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Lyr Req: Ballad of John Axon (Ewan MacColl)

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bobby's girl 06 Sep 99 - 07:00 PM
Barbara 06 Sep 99 - 07:37 PM
bobby's girl 06 Sep 99 - 08:10 PM
Sandy Paton 06 Sep 99 - 09:48 PM
Wally Macnow 06 Sep 99 - 10:28 PM
Bob Bolton 07 Sep 99 - 03:12 AM
Bob Bolton 07 Sep 99 - 03:12 AM
GeorgeH 07 Sep 99 - 05:37 AM
Wally Macnow 07 Sep 99 - 10:36 AM
GeorgeH 07 Sep 99 - 12:18 PM
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Subject: Ballad of John Axon
From: bobby's girl
Date: 06 Sep 99 - 07:00 PM

I have only ever heard the radio ballad version of The Ballad of John Axon. Does anybody know if Ewan McColl ever wrote a concluding verse or verses, and if so what are they?


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Subject: RE: Ballad of John Axon
From: Barbara
Date: 06 Sep 99 - 07:37 PM

I'm not familiar with this one. Can you tell us something more about it? You couldn't possibly be wanting the Ballad of Jack Ashton, could you?


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Subject: RE: Ballad of John Axon
From: bobby's girl
Date: 06 Sep 99 - 08:10 PM

This was a radio programme put together in England for the BBC in the late 50s or early 60s and is about the railway industry. In particular it is about a crash in which John Axon, the driver of a goods (freight)train stayed on board the locomotive in what proved a fruitless, and fatal, attempt to prevent the run away locomotive crashing. For this he was posthumously awarded the George Cross.

Ewan McColl & Peggy Seagar wrote the music for all the eight ballads in the series, which covered such differing topics as the herring fishing fleet, and Britains nomadic peoples..

In the Ballad of John Axon programme there are several verses of the song about John and the incident, interspersed with dialogue, but the song finishes with a sound effect crash and there is no obvious concluding verse. What I wish to find out is if Ewan McColl ever wrote one and performed, or recorded, the ballad as one single song?

If anyone wants the ballads the whole series is available on CD from Topic records.


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Subject: RE: Ballad of John Axon
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 06 Sep 99 - 09:48 PM

I think Wally Macnow probably has the series at Camsco. If so, and you decide to get one or more of them, be sure to mention Mudcat so the percentage both Wally and I offer to Mudcat can be credited properly. You might even find the series listed on the Mudcat "shop" -- give it a try.

Sandy (at Folk-Legacy)


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Subject: RE: Ballad of John Axon
From: Wally Macnow
Date: 06 Sep 99 - 10:28 PM

Yes, we've got them at Radio Ballads

If you're interested in the radio ballads, you might also take a look at Reg Hall's Voice of the People series. This is a great British compilation that's comparable to Harry Smith's Folkways Anthology.


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Subject: RE: Ballad of John Axon
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 07 Sep 99 - 03:12 AM

G'day all,

Bobby's Girl - I would have thought that crash was a pretty final ending ... it was for John Axon! However, there has been some discussion of the Radio Ballads, as well as the whole MacColl/Seeger œuvre, on Aus WorldFolk discussion site here in Australia a few months back.

It was mentioned that Peggy is bringing out the definitive Ewan MacColl / Peggy Seeger book to replace the earlier one (of fond memory - mine was kept by someone I thought had morals to match his taste in music)... and that ALL 8 of the Radio Ballads are coming out on CD - even those that never made it to vinyl.

I must pick up those references again - things must be nearing fruition by now and I had better start saving up.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Ballad of John Axon
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 07 Sep 99 - 03:12 AM

G'day all,

Bobby's Girl - I would have thought that crash was a pretty final ending ... it was for John Axon! However, there has been some discussion of the Radio Ballads, as well as the whole MacColl/Seeger œuvre, on Aus WorldFolk discussion site here in Australia a few months back.

It was mentioned that Peggy is bringing out the definitive Ewan MacColl / Peggy Seeger book to replace the earlier one (of fond memory - mine was kept by someone I thought had morals to match his taste in music)... and that ALL 8 of the Radio Ballads are coming out on CD - even those that never made it to vinyl.

I must pick up those references again - things must be nearing fruition by now and I had better start saving up.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Ballad of John Axon
From: GeorgeH
Date: 07 Sep 99 - 05:37 AM

Bob . . the whole series has been out for some months now . . and if you buy the whole lot you should get them at a discount. Most of them have been reviewed at Musical Traditions (different reviewers; intelegent reviews):

http://www.mustrad.org.uk/

(assuming those reviews haven't dropped off the site yet). There was also a short discussion of this on rec.music.folk a couple of months back in which I posted a couple of other relevent links. And Topic Records have a very informative booklet describing the series (AND my wife has just said she's going to buy the set for me for our aniversary so I'm jubulant).

The link to "Voice of the People" is an interesting one - certainly the two projects complement one another, but they are VERY different; the Radio Ballads drew heavily on "the tradition" but they are (particularly fine) art pieces. Generally, they still stand up well today (I've got a tape of "Axon", and the record - abridged - of Singing the Fishing). They are very important works for anyone interested in the history of broadcasting (sound and TV, IMO), and they were hugely influential to many of the early "revival" performers in the UK; e.g. Roy Bailey cited them as a major inspiration.

But to return to the question - as far as I know MacColl never performed "The Ballad of John Axon" outside the radio ballad itself - although he did perform other songs from that work.

G.


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Subject: RE: Ballad of John Axon
From: Wally Macnow
Date: 07 Sep 99 - 10:36 AM

George,

the link to the Voice of the People series that I was driving at was their importance and influence. The original releases included in the VOTP series bestirred a great many English singers involved over the years in the "folk revival" and I think that the Radio Ballads did as well. I don't dispute at all the differences between them but rather looked at the effects.

Wally


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Subject: RE: Ballad of John Axon
From: GeorgeH
Date: 07 Sep 99 - 12:18 PM

Wally . . yes, I wasn't disagreeing with your link between VOTP and the Radio Ballads; it's certainly valid. I find it wonderful that Topic should bring out both series in such a short period of time. It's enought to make one take up bank robbery.

Sorry for any misunderstanding!

G.


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