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2007 Ewan MacColl Bio - Class Act

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Jim Carroll 03 Feb 18 - 08:24 PM
Jim Carroll 03 Feb 18 - 08:25 PM
The Sandman 04 Feb 18 - 03:37 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Feb 18 - 03:59 AM
The Sandman 04 Feb 18 - 05:53 AM
Jackaroodave 04 Feb 18 - 06:47 AM
Vic Smith 04 Feb 18 - 06:47 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 04 Feb 18 - 07:57 AM
The Sandman 04 Feb 18 - 08:04 AM
The Sandman 05 Feb 18 - 03:55 AM
Dave Sutherland 05 Feb 18 - 04:03 AM
The Sandman 05 Feb 18 - 06:54 AM
The Sandman 06 Feb 18 - 01:33 AM
The Sandman 06 Feb 18 - 01:38 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Feb 18 - 03:02 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 10 Feb 18 - 09:12 AM
The Sandman 10 Feb 18 - 02:18 PM
The Sandman 11 Feb 18 - 04:35 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Feb 18 - 04:47 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 11 Feb 18 - 05:46 AM
TheSnail 11 Feb 18 - 06:05 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Feb 18 - 06:19 AM
Vic Smith 11 Feb 18 - 06:37 AM
GUEST,John Bowden (not a typo!) 11 Feb 18 - 06:58 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Feb 18 - 07:04 AM
Vic Smith 11 Feb 18 - 07:07 AM
GUEST,John Bowden (not a typo!) 11 Feb 18 - 07:16 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 11 Feb 18 - 07:36 AM
The Sandman 11 Feb 18 - 07:44 AM
The Sandman 11 Feb 18 - 07:47 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Feb 18 - 07:52 AM
The Sandman 11 Feb 18 - 07:52 AM
The Sandman 11 Feb 18 - 08:07 AM
Vic Smith 11 Feb 18 - 08:21 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Feb 18 - 08:26 AM
The Sandman 11 Feb 18 - 08:33 AM
The Sandman 11 Feb 18 - 08:40 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Feb 18 - 09:36 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Feb 18 - 09:42 AM
Vic Smith 11 Feb 18 - 10:04 AM
Iains 11 Feb 18 - 11:00 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Feb 18 - 11:05 AM
Vic Smith 11 Feb 18 - 11:17 AM
Kenny B 11 Feb 18 - 11:38 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 11 Feb 18 - 11:40 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Feb 18 - 11:45 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Feb 18 - 12:59 PM
Kenny B 11 Feb 18 - 01:38 PM
Jim Carroll 11 Feb 18 - 02:41 PM
Kenny B 11 Feb 18 - 02:54 PM
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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Feb 18 - 08:24 PM

"I don't intend to be drawn into another pointless argument about EM v BD but don't know where the 'hissy fit' came from-"
You went spare when I criticised Davenport
"showing absolutely NO interest in hearing the locals or even talking to them. I've never forgotten that."
I first got to know Ewan and Peggy because they insited on talking to locals ansd sitting in when the residents were performing - In Liverpool, in Manchester, in Crewe, and in every other Club
They insisted that the members of the Critics Group did the same
Are you sre we're talking about the same people ?
We booked guests every month - most of them sat in the bar and waited till it was their turn to perform
Your story of the Singers Club being "the club itself to be extremely self-satisfied and worthy," is also crap
It was no such thing - certainly in the twenty years I attended
There was no regular audience as such - People came to see Ewan, others came to see Peggy, some came for both, some for Bert, for Frankie Armstrong and Bert Lloyd - all different, some for different resident groupings and regular guests like Tom Paley
We had a regular Irish audience because it was policy to regularly book Irish performers
In the summer it was crammed with visitors to London - especially Americans ans Scots
There was never a regular "club" as such -
Why do you people make these things up?
The club was devoted to presenting good songs well sung - it was never intended to be a get-together
Any socialising was done in the bar later or in some of the outside activities and trips out - even the research projects
It took the music seriously - that's why it lasted as long as it did with good turnouts
Ill tell you something Jim - If Ewan had thrown the a fraction of the unprofessional nastiness at fallow performers and enthusiasts that people like you are still throwing at him thirty years after his death he would have deserved all the shit that people like you make up about him
In the years I knew him I never heard him once slag off a fellow folkie, certainly not in public
Some people make a career out of it (not mentioning any names of course!!)
He must have done something right to cause such insecurity among you people
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Feb 18 - 08:25 PM

By the way EM V BD - in your dreams
No competition
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 03:37 AM

