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The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?

GeoffLawes 06 Jan 16 - 07:08 PM
Jim Carroll 06 Jan 16 - 08:08 PM
The Sandman 07 Jan 16 - 04:44 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Jan 16 - 05:06 AM
Vic Smith 07 Jan 16 - 06:32 AM
The Sandman 07 Jan 16 - 08:00 AM
The Sandman 07 Jan 16 - 08:08 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Jan 16 - 08:57 AM
The Sandman 07 Jan 16 - 09:37 AM
Vic Smith 07 Jan 16 - 09:46 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Jan 16 - 10:08 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Jan 16 - 11:03 AM
Vic Smith 07 Jan 16 - 11:10 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Jan 16 - 11:40 AM
The Sandman 07 Jan 16 - 01:33 PM
GUEST,JohnH 07 Jan 16 - 02:00 PM
The Sandman 07 Jan 16 - 02:07 PM
Jim Carroll 07 Jan 16 - 02:51 PM
The Sandman 07 Jan 16 - 03:12 PM
GUEST,Nick Dow 07 Jan 16 - 06:02 PM
The Sandman 08 Jan 16 - 02:18 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Jan 16 - 04:21 AM
The Sandman 08 Jan 16 - 07:39 AM
The Sandman 08 Jan 16 - 07:56 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Jan 16 - 08:27 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Jan 16 - 09:01 AM
The Sandman 08 Jan 16 - 10:27 AM
The Sandman 08 Jan 16 - 12:58 PM
Jim Carroll 08 Jan 16 - 02:10 PM
The Sandman 08 Jan 16 - 02:22 PM
Jim Carroll 08 Jan 16 - 02:40 PM
The Sandman 08 Jan 16 - 02:42 PM
GUEST 08 Jan 16 - 02:45 PM
Vic Smith 08 Jan 16 - 02:49 PM
Jim Carroll 08 Jan 16 - 07:50 PM
GeoffLawes 09 Jan 16 - 03:57 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Jan 16 - 04:20 AM
GUEST,Dave 09 Jan 16 - 01:19 PM
Jim Carroll 09 Jan 16 - 02:36 PM
GUEST,Dave 09 Jan 16 - 03:25 PM
GeoffLawes 10 Jan 16 - 07:18 AM
Jim Carroll 10 Jan 16 - 07:32 AM
GUEST,ada the cadre 10 Jan 16 - 11:23 AM
Noreen 10 Jan 16 - 04:36 PM
Jim Carroll 10 Jan 16 - 08:49 PM
Mo the caller 11 Jan 16 - 02:43 AM
GUEST,Jack Warshaw 12 Aug 16 - 07:41 AM
Les in Chorlton 13 Aug 16 - 04:48 AM
keberoxu 13 Aug 16 - 04:02 PM
TheSnail 13 Aug 16 - 08:09 PM
GUEST,Mary Humphreys 14 Aug 16 - 01:48 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Aug 16 - 02:22 PM
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Subject: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 06 Jan 16 - 07:08 PM

Which members of The Critics Group are still alive and performing? And which ones are already booked for festivals this year? I ask this because I( and I'm sure many others ) would like to go to a festival workshop where information about the group is delivered by people who have first hand knowledge. When performers have already been booked then it should be fairly easy for festival organisers to set up such a workshop. If this thread attracts some attention then perhaps Mudcatters could draw it to the attention of festival organisers to get the idea up and running?

Wikipedia says "Members of the group at various times included Frankie Armstrong, Bob Blair, Brian Byrne (UK), Helen Campbell (UK), Jim Carroll (UK), Phil Colclough, Aldwyn Cooper, Ted Culver, John Faulkner, Richard Humm, Allen Ives, Sandra Kerr, Paul Lenihan, Pat Mackenzie, Jim O'Connor, Maggie O'Murphy, Charles Parker, Brian Pearson, Michael Rosen, Buff Rosenthal, Susanna Steele, Denis Turner, Jack Warshaw, Terry Yarnell and others who joined for individual Festival of Fools shows.


