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Ewan MacColl autobiography - to be reissued

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Owen Woodson 31 Dec 07 - 12:10 PM
Les in Chorlton 31 Dec 07 - 01:53 PM
Jon Bartlett 31 Dec 07 - 02:19 PM
GUEST 31 Dec 07 - 03:52 PM
Les in Chorlton 31 Dec 07 - 04:09 PM
Iarf 31 Dec 07 - 06:01 PM
Art Thieme 31 Dec 07 - 07:28 PM
GeoffLawes 31 Dec 07 - 08:11 PM
Llanfair 01 Jan 08 - 05:19 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 01 Jan 08 - 05:47 AM
Les in Chorlton 01 Jan 08 - 06:49 AM
Tyke 01 Jan 08 - 07:24 AM
Les in Chorlton 01 Jan 08 - 07:30 AM
Tyke 01 Jan 08 - 07:45 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 01 Jan 08 - 07:56 AM
Tyke 01 Jan 08 - 08:14 AM
John Routledge 01 Jan 08 - 08:28 AM
Owen Woodson 02 Jan 08 - 05:19 AM
Fred McCormick 02 Jan 08 - 11:08 AM
GUEST 02 Jan 08 - 11:22 AM
Fred McCormick 02 Jan 08 - 12:11 PM
Jim Carroll 03 Jan 08 - 03:32 AM
GUEST,redmax 03 Jan 08 - 05:14 AM
Jim Carroll 03 Jan 08 - 02:34 PM
mattkeen 03 Jan 08 - 02:47 PM
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Subject: Ewan MacColl - to be reissued
From: Owen Woodson
Date: 31 Dec 07 - 12:10 PM

For anybody who missed it the first time around, Journeyman, the autobiography which was lovingly assembled by Ewan MacColl and published in 1990 by Sidgwick and Jackson, has been out-of-print for some years and is costly to obtain second-hand.
I have just heard that the publishers, Manchester University Press, are intending to re-publish it in a revised form.
Ewan MacColl was one of the most important revival singers of the 20th century, and this book, which gives a remarkable insight into a remarkable singer, is a must for anybody remotely interested in remarkable singing.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - to be reissued
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 31 Dec 07 - 01:53 PM

True enough, as is also:

Class Act, Ben Harker's new biography of Ewan MacColl


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - to be reissued
From: Jon Bartlett
Date: 31 Dec 07 - 02:19 PM

What might "revised form" mean? Jon Bartlett


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - to be reissued
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Dec 07 - 03:52 PM

And who's doing the revising?


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - to be reissued
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 31 Dec 07 - 04:09 PM

A "Revisionist" take on MacColl! Not possible

Lev


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - to be reissued
From: Iarf
Date: 31 Dec 07 - 06:01 PM

He wrote some good stuff. But his daughter was a better performer until her untimely death. Jimmy Miller was a trifle manufactured. 1957-1958 radio 2 ballads were were seriously good. I just can't give hime the adoration others seem to.

IARF, (Dave Wynn)


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - to be reissued
From: Art Thieme
Date: 31 Dec 07 - 07:28 PM

As Studs Terkel said in his introduction for Ewan at Newport around 1959, "He was a monumental figure in the folk music world!" I surely did find his vocal brilliance quite obvious and exceptionally pleasing to my mind's eyes and ears.

I can leave it at that.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - to be reissued
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 31 Dec 07 - 08:11 PM

Thanks for that welcome piece of New Year news Owen. I have been trying to find a copy cheap enough to afford since reading the excellent book by Ben Harker that Les in Chorlton mentioned above. Some booksellers are asking over £130 for Journeyman. I'm sure that Ewan Mac Coll would have a few expressive words to say about that


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - to be reissued
From: Llanfair
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 05:19 AM

I'm still working my way through "Class Act", and learning a lot from it. I had never really understood where the purists were coming from in my youth in Manchester, but, coming from a Conservative culture, I wouldn't, would I? Reading this book has helped slot a few things into place.

