PM
Effsee 13 Oct 07 - 10:00 PM
TheSnail 13 Oct 07 - 10:11 PM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 14 Oct 07 - 04:04 AM
TheSnail 14 Oct 07 - 06:54 AM
Folkiedave 14 Oct 07 - 07:11 AM
TheSnail 14 Oct 07 - 07:59 AM
The Borchester Echo 14 Oct 07 - 08:15 AM
TheSnail 14 Oct 07 - 08:23 AM
The Borchester Echo 14 Oct 07 - 08:37 AM
TheSnail 14 Oct 07 - 08:56 AM
The Borchester Echo 14 Oct 07 - 09:07 AM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 14 Oct 07 - 09:50 AM
TheSnail 14 Oct 07 - 11:28 AM
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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 12:30 PM

(1) Shirley Collins was waffling. And it was embittered waffling at that. A public slagging of one dead artist by another who isn't.

(2) No, I don't know either whether the Sweers person (who I do not know and whose work I have not read) got it wrong or if Frankie Armstrong was embellishing rather a lot or being more than a tad forgetful. What will I do if I discover Frankie really did speak as quoted? Have a conversation in private, obviously.

(3) Whaddya mean, 'leave the Leveller to fight his own corner'? He's already admitted he hasn't a clue what he's talking about.

Going out now. To see Reg Hall . . . who isn't my opponent. Nor is Ms Collins nor Ms Armstrong, last time I checked.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 12:33 PM

What really puzzles me is why people are still pushing trivial tittle tattle about a creative genius who is 18 years dead? And why do those same people insist on endlessly regurgitating that tittle tattle rather than considering the genius's considerable achievements?

It's no wonder that those of us who value and admire MacColl's achievements get a bit tetchy!

This appears to be mainly a UK syndrome - I notice that a number of North American contributors, to another thread on this board, are a lot more balanced in their assessments.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Winger
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 12:34 PM

"language is designed to suppress discussion, as is the application of hidden agendas such as that of Winger".

1. You're the one who tried to suppress discussion when I inquired about MacColl's WWII activities.

2. Please enlighten me about these hidden agendas, Jim. So far as I know, we've never met, but somehow you view me as "the enemy". A sure sign of paranoia.

Drop the "reds under the bed" approach, Jim. This is 2007, not 1957. Stop trying to stifle discussion on this forum.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 01:35 PM

Yo wrote
"Clearly, you feel that the revival has left you behind and does not show you the respect you feel you are due. Words like "infested" suggest a note of bitterness towards those who are merely a mirror image of yourself."
I wrote:
"as is the application of hidden agendas such as that of Winger who said that I held the views I do because I found myself 'not appreciated'".
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 01:52 PM

This thread [imo] illustrates one thing,there are some very unpleasant/aggressive people on mudcat.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 01:56 PM

oh yes and throughout the world Dick!

Terrible, isn't it! what a dilemma! what on earth shall we do about it?

I know, plan of action:

1)hands up all the stalinists/fascists.
2)seeing as you're not too fussy about that sort of thing - you could liquidate all the others.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: curmudgeon
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 02:00 PM

The book just arrived and looks to be a well written tome. Even a very brief perusal in the middle encountered Jim Carrol's name a couple times re: the Critic's Group.

Perhaps when others have their copies and at least have begun to read them we can begin this discussion anew without any nastiness - Tom Hall


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 02:26 PM

Jim Carroll,have you thought about getting some sheep,and some electric fencing for your overgrown acreage,you wouldnt have to waste your time cutting the grass then.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 03:13 PM

Hello Cap'n - nice to have you back - hope you are feeling more yourself.
Re the acre - thought of getting the Travellers in to Tarmac it.
Jim


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 05:49 PM

well Jim what did you really think of the Yorkshire/Nottinghamshire story?

on the face of it - it sounds absolutely fucking crazy, but there were some crazy fuckers around at that time. I know , I met some. there used to be this club in Brum on the Ringway, called The Grey Cock - mad as hatters, all in fisherman's smocks. I think Charles Parker had something to do with it.

I've never encountered more shit music and encyclopaedic arrogance in my life - and that's a long time.

MacColl was, like all geniuses, somewhat out of whack with common humanity. But I could live with that. I had catholics and tories as friends - and a lot of muslims, and Hindus and rastas and IRA sympathisers as friends at that point.