Ewan was a successful performer and songwriter, as a performer I am curious to understand why? he was a mediocre musician, but he had a partner who was very competent.
in my opinion he was a very good writer, he presented his material well and was professional in his attitude.
He along with others did much to keep the uk folk revival going for many years. I think he is needed now because the folk revival is going in a direction of passive consumerism, one of the things that attracted me in the first place to the uk folk revival that it was an oasis for home made music.Ewan was a strong charcter, who was committed to the uk folk revival, to trying to acheive political and social change[all things that I would agree with]
I did not always agree with his folk club policy and avoided his club,though in hindsight I understand why he was trying to do what he thought was right.
I did not know him as well as Jim Carroll, but my impressiin of him was that he was humourless and on occasions overbearing and patronising.He was also generous with his time and experience, and   tried to help other performers
I believe they unintentionally isolated themselves from the uk folk revival[ this opinion is a result of a conversation i had with Peggy], but he has left lots of very good songs and was someone who could steer the present rudderless ship of the uk folk revival towards home made music and higher standards of performing.
I am interested to read his advice about performing and songwriting, the fact that I did not like him or want to go to his club does not mean that I did not rate him as a performer or song writer and while i dont think he was always right, I think the uk folk revival at this moment in time needs someone who is strong enough to push it away from passive consumerism
Alternatively perhaps we need another skiffle revival,skiffle encouraged so many young people to take up home made american based folk music., it was the antitnesis of the present dayuk folk revival which in the hands of commercial agents appears to worship the pursuit of money and passive consumerism turning the music in to another form of sanitised folky flavoured pop music


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 03:59 AM

"he was a mediocre musician,"
You have me there Dick - what did he play?
He was a brilliant tune adapter - he seldom used tunes lifted straight from other songs but adapted them out of all recognition to the original
When Peggy published his songbook she sent us a list of a dozen tunes she couldn't trace
He and Peggy, Lloyd and Lomax started the reviaval with a gang of other enthusiasts
He was far from hmourless - he was actually enjoyable and stimulating company
He neverf patronised, on the contrary, he told you what he thought of you and your singing straight from the shoulder if you asked him - that was why some people disliked him
Over and over again, i saw singers at the club sing from the floor and go to MacColl for comments - he told you exactly what he thought, what he thought was good and how he felt it could be improved
That was how The Critics Group worked - we all did exactly that to each other's singing -
I still do when I think it will be received in the manner it is offered and I expect the same from others when I sing
Pat and I work this way at home though she no longer sings because of vocal problems - it is an ideal way to keep on form
After your opening comments on this thread, I hardly think you are in the position to call anybody patronising if you don't mind me saying so (I'm sure you do)
They didn't isolate themselves from the revival - theyy were largely ostracised because they didn't go with teh flow, accept the increasingly crap standards and stuck to an identifiable type of song
You can still get dozens of newly-re-issued MacColl and Seeger albums - most of them, in fact
How many folk stars can you say that about?
As you say - the proof of the pudding...
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 05:53 AM

that is your opinion, some of what you say is true,some of it i disagree with. yes i have listened to some of the critics group meetings, and my opinion is different from you, he was trying to help, but in my opinion he is overbearing and controlling the situation, Ewan was in charge.
I also listened to the clip of the meeting with Ewan, Bert, alex campbell and bob davenport, and in my opinion AlexCampbell talked more sense than anyone else when he said and i quote,
"does that mean Icannot sing woody guthrie songs because i am not american". Jim ,the singers club policy was flawed, that was a ridiculous decision that prevented scottiish people from singing woody guthrie or american songs at their club.
meanwhile peggy seeger who was not from the appalachian mountains was allowed to sing appalachian songs, despite not being from appalachia, just completely bizarre


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jackaroodave
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 06:47 AM

"By the way EM V BD - in your dreams"

Now there's a ghastly thought. ;-)

I admire BD this side idolatry, but his proposition, "I'll let you be in my dream if I can be in yours" struck me as one of the worst "lose-lose" bargains I'd ever heard. Throw EM in there with him and I wake up screaming.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Vic Smith
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 06:47 AM

The two gentlemen with the same forename appear to differ in their memories and appreciation of The Singers Club, so I thought that it might be useful to have a third view on the subject. This is text-scanned from pages 81 - 82 of The Elliotts of Birtley by Pete Wood Herron Books [2008] ISBN 9 780954 068233 In fairness it ought to be pointed out that one of the Jims is quoted in this extract :-