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Jan 16 - 08:08 PM

Can't guive you a full rundown of who is still alive.
Brian Byrne, a young performer with a great deal of potential died around 1967 (exact date somewhere), and Charles Parker in 1980
John still withus and performing Faulkner living in Galway.
Samdra, of course teaches and still preforms
Bob Blair sings occasionally - lives in Glasgow.
Brian still alive - just received a 'freinds request from him on Facebook
Pat Mackenzie stopped singing when her voice went a few years ago - I started singing again a few years ago - both of us live inn Co. Clare and became heavily involved in research and collecting forty years ago.
Jim O'Connor took up theatre work when the Critics folded in the early 1970s
Jack still singing and writing songs
Buff returned to the US in the 70s
Frankie singing
Mike Rosen was never really a member of the group as a singer
Terry lives in Suffolk, still active in research but doesn't sing much (more's the pity)
Dennis worked with us for a few years collecting from Travellers in the seventies, then took up theatre work
Phil, is singing and songwriting
Not sure about the rest,
I have done a great deal of work gathering together, archiving, talking and writing about the work of Ewan and the group - still a major interest with me, though a fair amount of work to do yet.
We have arranged to pass on our recordings of the group, and all documentaton on to Ewan's son, Neill, but i the meantime, I'm happy to pass on any material and information to anybody interested - it's time the work was discussed rationally and in a genuinely honest way without all the mud-slinging and agendas - it really is worth it.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Jan 16 - 04:44 AM

"We have arranged to pass on our recordings of the group, and all documentaton on to Ewan's son, Neill, but in the meantime, I'm happy to pass on any material and information to anybody interested"
Jim, you are very helpful providing songs and information on the songs I appreciate your generostity.
I thought the recent programme about Ewan was fascinating and your archive material was a big contribution to the programme.
I may have previously been harsh about one of Ewans comments but then on giving the programme more thought and giving consideration to how the programme was edited,I realise that THE WAY EWAN WAS PORTRAYED WAS IN FACT DOWN TO THE EDITING OF THE ARCHIVE MATERIAL, undoubtedly clips could have been found that portrayed Ewan differently, but the Editor chose to portray Ewan in a certain light.


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Jan 16 - 05:06 AM

Not sure which programme you are talking about Dick, but pesonally, I thought the Christi Moore interview was among the fairest ever made on Ewan's work (still on line.)
Christie, like Luke Kelly, is an unreserved admirer of Ewan and made that quite clear.
His comments on Ewan's attitude to Dylan were fair enough, considering that he was unaware of why Ewan took the stance he did on Dylan.
When Lomax first came to Britain, Ewan, Bert and many other of the early revival singers were singing American songs in phoney mid-Atlantic accents.
Lomax shook them all by the scruff of the neck and said they should be exploring their own traditions
The BBC recording project did just that, and we were introduced to Harry Cox, Elizabeth Cronin, Jeannie Robertson, et al....
When Dylan hit the scene, Ewan and others regarded him as a threat to what they had achieved in opening up our own national repertoires (Pete Seeger and others took more or less the same stance when Dylan went electric at Newport).
Lot's of us didn't particularly like what Dylan did, but I believe this had little to do with Ewan's various anti-Dylan outbursts.
Personally, I tend to agree with Dylan'sattitude to his own singing.
Dylan 'Fesses Up
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 07 Jan 16 - 06:32 AM

Members of the Critics Group...... Not named above but I wonder if Jim remembers Tony & Jenny Dunbar as being active in the group? They lived in Sussex and I saw them quite frequently in Sussex folk clubs. They certainly talked as though they were closely involved with the group but I have never seen their names mentioned, so perhaps they were only peripheral. I was very close to Isabel Sutherland up until her death in 1988. She was a resident at a club that I ran for many years. Later she and her husband Joby started a club in Groombridge and asked Tony & Jenny to join their rota of resident singers.
I was puzzled at this for in every conversation with Isabel, it was not long before her antipathy towards Ewan & Peggy and everything that they stood for was mentioned.
I asked her, "Why would you want members of the Critics group involved in your club after all you have said about Ewan & Peggy?"
She answered, "It's always good to know what the enemy is up to!"

Can Jim help me on T&J's involvement?


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Jan 16 - 08:00 AM

The Groombridge club was very friendly, I did see some meMbers of the critics group do a gig there, Terry Yarnell was one of them,wasnt there an irish guy who sang and played tenor banjo as well. I wonder what happened to the Dunbars, I dont think they were members of the critics group


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Jan 16 - 08:08 AM

Isabel encouraged children to perform, the atmosphere was very welcoming, I used to drive miles[from south essex] to go there on most sunday evenings.
I remember seeing Bob Copper and the family there, it was absolutely brilliant. I liked it because it was so friendly, I felt i could approach Isabel and ask and learn about traditional songs.