If you're reasonably mature, nothing anybody says should really phase you. If they pick up a machine gun, that's something else.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 06:02 PM

In the recently published 'The Folk Handbook' (Backbeat, 2007) there is a section entitled, 'Folk Portraits' by one John Morrish. This section consists, as its name suggests, of a series of brief portraits of people associated with (mainly) English folk music. Names include collectors such as Baring-Gould, Sharp and Vaughan Williams, traditional singers such as Harry Cox, Sam Larner and Fred Jordan and post-war revival figures such as MacColl and Lloyd.

In the portrait on MacColl we learn that he and Peggy Seeger introduced a 'songs from [your] own tradition' policy at the Ballads and Blues (sic) club and that MacColl, "alienated many in the folk world". We learn very little about his achievements except that he was a "driving force behind the 1950s revival" and that he wrote 'Dirty Old Town' and 'first Time Ever ...'.

The next portrait is of Peter Kennedy and this is a rather bland and uncontroversial account of Kennedy's life and achievements.

BUT - and here's the point, last year the 'Musical Traditions' website (www.mustrad.com) published an article on the (recently deceased) Kennedy ('Enthusiasms No. 53', Sept. 2006 - I'll let you read it - if you're interested). This article made 28 (yes TWENTY EIGHT !) negative allegations against Kennedy. Everyone of those allegations made the alleged sins of MacColl pale into insignificance. If any of them are true (and I have no way of knowing if they are) then Kennedy was a much 'badder hombre' than MacColl ever was.

BUT it's MacColl who gets the bad-mouthing and the on-going incessant negative flak. The question is WHY? I suspect that the bad-mouthers have an agenda; how about exploring what that agenda might be?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 06:23 PM

No go on Shim - tell us what the agenda is?

were all agog!

I'm not a whole gog, but I'm about quarter gog.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Winger
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 10:59 PM

Oh my God! I'm beginning to think that a couple of our posters are posting from a mental asylum. All this stuff about hidden agendas, electric guitars, and "why don't you go an pick on Alex Campbell".

For my part, I've already said that I thought he was a superb singer but my inquiry about his WWII service apparently was enough to get me excommunicated from the Church of St. Ewan.

I would imagine the man himself would have been embarrassed by their fawning devotion to him.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 03:12 AM

"well Jim what did you really think of the Yorkshire/Nottinghamshire story?"
Winger.
I joined the Critics group in 1969. Pat and I were members of the audience committee of the Singers Club for around a dozen years.
We were residents of the club for a time.
I can state categorically that during that period there was no policy that said that Lancashire singers only sang songs from Lancashire......
We were singing songs from everywhere, and Ewan and Peggy threw open their tape library in order that we could build our repertoires. It was Ewan who encouraged Londoner, John Faulkner to learn 'The Forger's Farewell'(IMO one of John's best songs); the source was Robert Cinnamond from Belfast.
Regarding the period pre-1969.
In 1978 Pat and I interviewed Ewan over a period of 6 months. One of the points we covered was this one. He explained it as I have stated on this thread and as Peggy explained it in her letter to The Living Tradition. I know Peggy and I knew Ewan; I don't know Leveller - I really don't know what more to say.
I believe (and given the above limitations) I know for certain that it was never part of the Singers Club Policy.
It is not my habit ever to call people liars. If I have misunderstood Leveller I apologise unreservedly.
There is no attempt on my part (or anybody's on this thread as far as I can see) to canonise MacColl, though, throughout my association with the revival there has been a persistant and open attempt to demonise him. PLEASE TELL ME THAT THIS IS NOT THE CASE.
My comment originally on this thread was not to stifle discussion on his war record, but to (hopefully) open a discussion on his work on singing. Once again, as with so so so many attempts in the past, this has not happened.
I don't give a toss what people think of MacColl as and individual; my own opinions are based on my personal memories of him and nothing is going to change those memories.
I do believe that the work we did in The Critics Group was important and could play a part in the future of the singing of traditional songs. I could be wrong, but until we try it we'll never know - will we.
All I can say is 'the earth moved for me'.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Folkiedave
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 09:54 AM

I have made it clear that I am a fan of MacColl, and I certainly don't lionise him. My own experience of those that knew him well, or met him on a number of occasions or met him once or twice, is that he was courteous and polite and helpful.