Can't wait for "Journeyman"


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - to be reissued
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 05:47 AM

"He wrote some good stuff. But his daughter was a better performer until her untimely death."

An opinion which I can't share. His daughter, Kirsty, was no doubt very talented, but, as far as I was concerned she was an 80s pop singer whose talent was very much rooted in the youthful fashions and fads of that decade; her father's talent had a timeless quality and comparisons between the two are meaningless.

As far as I am concerned people who see Ewan as 'just' a song writer are missing the point; he was a remarkable interpreter of traditional song and it was his immersion in, and profound understanding of, traditional song which made him such a powerful song writer - his roots were very, very much deeper.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - to be reissued
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 06:49 AM

I'm not sure the comparison gets us far but I agree with what you say of him Shimrod.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - to be reissued
From: Tyke
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 07:24 AM

That just reminds me to wish everyone including the Folk Police Happy New Year. As it's is New Year lets have a bit of a nostager quiz.

In which years did Ewan MacColl's Dirty Old Town get into the Charts?

Who wrote song the Hit "The First Time I saw Your Face"?

Which Female American singer turned "The First Time I Saw Your Face" into a hit and in what year?

In what year did Folk Music become unpopular music and why?

Whose arrangement of "Scarbough Fair" did Simon and Garfuncle us turn that traditional song into a hit?

Should Folk Clubs and festivals employ the Folk Police armed with used BBC bleeper and buzzers to delete and censor any "Folk Songs" that might end up being in the charts?

When considering your answer to the last question please be aware that the BBC's recent bleeping's have helped to turn "A Fairy Tale In New York" into the top selling Christmas Song of all time! Sending "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" into second place!

So you see I'm not totally against the "Folk Police" and Victor Meldrew is one of my favourite TV characters.
Happy New Year !


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - to be reissued
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 07:30 AM

It's not the Folk Police you should worry about, it's the Folk Secret Police that bother me!


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - to be reissued
From: Tyke
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 07:45 AM

Are they the ones hacking into the spy satellites and CCTV systems to using their high-resolution cameras to make sure that people standing outside Sam Smith Pubs under the pretence of having a cigarette are not singing, whistling or humming a tune?


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - to be reissued
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 07:56 AM

You've obviously overdone the New Year's Eve celebrations, Tyke. Perhaps you need to lie down in a darkened room for a while.

When you've recovered remember that the 'Folk Police' can't hurt you - all they can do is disagree with your opinions ... and 'critise' your tastes in music (oh, horror of horrors - the bastards!!).


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - to be reissued
From: Tyke
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 08:14 AM

Stop making me chuckle and laugh I'm supposed to have a hangover! It is New Years Day. I want to me more like the Victor Mildew's it's just not right just being satisfied with enjoying Music.

Right that's it I'm off to Tadcaster in disguise to sing err sorry I mean have a cigarette out side every Sam Smith Pub. Yes! You guessed it! "It's my New Years Restitution"!


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - to be reissued
From: John Routledge
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 08:28 AM

Journeyman is about a different person.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - to be reissued
From: Owen Woodson
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 05:19 AM

Somebody was asking who's doing the revising? The uthor is somebody called Ted power. I was talking to him and he says that Manchester university Press have asked him to produce an abbreviated version using all thirty chapters of the manuscript but concentrating on MacColl's childhood, because Ted reckons that's the most reliable part of the book. When I looked in Journeyman there are only 26 chapters,so somebody's already had the scissors out. Anyway it will be nice to see it backl on the shelves again.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - to be reissued
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 11:08 AM

"1957-1958 radio 2 ballads were were seriously good"

Can someone explain what this means? The radio ballads were broadcast between 1958 and 1964 and went out on the Home Service, not Radio 2,which hadn't been invented in those days.

Regarding Owen's second posting, there are indeed only 26 chapters in the first edition, and I can't see any mention of an editor. If there were thirty in the original manuscript one wonders why the other four were deleted and by whom and what was in them. Could it be that MacColl wrote about his wartime experiences after all and that section was excised for some reason?