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Jan 16 - 08:57 AM

"Tony & Jenny Dunbar as being active in the group"
They were opted in when the Critics Group collapsed and Ewan, after his breakdown, decided to have another go.
Didn't last long enough to come to anything.
The Group was formed when several singers on the scene asked Ewan to hold classes, as they weren't happy at what was happening - the Early members included John and Sandra, Frankie, Gordon McCulloch, bBobby Campbell, Alasdair Clayre, Charles Parker, Brian Pearson and Luke Kelly - (will sort out a full list and put it up)
Ewan refused to take classes but instead, set up a self-help group, with him chairing.
The idea was that singers would perform in front of the group (from 3 to 6 songs) and the members would discuss the performance fully, both individual songs and how they all worked a a contrasting group, suggesting what worked and what didn't, and why Finally a couple of suggested, not insisted on problematical points would be worked on, Ewan would sum up and the performer would be asked to return with thee problems at a later date.
The way we worked ascertained that no individual would impress his or her personal tastes and ideosyncracies on the proceedings (an all too common problem today, I find).
It also meant that by having to listen to and think about what was happening made you aware of how the voice was produced - it was never a teacher-class situation.
The number of members was restricted to a workable size in order to cover all the singers involved to the extent required.
Membership was by invitation and based on recommendation after having heard singers perform.
Isobel, as far as I know, was never asked to become a member.
It was basically a working group - never a debating society, though there was a great deal of discussion carried in inside and outside the meetings.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Jan 16 - 09:37 AM

Donal Maguire, That is the singer and banjo player was he a member?


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 07 Jan 16 - 09:46 AM

Thanks for clearing that up about the Dunbars, Jim.
I would have to agree with Dick about the the friendliness and good atmosphere at Groombridge. In the years of that club, we had two very young children and I was head of a residential special school and was on call or on duty most weekends so we did not get there as often as we would have liked.
Jim wrote:-
Isobel, as far as I know, was never asked to become a member
...nor would she have accepted if she had been asked. She and Joby fell out with Ewan before his folk scene involvement blossomed. Joby Blanchard (later a very successful television actor) was involved with Theatre Workshop from its inception in the Ewan/Joan Littlewood days. Joby and Isabel were in the first production of Oh! What A Lovely War! which brought the names of the group and its members to a much wider public.
Nevertheless, Ewan & Peggy were booked at Groombridge and I remember the evening well. E&P and J&I were all very stiff and over polite to one another, It was if an attempt was being made to patch up a huge family row. Ewan said that he enjoyed the performance that Tina and I gave of The Gardener Chiel.


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Jan 16 - 10:08 AM

"Donal Maguire, That is the singer and banjo player was he a member?"
Donal was never a member of the Group.
One of the offshoots of the Critics was the London Singers Workshop, which was set up by Sandra to assist newbies like me and others around The Singers Club who wanted help with singing; Colin Meadows, Shirley Peters (also a 'Critic'), Jerry Spring, Barry Taylor, Pat... and up to forty-odd members at different times.
Donal Maguire was a member of the Workshop, which lasted around 15 years (He acknowledged the contribution it made to his development in an article in The Living Tradition, years ago).
S.W. worked on a much lower-key basis and, while it achieved great results with raw, inexperienced singers, was nowhere near as all-round successful as the Critics.
I know of the strained relations between Isobel and Ewan... and other earlier performers in the revival - a moot point as to who was to blame.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Jan 16 - 11:03 AM

One Critics member I didn't mention was Dick Snell, a fine singer who typified the generous nature of the Group for me.
Shortly after I moved into my bed-sit in Camden Town, Dick came knocking at the door offering to bring me up to speed with how the Group worked - still have the notes he put together dealing with some of the more difficult aspects.
John and Sandra were every bit as unstinting with their time
Good days!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 07 Jan 16 - 11:10 AM

Jim wrote
"I know of the strained relations between Isobel and Ewan... and other earlier performers in the revival - a moot point as to who was to blame."


In this case, I would reckon the blame was likely to have been equally shared. Both were noted for their 'heated disagreements' in the early days of the revival.


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Jan 16 - 11:40 AM

"In this case, I would reckon the blame was likely to have been equally shared. "
Would go along with that completely Vic.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Jan 16 - 01:33 PM

I do not know, one way or the other, however Ewan fell out with a number of people in the uk folk revival, John Brune, Isabel, Bob Davenport, Reg Hall? to name a few.
Jim, you have described Reg Hall as an arch anti MacCollite, your own words, so based on your words I concluded that they had a falling out or did not like each other.