Loads of people will tell you that he was arrogant, told you what to sing, said you couldn't do this and you couldn't do that. They invariably heard it from someone else.

So I contradict them with my own experience. Jim does it with his (much deeper) experience. Nothing to do with fawning devotion but a lot to do with facts.

I tried to say in another thread how hard he worked at his stage performances. Would that others did the same.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 10:44 AM

Folkiedave

So I contradict them with my own experience. Jim does it with his (much deeper) experience. Nothing to do with fawning devotion but a lot to do with facts.

Shirley Collins, Frankie Armstrong, Reg Hall and The Leveller also had direct experience but they are brushed aside as "waffling", "a tortuous bending of the actualité", "dishonesty" and not being believed (which, I think, is the same thing as calling them a liar).

It is without question that MacColl was a major influence on the folk revival, helped and encouraged a lot of people, wrote some splendid songs and all the other things that Les in Chorlton listed above.

It is also very apparent that he mightily pissed off a number of people. Not just cockneys who wanted to be Leadbelly or Birmingham Folkies who wanted to be North Sea Fishermen but people who were significant players in the revival in their own right.

I cannot see what is to be gained by denying this and rubbishing those who have the temerity to say so.

I wasn't there. I cannot have the direct experience, but as an inheritor of what happened in the fifties I am entitled to know the truth, not just the sanitised version that the MacColl camp want to give me.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 11:17 AM

well allright, but would you want to be remembered for the people you pissed off? its not like he was always going round jumping on peoples toes.

you know how much the backward looking trad folk movement cheeses me off. but I can assure you this was a decent guy, and he deserves that we should try and think of him at his best - as I'm sure most of us would like to be remembered.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: curmudgeon
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 11:19 AM

The Snail wrote, "I wasn't there. I cannot have the direct experience, but as an inheritor of what happened in the fifties I am entitled to know the truth, not just the sanitised version that the MacColl camp want to give me."

Being American, I wasn't there either. I did get to hear MacColl and Seeger once in 1970. I too would like to know more, and I'm not all that sure that what we're learning from Jim and Dave is a "sanitised version."

But unlike some others on this thread I bought and am reading the book, which afterall, is the subject of this thread - Tom Hall


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 11:34 AM

weelittledrummer

well allright, but would you want to be remembered for the people you pissed off?

I'd like to be remembered for who I really was, not some fictionalised version.

To accept the version of MacColl that his supporters present, I have to accept that a number of living people I admire are wafflers, dishonest, bitter "more than a tad forgetful". If his reputation can only be preserved by disparaging the living, there's something seriously wrong.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Folkiedave
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 11:41 AM

My version is not sanitised - simply me experience.

Jim can speak for himself - but from his contributions to this and other threads - it is pretty obvious what he will say.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 11:44 AM

curmudgeon

I'm not all that sure that what we're learning from Jim and Dave is a "sanitised version."

It is sanitised in the sense that it excludes the evidence of people who were there and did know him but came away with a different impression of the man.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jeri
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 12:00 PM

Snail, people can only tell their own version. It would be ridiculous if he were to presume to speak for those who disagree with him.

In a discussion of the book, as in every other discussion about Ewan MacColl, there are some who seem to be desperate to tear him down. I've heard all of the rumors and I've heard stories that can be considered to be possibly true. I've heard it all and if you or anyone else is going to keep on parroting the same stuff, I'll take it as an indication I can safely ignore what you say as trolling.

I expect that some people's self esteem is based on the importance and respect their targets have recieved. If someone's greatly respected and you attack them, you believe you look important. It doesn't work like that. In this case, the attackers look needy and unoriginal.

Next time, perhaps someone who wants to start a serious thread might request it be moderated to avoid replaying the same old stupid arguments.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 12:21 PM

It certainly sounds a useful idea to have a subsequent thread moderated.
Not for the purposes of censorship but for brevity and avoidance of repetition.
I have spoken from my own personal experience, not nearly as extensive as that of Jim (or Frankie for that matter), but it reflected nevertheless the huge and positive influence Ewan MacColl had on me.

