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MacColl programme on radio

The Sandman 28 Dec 15 - 09:42 AM
The Sandman 28 Dec 15 - 02:54 PM
The Sandman 29 Dec 15 - 11:15 AM
The Sandman 29 Dec 15 - 11:15 AM
GUEST,guest66 30 Dec 15 - 05:53 AM
The Sandman 30 Dec 15 - 06:16 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Dec 15 - 06:50 AM
The Sandman 30 Dec 15 - 07:22 AM
The Sandman 30 Dec 15 - 07:27 AM
GUEST 30 Dec 15 - 07:55 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Dec 15 - 08:21 AM
The Sandman 30 Dec 15 - 11:32 AM
The Sandman 30 Dec 15 - 11:36 AM
GUEST,GMGough 30 Dec 15 - 11:47 AM
GUEST,Derrick 30 Dec 15 - 11:53 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Dec 15 - 12:19 PM
The Sandman 30 Dec 15 - 12:40 PM
Jim Carroll 30 Dec 15 - 12:41 PM
Jim Carroll 30 Dec 15 - 12:43 PM
The Sandman 30 Dec 15 - 01:09 PM
Jim Carroll 30 Dec 15 - 02:26 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 30 Dec 15 - 03:22 PM
The Sandman 30 Dec 15 - 04:26 PM
Hagman 30 Dec 15 - 05:48 PM
The Sandman 30 Dec 15 - 06:21 PM
The Sandman 30 Dec 15 - 06:53 PM
Hagman 30 Dec 15 - 07:01 PM
Hagman 30 Dec 15 - 07:21 PM
The Sandman 31 Dec 15 - 01:39 AM
Jim Carroll 31 Dec 15 - 05:04 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 31 Dec 15 - 05:37 AM
Jim Carroll 31 Dec 15 - 06:20 AM
The Sandman 31 Dec 15 - 06:39 AM
The Sandman 31 Dec 15 - 07:01 AM
Jim Carroll 31 Dec 15 - 07:21 AM
The Sandman 31 Dec 15 - 09:17 AM
Jim Carroll 31 Dec 15 - 10:09 AM
GeoffLawes 31 Dec 15 - 10:16 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 31 Dec 15 - 10:22 AM
Jim Carroll 31 Dec 15 - 10:28 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 31 Dec 15 - 10:39 AM
GUEST,guest66 31 Dec 15 - 10:44 AM
The Sandman 31 Dec 15 - 11:14 AM
Jim Carroll 31 Dec 15 - 11:36 AM
The Sandman 31 Dec 15 - 12:36 PM
FreddyHeadey 31 Dec 15 - 12:50 PM
Vic Smith 31 Dec 15 - 01:08 PM
GUEST,Derrick 31 Dec 15 - 01:25 PM
The Sandman 31 Dec 15 - 01:27 PM
The Sandman 31 Dec 15 - 02:11 PM
Jim Carroll 31 Dec 15 - 03:03 PM
Jim Carroll 31 Dec 15 - 03:09 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 31 Dec 15 - 03:42 PM
GeoffLawes 31 Dec 15 - 06:52 PM
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Subject: MacColl programme on radio
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Dec 15 - 09:42 AM

Excellent programe about Ewan today on radio rte one, christy moore talking about Ewan, Jim Carroll and PatMckenzie also mentioned for their archive material, hopefully will be on listen again.


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Dec 15 - 02:54 PM

Ryan Tubridy show 2 pm dec 28, rte one


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Dec 15 - 11:15 AM

should be available on listen again in next couple of days


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Dec 15 - 11:15 AM

should be available on listen again in next couple of days


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: GUEST,guest66
Date: 30 Dec 15 - 05:53 AM

Can we hope that now MacColl's centenary year is almost over, we might hear a bit less about the man and his undoubted influence on the folk revival- surely it's all been covered?


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Dec 15 - 06:16 AM

Christy Moore was complimentary about MacColl, however at some point in the interview somebody described the audience at The Singers Club as odd,I think another phrase used was " consisting of MacColl acolytes". It was a very interesting programme that picked out a lot of MacColls good points.