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: GUEST,JohnH
Date: 07 Jan 16 - 02:00 PM

Dick now writes tunes for and plays Fiddle.


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Jan 16 - 02:07 PM

Sorry, I should rephrase that a number of people fell out with Ewan,I do not know whose fault it was.


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Jan 16 - 02:51 PM

"I concluded that they had a falling out or did not like each other."
Bit more than that Dick
Much of the animosity centered around how various people viewed folk music and the revival - still an issue with many people.
Ewan was not the world's greatest diplomat and when he was asked his opinion, say on somebody's performance, he gave it
I always found him extremely helpful with his advice - if he thought someone wan't singing well, he said it, but he usually said why - not necessarily what people wanted.
The John Brune incident was one of sheer malice and could have ruined the Radio Ballad, The Travelling People - the fact that it's often told against Ewan sums up the attitude still rife in the revival.
I never understood Reg's behaviour on 'Folk Britannia' when he described Ewan's and Bert's objective was to create 'Folk Ensembles' similar to those in Eastern Europe.
The notes to the album which Reg held in front of the camera, which were supposed to prove that was their attitude were actually written by American folkorist, Henry Cowell - you explain it - I can't.
Bob Davenport is notorious for his bad behaviour towards audiences and performers alike but I would think the animosity between them had more to do with Bob's insistence that 'Urban Spaceman' and 'September Song' were folksongs.
The point I made is that these fallings out were two-sided affairs and most of the myths I've heard about Ewan's supposed behavior are just that - myths - and most of them seem to come from people who never met Ewan
Fairly typical was the comment by the interviewer on the Christie Moore programme who described him as "a musical fascist" - wonder how many living performers he'd describe in that way.
He also described Ewan as "dictatorial" - he wan't particularly.
We were all happy to be part of the Critics Group - there were no bars on the windows of 35 Stanley Avenue and we could have left at any time - it happened occasionally, but not often.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Jan 16 - 03:12 PM

Anyway, two important things for me are.
1. the songs he left behind
2. his help and influence on Luke Kelly and from that the Dubliners repertoire.
I find when I am singing in pubs in ireland a lot of the decent repertoire[imo] that are popular are songs that luke kelly popularised.
or songs written by MacColl.


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 07 Jan 16 - 06:02 PM

I see John Pole now and again. He turned down an invite to join the critics saying it was a bit too much like National Service


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Jan 16 - 02:18 AM

"Bob Davenport is notorious for his bad behaviour towards audiences and performers alike but I would think the animosity between them had more to do with Bob's insistence that 'Urban Spaceman' and 'September Song' were folksongs."
I must say that I have never experienced any bad behaviour from Bob,on the few occasions we have met, I have always found him polite, and I dont think that is because he is smaller than me or that he has heard of my pugillistic skills.
I think this statement about the cause of the animosity does not tie up accurately with other things you have said, you have stated on this forum that there was a fight between them at a meeting.
This meeting was held to discuss the direction of the UK folk revival, amongst those present were various people who had met to discuss not "September Song" BUT wanted[ as I understood] to DISCUSS the direction of the UK Folk revival these included MacColl and Davenport, to suggest their animosity was about Bob maintaining the The Urban Spaceman was a folk song I find hard to believe, it sounds more deep seated than that.
The fact of the matter is that a number of people did not like him.
I decided never to visit the Singers club as a result of what I considered was his boorish behaviour,on the other hand, On a later occasion I heard stories of his kindness, a relative of mine was allowed to use his archive material and allowed to go into their empty house, Ewan and Peggy had taken considerable time in locating the appropriate items for their study.It was a notable example of kindness and helpfulness
It seems to me    that MacColl [as a result of Alan Lomax suggestions[ your own words]along with others notably Carthy, Killen, Cyril Tawney encouraged people to seek out songs from the Geographical BRITISH isles if that was their background,they managed to influence the direction of the UK Folk Revival, regardless of any meetings or fisticuffs.
The Singers club rules discouraged the singing of American songs [unless you were American] in their club, out of curiosity, What was their attitude to Woody Guthrie songs being sung by English singers?.