Some time in the early '60s there was a Club trip to the Singers' Club in London at the request of Ewan and Peggy. A 40-seater coach was duly filled and down they all went. Some have mixed feelings about the trip, saying MacColl was arrogant and didn't let them sing. They had thought they were taking over the Club for the night. In fact, however, it was just the Elliott family that had been asked to go. Imagine the effect of these boisterous Geordies, all het up and raring to go, on the staid Singers' Club audience of that time!
However, as Bob Davenport, the Gateshead singer long exiled in London, comments, Jack was told what to sing at the Singers' Club. It seemed he was there as a performer, obliged to pop up from time to time in order to illustrate a point from MacColl's 'lecture'. He was delighted to find that when invited to sing at the Fox Club in Islington, he could sing anything he liked when he liked! (Different approach, different people, the Folk Revival had it all.)
Jim Bainbridge, long-exiled singer and musician, and member of the legendary Marsden Rattlers of the 60s and 70s, has this to say:
"Tolerant folk clubs taught many of us that, given the opportunity, most singers improve with time and experience, and that this serves the tradition much better than the quality control exercised at Ewan MacColl's Singers Club. MacColl was a wonderful songwriter and promoter of the tradition as he saw it, but as a man of the theatre - with little time for imperfection - his ideas for improving the quality of singing were applied via technical advice and analysis rather than absorption by exposure to the perceived inadequacies of unbelievers. No less a singer than old Jack Elliott of Birtley was once castigated by this crowd - after a return visit to the Singer's Club, disappointment was expressed that his singing hadn't "improved" since his last visit -What a damn cheek!"
There was also apparently a comment by either Ewan or Peggy that Jack "hadn't moved on", implying that they expected him to develop a stage act, much as they had done. It's sad that they didn't see the true value of such a natural singer who had such a wide appeal without artificial devices. Certainly the way the Elliotts' visit to the Singers' Club was treated looks like that, but for Graeme Miles there was something more. For him, doing it that way was just as artificial a way of presenting the material as was the Owen Brannigan/Peter Pears approach. It seems the essential point here is the different reasons for singing. Both McColl and Brannigan were professional singers, and in my opinion therefore professional entertainers, and they needed a worked-out stage act to make a living. So folkies like me can take a lofty view of Brannigan's style as decidedly 'art' rather than 'folk'. But then McColl didn't sing like a working man or a traditional singer either. (This area will be taken up in more detail later.) But like most things involving MacColl, it was never as simple as that.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 07:57 AM

Thanks for posting that Vic I hadn't seen it before.

I know of a somewhat similar situation, I was not there but a long time friend (40 years plus) of one of the two people involved was. I make this clear for the sake of The Chief Policeman of Folk Music who has been known to post here.

Mike Seeger was booked at the Singer's Club. In the audience was a regular attendee Tom Paley. I expect that most people here will know that Mike and Tom together with John Cohen were The New Lost City Ramblers who in the minds of many were responsible in a huge way for reviving a huge interest in folk music.

Mike thought it would be a good idea if Tom Joined him for the set as they had worked together so well in the past. I am sure that this would have gone down very well with the people who had paid to see Mike.

However Mike was told NO, he was booked as a single and could only perform solo. I am told that this was little sister's ruling.

Hard to understand.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 08:04 AM

And, OH YES THE SINGERS CLUB and Peggy Seeger bursting out laughingat a supposed cockney singing a " leadbelly song", by extension Peggy should not be singing appalachian material, as she was not from the appalchians I believe the offending singer who later became quite famous, was from the watford area, not a feckin cockney at all.
" Both McColl and Brannigan were professional singers, and in my opinion therefore professional entertainers, and they needed a worked-out stage act to make a living " quote.
professional entertainers do need a worked out stage act, but they need to be able to vary the act, but they need flexibilty to suit differing audiences., one of the best examples of this that i saw was John Foreman, I was doing a concert with him[ a split gig]at a caravan camping club, John was brilliant he had the audience eating from his hand,his jokes appeared to be spontaneous and were geared towards the campers.
In my opinion MacColls only weakness as a performer was a lack of spontaneity, a tendency to sing the song the same way every time, however despite that he was a very polished professional performer


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Feb 18 - 03:55 AM

Ewan was not averse to skiffle at one point in his career in earlier times having recorded with alan lomax ramblers, he then does a complete about turn and is idactic about eveyone other than tom paley and peggy seeger singing songs from the area they come from.Whether this decision was to do with his connection with the CPGB,or whether it was entirely due to Alan Lomax and his influence, is debatable, that is if it is possible to debate with Jim Carroll, anyys as Alex Cambell said, it [prevented scottish people from singing WoodyGuthrie songs at the singers club, which was idiosyncratic and eccentric considering MacColls political views