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Dec 15 - 06:50 AM

"Can we hope that now MacColl's centenary year is almost over, we might hear a bit less about the man and his undoubted influence on the folk revival- surely it's all been covered?"
I certainly hope not.
MacColl's importance does not lie in his "influence".
He developed a technique of understanding, interpreting and performing folk songs that, as far as I am aware, has not been tackled elsewhere by anybody.
The teaching methods he was instrumental in creating, involving relaxation and voice production is, by my understanding, unique.
Much of this work was captured on the 200-odd tapes of his weekly workshops with the Critics Group - outside those meetings the material is basically unlistened-to in order to assess whether it is valid to todays singers.
Alongside this, is the work that he and Charles Parker did in identifying folk-song as an important aspect of working people's culture.
While the superstars of the revival were getting on with their careers, MacColl, Seeger and others were spending time with mainly inexperienced singers in the hope of improving the standards of the singing in the revival and in bringing a greater understanding of the importance of folk song in our history and culture.
Much of the blame for this work being as unavailable as it is is down to the mountain of garbage tittle-tattle erected around the man as a personality - heard a new MacColl urban legend last night.
Treating MacColl, or anybody doing similar work as merely performers is to reduce the importance of the work they did.
Whether you like or hate MacColl as a singer is a matter of personal opinion - no more. (though it must be galling to some begrudgers that a quarter of a century after his death his recorded output continues to grow - a four CD set of his unavailable recordings is in the pipeline).
Pat and I instigated the making of two, hour-long radio programmes of his work and ideas on singing rather than him as a performer in the early part of this year - the end result was extremely gratifying, though it hardly scratched the surface.
"Covered?" - we haven't begun to take the paper off the massive body of work he left behind.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Dec 15 - 07:22 AM

I thought it was a good programme, and Jim and Pat have done a good job providing archive material.
I agree that Ewan and Peggy gave up a lot of time to help others and people should acknowledge that.
I think it is wrong to say that" While the superstars of the revival were getting on with their careers" etc
,MacColl and Seeger never gave up pursuing their careers either, and to infer that they did is grossly inaccurate .
The Truth is that they were both very helpful with their time in helping others and generous in allowing people access to their house and archives for study. to suggest that they in any way sacrificed their musical careers at the same time is not accurate.


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Dec 15 - 07:27 AM

"The teaching methods he was instrumental in creating, involving relaxation and voice production is, by my understanding, unique"
unique? are you sure, are they not based on other peoples work such as stanivslaski, please correct me if i am mistaken?


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Dec 15 - 07:55 AM

work such as stanivslaski, please correct me if i am mistaken?

It's Stanislavsky.


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Dec 15 - 08:21 AM

"I think it is wrong to say that" While the superstars of the revival were getting on with their careers" etc"
Why - who else was giving up a night a week to work with less experienced singers - none, that I can recall?
"MacColl and Seeger never gave up pursuing their careers either, and to infer that they did is grossly inaccurate ."
Nobody suggested they did.
"consisting of MacColl acolytes"
It seems that Ewan had "acolytes" while everybody else had fan or followers - never understood the difference personally.
There were certainly far more 'Carthy copiers', 'Bellamy Bleaters', 'Dylan Doubles' and 'Joanie clones' and Dylan doubles' on the scene than there were Ewan imitators
MacColl was a performers with ideas, as yesterday's programme made clear and it was that aspect which those of us who were familiar with those ideas responded to rather than the fanzine adoration that still haunts the scene.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Dec 15 - 11:32 AM

There were certainly far more 'Carthy copiers', 'Bellamy Bleaters', 'Dylan Doubles' and 'Joanie clones' and Dylan doubles' on the scene than there were Ewan imitators.
I agree.
MacColl was a performers with ideas, as yesterday's programme made clear and it was that aspect which those of us who were familiar with those ideas responded to rather than the fanzine adoration that still haunts the scene.
Again I agree, furthermore the fanzine adoration has in fact got worse.
However the criticism was not of MacColl but it was a description of the odd atmosphere at the club,I think[ but i am not sure] the remark was made by Christy Moore, who was full of praise for MacColl and for his song writing and for his welcome to Christy at the club.


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Dec 15 - 11:36 AM

guest, he was, Constantin Stanislavski


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: GUEST,GMGough
Date: 30 Dec 15 - 11:47 AM

28-12-15 Christy Moore on Ewan MacColl RTE 1


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: GUEST,Derrick
Date: 30 Dec 15 - 11:53 AM

GSS and Guest,
                You are both correct,see the link below,differences are due to translating from one alphabet to another.

www.britannica.com/biography/Konstantin-Sergeyevich-Stanislavsky


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Dec 15 - 12:19 PM

However the criticism was not of MacColl but it was a description of the odd atmosphere at the club
After 20 years attending it I never found an "odd" attitude - just people who turned up to hear good songs well sung.
I was there the night Christie was a guest - no odd attitude that night, just a big, listening crowd - same with The Johnsons and Na Fili, and The Fureys.... and all the other English, Irish and Scots groups we booked
Not necessarily my taste, but good, well attended nights.
Maybe these people are used to clubs where the audiences are not expected to sit quietly and listen to what's going on.
Have just archived around 20 recorded club nights - still the best night of singing I ever heard on the folk scene
I do wish people would be more specific with their criticisms.
Thank you for putting up the link GMGough - didn't get to hear all of it yesterday
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Dec 15 - 12:40 PM

Jim, I am only repeating that which i heard on the wireless. I would like to thank you and pat for helping with this programme and helping to make it possible, whatever my personal opinions of MacColl, I think it is important that his songs and work get to as many people as possible.