I have said that I will discuss the Frankie discrepancies with her whenever I see/am otherwise in contact with her. As for Reg Hall, well I didn't see him last night after all but I did run into Bob Davenport. As he was chiefly concerned (as is his wont) with trying to provoke a rendition of My Way, I didn't ask his opinion. Sorry.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 12:21 PM

I'm sorry Jeri but I can't relate anything in your post to anything I have said. I have no wish to tear MacColl down. I am not denying Jim's or Diane's or Dave's or WLD's experience of him. What I am objecting to is the attitude of some, Jim and Diane in particular, who dimiss the experience of others who knew him as waffling, bitterness and lies. In particular Shirley Collins, Frankie Armstrong and Reg Hall. I have met all of them and do not recognise the descriptions that have appeared in this thread.

Will somebody please explain why it is all right to criticise them but unacceptable to criticise MacColl?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 12:29 PM

I notice that no-one has taken up my point about Peter Kennedy. And before anyone asks why Kennedy is relevant to this discussion I will repeat that, in a very recently published book, MacColl is 'demonised' (to use Jim carrol's term) YET AGAIN, whereas, in the adjacent section, in the same book, another significant figure in the UK folk world, Peter Kennedy (who may have deserved demonisation), is let off the hook.

This contrast is just too striking to go unremarked upon. In my view there are a number of reasons why MacColl has been, and continues to be, demonised (thus unjustly obscuring his considerable achievements):

(i) A lot of people didn't like his politics.
(ii) He was not particularly influenced by contemporary fashions and popular culture. His vision was a lot broader and more mature than that. This meant that, usually by implication, he was seen to criticise some people's tastes in music - in this country the greatest crime that an individual can commit outside of murder and paedophilia. My comment about electric guitars was meant satirically - but I note that some people have taken me literally.
(iii) He was a highly influential figure but he wasn't particularly liberal with his praise - I suspect that quite a few people thought that they deserved his praise - and when he didn't comply their 'noses were put out of joint'.
(iv) He believed in, and practiced, constructive criticism. Criticism is the lifeblood of any developing artform - but a lot of people (with fragile egoes) are offended by it.
(v) He refused to sanction the 'anything goes in a folk club' ethos - in fact his ideas tended to militate against such an ethos. Thus all the comedians, would be rockers and "snigger snoggers" (to pinch Diane Easby's term) etc., etc. who flooded the clubs in the 70s/80s didn't have his 'official sanction' (which, for some unaccountable reason, they seemed to desperately need).

Now I await the comments suggesting that, by advancing these hypotheses, I am somehow paranoid or mad. Some constructive arguments to the contrary would be better - but I don't hold out much hope!


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 01:02 PM

GUEST,Shimrod

I notice that no-one has taken up my point about Peter Kennedy.

As I recall, Peter Kennedy has had a pretty bad press. The difference between him and Ewan MacColl is that there is no solid body of supporters saying how perfect he was and that anybody who disagrees is a waffling, bitter liar.

Would you care to demonstrate how your hyotheses apply to Shirley Collins and Reg Hall?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jeri
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 01:21 PM

Regarding who it's OK to criticize, it's not the criticism I object to so much as the endless repetition of the same things and the selfish lack of the common decency it would take to stay on topic. Start a new thread or use one of the numerous other Ewan MacColl-related troll threads to re-play this. Let the thread about the book BE about the book.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 01:37 PM

Jeri, I am responding on this thread to attacks made on this thread against people I admire. Please don't call me a troll for that.

Let the thread about the book BE about the book.

Tell Diane and Jim, not me.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 01:56 PM

Actually, 'The Snail' I have never, ever said that MacColl was perfect. Although I admire MacColl greatly I don't think that he got everything right. Of course he had his faults, like everyone else - but he also had considerable virtues which have been obscured by the constant, petty sniping.

Actually, Peter Kennedy's achievements were pretty considerable too. But the fact is that his alleged misdemeanours don't seem to have obscured his achievements in the way that those of MacColl (who was 'guilty' of much lesser alleged sins) have been.

As for Shirley Collins and Reg Hall - I happen to admire them too (particularly Ms Collins). There is a good chance that neither of them saw eye-to-eye with MacColl (there's no law that says that they had to!). But I don't observe either of them engaging in constant, insidious character assasination!


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Folkiedave
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 02:03 PM

5himrod - there was a whole thread about Peter Kennedy last year started by my response to Rod Stradling's article. I am not going through it again.