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 05 Feb 18 - 04:03 AM

It certainly would be well over 50 years ago that Marsden Inn booked MacColl and Seeger Jim B as I recall being disappointed not being able to get to see them as at that time I was too young to visit licensed premises (rules were much more strict in those days).
However if that was their attitude it had changed immeasurably when they were booked across town at South Tyne Folk and Blues three times between 1969 and 1972. They populated the club room throughout the night; Ewan was most complimentary regarding the standard of the residents and the organisation of the club and both were highly receptive of requests from the audience for certain songs. On one occasion during the interval two of our resident musicians, Terry Kelly and Matty Scott, were playing a few tunes Peggy went across with her concertina and joined in the session playing, as I recall, "The Weaver's March".
The last time we booked them at the end of the night Ewan was asking me all sorts of questions regarding the North East scene such as how Birtley club was doing and how were Ed Pickford and Benny Graham?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Feb 18 - 06:54 AM

I booked them in the 1980s at a folk club Ewan was very interested in the surrounding area, i explained that the main employment was the brewery and the sugar beet factory, they gave a very good evening and listened to all the performers throughout the night.
i did a support for them in concert int the 1980s, Peggy and i had a long conversation about a number of things including songwriting, she said to me when we go abroad we hear lots of good songwriters, but nothing in the uk, I was flabbergasted because at that time there were many good songwriters in the uk, PeterBond, BillCaddick, leon Rosselson keith hancock, to name a few.
on reflection, I can only conclude that they had lost touch with what was going on the rest of the uk folk scene, this was possibly because the often did concerts and preferred to not have any support acts, and that the folk clubs that they did do were only a small minority of their overall gigs


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Feb 18 - 01:33 AM

No, he wasn't; he was somebody who evolved a unique approach to the singing of traditional songs; quote Jim Carroll. the same applies to Martin Carthy, Bob Davenport, they allhave their own unique style and approach.
adjective: unique
    being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else.
my impression of listening to recordings of the critics group meetings is this, Ewan pointed out that he did not like a particular approach by another singer to a song , but the way that he said it on the recording was schoolmasterly and authoritarian.to my ears it comes across asEwans way was the only way, my opinion is this;that if people listened uncritically to ewans approach they would sound like Ewan, now


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Feb 18 - 01:38 AM

Ewan was a good singer, and his advice on vocal warm up exercises IMO is good and on breath control, but then so would the advice of an opera singer, but IMO every singer should be unique and sound like them selves, they should not sound like PeterPears Ewan or anyone else but them selves


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Feb 18 - 03:02 PM

" they should not sound like Peter Pears Ewan"
Course they shouldn't Dick yet the revival you refereed to as Ewan and Peggy    "being out of touch with" was full of Carthy and Joanie Clones, Bellamy Bleaters (Peter's own description of his singing) and Wannabe Waterson mini choirs - all names conveniently overlooked by you.
The whole point of the work of the Critics Group was for each singer to find their own natural voice and develop it as far as possible - traying to sound like anybody other than yourself was discouraged (exapt for being used as an exercise in lerning how the voice was produced by different people.
"I am told that this was little sister's ruling."
The only people to make any "rules" AT THE Singers Clubwas the audience committee - I know bevcause I served on it for years
Nice to see the technophobe have all risen from their ow2n graves while I was away
Back tomorrw with my sharpened stake
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 10 Feb 18 - 09:12 AM

Jim c- don't think we'll ever agree on this! I have stated my objective view of MacColl, with my view of some of his faults. I just can't abide your canonisation of the man. I reject your charge of 'unprofessional nastiness' by me- this is totally unfounded and intended to provoke, which is your style, really.

Nor am I a professional, and although I have been paid for my music, it has never been my whole living- never wanted it either! and I can't rival you for nastiness- you say you served five years at the Singers' Club- you deserved more....

Another misnomer- please do not describe me as a 'fallow (sic) PERFORMER'
. That's the nub of this, really - what I took from Bob Davenport was his music with the Rakes, of course, but also his desire to blend into any company, and like Bob, have always tried to be a catalyst for the music rather than a PERFORMER.

Yes i've done concerts and folk clubs, but i think my real place in the movement is in such as the 'open bar' informal song/music/story sessions we did for five years in Leitrim, or which Rosie Stewart still does so well at her singing/music sessions at McHugh's in Glenfarne, Leitrim..
Bob excelled at the social 'public bar' situation, very often well away from any 'folk' context! I recall one night Bob & the Rattlers returning north after a concert at the concert hall in Harrogate. We stopped for a pint in a lively pub a few miles up the road. We chatted to the locals about where we'd been- they asked us to give them a tune. What resulted was a memorable night playing for the 'folk' who knew nothing about 'folk.
We were also once chucked out of a pub in Glencoe for playing 'dirty tunes'- I'll leave you to ponder that one, so it didn't always work! (Bob wasn't there but Donal Maguire was..)
.

