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Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!

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GUEST,Henry Piper of Ottery 13 Aug 16 - 05:14 AM
GUEST,PeterC 13 Aug 16 - 05:30 AM
Stanron 13 Aug 16 - 05:48 AM
Jack Blandiver 13 Aug 16 - 05:53 AM
GUEST,Henry Piper of Ottery 13 Aug 16 - 06:10 AM
Iains 13 Aug 16 - 07:50 AM
leeneia 13 Aug 16 - 08:28 AM
GUEST 13 Aug 16 - 09:47 AM
Dave Hanson 13 Aug 16 - 10:07 AM
GUEST,HiLo 13 Aug 16 - 10:20 AM
GUEST 13 Aug 16 - 10:26 AM
GUEST,guest 9.47am 13 Aug 16 - 10:49 AM
Johnny J 13 Aug 16 - 12:46 PM
The Sandman 13 Aug 16 - 01:19 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Aug 16 - 01:33 PM
The Sandman 13 Aug 16 - 01:46 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Aug 16 - 02:03 PM
GUEST 13 Aug 16 - 02:23 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Aug 16 - 02:46 PM
Joe Offer 13 Aug 16 - 04:38 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Aug 16 - 04:45 AM
The Sandman 14 Aug 16 - 06:43 AM
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Steve Gardham 14 Aug 16 - 11:10 AM
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Jim Carroll 14 Aug 16 - 03:04 PM
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The Sandman 14 Aug 16 - 04:12 PM
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Jim Carroll 16 Aug 16 - 11:12 AM
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Jim Carroll 16 Aug 16 - 12:59 PM
The Sandman 16 Aug 16 - 01:05 PM
Jim Carroll 16 Aug 16 - 01:35 PM
Joe Offer 16 Aug 16 - 02:04 PM
Jim Carroll 16 Aug 16 - 02:52 PM
GUEST,Anne Neilson 16 Aug 16 - 03:32 PM
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Steve Shaw 16 Aug 16 - 03:52 PM
Jim Carroll 16 Aug 16 - 04:08 PM
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GUEST,guest 04.36 16/8 not the 05.20 guest 18 Aug 16 - 11:29 AM
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Subject: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST,Henry Piper of Ottery
Date: 13 Aug 16 - 05:14 AM

As a comparative new poster to Mudcat I'm becoming increasingly depressed by the endless bickering and spleen vented by a small group of 'catters, usually the same two or three, who seem to want to play out their own personal enmities at any possible opportunity, and continue to use Ewan Maccoll and his legacy as one of their opportunities to do so.
Why on earth can people not agree that some people liked him and got on well with him, whilst others did not, he was,by all accounts a man of strong and often divisive opinions about both music and politics and one can either agree with them or not, but this endless puerile and at times personal war of words and criticism of others posts does not do credit to anyone involved.
He was undoubtedly a fine songwriter, and although I never saw him perform, I'm told by those who did he was a powerful performer of both his own and traditional songs, who did much to encourage other particularly younger singers to take an interest in and perform the songs of their own region, as well as doing much to organise things in the early days of the revival in the U.K.
Surely this is enough of a legacy for most men. !!.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST,PeterC
Date: 13 Aug 16 - 05:30 AM

Well said!


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Stanron
Date: 13 Aug 16 - 05:48 AM

And of course the best way to start people to stop bickering about Ewan MacColl is to ask them to stop.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 13 Aug 16 - 05:53 AM

Just don't mention the war. (I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it...)


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST,Henry Piper of Ottery
Date: 13 Aug 16 - 06:10 AM

Well, you never know its got to be worth trying !!!


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Iains
Date: 13 Aug 16 - 07:50 AM

Well said the piper of Ottery. A discussion is one thing-constant harping and criticism is another.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: leeneia
Date: 13 Aug 16 - 08:28 AM

I agree.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Aug 16 - 09:47 AM

War--the ease with which he apparently evaded the clutches of the police,civil and military,during and after that event makes one wonder who his real "friends" were.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 13 Aug 16 - 10:07 AM

Well here we go Henry, see what you've started.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 13 Aug 16 - 10:20 AM

I don't have any strong opinions on McColl. I know he wrote a few good songs but he seems to have achieved god like status in some quarters, I am not sure why . He also gets a lot of attention here, so am I missing something ?