Suffice to say anyone saves up allegations, repeats them 3 months after someone has died, who repeats those allegations on the internet and then asks for evidence to support those allegations is going the wrong way about things. (IMHO)

I did not know enough about Peter Kennedy to comment on the allegations.

And I am not fond "anything goes in folk clubs" either, and I don't see anything wrong with standards. If MacColl thought the same way and I have no idea whether he did or didn't, then good for him.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 02:29 PM

Shimrod

Actually, 'The Snail' I have never, ever said that MacColl was perfect.

And I have never said you did.

But I don't observe either of them [Shirley Collins and Reg Hall] engaging in constant, insidious character assasination!

That is what they are being accused of and receiving on this thread.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 03:57 PM

Can we clear up a few things with a few facts.
My comments regarding Reg Hall:
On Folk Britannia Reg quoted from the sleeve notes of an album entitled (Irish Jigs, Reels and Hornpipes - Willie Clancy and Michael Gorman', Folkways FW 6819) as being evidence of MacColl and Lloyd's aim to form "Eastern European type folk ensembles" in the early days of the revival (both Bert and Ewan, Bert particularly, hated those ensembles as being erzatz, watered down folk music. On the programme the sleeve notes were actually shown.
I have my copy of the album in front of me at the moment and I see that the notes were written by Henry Cowell. There is no indication that either Ewan or Bert had anything to do with the making of the album.
I don't know if anybody has a copy of Folk Britannia, but it should be quite easy for anybody who has to find the reference.
I was particularly saddened because of my respect for Reg's work on Irish music.
Frankie's comment on Ewan's attitude to regional material.
You have my personal involvement with Ewan and the club; you have Peggy's letter to The Living Tradition; I haven't transcribed Ewan's interview, but it's accessible at the British Library and at the Irish Traditional Music Archive in Dublin.
Please help me out here; if you were in my position, what version would you accept?
I have never met or even seen Shirley Collins so I can't say one way or the other whether her assessment is a fair one; all I can say is it doesn't tie up with mine.
MacColl was not popular with his fellow revivalists in the early days for a number of reasons; Shimrod touched on many of them quite adequately as far as I'm concerned.
How unpopular he was, was illustrated by an incident which took place during the making of 'The Travelling People' Radio Ballad, where one individual was prepared (and nearly did) sabotage the making of that programme.
As much as I find embarrassing pointing out things 'wot I rote' perhaps people might like to read the interview with Sheila Stewart in 'The Living Tradition' (issue 41, Jan, Feb 2001) and my response in the following issue (issue 42, letters page, March, April 2001).
There were also the series of exchanges in Musical Traditions, which I was involved in, when it was intimated that MacColl stole 'Shoals of Herring' from traditional singers. Can't give a date for this latter, but it was at the time of the re-issue of 'Now Is The Time For Fishing' on CD, for which (I think) I did the notes.
Around the same time Peggy was accused of refusing to allow additional material to be include on that album; in fact, she had never been asked.
Ewan and Peggy have been the target of a great deal of abuse down the years. Contrary to the accusation that they spent a great deal of time knocking other members of the revival, neither of them wrote very much, not of their own ideas nor of their opinions of the revival, so much information we have is based on hearsay.
It seems obligatory that before we can get down to discussing their work, it is still necessary to climb the shit mountain.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 07:26 PM

"But I don't observe either of them [Shirley Collins and Reg Hall] engaging in constant, insidious character assasination!

That is what they are being accused of and receiving on this thread."

"TheSnail" that is not true - and you know it!

Comments that both of these people said ONCE, sometime in the past (and quite probably meant), have been dredged up and used as part of the barrage of 'sticks-and-stones' flung at MacColl and his reputation.

It's the posthumous character assasination, and the completely unbalanced assessment of a distinguished career, that I (and I suspect others) object to - not the fact that other figures in the post-war revival may have had disagreements with MacColl.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 09:03 PM

I'd better make it clear that I am in no way trying to denigrate the achievements or influence of Ewan MacColl. The man will clearly go down in history as one of the major figures in the British folk revival of the second half of the 20th century not to mention his work in the theatre, his political stand and his support for public access to the countryside. He wrote some great songs. The first time ever I saw your face will probably be being discussed on a Mudcat thread in five hundred years time.