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Dec 15 - 12:41 PM

Just an explanation of MacColl's Stanislavsky(according to spelling in An Actor Prepares) or Stanislavski (My life in Art and Creating a Role) - spelling seems to be a movable feast as far as far as the English language publications go.
MacColl suggested that the songs could be made to work long term if the singer found a personal point of identification with them, rather than the immediate attraction of a good tune or a good story, both of which can wear thin after several performances.
He used Stanislav... whatever's techniques of Emotion Memory and Application of the Idea off 'If' to enable singers to get into the songs and make them your own (he drew his inspiration from the work they had done in Theatre Workshop)
I have t say, I've witnessed some spectacular results from th exercises we did - the couple of sessions the Group did with my own singing still work for my songs after 40 years.
The rest of the work was on technique - first becoming aware of how you produce your voice (sometimes by attempting to imitate other singers), then attempting to expand your range.
He also adapted Laben's 'Movement' technique to sound, singing tones into 'efforts' so that all songs didn't sound the same - such as a shanty didn't sound like a lyrical love song, out vise versa.
Easy, once you get your head around it.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Dec 15 - 12:43 PM

"Jim, I am only repeating that which i heard on the wireless"
And I'm only responding to what you are describing Dick
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Dec 15 - 01:09 PM

Ryan Tubridy says in someways he was a musical Fascist[really]?, what is he referring to, I thought and its apparent from his songs he opposed Fascism?
I think his comments on working on songs are absolutely spot on.


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Dec 15 - 02:26 PM

"Ryan Tubridy"
Ryan Tubridy is totally engrossed in the pop-music scene with it's "pump up the volume" ethos - doesn't come more fascist than that in my opinion.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 30 Dec 15 - 03:22 PM

Not to spoil the rant but   it was John Murray presenting the program and talking to Christy Moore.


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Dec 15 - 04:26 PM

who is john murray?, what connections does he have to the uk folk scene?


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: Hagman
Date: 30 Dec 15 - 05:48 PM

One John Murray was Byron's publisher. Rumour had it - apocryphal - that he once had the Lord's testicles in a jar on the mantle in his office...

The other John Murray is the presenter of the show under discussion. Does it really matter if he's Irish and has no direct connections to the UK folk scene?


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Dec 15 - 06:21 PM

you mentioned Murrays nationalilty, I did not, it is irrelevant.
His connections to the uk folk scene are relevant, if he calls MacColl a bit of a musical fascist, on what does he base this, his own experience in the uk folk scene? or just hearsay or mythology., if you call someone a musical fascist IT DOES MATTER,It matters to me to know what he bases his statement on. I do have and have connections with the UK folk scene for over 40 years, I met and booked MacColl, I am entitled to make comments based on direct experience.I have good and bad things to say
If Murray never met MacColl and he is basing his statement on hearsay, the comment carrys much less weight, unless he can provide examples to back up his statement, otherwise it should be dismissed as more MacColl poppycock.


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Dec 15 - 06:53 PM

That should have read more poppycock about MacColl.
I find MacColls comment about Ennis was strange and a bit weak, it was only his own opinion that Ennis did not understand Industrial songs and I am not sure What Ewan based this comment on, which industrial songs did Seamus not understand.
"the wrong kind of intensity","Seamus did not understand urban songs", that is not pertinent or helpful unless MacColl could qualify it.
Peggys comments in my opinion talking about breathing are much better and are about technique and are much more useful.
style of song or choice of rythym are matters of personal taste. Ewan was trying to be helpful but was letting his personal taste get in the way and letting this idea of his about Seamus Ennis befuddle his judgement.


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: Hagman
Date: 30 Dec 15 - 07:01 PM

re: Murray's nationality - Well, you did ask who he was - I was just trying to be helpful, GSS!

I think you're being a little hard on him - he's a radio presenter who has gone to the trouble of putting the programme together with the help of acknowledged experts, as well as having another expert in the field, Mr Moore, on hand to discuss the propositions.

It would be delightful if all presenters were experts in every field, but that's not going to happen. I assume that he never met MacColl - I'm sure he would have mentioned it if he had - but surely he's entitled to his opinion based on the research he has done and knowledge he has? We mightn't agree with it, but so what? But we, I think, are the better for him having made the effort.


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: Hagman
Date: 30 Dec 15 - 07:21 PM

GSS wrote.."I find MacColls comment about Ennis was strange and a bit weak,... letting this idea of his about Seamus Ennis befuddle his judgement.

Agree totally, GSS. That's what makes MacColl so interesting - his infuriating unpredictability. He could write such soft, empathetic and beautiful songs on the one hand, and then be accused - possibly fairly - of being elitist and autocratic in his dealings with others. Like they say - "Nobody's perfect!"