Bob Davenport guided us all that evening & many times since and I'll be eternally grateful to him.

You may call yourself a performer, I don't know you, and MacColl also was more interested in the PERFORMANCE of the music he was part of, but I never have been and that' s all I have to say on the matter, except that you become a bit less abrasive and start listning to folk intstead of lecturing them.
nb Bob is fine & living in London, as always
   

I'm NOT a performer


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Feb 18 - 02:18 PM

Jim you are being silly billy again, wannabe waterson choirs?, nonsense name me a group who was a copy of them, the other harmony groups were very different examples english tapestry, songwainers,wilson family valley folk, please stop talking codswallop. i can only remeber a few carthy clones ,most poeople using open tunings played in their own style.
anyway jim carroll whoever made the rule at the singers club, it was a flawed rule because it meant english or scottsh people could not sing woody guthrie songs at the singers club, what was also ridiculous was that peggy and tom were allowed to sing songs that were not from their cultural background, they were not from appalachia, the whole thing was an exercise in misguided control


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 04:35 AM

Jim Carroll you have just illustrated your complete lack of understanding of the Watersons music , they were a unique hamony group that had Mike weaving up and down in an unconventional way that has never been copied, they also had an special music that is particular to families singing together, your pontification has only illustarted your lack of understanding and portrays musical ignorance


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 04:47 AM

Sorry - missed this - swept up in a day of concertinas and pipse)
"I have stated my objective view of MacColl"
A few brif views cross a crowded room is hardly objective
You and your bunch of ghouls sally forth, garlic, crucifixes (and typos) firmly in hand, each tie the name "MacColl" is uttered to make sure his ideas are never given an airing
Five years at the Singers Club - I attended it from 1969 up to Ewan's death, and a few times when Peggy revived it.
I have no idea what the "professional" bit is about - I knew very few of them, I am certainly not one of them
"fallow"
Another typo raises it's head - "fellow" of course
My point stands - I know of nobody whp received the mindless kicking MacColl is still getting from other enthusiasts - he never turned on others the way they turned on him
Davenport, in my experience was a boorish lout who shouted down people he didn't agree with at public meetings and spoke loudly over singers who did what he didn't approve of - I gave my examples
Personally, I didn't lie his "when in doubt, shout" approach to singing, and if I wanted to hear an out-of-tune rendition of 'September Song' I'd dig out Walter Houston's beautiful version, but that's a personal taste thing.
I am not a performer - I sometimes sing publicly, but not as often as I would like
I believe that when I do, I should do it with respect both to the songs I am singing and to the people who have the good manners and tolerance to listen
I stopped going to folk clubs when that stopped happening
You describe me as nasty - perhaps you should read your own postings
"name me a group who was a copy of them,"
Around the time I stopped visiting clubs widely you couldn't throw a stone without hitting one that wasn't full of mini chirs trying to sound like on superstar group or another or trying to copy Martin Carthy's hiccoughy phrasing or intrusive guitar accompaniments, or Joanie clones, or Dylan doublers....
It gave justification to all those outsiders who claimed that "all folk songs sound the same" - in many cases they did.
Nowhere did I come across anybody being forbidden to sing songs from anywhare
We had a club policy that encouraged singers to sing songs from their own backgrounds - but that was for the club residents
All clubs have a policy of sorts - I and others were asked on numerous occasions not to sing political songs - as were Ewan and Peggy at some clubs
Some clubs didn't even like any contemporary songs "we are strictly traditional"
I sing Irish and Scots songs and a couple of American ones - if they Anglicise
If they don't, I don't sing them, not because I have ever been "forbidden£", but because they never work in phony 'mid Atlantic', or 'Oirish', or 'Jimmie Glaswiegan' - they sound what they are - false when I can't sing them in my own accent
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 05:46 AM

Jim,

Unless the date 1969 in line five of your above posting is another typo, this would indicate that you didn't attend the Singers club for the first eight years of it's existence. Neither if my memory is correct did you ever attend the Ballads & Blues association club from 1956/7 to 1961.

That is a total of about twelve years that Ewan and Peggy were performing together which you never witnessed personally.
However you are still ready to criticise/insult anyone here who did know them in those years and relate their own experiences. I did personally witness Ewan not allowing an English girl to sing an American song but that was around eight years before your time.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 06:05 AM

From Peggy Seeger's letter to Living Tradition (https://www.folkmusic.net/htmfiles/edtxt39.htm)

The editor wants to know "Who are Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie?" They were members of the Critics Group for most of the life of that group. They were two of the most loyal, industrious and intelligent members by far. It is possible that they have inherited some of Ewan's intransigence and argumentative temperament (that's the way things go?) but there is no doubt that their work in the folksong world has been invaluable and dedicated. Most of the collectors who've done that have had a kind of tunnel vision, without which their work would not have been as productive. They stuck their necks out and their heads are getting chopped off. They are in good company.

