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Lyr Add: Dirty Old Town - new verse

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DIRTY OLD TOWN


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Joan from Wigan 23 Sep 08 - 09:17 AM
GUEST,BanjoRaY 23 Sep 08 - 10:07 AM
Les in Chorlton 23 Sep 08 - 12:16 PM
Little Robyn 23 Sep 08 - 03:06 PM
Les in Chorlton 23 Sep 08 - 06:26 PM
Joan from Wigan 26 Sep 08 - 07:38 AM
GUEST,Suffolk Miracle 26 Sep 08 - 08:10 AM
Snuffy 26 Sep 08 - 09:07 AM
meself 26 Sep 08 - 10:41 AM
Les in Chorlton 26 Sep 08 - 12:22 PM
FreddyHeadey 29 May 24 - 01:51 PM
GUEST,henryp 29 May 24 - 11:21 PM
FreddyHeadey 07 Jul 24 - 01:32 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: Dirty Old Town - new verse
From: Joan from Wigan
Date: 23 Sep 08 - 09:17 AM

At Wigan Folk Club last Thursday, one of the members showed me a page pulled out of a magazine (sorry, can't recall which one), which had a newly-discovered verse to "Dirty Old Town". Apparently, Ewan wasn't happy with it originally, so it wasn't included in the final version. It should be the 4th verse, and the copyright was credited to Jean MacColl. I thought I'd be able to find it somewhere on the web, but can't trace it so far. Here's the verse as I copied it from that mag:

Moon of steel in the cloudy sky
Silver skin on the roofs of the mills
Stars are sparks from the chimney stacks
Dirty old town, dirty old town.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dirty Old Town - new verse
From: GUEST,BanjoRaY
Date: 23 Sep 08 - 10:07 AM

I can see why Ewan left it out...
Ray


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dirty Old Town - new verse
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 23 Sep 08 - 12:16 PM

But we could drag it, kicking and screaming into the living tradition and bring it back to life couldn't we?

Steely moon in the cloudy sky
Silvered tiles on the tops of mills
Sparks and stars from the chimney stacks
Dirty old town, dirty old town.

See it's quite easy to make it worse!

Challenge?

L in C


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dirty Old Town - new verse
From: Little Robyn
Date: 23 Sep 08 - 03:06 PM

Hey, that's not too bad Les. Much more singable!
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dirty Old Town - new verse
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 23 Sep 08 - 06:26 PM

You can see Salford from here rain or shine!!!!!!!!!!!

Chiz

L in C


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dirty Old Town - new verse
From: Joan from Wigan
Date: 26 Sep 08 - 07:38 AM

I prefer your version too, Les. Well done!

Joan


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dirty Old Town - new verse
From: GUEST,Suffolk Miracle
Date: 26 Sep 08 - 08:10 AM

Steelmen mooning at the sky;
Silver cobwebs on the mills;
Sparks from chimneys long since gone;
Dirty old town, dirty old town.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dirty Old Town - new verse
From: Snuffy
Date: 26 Sep 08 - 09:07 AM

Steal the moon from the cloudy sky
And the lead from the roofs of mills
Skanky car and a big bass stack
Dirty old town, dirty old town.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dirty Old Town - new verse
From: meself
Date: 26 Sep 08 - 10:41 AM

Nonetheless - thanks to Joan of Wigan. It can be worthwhile to speculate on the scraps left on the workshop floor ...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dirty Old Town - new verse
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 26 Sep 08 - 12:22 PM

So, we have sorted Dirty Old Town, what shall we do next? I always felt "Famous Flower of Serving Men" could do with a few more verses.

Chiz

L in C


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dirty Old Town - new verse
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 29 May 24 - 01:51 PM

Peggy is going to sing a verse which EM abandoned. I wonder if it's the same one.


A long-lost verse of one of folk music's most famous songs is to be unveiled by the widow of its creator nearly 75 years after it was first sung.

Dirty Old Town was written by Salford-born folk legend Ewan MacColl for Landscape With Chimneys, his 1949 play about his home city.
Since then, the song has taken on a life of its own, being covered by everyone from rockers Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Frank Black to country stars Steve Earle and Townes Van Zandt and has even formed the basis of a terrace chant about Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk.