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Aug 16 - 10:26 AM

Careful, there's been a long silence on the subject from Cork and Kerry- let's keep it that way or there will be barrel bombs soon


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST,guest 9.47am
Date: 13 Aug 16 - 10:49 AM

They may be on holiday or wordless


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Johnny J
Date: 13 Aug 16 - 12:46 PM

Whatever you say about the man, if it wasn't for him, we'd never have had Kirsty(Nor his other very talented offspring).

https://youtu.be/z-5yQcRh5R0


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Aug 16 - 01:19 PM

What prompted this thread?, as far as I am aware there has been no discussion about him for a long time, this looks like an attempt to try and rekindle disagreement, feckin divisive thread.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Aug 16 - 01:33 PM

It's interesting, but extremely predictable that, when Maccoll's name come up - out come the necroshobes (the man's been dead for over half a century) all lining up to do a few steps of grave-dancing.
In my experience, the usual suspects are the medeocre-talented whit no feeling for folk song taking out their
mediocrity on somebody who can no longer hit back
I knew and worked with Ewan for over twenty years and was the recipient of his and Peggy's generosity for that length of time - had Ewan handed out a fraction of the vituperation his name still evokes, overwhelmingly from those who had never met him, nor were interested in his work, he might have deserved the kicking he is still getting from the less talented.
As it is, in all the time I knew Ewan I never heard him publicly attack another artist or fellow enthusiast, certainly not in the mean-minded and personal way that it regularly happens.
I've spent the last few years digitising, listing and archiving his talks and seminars, and the two hundred odd-tapes of Critics Group meetings, with the intention of archiving them and passing them on to those who might be interested.
I'm now digising the hundred+ albums the and Peggy made - magical stuff - streets better than the "I don't know what folk-song means and I don't care" school of non-thought.
My memories of Ewan and Peg are of two people who gave up a night a week of their working lives, their time, their knowledge and experience and the use of their home for nearly ten years, to work with younger and less-experienced singers, while the folk-superstars were getting on with their own careers.
Sorry to interrupt - please carry on.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Aug 16 - 01:46 PM

I did see him perform, I booked Ewan and Peggy AT MY FOLK CLUB, they gave a very good performance.
I also did a support spot for them in an arts centre,AGAIN they were very good.
They were very helpful to a relative of mine allowing him access to their house in Beckenham to research folklore.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Aug 16 - 02:03 PM

The thread's fine Dick, it's some of the people that's the trouble.
Hopefully I'll live long enough to take part in a half decent discussion on the subject
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Aug 16 - 02:23 PM

just wait & see what happens now


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Aug 16 - 02:46 PM

"just wait & see what happens now"
Hopefully a frank and open discussion, but the betting shop's closed so I wouldn't bet on it
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Aug 16 - 04:38 PM

Damn. I haven't seen a good MacColl bicker here in months. Have I missed something?

All of the messages posted in the 20-year history of Mudcat are readily available for reading, and many of our MacColl threads are crosslinked above (and many of those threads are quite old). Yes, we have had some bickering about MacColl at times in our history, but I haven't noticed anything recently. We do, however, have some regular posters who are prone to bickering. I think it's sour testosterone. Haven't seen them bicker about MacColl lately, though.

-Joe Offer, Mudcat Music Editor-


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Aug 16 - 04:45 AM

"I haven't seen a good MacColl bicker here in months."
Is there such a thing as a "good" bicker about anybody Joe?
As the OP and many others have said, whether you like MacColl's singing or not, there is no denying that hisw contribution top folk song was outstanding - I can't think of anybody on the scene over the last half century who put the time, effort and thought into the singing, understanding, learning to handle and passing on the music some of us have enjoyed and dedicated ourselves to for most of our lives.
As I saiod, he may not have written much, but the recorded examples of his work with others is phenomenal - and up for grabs to all interested given the right circumstances.
It's always seemed ludicrous to me that the only topics that are no-go areas on a forum that styles itself to be about "Traditional Music and Folklore" are discussions on what constitutes "folk" and "the tradition", and the work of one of the most prolific and most thoughtful and outgoing practitioners of that music - something sadly rotten in this particular 'State of Denmark'.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Aug 16 - 06:43 AM

I tend to agree, but would feel you could mention Pete Seeger, and A L Lloyd in the same category.
P Seeger may not have been as prolific or as good a songwriter, but as a populariser and performer he reached more people. Lloyds contribution must be on a par. taking into consideration Berts influence on revival singers,
and then evenjust as important is peggy seeger., without whom MacColl would not have been able to have done the radio ballds.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST,Bloke in Groucho mask
Date: 14 Aug 16 - 10:36 AM

"The man's been dead over half a century."