Jim Carroll

MacColl was not popular with his fellow revivalists in the early days for a number of reasons

That is a refreshing admission because the prevailing impression from some contributors up to now has been that MacColl was universally loved by all who met him and that anyone who said otherwise was dishonest, embittered or in some way mentally confused. They were also accused of getting their information at second, third or fourth hand even when they knew him personally.

I am now totally confused about the record notes business. Are you really saying that Reg Hall quoted from the sleeve notes of a record that had no connection with MacColl and Lloyd whatsoever?   This seems utterly bizarre.

I have never met or even seen Shirley Collins

You should. You would be charmed. I last saw her two days ago and she was as lovely as ever. I was in the post office a while ago when I heard this VOICE behind me. Shirley buying stamps has more music in her than many contemporary folk superstars. She is not the waffling bitter woman that Diane makes her out to be.

I don't want to take sides in the debate over MacColl's character, I just want those who do not share your opinion to be able to say so without being denigrated in the way they have on this thread.

You (Jim), Diane, Dave, Shimrod and (rather equivocally) Bryn think he was wonderful; Shirley Collins, Reg Hall and The Leveller (and, I suspect, a few others) do not.

Please help me out here; if you were in my position, what version would you accept?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 09:05 PM

Shimrod

That is what they are being accused of and receiving on this thread."

"TheSnail" that is not true - and you know it!


Please read Diane's and Jim's posts. Until you show some evidence of having done so, I won't bother to respond to you.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Effsee
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 09:34 PM

Mr.Mollusc,or Gastropod if you prefer, but certainly not Crustacean,..."one of the major figures in the British folk revival of the second half of the 20th century"...I believe the song "The Manchester Rambler" was one of Ewan's early compositions from 1932.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 09:46 PM

Effsee

I believe the song "The Manchester Rambler" was one of Ewan's early compositions from 1932.

Ah but that would be in his theatrical period rather than his folk revival days. Let's not quibble over details.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Effsee
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 10:00 PM

Erm, no actually I think that might be in his "Protest Songwriter " days actually.
Och yes, let's split hairs, why not?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 10:11 PM

Whatever.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 04:04 AM

"Are you really saying that Reg Hall quoted from the sleeve notes of a record that had no connection with MacColl and Lloyd whatsoever?   This seems utterly bizarre."
That is exactly what I am saying; the notes were written by Henry Cowell - bizarre or what?
Sorry, my earlier posting shouldn't have gone off - I hadn't finished it (anticipation of a great night of music in my local pub made my finger twitch - wasn't disappointed) This is the bit wot I rerote.

Ewan and Peggy have been the target of a great deal of abuse down the years. Contrary to the accusation that they spent a great deal of time knocking other members of the revival, neither of them wrote very much (an issue I disagreed with them on, on a number of occasions), not of their own ideas nor of their opinions of the revival, so much information we have is based on hearsay. WLD says earlier that MacColl slagged off his fellow revivalists; it would be interesting if he could produce some concrete examples of this.
We admirers of MacColl are accused of elevating him to sainthood – not true. He was a human being with human faults, yet each time we attempt to discuss him as an artist we are met with a barrage of abuse and rumours – as has been pointed out,he has been dead eighteen years, yet still – the beat goes on. We don't idolise MacColl, but we do refuse to participate in this particularly distasteful exercise in grave-dancing – as far as I'm concerned- guilty as charged.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 06:54 AM

Jim Carroll

That is exactly what I am saying; the notes were written by Henry Cowell

I think I'm seriously losing the plot here. Why was Henry Cowell discussing MacColl and Lloyd on a record of music by Willie Clancy and Michael Gorman? By the way, is this the Henry Cowell you are talking about? If so, aren't you (to borrow a phrase) being a bit economical with the actualité by describing him as "an American collector"? Further digging on the internet shows that he was a close friend of the Seeger family having helped Peggy's mother Ruth in her career as a composer. Reg may have felt that he was a man who could speak with some authority on the subject.

Ewan and Peggy have been the target of a great deal of abuse down the years.

Why? I'd like to know. Not because I want to join in that abuse but because it will give me greater insight into the nature of the folk revival.

so much information we have is based on hearsay.

What Shirley Collins and Reg Hall have to say is not hearsay but they still get rubbished for saying it.

we do refuse to participate in this particularly distasteful exercise in grave-dancing

But does that mean that we can't talk about the fact that important players in the folk revival did have serious problems with him?