But it will be given a new lease of life by American singer Peggy Seeger, who married MacColl in 1977, when she reveals a new verse in a one-off performance at Salford’s We Invented the Weekend festival in June[2024].
She said it would be great for people who knew the song well to hear the verse, which MacColl abandoned in 1951, but admitted it "isn't that good".
"The words are fine, but they just don't scan if you sing it," she said.
"It was written as part of the play, but like a lot of art, if it doesn't work, you drop it."
Nevertheless, it will give a new lease of life to a song which has long since become part of the public consciousness, thanks to a pair of covers released by Irish bands almost two decades apart.

All ready much-loved by folk devotees, the song was given an overhaul by The Dubliners in 1968, before being reworked again by The Pogues in 1985.
However, Seeger said she was not impressed with their versions.
"I don’t like what The Dubliners did to it, I don’t like what The Pogues did to it – I think they have lost the loneliness," she said.
"I think they have lost the confusion of a young person walking through it.
"To me, Ewan was reliving his 20s and his late teens so I think it is harder to change."
Such was the success of both versions however that many now assume the song is about Dublin.

Seeger said that while it was firmly about the city in which MacColl grew up, she could understand how it fitted other cities.
"It speaks to everybody from a dirty old broken down industrial city," she said.
"I have no doubt if a Scots band had recorded it, Glasgow people would say it is theirs.
"But Salford was in Ewan MacColl’s bones.
"He took me to his dirty old town within a week of our three-decade partnership."
She said 75 years after it was first written to accompany set changes in MacColl's play, it remained "a perfect song".
"It's a beautiful melody, just four economical verses, and it has been covered by hundreds of singers each in their own way," she said.

There are personal memories too of the song for Seeger.
"It's special because as part of his courtship ritual Ewan McColl brought me to Salford to show what the Dirty Old Town was, because up to that time the only slums I had ever been were the black slums in Washington DC except in DC we already had a throwaway society," she said.
"The streets of Salford were spotless maybe because the women scrubbed their steps in the morning."

She said part of its appeal lay in its language, which was at times unlike what most folk music was offering at the time.
But as he had been an ardent left wing activist since joining in a mass trespass on Kinder Scout to claim the right to roam on private land in 1932, MacColl was not the average folk musician.
"The words 'I'm going to get me a big sharp axe' aren't very folk music, but they speak to his concerns about the struggle of working class people," she said.
She added that the continued appeal of the song would have delighted her late husband.
"I think he would be very surprised and very pleased," she said.

Seeger, an accomplished performer and songwriter in her own right, said she was delighted to be revisiting a song "Ewan and I sang together for decades" at the Salford festival.

A new orchestral version of the song, created by Seeger with her son Neill MacColl and the BBC Philharmonic documentary, will also feature in a documentary which has been made by the festival in collaboration with BBC Archive on 4.
The film, which is presented by BBC Radio Manchester presenter and fellow Salford musician Mike Sweeney, will be broadcast on 6 July.


https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/articles/cw88ez812w9o


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dirty Old Town - new verse
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 29 May 24 - 11:21 PM

BBC Radio 2 The Folk Show with Mark Radcliffe 21:00 Wednesday 12 June 2024
Mark Radcliffe returns to the Folk Show and to Salford, the original 'Dirty Old Town' that inspired Ewan MacColl's famous song.

We hear a special collaboration between Peggy Seeger and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra as they perform Dirty Old Town together.
American folk legend Peggy was famously the musical and romantic partner of MacColl from the 1950s to his death in the late 80s.

Dirty Old Town will be a focus of the upcoming We Invented The Weekend Festival at Salford Quays on 15 and 16 June. The song was written 75 years ago and depicts human life and love in industrial Salford.
It was famously recorded by The Pogues, The Dubliners and many more.

Also this week, Mark highlights the 110th anniversary of James Joyce's classic book Dubliners, which famously gave the Irish band their name and inspired many more folk musicians since then.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dirty Old Town - new verse
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 07 Jul 24 - 01:32 PM

Here's the BBC Archive on 4 prog from 6th July 2024
Dirty Old Town at 75


As OP except for singing roofs of mills
Peggy Seeger has a go at singing the 'lost' verse here

www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0020xjr
skip to > 52:00


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