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Jan 16 - 04:21 AM

"I must say that I have never experienced any bad behaviour from Bob"
I have
"there was a fight between them at a meeting"
Ewan was chairman at a discussion on folksong - Bob shouted down speaker after speaker from the floor, Ewan did his job as chairman and tried to stop him - Bert tried to calm things down - all recorded and archived.
Bob's diminutive size doesn't enhance his belligerence in any way and I've never seen Ewan strike a blow in anger throughout the twenty odd years I knew him - didn't come to blows but it wans't Bob's fault that it didn't.
"more deep seated than that."
Then you have to say what it was and not rely on rumours and urban myths.
A number of people may not have liked Ewan - he was dedicated to folksong and expected a degree of dedication from others who were involved because he believed folk song was important - a lot of people don't like that.
He could be cuttingly honest when asked his opinion - a lot of people are not too happy with that.
Some people didn't like Ewan's politics - I've been in clubs where he and members of the Critics group were asked not to sing political or even contemporary songs - it's happened to me several times.
I never found Ewan boorish or openly rude to people in public - he could become passionate in his arguments, but never in public.
You claim Ewan was boorish - when - how, certainly not at The Singers Club, or any other club where I ever saw him perform?
I always found Ewan far more sinned against than a sinner, as evidenced by that fact that, over half a century after his death people still regularly dig him up to give him a kicking.
Some time ago on this forum somebody told what, I presume, they regarded as an anti-MacColl story (as with the John Brune one)
If you saw him you will know that he had a habit of performing with his chair back-to-front (a marvelous relaxation trick, if you've ever tried it)
Apparently, when he came to one club, someone stuck a note across the back of the chair, unbeknownst to Ewan, saying "I am a twat" - hilarious and very professional!!   
I found Ewan easier and more rewarding to argue with than most people - including some of the members of the Critics Group - I had several heated discussions with him, on politics and on song, but we remained friends.
Ewan had far more to offer than just the songs he wrote and sang and it's having to plouter through stuff like this that prevents us from doing so - seems to me to say more about the destructive nature of some of the revival than it does about Ewan.
"a bit too much like National Service"
You had no alternative with National Service Nick, you could take the discipline of the Critics Group or leave it.
Ewan and Peggy, on a weekly basis, turned over their home to less experienced singers in order to assist them to become better performers - this went on for nearly ten years.
They put their book and tape collection at our disposal and quite often their spare (actually, young Calum's) bedroom so people could copy their field recordings and pore their way through their library.
In return, they expected a degree of commitment - if the group of us spent an hour working on somebody's singing, we weren't happy if they went away and forgot about it and did nothing, we expected people to put in work in return for our efforts
We committed ourselves to group work voluntarily because we believed we got something from it - if we felt we weren't, we didn't have to turn up.
It was the only way such a self-help study group could possibly continue to exist.
We did a similar thing with Singers Workshop, but we weren't as disciplined and we didn't achieve as much.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Jan 16 - 07:39 AM

Jim.
I can only speak from my own experience, and in doing so I have been fair and pointed out that I have never had any problem with Bob Davenport.
I have been even handed about EWAN and pointed out a good experience as well as a negative one.
I have never had any problem with his stage name, after all bob dylan and johnny handle use one, neither do I have any problem with any of Ewans professional presentation including his use of a chair, I think his ideas about vocal warm ups are good too, and I have said on previous occasions how good I thought some of the radio ballads were.


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Jan 16 - 07:56 AM

you have not answered the question about Woody Guthrie songs?


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Jan 16 - 08:27 AM

"you have not answered the question about Woody Guthrie songs?"
I've made the point - here and elsewhere - that nobody at any time has ever been 'prohibited' from singing any song from anywhere (as you ave claimed on the other thread)
Our residents were expected to sing songs forom their own national repertoires, or at least, adapt say, American songs to their own accents in order that they don't sound phoney (we've also discussed this in terms of your singing blues).
It was club policy to promote singers who sang songs from their national repertoires for the reasons I don't really want to go over again, unless you have anything new to add.
Peggy wrote an excellent letter to The Living Tradition years ago which perfectly outlined our policy - I think most people have seen it - it's still accessible on their website.
"I can only speak from my own experience,"
And I can only speak of mine, and we can go on like this forever, if you wish
"I have been even handed about EWAN "
No you haven't -, you've just described him as "boorish" and have yet to say why.
That's l#the last word I would have chosen to describe him - forthright, most certainly.
This is nothing to do with who likes his songs or not - it's about where his contribution to the understanding and proliferation of of folk song.
Things like name changes, use of chairs, warm-ups are things I have mentioned at one time or another - they are not, as I understand it, in dispute.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Jan 16 - 09:01 AM

I'm digitising album notes while dipping into this.
Just come across a Tom Paley quote from the first Flkways 'New Lost City Ramblers' album, which more or less sums up my understanding of what the Singers Club was doing:
"Of course, we don't touch all facets; for instance, we avoid the most commercial aspects and try to stay fairly close to genuine "folk" material.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Jan 16 - 10:27 AM

I have already said why before on this forum.