Are you sure you knew him Jim?

Only he died in 1989 and I last saw him in 1985. Half a century ago was, let me see, when we lifted The World Cup, Sheffield Wednesday came second in the FA Cup Final and yer man wrote Sweet Thames Flow Softly.

I suppose the bickering can come about by differences in opinion over his work, leading to preciousness by those who chipped in to pay for his pedestal versus those who love his talent but don't wish their admiration to go as far as being seen to agree with his less savoury political outlook. I once sang a couple of songs from the radio ballads at a gig and had some prat at the bar assuming I agreed with MacColl's take on Cuba as per Companieros or however you spell the thing.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Aug 16 - 11:10 AM

MacColl, Lloyd, Sharp and many others of great achievement who are no longer with us: Their achievement is obvious, available to all, well-documented and undeniable.

However none of these 3, and many others in a similar category, are flawless or have achieved sainthood. Therefore there is plenty to discuss/debate regarding their legacy. This surely is healthy and to be encouraged, even if it sometimes turns into petty bickering.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST,kenny
Date: 14 Aug 16 - 02:29 PM

The bickering might stop when people cease posting threads with titles like "Stop the MacColl bickering". We can but hope.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Aug 16 - 03:04 PM

"Are you sure you knew him Jim?
Met him after a concert at the MSG in Manchester around 1965 - he asked me to join the Critics Group in 1967 (when I rewired the lights in their maisonette.
Lived with them for a month when I first moved to London and was a member of the Critics group till it broke up.
Pat and I remained friends with Ewan and Peggy after the Group broke up - that included carrying out a six months long interview with Ewan on his ideas on folk-song.
Ewan volunteered to work with our 'London Singers Workshop' for a period and took part in our meetings for about a year.
We stayed in contact with them right up to Ewan's death - Pat went to the funeral - I couldn't get time off work.
Pat and I put together two radio hour-long programmes on Ewan's ideas for Irish radio - they were broadcast around the time of his 100th anniversary - yeah - we met him a couple of times!
"I suppose the bickering can come about by differences in opinion over his work"
Would that where the case - I can't recall a serious discussion on his work - anywhere.
Plenty of gossip about his wartime brush with the law, his (perceived) politics, his name-change and other gossip, but little about him as a creative working artist.
"or have achieved sainthood "
No-one ever suggested they have Steve - they were all flawed human beings who made mistakes - but the barriers put up around discussing Ewan's work has to be experienced to be believed - not least on this forum.
I confess - I loved MacColl's singing - I became a ballad nut on the strength of the 170-odd Child ballads he breathed life into.
But that is totally beside the point.
When asked to hold classes by a number of folkies in the early sixties, he set up a self-help Group which provided an ispirational body of work dealing with every aspect of singing and song - unique, as far as I can see.
I realy don't know of any other major project that did this.
It's still around - mainly locked away on archive shelves - we have it here.
It seems an omission verging on malicious neglect not to use it.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Aug 16 - 03:06 PM

yes indeed - his version of Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport alone guarantees him a place in history.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Aug 16 - 03:39 PM

Jim,
I'm sure there are many of us who would dearly like to see this published. What are the chances? How much work would be needed to knock it into publishable shape? When you say on archive shelves, whose archive?

Best wishes,
Steve


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Aug 16 - 04:12 PM

Rolf harris wrote tie me down kangaroo sport. as far as i know Ewan MacColl never sang it, perhaps Jim would confirm this.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST,Bloke in Groucho Mask
Date: 16 Aug 16 - 09:59 AM

You see, it's worth it just to read posts like that.....