Bryan Creer


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Folkiedave
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 07:11 AM

Why not ask them? I never knew MacColl all that well, just met him on a number of occasions, but the one described is not the one I recognise so I couldn't say.

One thing for certain - as I said earlier in the thread - many of the assertions are built up on myth - from people who never met him.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 07:59 AM

Folkiedave

Why not ask them?

Perhaps I will if the opportunity arises but I have to admit, I don't know any them well enough to encroach on what may be sensitive subjects.

many of the assertions are built up on myth - from people who never met him.

I don't care. I am talking about the bad-mouthing that people who did actually know him are getting for not agreeing with those who think he was utterly wonderful.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 08:15 AM

Anyone who does contentious pieces to camera for network television in a programme that's been repeated more times than The Sound Of Music or The Wizard Of Oz must surely expect a fair bit of questioning and challenging. They wouldn't have agreed to take part otherwise, would they?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 08:23 AM

Then question or challenge them instead of insulting them or calling them liars.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 08:37 AM

Shirley Collins made some very embittered accusations against Ewan MacColl in front of millions. All those (including me) who were somewhat surprised at such intemperance are not 'insulting' her by merely referring to the broadcast which she presumably wants people to see. Next time I see her in the Post Office queue it'll be the first thing I mention.

In the same series, Reg Hall was talking about some sleevenotes which he was assuming Ewan had approved. He was clearly not in full possession of the facts. As I've said, I'd hoped to see him last Friday but he wasn't there. I'll be asking him when I do see him (and if I remember and if we don't have more interesting things to talk about).

As for Frankie Armstrong, has anyone read or even seen this book from which the alleged quote is culled? I haven't. Again, I might ask her when I see her. Anybody could.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 08:56 AM

Diane Eas

Shirley Collins made some very embittered accusations against Ewan MacColl in front of millions.

...and you accused her of waffling. Clearly MacColl must have done something to seriously piss her off. Aren't you interested to know what?

Even Peggy Seeger refers to "Ewan's intransigence and argumentative temperament". Are you going to accuse her of lying too?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 09:07 AM

OK, she waffled some very embittered accusations . . .

I know what pissed her off. She doesn't like what Ewan did to songs (adapting and nicking tunes for his own work). She says they didn't 'belong' to him.
She might as well be as dismissive of Ashley Hutchings . . . hmmm, she probably has been.
Not a lot to do with "intransigence and argumentative temperament". Just "artistic differences".


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 09:50 AM

"I think I'm seriously losing the plot here. Why was Henry Cowell discussing MacColl and Lloyd on a record of music by Willie Clancy and Michael Gorman?"
He wasn't
Reg Based his statement on the last sentence of this sleeve note. Neither MacColl not Lloyd are mentioned in the insert:
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES
Michael Gorman is a 58 year old traditional fiddler from Co. Sligo, Southern Ireland.    He has "been playing fiddle since he was 8 years old.    James Gannon .of Achontry, Co..Sligo, a great fiddler, heard Michael whistling fiddle tunes and offered to teach him the fiddle if he could get hold of an instrument.    Michael got his fiddle and was apprenticed to Gannon and later to Michael Gorman, who taught every fiddler of note in West of Ireland.    Gorman soon became a notable fiddler in the county Sligo style, a style which (unlike that of Donegall) eschews heavy down-bowing and achieves its effects by highly elaborate fingering.    From being champion fiddler of the district, Michael became regional champion and later national champ.    He has represented Ireland at International folk festivals. In his younger days he was also renowned as a dancer with a nice, clean style of footwork.    Even today, after a lifetime of heavy work, he will, if moved or excited, dance a jig or a hornpipe while accompanying himself on the fiddle.    He has made many recordings for B.B.C. folk music archives, has broadcast and been in television.    During the day he works as a railway porter at Liverpool Street Station, London, and is one of the folk musicians who is helping to build the British Folk Song and.Dance Ensemble.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 11:28 AM

This is like a treasure hunt; one clue leads to the next.

Did the British Folk Song and Dance Ensemble exist? Were MacColl and Lloyd involved with it? Was Michael Gorman working with them in any way?

This is the link I should have given for Henry Cowell. I didn't realise which part of the site I was looking at when I harvested the address. Sounds like a man who would know what he was talking about.


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