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Dec 15 - 01:39 AM

yes, Hagman, I find him fascinating, so many contradictions.
but his legacy of songs are wonderful, overall I think he was a better writer than Dylan, although MASTERS OF WAR is in my opinion in the same class as MacColls best efforts, McColl was consistently excellent, there are a few duff ones but not many.
then there is his contributions to the radio ballads. I am thankful for all of that.
This was a fascinating programme very enjoyable and one that i will listen to again and again


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Dec 15 - 05:04 AM

"it was only his own opinion that Ennis did not understand Industrial songs"
Seamus and Ewan were early associates and friends and greatly admired each others work.
Ennis was an early influence on the British revival and a regular at the Singers Club to the end of his life, he was in London, as was Joe Heaney, when the revival began.
His work on the BBC project was inestimably valuable, though he once told Pat and I that he was bitterly angry at what happened to the recordings made by them (still have his words, "that man's a thief"emblazoned on my memory).
Having said that, his entire work was centered around rural music, both as a performer and a collector - he had no interest in industrial song; he never mentioned it as far as I'm aware, he never wrote about it and he appeared to have no knowledge of it - it simply wasn't his thing - not a criticism, just the situation as I understand it.
Would be interest to learn any different.
MacColl gave his opinions of other performers when asked - he felt the music was more important than hypocritical diplomacy, but I never heard him criticise anybody publicly without qualifying that criticism with an analysis of their work (the opposite of what still happens with MacColl's own work, which cannot be discussed without torrents of hate-filled and largely inaccurate personal abuse - from crooning fake gypsy ladies to worms for hedgehogs).
I confess, I still enjoy listening to MacColl's singing; I always found it both entertaining and inspirational, but that's my personal taste and has nothing whatever to do with the importance I attach to the body of work he left behind in the form of field recordings (see Musical Traditions recent production of Ewan and Peggy's Traveller recordings), or his workshop work, or the recordings of seminar he did, or his miniscule writing output.
His collection resides at Ruskin, in Oxford and is being worked on by his son Callum - shortly we will add significantly to that collection with the material we recorded from him, or was given by him and Peggy and others.
It really is worth scrambling over the garbage mountain to take a peek at.
As far as Dylan is concerned - MacColl's attitude had more to do with the effect he believed his singing was having on the revival rather than the singing itself.
When Lomax visited Britain, Ewan, Bert and all the rest were singing American songs in phony Mid-Atlantic accents.
Lomax kicked their collective arses and pointed out the importance of their own repertoires, which led to the BBC project and a massive turnaround to English, Irish and Scots songs.
MacColl was aware of this and worried that Dylan's influence would bring another reversal of the situation (which was the case), hence the animosity.
Personally, I never regarded Dylan as much more than an obscurantist folkie who wrote a couple of reasonable but instantly forgettable lyrics, and then, when he found what he was doing not lucrative enough, made a perfectly natural move onto the pop scene - and was honest enough to say so - "It's All Over Now".
He certainly wasn't committed to folk song, nor to the ideals of the 'protest songs' he wrote - he had to be reluctantly persuaded to take part in The Civil Rights demonstrations that the American singers were dedicated to (Theodor Bikel paid his fare to Mississippi so he couldn't refuse)
I tend to agree with Dylan's own analysis of his work as being meaningless - another case of blinding honesty.
Masters of War - "I'd give it three but I wouldn't buy it" as they used to say on 'Juke Box Jury'.
Doesn't come within miles of the most inoffensive Ban the Bomb songs, let alone, Fields of Vietnam, or 'Jack Warshaw's Chile Song, or Peggy's Naming of Names, or Jimmy Wilson, or The Ballad of Sharpville, or Eric Bogle's Sebastopol song, or Leon Rossellson's Diggers Song ..... or the hundreds of magnificent political songs the revival has produced (even Enoch Kent's apparently inoffensive Scarlet Rayguns leaves Dylan at the starting gate.
But then again - that my taste for you.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 31 Dec 15 - 05:37 AM

As some light entertainment and illustration: see this photo that I found some time ago.


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Dec 15 - 06:20 AM

Nice Peter
We've got one somewhere of Ewan swinging ape-like from the branch of a tree in his garden - the knockers would love it
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Dec 15 - 06:39 AM

"When Lomax visited Britain, Ewan, Bert and all the rest were singing American songs in phony Mid-Atlantic accents.
Lomax kicked their collective arses and pointed out the importance of their own repertoires, which led to the BBC project and a massive turnaround to English, Irish and Scots songs"
I agree with all that, but not the remark Dylan is tenth rate drivel, personally i think overall MacColl was a better writer, they both wrote good and bad songs,in my opinion MacColl wrote more good ones.
Your post is interesting but does not change my mind, Ennis was employed to collect by the BBC, IN A NON INDUSTRIAL COUNTRY [IRELAND].
hardly surprising that he did not collect any industrial songs, that does not mean that he did not understand them or was unable to interpret them as a singer.
Ennis collected his songs using a bicycle as a means of transport hardly surprising that he chose rural ireland to collect his songs, he knew about rural irish hospitality, he knew he would also find good trad tunes to play after collecting,that does not mean that he had no interest in Industrial songs.