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Aug 16 - 11:12 AM

"When you say on archive shelves, whose archive?"
Sorry Steve - I thought I'd posted this
All the recorded meetings were taken by Charles Parker with the intention of getting secretary (at the Midlands Beeb) to transcribe them - she did a few earlier ones.
Charles continued to retain them (though he didn't record all of them) and, on his death, they were considered part of his personal collection and deposited in The Birmingham Central Library archive (a bit of an archival Black Hole, not easy to access)
Ewan and Peg kept copies of many, which they allowed me to copy for our Manchester Workshop in the late sixties - these ended up in the British Library and, on Ewan's death, everything in their personal collection went to Ruskin College.
Shortly after our move to Ireland, I finally got permission to copy the entire group meetings - 200 plus cassettes (after a fifteen year struggle) - we still have these, along with numerous seminars he and Peggy did - a substantial collection, all in all.
While we were making the two Ewan centenary programmes, Peggy gave us Carte Blanche to make use of everything recorded their home in Beckenham, as we saw fit.
It's always been my intention to make a 'user pack' of some of the basic work the Group did for distribution to anybody who might want to make use of it - voice and singing exercises Ewan's adaptation of Laban's technique on efforts, the work on tone and the use he made of Stanislavski - all pretty ground-breaking stuff.
Made a start several times, but always got interrupted.
That we all live long enough.
" Ewan MacColl never sang it"
Should he have done?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST,Anne Neilson
Date: 16 Aug 16 - 12:12 PM

Jim, hearing what you say about the crucial importance of making available archive recordings.

Would it be useful to consider some kind of crowd-funding? [Kist o Riches (archive of the School of Scottish Studies) used Sponsume at one point and I could put you in touch with the chap in charge to discuss the ins and outs.]

I do think it's important to get this material out there -- even if some of the contributors to the various MacColl threads might be disappointed….


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Aug 16 - 12:59 PM

"Would it be useful to consider some kind of crowd-funding? "
Interesting idea Anne -
Personally, I would do anything necessary without bening funded - part of what I've set myself to do, and it would fit in with everything else I wish to do.
Virtually everything is digitised and listed, still needs indexing properly - but as I have become so familiar with everything we have, I'd probably be able to do this without too much effort.
What I'll do is tidy up the listing and hopefully, discuss it with other interested people to see if there is some way of co-operating.
In the meantime, I'll push on with the user packs and let you have them, if you think they would be of use to your workshop.
Your set-up is exactly what I had in mind for these.
Best
Jim


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Aug 16 - 01:05 PM

" Ewan MacColl never sang it"
Should he have done?
Jim Carroll
If he had wanted to, but I think he had better taste.
Jim, my comment was in reply to this
Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Aug 16 - 03:06 PM

yes indeed - his version of Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport alone guarantees him a place in history.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Aug 16 - 01:35 PM

Sorry Dick - missed that
Jim


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Aug 16 - 02:04 PM

I'd pay good money to hear Ewan MacColl sing "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport." I don't think of MacColl as being a funny man, but something like that would be really funny. Any examples of MacColl being funny?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Aug 16 - 02:52 PM

Ewan's metier was humour rather than belly-laughs, though there's an excellent rendition of William McGonagall's Tay Bridge Disaster by him on the Poetry and Song series of Albums.
We have a two hour Critics Group class on Humourous songs - a marvelous example of how serious humour can be.
His Chairlie Plenderleith Highland stories were classics and he wrote a brilliant satire on The British Empire entitled 'Great Grooting Brit and Ha-Muric-Ha' for one of the Festival of Fools (intended to go out on disc but never made it - we have it somewhere)
I have to say, I found some of his attempts to satarise politicians too heavy-handed and unsubtle for my taste (Dracumag springs to mind)
His rendition of the ballad, 'The Duke of Athol's Nurse', remains one of my all-time favourites.
Looked on The web, but can't find the photo of him swinging from a tree by one arm in his back-garden - that's here somewhere too.
He could be very funny when to mood took him, but it's not the thing I tend to remember about him.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST,Anne Neilson
Date: 16 Aug 16 - 03:32 PM

re. crowd-funding, Jim -- I was thinking more of supporting the cost of copying (to an agreed format) the archive material for an advance payer.

All your previous hard work has, by the sound of it, made the archive material both accessible and usable. Crowd-funding should allow you to send that great stuff to folk who really want it -- as far as I know.
But you would still retain some kind of ultimate right AFAIK.

Worth checking?

I appreciate the generosity of sharing, but perhaps there comes a time when contributors' time should also be acknowledged...