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Jan 16 - 12:58 PM

Bob Davenport, Shirley Collins,Isabel Sutherland,John Brune, Reg Hall,Myself the list is growing of people that either had some difficulty with Ewan or Ewan had some difficulty with.
it is very simple if a person walks up to somebody and asks politely to buy an LP, The courteous thing is to say thankyou, accept the money and say I hope you enjoy the recording, possibly offer to sign the album, it is not criticise the choice of the recording and say "you like that sort of thing do you" in a denigrating sneering voice, particularly if it was a recording of his wife and brother in law, he said it in an arroogant and patronising voice, a similiar but more exaggerated tone of voice that he used to in the radio programme to criticise Luke Kelly.
At that time I went to folk clubs to listen to international folk music, socialise and enjoy myself,I did not go be criticised for buying an LP.
I have respect for him as a song writer and performer I think he was generous with his time, but to quote your understatement he was not a diplomat.


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Jan 16 - 02:10 PM

"Bob Davenport, Shirley Collins,Isabel Sutherland,John Brune, Reg Hall,Myself "
And no examples of why from any
Davenport's behaviour, Reg's dishonesty and Brune's spitefulness regarding Ewan are all a matter of record, personally I don't know, nor am I particularly interested to find out why you don't like him - your somewhat pathetic example doesn't hold water - quite frankly Dick, I don't believe for one minute Ewan would have acted like that in Peggy's presence - not for one minute, and if he had, she would have reacted to such behaviour.
Peggy was Ewan's performing partner and Mike was a friend and a one time guest at the club at |Ewan's suggestion.
Isobel I never met.
That's an awful lot of people anyway.
"but to quote your understatement he was not a diplomat."
With your past behaviour - do you think you're a diplomat Dich - honestly!!
You have yet to pay anything but lip-service to Ewan's. contribution (seems to boil down to your liking a few of his songs)
You want to discuss some of his work n detail - feel free - otherwise, I think we're finished here (you and me, I mean) - this is all a bit unpleasant and a waste of time.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Jan 16 - 02:22 PM

No Jim, I like his songs, I have enjoyed their live performances and booked them, I Enjoyed the radio Ballads, I think he helped with others to set up the network of folk clubs, I know he was generous with his time.
I approached Ewan on that occasion[ the venue was Farningham Folk club] because Peggy was deep in conversation with someone else .
I know the truth, I do not care what you think, I know what happened, I was so upset I left before the second half after having bought the album .


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Jan 16 - 02:40 PM

"because Peggy was deep in conversation with someone else ."
Sneaky as well - that's a new one!
"I do not care what you think,"
Me neither Dick
Didn't answer my question about your diplomatic skill, I otice
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Jan 16 - 02:42 PM

I think Ewan was the best and most prolific songwriter in terms of quality the uk folk revival has produced.


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Jan 16 - 02:45 PM

This was started as a query on the Critics Group: who is still alive.

Why don't we just stick to the thread?


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 08 Jan 16 - 02:49 PM

To the two contributors who have written 15 of the last 17 posts in this thread - not one of which has addressed the question The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?

Did you know that Mudcat offers an excellent Private Message system? I use it and I find that it is an excellent way for communicating with other Mudcat members about matters which are solely of interest to myself and the person I am messaging.