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Dec 15 - 07:01 AM

That argument could be turned against MacColl, MacColl is not noted for collecting many industrial songs either, but does that mean he was not interested in them?I dont think so.I would rather hear Seamus Ennis or Luke Kelly sing Hot Ashphalt than MacColl, but that is personal taste, Ewan did not lie Seamus version, right, that is personal taste.


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Dec 15 - 07:21 AM

"I agree with all that, but not the remark Dylan is tenth rate drivel,"
"à chacun son goût," as the French say.
Ennis was employed to collect songs all over Britain, some of hi most interesting work was done in Gaelic-speaking Scotland.
If he had any knowledge or even interest in industrial songs what was it - there is no indication that he ever did - he certainly never sang them.
"Ennis collected his songs using a bicycle as a means of transport hardly surprising that he chose rural ireland to collect his songs,"
Romantic nonsense - Ennis drove around Britain with the BBC collecting team - his work in Ireland was largely carried out in the rather beautiful old car he drove SEE PHOTOGRAPH
Industrial folk songs were a virtually unresearched genre until MacColl and Joan Littlewood came across them in the North of England - Ewan and Bert made them an important feature of the early revival.
Do you have any information on Ennis's possible interest in industrial songs Dick - I really would like to know if you have?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Dec 15 - 09:17 AM

Jim,Ewan did not collect industrial songs, but that did not mean he was not interested in them, so logically no one can assume that Seamus was not interested in them because he did not collect any.
I do not have to provide information on Ennis's possible interest in industrial songs, the onus on you to provide info that he was not.
Romantic nonsense? JIM ONCE AGAIN YOU HAVE YOUR FACTS WRONG.
Here taken from the Seamus ennis arts centre, it states clearly that during the war years most of his travels were by bicycle.
It also says " The Irish Folklore Commission asked Seamus to concentrate on the musical heritage ireland shared with Scotland.
ALL THESE ARE CONTRIBUTORY REASONS AS TO WHY SEAMUS DID NOT COLLECT INDUSTRIAL SONGS.There is no evidence to suggest that he was not interested in them, it is completely without proof.
Séamus Ennis 1919-1982
Séamus Ennis, Uilleann Piper, Folklore and Music Collector, was born on May 5th 1919 in Jamestown, Finglas, which at the time was a rural part of North County Dublin. One of the main streets in Finglas has by popular acclaim been re-named 'Séamus Ennis Road'. His father, James Ennis, was a prize-winning musician on several instruments including the Flute and Uilleann Pipes, which he had learned from Nicholas Markey from Co. Meath, and was also a champion Irish dancer. Séamus' mother, Mary Josephine Ennis (née McCabe) was an accomplished fiddle player, originally from Farney in Co. Monaghan.

Introducing him to music at a very early age, Séamus' father would play the pipes to him in his cradle. There were many musical visitors to the Ennis family home including Uilleann Pipers Liam Andrews of Dublin and Pat Ward of Drogheda, James McCrone (a reed maker), Fiddle player Frank O'Higgins and Flautist John Cawley. Having heard his son humming tunes at the age of two, Séamus' father was prompted to carve him an imitation set of pipes. He knew the names of some of the tunes when he was only three years old.

Séamus Ennis, London, 1966. Courtesy of Bob RundleSéamus Ennis, London, 1966. Courtesy of Bob Rundle
Séamus' education began at the Holy Faith Convent in Glasnevin and Belvedere College and he went on to attend the all-Irish schools at Scoil Cholm Cille and Colaiste Mhuire. This gave him a good grounding in the Irish language, which he later developed to the full during his travels around Ireland collecting songs, tunes and stories.

When Séamus left school he was employed by Colm O'Lochlainn at the Three Candles Press and learned all the skills associated with the printing trade as well as developing his ability to transcribe music notation by listening attentively to the singers of traditional slow airs. Along with the ability that his father had taught him to write down dance music, this gift would prove invaluable to him when in the early 1940's he would go on to travel the country as music archivist. Colm O'Lochlainn was a major cause of his love for the Irish language. It was Colm who introduced Séamus to Professor Séamus O'Duilearge of the Irish Folklore Commission.

The first of his travels for the Irish Folklore Commission was a trip to Connemara where he met a man named Pat Cannin. He asked Séamus did he know a reel that he then proceeded to whistle to him. Séamus wrote the reel on a piece of paper by the side of the road and named it The Mist on the Mountain. During the war years Séamus' travels were mostly by bicycle and he collected all his tunes by pen and paper.