Ewan's intransigence and argumentative temperament

Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie have inherited SOME of that. What does that say about MacColl?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 06:19 AM

" this would indicate that you didn't attend the Singers club for the first eight years of it's existence. "
Not sure I was ever at The Ballads and Blues, but I certainly visited the Pindar of Wakefield and the Boys Club in Red Lion Square whenever I was in London
I moved there in 1969
I first saw Ewan and Peg at the Spinners Club in Liverpool in the early sixties
" I did personally witness Ewan not allowing an English girl to sing an American song "
Isla Cameron maybe?
I hope nobody ever digs up something I did nearly sixty years ago
The policy of singing songs from your own background was aimed at moving audiences away from getting singers to move away from trying to sound like Woodie and Huddy and open up their own repertoires - it was Lomax's idea originally
It led to a healthy, genuine revival of all folk songs, in my opinion
When he first met Ewan and Bert they were both singing American songs with pseudo- American accents
Happy to be described as "intransigence and argumentative" by someone I respect as much as Peggy - I agree what she says about "tunnel vision" and its values
Would the revaival had the same "tunnel vision" when it came to choosing what toput on in their clubs - it might not have led to today's mess
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Vic Smith
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 06:37 AM

'September Song'.....Walter Houston's beautiful version....
This sounds intruiging, but I cannot find any link to it. Can anyone help me?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,John Bowden (not a typo!)
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 06:58 AM

Vic: here you go:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3mAT-4FdP4


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 07:04 AM

Thanks John - nice to hear it again
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Vic Smith
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 07:07 AM

Thanks, John. For some reason that Youtube link did not come up on my internet search for his name. I liked the gentle underplayed way he sang it. It puts the song in a different light. To me it's a fine song whoever sings it.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,John Bowden (not a typo!)
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 07:16 AM

Jim, Vic, you're welcome! There is a Shortened version which misses out the introductory "back story", and this isn't as effective as this "long" version. It's certainly a demonstration of the fact that you don't need a "perfect" voice to give an effective performance!


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 07:36 AM

Jim,

Not Isla Cameron, Isla sometimes deliberately sang American songs because of Ewan's attitude, she freely admitted that.

"I hope nobody ever digs up something I did nearly sixty years ago" ????

Much of what you constantly put down took part in those years.

1969, you were the new kid on the block.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 07:44 AM

did personally witness Ewan not allowing an English girl to sing an American song but that was around eight years before your time" I understand this was lisa turner a fine blues singer and guitarist, who wasc told afterwards publicly the rule.
you see Jim,I have been on the uk folk scene since 1965 since the age of 14, not as a profesional performer but as a singer and visitor to folk clubs a little bit longer than you. Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 07:47 AM

the song was single girl or single boy. Jim, you need to show a little respect to others


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 07:52 AM

"Not Isla Cameron, Isla sometimes deliberately sang American songs because of Ewan's attitude, she freely admitted that."
Then she deserved to be stopped for deliberately sabotaging club policy, whether you7 agree with it or not
I refused to sing at clubs that asked me not to sing contemporary or politiical songs, not because I agreed with them but because I respected their right to have a policy
Behaviour such as this is typical of the shit thrown around in the revival
"1969, you were the new kid on the block."
I came onto the scene around the time of my 21st birthday - much earlier than 1969 unfortunately
As I said, I heard Ewan and Peg live a couple of years later, got to know them and stayed with them for week-ends around 1965, lived with them for a month when I moved to London, spent a couple of years in the Critics Group, was part of running the Singers for about six years, interviewed MacColl over a six month period, have spent about eight years digising and annotation nearly ten years worth of Critics Group meetings recordings and two years ago spent a month putting together two hour long programmes on MacColls life, which included three dys interviewing Peggy - The Princess Louise half a century ago - what the **** do you know about MacColl?
You haven't left the starting line yet Hoot
Stick around
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 07:52 AM

i even remember the days in 1966 when ralph mctell sang blues not his own songs, mainly blind blake songs and that his real name is ralph maytand that he named himself after blind willie mctell, you seeJim i was there before you.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 08:07 AM

ralph may , typo apologies


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Vic Smith
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 08:21 AM

I remember Ralph May in the early 1960s on the south London folk scene. He used to be accompanied by his brother who was also his 'agent' and he was as obnoxious and awkward as Ralph was friendly and amenable.

Sorry, following a thread drift.....