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Jan 16 - 07:50 PM

Sorry about diversion - was trying to explain how Group worked - got interrupted.
"The Critics Group: Who is still Alive?"
Brian Byrne died - of lukemia, around 1967
Charles - worked with Banner Theatre, Birmingham - died 1980
Most of the rest, as far as I know, are still alive though some of them stopped singing and some on the list were never singers but came to the Group through the Festival of Fools, and later, when the work shifted to theatre, came just as actors.
Ted Culver left shortly after the London albums (late 1960s)
Aldwyn Cooper sang in Festival of Fools but as far as I know, nowhere else
Richard Humm, never sang, but worked as technician for FoF
Allen Ives, never sang - worked on of FoF
Maggie O'Murphy - Alan's partner - never sang but acted and worked as helper for group and FoF
Paul Lenihan excellent singer, still living in London 1980s but not singing then
Jim O'Connor, sang but was more interested in theatre - gave up when Group collapsed and concentrated on local theatre
Michael Rosen, Never sang - came into group as actor - poet working on children's radio
Susanna Steele Excellent actor - never sang.
Jack - still singing and writing - possibly in U.S.
Frankie - still singing, UK and Australia
Brian Pearson - still around but don't think he's singing
Denis Turner - was working in amateur theater (Tower, Islington)
Bob Blair - living in Glasgow - sings occasionally
Terry Yarnell - lives in Suffolk, plays fiddle more than sings.
John Faulkner - lives in Galway - still singing.
This is a more-or less full list of the members from the early days - a few people came and went quickly, but these are the long (ish) term ones.
Jim Carroll

Critics Group members
Armstrong Frankie
Benjamin Rex
Blair Bob
Byrne Brian
Campbell Bobby
Campbell Helen
Carroll Jim
Clayre Alasdair
Cliff Dave
Colclough Phil
Cooper Aldwyn
Culver Ted
Doody Jim
Faulkner John
Kelly Luke
Kennedy Donniell
Kennedy Floyd
Kerr Sandra
Lowe Jeff
Mackenzie Pat
Marigold Dave
McCulloch Gordon
O'Connor Jim
O'Connor Sal
Pearson Brian
Peters Shirley
Rosen Mike
Rosenthal Buff
Seeger Peggy
Snell Dick
Turner Denis
Warshaw Jack
Yarnell Terry


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 09 Jan 16 - 03:57 AM

Thank you Jim that was very helpful. Bearing in mind my aim of prompting a festival to put on a workshop about the group, does anyone know if any of these Critics group members have already been booked for a festival this year?


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Jan 16 - 04:20 AM

Where is your Festival Geoff?
Might be able to help with a few contact numbers.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: GUEST,Dave
Date: 09 Jan 16 - 01:19 PM

"Poet working on childrens radio" is a bit of a downbeat description of the former childrens laureate, bestselling childrens author, broadcaster (on radio 4 not just childrens radio), political columnist, and activist for many causes, many of which will have your sympathy Jim. A bit like describing Ringo Starr as the "former narrator of Thomas the Tank Engine".


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Jan 16 - 02:36 PM

Not sure what Mike is doing - we lost touch
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: GUEST,Dave
Date: 09 Jan 16 - 03:25 PM

Jim, he quite regularly contributes articles to the Guardian.

http://www.theguardian.com/profile/michaelrosen


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 10 Jan 16 - 07:18 AM

Hello again Jim, I was actually thinking that it would be a good thing if any festival took up the idea of using the talents of already booked former members of the group to put on a workshop about the group.
Whitby Folk Week is the place which would be ideal to satisfy my own desire to attend such a workshop. In past years Sandra Kerr and Bob Blair were both often on the Whitby list of booked guests, which is what prompted the idea in the first place. But unfortunately, I have not seen Bob Blair there for several years. Last year at Whitby there were a lot of deliberate spaces in the programme which said " Anyone wishing to run a workshop this slot can be booked in the Festival Office" That's what made me think gain of this idea. But any festival would do.


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Jan 16 - 07:32 AM

Hi Geoff
Would like to think that such a workshop would be possible at any festival or anywhere - if so, I think we would be happy to make the effort to attend.
One of the problems with getting an objective view of the Critics Group stems from the acrimonious manner in which it broke up.
After the 1971 Festival of Fools, Ewan announced that he was going to shift the focus of the work of the group from song to theatre.
The Group split in to amicably - those intending to work on theatre went with Ewan, those wishing to stay with song were directed to the London Singers Workshop.]
After a year, the Theatre group broke up acrimoniously
I has the somewhat daunting task of presenting an account of the work of The Critics at the symposium given for Ewan on his 70th birthday.
For anybody interested in what I had to say, I still have my script, so please PM me with an e-mail address.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: GUEST,ada the cadre
Date: 10 Jan 16 - 11:23 AM

Mike Rosen is a poet, broadcaster, Professor of Children's Literature at Goldsmiths, does programmes for the BBC from time to time, writes about education/literature for the Guardian, is in FB, twitter etc
http://www.michaelrosen.co.uk/
He uses poetry without tunes but I'd have thought Mud-catters might find quite a lot of what he does interesting.