Séamus found the greatest repository of songs and tunes and their background in fact and fame in a little pocket of North Connemara in a place called 'Glinnsce' which translates as 'Clear Water' in the English language. He recorded two hundred and twelve items straight from the memory of Colm O'Caoidheain who lived in this area.

The Irish Folklore Commission asked Séamus to focus his attention on the musical heritage Ireland shared with Scotland. This involved him travelling to Scotland in 1946. A bitterly cold winter didn't stop Séamus from swimming every day and he became known locally as the mad Irishman. Séamus said that during his stay on one island, as the weather became colder and colder, more and more people turned out to watch Séamus and his companion from Dublin take their dip. Finally, on the morning they had to break the ice at the water's edge to bathe, the whole village had turned out to watch whether they'd do it or not. Their clear duty was to uphold the pride of Ireland and take the plunge, but the pub was opened early as a result for all to recuperate.

In 1946 he successfully applied for a job in Radio Eireann as an Outside Broadcast Officer. Commencing this job in August 1947, it wasn't long before Séamus proved himself to be a skilled presenter. On a renowned visit to Clare in 1949, he recorded the playing of the legendary Willie Clancy, Bobby Casey, Sean Reid, Martin Talty and Micho Russell.

In 1951 Séamus moved to London to work with the BBC on a scheme aimed at recording extensively the surviving folk culture of England, Scotland and Wales. With an uncanny ability to converse in the regional Gaelic dialects with people in Connemara, Donegal, Kerry and even Scotland, he travelled the length and breadth of Ireland and Britain collecting material and was one of the presenters of the radio program "As I Roved Out". He married Margaret Glynn in 1952 and the couple had two children. Daughter Catherine is now a well-known Organist and his son Christopher plays the Fiddle and sings some of his father's old songs. In 1958 Séamus' marriage ended and he returned to Ireland where he worked for Radio Eireann as a freelance presenter on programmes such as 'An Ceoltoir Sidhe' and 'Séamus Ennis san Chathaoir'.

Séamus continued to perform around Ireland during the 1960s and played at the first meeting of 'Na Piobairi Uileann' in Bettystown, Co. Meath in 1968. In the early 1970s he shared accommodation with Uilleann Piper Liam O'Floinn in Dublin. During that time they formed The Halfpenny Bridge Quartet, with Liam on the pipes, Tommy Grogan on accordion and Sean Keane on Fiddle. Séamus had a lasting impression on Liam O'Floinn who was in awe of his knowledge and expertise. Séamus bequeathed his Uilleann Pipes to Liam. Made by Morris Coyne in the 1830's, the Pipes were originally purchased by Séamus' father in a second hand shop in London.

Séamus Ennis (centre). Courtesy of Joe CurtisSéamus Ennis (centre). Courtesy of Joe Curtis
In 1975, Séamus moved to Naul to live out his remaining years on the land which had once belonged to his grandparents, by now owned by the MacNally family, of whom Séamus became very fond. He felt very much at home here and loved the area, noting that he never cared much for any city and that he was a countryman at heart. He was an able cook who could deal expertly with game, although sadly as illness developed he ate less and lost interest in food. What he never tired of was the tradition which was at the centre of his life, nor did he tire of the company of friends. An intensely private man, close friends from the world of music, his son and daughter and those more locally will attest to late nights (and early mornings) spent with Séamus at Easter Snow, the name he gave (after the air of that name) to the plot of land on which he lived, exchanging stories and limericks (all hilarious but often of dubious taste!), playing cards, and listening to and playing songs and tunes. The Séamus Ennis Arts Centre is situated adjacent to this site.

Séamus continued playing around Ireland and overseas right up to the time he lost his battle with cancer in October 1982 aged 63. Some of his last performances included the Willie Clancy Summer School and the Lisdoonvarna Folk Festival.

A CD of Séamus' music entitled 'The Return from Fingal' was compiled by Piper and Radio Producer, Peter Browne. Sourced from 40 years of acetate and tapes in the Radio Eireann and later RTE archives and released in 1997, the CD is available from The Séamus Ennis Arts Centre.

During the course of his lifetime, Séamus Ennis' work in collecting songs, tunes and folklore has resulted in a wealth of music that would otherwise have been lost forever. His work can and should never be underestimated.