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 08:26 AM

"you see Jim i was there before you."
What's up with your numeracy people? - 1962 comes before 1966 on my calendar
It's not important who was here first - it's the work that has been put in in the period that counts
Proper research beats "one enchanted evening - across a crowded room" any day I don't give a toss whether people like MacColl's singing, or took to him during 'Brief Encounters'
I have my own personal experiences which I'm happy to compare with those who knew him well, but I say what I know to be the case as far as I knew it.
What concerns me is that MacColl and the CG put in a decade's worth of work on folk song which, as far as I am concerned, has no precedents
This, along with all the work done by others, Vic Gammon, Roy Plamer, Mike Yates.... and all those who took folk song seriously, holds clues to an extremely important art form
It should not be necessary to scramble over mountains of garbage such as this in order to discuss it - yet it happens each time the subject comes up.
What are you people afraid of?
If MacColl and the rest of us were wrong 0- why can't we state our case instead of this personal mudslinging (in this case, at a long-dead corpse)
If that's not ghoulish in the extreme, I don't know what is
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 08:33 AM

Jim you were not the only one who was around at that time, hoot, VIC SMITH and I were all around Hoot and I know that it was different form how you describe, I understand Lisa Turner was told by Ewan publicly in front of the whole club that we have a rule in the club, the rule is that singers must sing songs from their own background, this was after she sang Single girl, are you denying this, Jim?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 08:40 AM

I also remember visiting groombridge folk club about 1970, this club was run by IsobelSutherland, the booked artists were some members of the critics group including terry yarnell, whilst they were all good singers ,in my opinion they chose some unsuitable songs, this club was a club that encouraged children to perform, the guest artists did not seem to have a clue about whether the songs they sang were suitable for children, imo a classic example of not knowing about performance. apologies for thread drift


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 09:36 AM

Dick - I don't give a toss what happened half a century ago - I really don't
I am concerned about the overall contribution of MacColl, Seeger and all the others that put folk songs on the map for me and thousands of others, whatever mistakes thye might have made on the way
Would tyoy like me to put up the story of the little shit who put up phony "Traveller" recordings and came within a whisker of sabotaging one of the most important radio programmes that helped change the life and conditions of Britain's Travelling people?
Or how about the folkie superstar who used to throw up over the front row of club audiences as an encore, because of the amount of booze he'd consumed
None of these things ever happened at the Singers Club - yet you have defended both, as Jim Bainbridge has defended Bob Davenport's loutishness
The number of Robert Zimmerman's groupies who have banged on about MacColl's name change is countless - none seem to have noticed the ridiculousness of their criticism
It seems you have to have to be a member of a certain club to be able to get away with some things
Give us a break
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 09:42 AM

"this was after she sang Single girl, are you denying this, Jim?"
I take it that as you only "understand" this you weren't there
Any proof of this Dick - or is it just another story?
That wasn't even a "rule" for The Singers Club" - it was expected from the residents but as I said, all clubs have policies
How many times have you banged on about not being able to use a musical instrument?
Whether you like the practice, you respect it - if you don't like it, stay away
We had to do this with folk clubs that stopped giving us folk songs
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Vic Smith
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 10:04 AM

This, along with all the work done by others, Vic Gammon, Roy Plamer, Mike Yates.....

I will resist the obvious joke about a typo; a joke fades with constant repetition, though very many examples are still being provided by he who posted this; far more than those from another poster who he insults as 'dyslexic'. No, the mention of one of the correctly spelled names in the quotation brought this to mind:-

There are those who think that the experience of the Critics Group and the Singers Club have enriched their lives and they continue to benefit from it. Their opinions are valid but they must not be regarded as facts that cannot be disputed.

There are those who are of the opposite opinion; that it did more harm than good and this includes former members of CG and regulars at SC. Their opinions are valid but they must not be regarded as facts that cannot be disputed.

In the early 1990s I was interviewing Vic Gammon on my BBC Radio Sussex folk music programme Minstrels Gallery. Vic was leaving Sussex to take up an academic post in the north. His contribution to the local scene had been massive as a performer, singer, musician, organiser, dance band musician, researcher, journalist, broadcaster.... etc. The long interview was sort of valedictory broadcast for all that he had achieved.
At one stage I asked him for his opinion on three figures who are regarded as the pioneers of the developing scene in the UK - Henderson, Lomax and MacColl. I looked up my transcription of that interview and here's what Vic said in the relevant section:-
I think that Ewan MacColl was the greatest vernacular songwriter in Britain since Robert Burns. I have learned many of his songs and I often find myself singing them in clubs. He never lost that power, his later songs are amongst his best. I am less impressed by him as a performer and his approach to learning and improving singing has ultimately proved to be unhelpful. With the Critics Group and their self- and peer-opinions, he was leading those involved into a blind alley. The fact that this has not been replicated since is proof of that. There are plenty of workshops now; I run them myself; I go to others led by people that I feel have something for me, but they all have the attitude that says, "Don't take it as the Gospel truth but here's what I have got to offer you".