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - to be reissued
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 11:22 AM

Surely MacColl's wartime experiences wouldn't take up four whole chapters...?

:)


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - to be reissued
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 02 Jan 08 - 12:11 PM

Why wouldn't they? As Harker's biography shows, MacColl had both political and artistic reasons for deserting in 1940. A discussion of those reasons could have taken up a sizeable section of the book. Then, and again as Harker's biography shows, MacColl spent a good part of the war honing his playwriting skills. How he managed to stay hidden with the authorities after him sounds like quite a story. And on top of there is the story of his arrest and subsequent discharge from army service after the war.

But the war isn't the only strange omission from Journeyman. There is little or nothing about various subjects, including the Critics, the Kinder Scout Trespass, his dissolved marriages, his children and about how his ideas on the folk revival developed. Could it be that those who have criticised Journeyman on the grounds of those and other omissions should have looked on the cutting room floor?


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl autobiography - to be reissued
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 03:32 AM

The problem with conspiracy theories is that they quite often don't fit the facts
Ewan never discussed his army career (or lack of it) with anybody; he considered it a private matter. When he was interviewed for Irish radio shortly before his death, he made that quite clear to the interviewer, Tom Munnelly. It is extremely unlikely that he would write about it to any extent.
The same goes for his marriages and his children. Peggy has written on a number of occasions of his relationship with his children, leaving no doubt that he would not have attempted to deal with the subject in an autobiography. As for writing of his failed marriages; to his great credit, it was not that sort of book and he was not that sort of person.
Regarding the disbanding of the Critics group; (not acrimonious, as some people have claimed) while he said several times that the work he did with them was the happiest and most rewarding, of his life, the way in which the acting group, which followed on from The Critics, disintegrated was extremely traumatic for him. On his obituary television programme one of his sons described the affair as leading to him having a breakdown. I believe that, to the end of his life the failure of the acting group, and its association with The Critics made if far too painful a subject for him to write on at any significant length.
Personally I found Journeyman somewhat unsatisfactory; at best, particulary when dealing with his pre-folk days, it was stunning. For me, the latter section fell short of dealing with his work and ideas on singing. On occasion it was Ewan at his most self-indulgent and playing to the audience.
In 1978, Pat Mackenzie and I embarked on a long series of interviews with him, which spread over six months.
During the course of these, Ewan suggested that we might write his biography - an idea we considered and then rejected, mainly because we regarded it as being beyond our abilities, but also because there were too many no-go areas in his life to make such a work anything but incomplete.
Class Act to some extent addresses the omissions, but this falls short of dealing with Ewan as a creative and revolutionary (in the politcal and non-political sense) artist.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl autobiography - to be reissued
From: GUEST,redmax
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 05:14 AM

"Ewan never discussed his army career (or lack of it) with anybody; he considered it a private matter"

Jim, I thought you said in another post that he made no secret of his deserting and was willing to discuss it with you and others. Perhaps as you were close to him he was more candid in his recollections?

I agree with you that some of the latter part of his autobiography was a little self-serving. His description of being criticised by a pair of students for singing to a 'middle class' crowd then asking everyone on the front row what they did for a living (they were all welders or riveters or something) could have been lifted from Alan Partridge's 'Bouncing Back'. All it needed was the chapter to end with "...needless to say, I had the last laugh"


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl autobiography - to be reissued
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 02:34 PM

Redmax,
To explain in full,
Ewan's war record was common knowledge to members of the Critics Group; he spoke of it occasionally - (I even heard him joke about it on stage at The Singers Club), but never in detail; rather to refer to the fact that he had gone awol and his reasons for doing so.
I had heard vague rumours of it when I moved to London, but it was during the period I was living with them that he raised the subject, but only in the terms mentioned.
My point was that I think it inconceivable that he should write about it at length.   
I'm glad I'm not the only one to feel as I do about Journeyman.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl autobiography - to be reissued
From: mattkeen
Date: 03 Jan 08 - 02:47 PM

"dizzy with deja vu"


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