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Dec 15 - 10:09 AM

"Jim,Ewan did not collect industrial songs"
Oh dear:
Ewan and Joan collected Four Loom Weaver from Beckett Whitehead and Fourpence a Day from Mark Anderson for a programme called 'The Ballad Hunters'.
There were others but the BBC didn't keep copies of them
Ewan and Peggy recorded mining songs from Jack Elliot and put an LP of the family out on Folkways as well as using them for 'The Big Hewer'.
Where do you get this stuff Dick?
I have no idea what your huge cut-'n-paste is about - I've made my enormous admiration of Séamus's work crystal clear - couldn't begin to tell you of my admiration for his musicianship - one of the finest nights of music I ever attended was at our 'Tradition Club' in Hammersmith, where the room was crammed with his peers - Bobby Casey, Tom McCarthy, Raymond Roland, Roger Sherlock, Paddy Taylor - Seámus didn't put a finger wrong - he daren't have done in that company; you could have walked on the atmosphere   
Nobody "underestimates' Seámus's work least of all me - so stop creating red-herrings.
The fact that he was in no way involved in industrial songs (other than those MacColl wrote for 'Song of a Road' and 'The Irishmen') remains a fact.
Why are you labouring this point? I really am making an effort not to be rude here.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 31 Dec 15 - 10:16 AM

Is there any "Listen Again", or archive capability on RTE so that I can hear the programme?


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 31 Dec 15 - 10:22 AM

The podcast is linked above, post 30 Dec 15 - 11:47 AM .


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Dec 15 - 10:28 AM

"Is there any "Listen Again", or archive capability on RTE so that I can hear the programme?"
GMGough put one up - will take advantage of it later Geoff - see
Date: 30 Dec 15 - 11:47 AM
Don't know if anybody saw 'Luke Kelly, Prince of the City', a couple of days ago (also on playback)
They give a fair amount of space to Luke's admiration for Ewan and the influence he had on his singing, particularly on the short time he was a member of the Critics Group
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 31 Dec 15 - 10:39 AM

Luke Kelly : Prince of the City


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: GUEST,guest66
Date: 31 Dec 15 - 10:44 AM

ok boys- this has to stop- 8 hours and the centenary will be OVER, so give us all a break please


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Dec 15 - 11:14 AM

"The first of his travels for the Irish Folklore Commission was a trip to Connemara where he met a man named Pat Cannin. He asked Séamus did he know a reel that he then proceeded to whistle to him. Séamus wrote the reel on a piece of paper by the side of the road and named it The Mist on the Mountain. During the war years Séamus' travels were mostly by bicycle and he collected all his tunes by pen and paper."
Jim you are wrong, it was not romantic nonsense.
Seamus was a fine singer who was well capable of singing any song well.


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Dec 15 - 11:36 AM

"Jim you are wrong, it was not romantic nonsense."
You should have seen the car - figment of somebody;'s imagination, maybe?
I totally agree with Guest66 -it's nearly New Year so I'm pushing off before you nause up another thread with your odd behaviour
Happy New Year all
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Dec 15 - 12:36 PM

There is nothing odd about the truth.
Seamus Ennis spent most of the war years collecting in ireland and travelling by bicycle to do so. Fact.
Seamus was a fine singer who could interpret any kind of song whether it be Hot Ashphalt or Jug Of Punch,
Ewans comment in my opinion was pompous and pedantic, his pomposity comes across in the use of the word Erroneous, rather than using the word wrong, in my opinion at that point he comes over as a pompous self opinionated wind bag.


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 31 Dec 15 - 12:50 PM

in the use of the word Erroneous, rather than using the word wrong,
That does sound rather 'clever' to me.
Was he hamming it up for the recording maybe, or did they record everything?
It was also mentioned that EM felt insecure. That could manifest itself in pomposity.


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: Vic Smith
Date: 31 Dec 15 - 01:08 PM

Actually, Jim, I would beg to disagree with Guest66 - He wrote:-

ok boys- this has to stop- 8 hours and the centenary will be OVER, so give us all a break please

.... because the conduct of this thread is different from the usual protagonists' behaviour. Let's consider this thread. You and Dick are disagreeing with one another from entrenched positions - well, that's what we all expect; that may even be the hidden purpose behind starting the thread. However, we have reached this far into the thread with no-one pulling any punches in stating their opinions without either of you a] insulting one another * b] dredging up old scores from previous threads c] trying to score points by over-dissecting statements by the other.
It has actually been quite informative and I have been able to read it all without groaning internally.

I would like to add one thought about "Industrial song". For the communal song creation process to flourish, there needs to be a reasonably settled unchanging community and that makes that creation process much more likely to proceed in a rural rather than the constantly changing urban environment and that is why there are relatively few songs on industrial themes out there to be collected. I am talking about the situation in the 18th and 19th centuries.

* Well, I'm excluding your comment about Guest66 in your previous post - but we can't have everything, can we?