Vic Gammon's opinions are valid but they must not be regarded as facts that cannot be disputed.

All this, I write and quote to try and point out that it does not matter who was there first, or what any pro or anti statements attempt to prove or disprove. One thing is certain and that is that all the repetitious circumlocution that has seemed endless on Mudcat for years (decades?) will amount to nothing more than a difference of opinion from firmly entrenched positions.

Perhaps it is time to move on.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Iains
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 11:00 AM

Perhaps it is time to move on.

YES!


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 11:05 AM

"Their opinions are valid but they must not be regarded as facts that cannot be disputed."
They can be disputed by those who know what they were Vic - that includes Vic's opionion
In the years I have been involved, the work has never been given a fair hearing, though the dozen or so albums, including the twenty-odd Poetry and Song albums speak for themselves - groundbreaking stuff
THe relaxation, voice, analysis and interpretation work still remains a mystery
So far it has been impossible to even discuss them
Carthy's 'How Folk Songs Should be Sung' was a spiteful distortion
If today' revival had left us with a healthy scene with some sort of future, all this work might have been superseded - the no-future shambles that we have left makes any effort to find a way out worthwhile
"it does not matter who was there first"
I've already said this
"Perhaps it is time to move on."
As with Steve Roud's reinvention of folk song, I think it worthwhile to continue with trying to bulldoze these garbage-mountains aside and get som decent discussion on this going - feel free toi join in but don't feel obliged to do so
"the obvious joke about a typo;"
An acknowledgement of the stupidity of reducing discussions to this level might repair that particular bit of damage
"YES!"
There - you've got the endorsement of someone who is so interested he hasn't bothered to post to this discussion so far
What more could you wish for?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Vic Smith
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 11:17 AM

Does anyone think that the post at 11 Feb 18 - 11:05 AM could be regarded as bearing elements of all the repetitious circumlocution that has seemed endless on Mudcat for years (decades?) that I referred to in my previous post?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Kenny B
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 11:38 AM

Vic Smith
Yes and I hate to admit it but I agreed with Iains


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 11:40 AM

JIM.

My post:

"Not Isla Cameron, Isla sometimes deliberately sang American songs
because of Ewan's attitude, she freely admitted that."

Your reply:

"Then she deserved to be stopped for deliberately sabotaging club policy, whether you7 agree with it or not".

I only heard her at the Ballads & Blues club. We did not have that policy. Read the label.

PS. I have no idea who the other 6 are that you refer too.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 11:45 AM

"Yes and I hate to admit it but I agreed with Iains"
Why do people do this?
Neither you nor Iains have participated in this discussion yet you feel free to walk in and end it whenever it takes your fancy
Pehasps it's time to make MacColl a no area along with "what is folksong"
This becomes ridiculous in the extreme
Why not start a petition?
Repetition Vic - is that really all you've got as a substitute for argument?
You really should be ashamed of yourself - you should have stuck to typos?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 12:59 PM

"PS. I have no idea who the other 6 are that you refer too."
Another typo merchant rides again - perhaps it's time to form a club!!
Are you so bereft of intelligent argument that you have to indulge in barrel scraping of this sort?
Checked for typos - can't find any here - will try better next time
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Kenny B
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 01:38 PM

From: Jim Carroll - PM
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 11:45 AM

"Yes and I hate to admit it but I agreed with Iains"
Why do people do this?
Neither you nor Iains have participated in this discussion yet you feel free to walk in and end it whenever it takes your fancy

Dear Jim
When people read thereads they dont neccessaily join in however
freedom of speech belongs to eveyone
There are many subjects that u comment on that you have never taken part in but formed opinions based on reading and media reports.
Who are you to deny others the right to do the same thing?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 02:41 PM

"freedom of speech belongs to everyone"
Quite - why are you trying to close a thread then?
"There are many subjects that u comment on that you have never taken part "
Not many, if any, but I have never attempted to close a thread down, whether I'm participating in it or (especially) when I'm not.
Nowt "free" about that Kenny - on the contrary
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Kenny B
Date: 11 Feb 18 - 02:54 PM

1 I have no influence in the closing of threads
2 If you are going to quote someone do the decent thing and quote the whole sentence, being selective does you no favours
3 I agree with nowt free part if used responsibly and not in a contrary fashion


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