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: Noreen
Date: 10 Jan 16 - 04:36 PM

Jim, as you mentioned Terry Whelan on the other thread, could you say a bit more about his connection with the Critics Group / Singers Club and so on?
I unfortunately only met him in more recent years, but I know he knew everyone in those circles (and everyone knew him and regarded him highly).
I took part in Terry's Ewan weekends in Salford, where I got to know many of the group, including yourself and Pat.


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Jan 16 - 08:49 PM

Hi Noreen
Terry was an admirer of Ewan and, along with Harry Boardman, Tom Gillfellon and Dave Hillary, ran his club on the Singers Club lines.
I lived in Liverpool at the time and would hitch up the East Lancashire Road every Friday to attend - I invariably slept on Terry's couch and stayed till Sunday night.
When Ewan was asked to run classes in the early sixties he gathered together numbers of people from all over the country to discus the idea of setting up some form of a self-help group.
Terry was invited to that meeting and considered moving to London to join the early Critics Group, but was unable to commit himself.
We recorded Terry talking about those days.
He ran a few workshops, which petered out, so when I finally moved to Manchester, I took up the idea and ran weekly meetings in my flat in Chorlton -Cum-Hardy which lasted till I finally moved to London - Ewan and Peggy supplied my with loads of ideas and material for those meetings.
Terry introduced me to Ewan and Peggy after a concert at the MSG.
I like telling the story of our first meeting; we were standing outside the MSG late at night, when a Jag pulled up at the pavement and a slim young man got out and headed for the nightclub next door
My mate, Barry Taylor said "That's Georgie Best", to which Peggyu said, "who's Georgie Best?"
On being informed that he was the best footballer in the world (by Barry) she sprinted over to him and demanded his autograph, sheepishly informing us that "it's for my son Calum!!"
Sorry I don't recognise your name - we were extremely proud and pleased to participate in those Ewan weekends and met some wonderful people.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 11 Jan 16 - 02:43 AM

Sandra Kerr is usually at Whitby, maybe not for the whole week I don't know.
The Newcastle Folk Students do a showcase in the Spa theatre which she performs at. And last year I heard her in a group of female (and VERY feminist) singers. The year before it was Bagpuss (happy memories)
Why don't you contact the organisers and ask, I did when I found that they had dropped the accordion workshop (I'd noticed it the year I was buying one - they organised several the next year, maybe because I asked).
I noticed all those spaces available for workshop notices last year - personally I'd have prefered more information on existing offerings. There wasn't time to get to all of those.


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: GUEST,Jack Warshaw
Date: 12 Aug 16 - 07:41 AM

Well, I'm alive, still kicking against injustice and happy to sing for you anytime. I've never have much time for who fell out with whom any why. Prefer practice over theory, respect true sources and authors and prize authenticity in performance. Ewan was the consummate song writer, singer and activist. I now sing some of his songs.   Peggy was the consummate musician and my role model. We were young, we thought we could change the world, and changed ourselves. When we worked closely on a project the result was electrifying. What went wrong? Time, maturity and diverging personal goals, nothing more. And don't forget Combine, whose output in a short time was huge. Pity so little of it was recorded.
Jack
www.jackwarshaw.com


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 13 Aug 16 - 04:48 AM

Speaking of Singarounds:


Our web site


And our facebook page

Come and sing us a song


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: keberoxu
Date: 13 Aug 16 - 04:02 PM

THIS is more like it, now. This thread might follow the example of the previous two posts, and give links to pages/sites originating with the surviving group members.


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Aug 16 - 08:09 PM

Frankie Armstrong will be running a "Natural Voice" workshop at Lewes Saturday Folk Club on Sunday 13th November and performing at the club on the previous Saturday evening.


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: GUEST,Mary Humphreys
Date: 14 Aug 16 - 01:48 PM

I remember the Manchester Group meetings held in your flat in Keppel Road Chorlton well. I used to attend - I think it was the late Terry Whelan who persuaded me and Ned to go along. They were really useful and I still have some of the paperwork you gave out about song decoration.
When Ned and I moved to Leeds we used to run something similar in our house ( it saved us having to get babysitters ) and Barry and Jackie Taylor used to help run it. I still have some of the notebooks we kept criticisms and helpful comments in. I can't remember many of the other people involved - it was the 1970s!) but Jim Doodie was one.


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Subject: RE: The Critics Group: Who is still Alive ?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Aug 16 - 02:22 PM

Hi Mary
Didn't know that - how gratifying
Jim


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