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: GUEST,Derrick
Date: 31 Dec 15 - 01:25 PM

Seamus travelled round Ireland in the 40's, on a bicycle collecting material,he worked for the BBC later starting in 1951.
See link below

http://theirishgazette.com/a-visit-to-the-seamus-ennis-cultural-centre-in-ireland/


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Dec 15 - 01:27 PM

Thanks Vic, I am trying to discuss the programme in an objective way, of course we all have to remember that the programme will have been edited in a certain way, there may well have been other clips that showed Ewans critiques in a much more favourable light, and that particular one may be unrepresentative.
Jim could counter that by producing clips of Ewan giving criticism that portrayed him in a different light.
Vic, a propos of your remark about industrial song. REPUBLIC OF IRELAND[ apart from Dublin] is an agricultural rather than industrial society, apart from emigrationin the 20 century it did have a relatively[compared to England]settled unchanging community]


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Dec 15 - 02:11 PM

Thankyou, Derrick.
Jim, has provided two examples of industrial songs collected by Ewan, so what, Because Ewan collected two songs and Seamus did not,I have given explanations as to why he did not[ being in ireland during the war] and only having a bicycle.2. It was not his remit when he was in Scotland]
it does not follow that Seamus could not interpret an industrial song as a singer.
Jim. here was my quote.
Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: Good Soldier Schweik - PM
Date: 31 Dec 15 - 07:01 AM

That argument could be turned against MacColl, MacColl is not noted for collecting many industrial songs either, but does that mean he was not interested in them?I dont think so.I would rather hear Seamus Ennis or Luke Kelly sing Hot Ashphalt than MacColl, but that is personal taste, Ewan did not lie Seamus version, right, that is personal taste.

Jim , I am labouring the point in an effort to have accuracy and truth for all concerned.


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Dec 15 - 03:03 PM

Point taken on all counts Vic.
"Seamus Ennis spent most of the war years collecting in ireland and travelling by bicycle to do so. Fact."
The bulk of Ennis's recording work came after the war, which was what I was referring to.
Even so, the ground Seámus covered in the period from which you are taking your information, 1942 to 1946, would have made it impossible to have been carried out on a bike - rural Ireland had bad roads, the terrain in places like Connemara was extremely difficult and Seamus was carrying an Ediphone recorder and other equipment.
He may well have cycled to some of the more difficult areas, but the major part of his work necessitated a car - the one you were given comes from the cover of the book, 'Going to the Well for Water' (pretty sure it was taken a mile from here, in Miltown Malbay.
The Seamus Ennis field diary 1942 -1946 by Rionach ui Ógáin which I have in front of me.
Seámus's skill at musical annotation was legendary and his handwriting impeccable, as can be seen from the book's illustrations, but all the collectors from the invention of the recording machine resorted to its use as more efficient, more accurate and a damn sight more convenient.
The use of a recording machine would not have been optional to Ennis; his employers, The Folkore Department would have insisted on it.
Tom Munnelly used to use a wonderful photograph of a collector in Clare in the 1930s with a wheelbarrow piled five feet high with recording equipment
This is one of the entries to Seámus's diary:
Thursday 20.6.46.
"We enjoyed the dance and arrived back in Carna very tired at three oclock in the morning. The dance had finished at two oclock. The young men were very grateful to me as a day like that was a great novelty for them. Just like myself, they were unable to make their way around when th war came and cars were taken off the road. I was proud to give them their first experience of driving as a pleasant method of travel."
(ui Ógáin p.347)
Rionach's book contains some of the best descriptions of collecting from source singers and musicians I have ever read; Ennis not only loved the music but he was extremely sociable and won the respect of everybody he worked with (though, like Ewan, he could over-awe people at times).
If asnybody is considering acquiring it, make sure you get the English language translation.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Dec 15 - 03:09 PM

Actually Dick, your quote was;
31 Dec 15 - 09:17 AM "Jim,Ewan did not collect industrial songs", which was what I responded to.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 31 Dec 15 - 03:42 PM

In all fairness Jim, Séamus Ennis did most of his collecting described in the diaries by bicycle, the trip to Connemara you quote is one after the war had ended and as far as I recall the only one where the car was use. In the introduction RuiÓ writes how Ennis only bought the car in 1946 but even then his use of it was very much curtailed by rationing of petrol and the fact that petrol stations in Connemara were 'miles away' (introduction, p.20). The Commission's recording van was purchased only in 1947 (introduction, p. 10)

His collecting during the war years was done by bicycle although he sometimes travelled by bus or train. He refers regularly how the Ediphone and his supplies, pipes and luggage were sent after him by the office in Dublin.

Both in the Diaries and later audio recordings where he speaks about his collecting, some used in Eamonn de Butleair's 'Miles and Miles of Music' and Peter Browne's 'The Seamus Ennis Story' he always speaks about his travels by bicycle during the war years (although he was ofcourse no stranger to writing his own mythology, to some extend). The Ó Bhéal go Béal documentary has him on the bike as well.

I remember both Breandan Breathnach and Rionach referring to his one feat of cycling from Dublin to Connemara in one day.


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Subject: RE: MacColl programme on radio
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 31 Dec 15 - 06:52 PM

Thanks to everyone who helped me to get to hear this very interesting programme = I somehow overlooked the link given above by GUEST,GMGough Thanks


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