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Aug 16 - 03:42 PM

no, he had a lot of positive qualities, but was hardly a bundle of laughs


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 16 Aug 16 - 03:52 PM

Just tell us who you are, Guest, and stop pissing around like a little kid and being all negative.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Aug 16 - 04:08 PM

"Worth checking?"
Well worth checking Anne - I'll get back to you.
To you have an archive attached to your club? Ballad workshop?
I seem to recall hearing you sing some years ago at a club/concert outside Glasgow - East Kilbride maybe?
I was there with bob Blair and Adam McNaughton - I was rewiring Bob and Helen's lighting system at the time.
"but was hardly a bundle of laughs"
Know this from personal experience of course Guest!
Would be happy to exchange experiences, but I won't hold my breath
Ewan and Peggy's 'Muse' albums include some of the best bawdy and erotic material from the Tradition.
The six (I think) annual Festival of Fools shows - all written by him, were unique in their use of politiacal satire,
All a waste of time to someone who appears to have made up their mind.
One of the features of the early revival I enjoyed was both Ewan's and Bert's storytelling - entertaining without being forced and certainly not the tone-deaf wannabe comedians who later infested the scene.
This in one of the songs Ewan and Joan Littlewood recorded for the BBC in the early 1930s - It appeared on 'Saturday Night at the Bull and Mouth - a live recording of an evening at The Singers Club

TH' OWD CHAP CAME OWER THE BANK.   
From the singing of Harold Sladen, Openshaw, Manchester, Easter 1934.

Th' owd chap came ower the bank bawling for his tea
Saw a pair of mucky clogs where his owd clogs should be
Come Here wife, come here wife, what's this here I see,
How come this pair of mucky clogs where my owd clogs should be ?
Oh you owd bugger, you daft bugger, it's plain as plain can be
They're just a couple of pickle jars me owd mam sent to me
Oh I've been ower hills and dales me lass, and many a grassy moor,
But girt hob-nails on pickle jars I've never seen before.

Th' owd chap came ower the bank bawling for his tea
Saw a coat on back o' t' door where his owd coat should be,
Come here wife, come here wife, what's this here I see
How come this coat on t' back o' t' door where my owd coat should be ?
0 you owd bugger, you daft bugger, it's plain as plain can be,
It's just an owd pudding cloth me owd mam sent to me.
Oh I've been ower hills and dales me lass and many a grassy moor.
But buttons on a pudding cloth I've never seen before.

Th' owd chap came ower the bank bawling for his tea
Saw a head on t' pillow where his owd head should be
Come here wife, come here wife, what's this here I see
How come this head on t' pillow where my owd head should be ?
Oh you owd bugger, you daft bugger, it's plain as plain can be
That's just a girt big turnip me owd mam sent to me,
I've been ower hills and dales me lass and many a grassy moor
But a girt big turnip full of teeth I've never seen before.

T' owd chap come ower the bank bawling for his tea
Saw a pair of hairy cods where his owd cods should be
Come here wife, come here wife, what's this here I see
How come this pair of hairy cods where my owd cods should be
Oh you owd bugger, you daft bugger, it's plain as plain can be,
They're just a couple of garden spuds me owd mam sent to me
Oh I've been ower hills and dales me lass and many a grassy moor
But garden spuds with airs on I never saw before.

T' owd chap come ower the bank bawling for his tea
Saw a great big standing prick where his owd prick should be
Come here wife, come here wife, what's this here I see
How come this girt big standing prick where my owd prick should be
Oh you owd bugger, you daft bugger it's plain as plain can be
It's just a home grown carrot me owd mam sent to me
Oh I've been ower hills and dales me lass and manv a grassy moor
But a carrot diggin' a girt big hoyle I never seen before

Now, I've shown you mine, now you show me yours!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Aug 16 - 04:36 PM

I would suggest you read it again, Shaw- who are you anyway- no I don't really care- my post was by no means negative - I have no intention of saying who I am, it's irrelevant but I did experience Mr MacColl a few times in the 60s.

My last post acknowledged EM had some good qualities (I'd be all in favour of Mr Carroll's aims of preserving EM's legacy) but humour was hardly a major part of the man's persona.
And don't get so shirty, it's only music & no need for abuse.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 16 Aug 16 - 04:59 PM

Arrogant bugger. Not surprised you don't want us to know who you are. You are seriously out of kilter with the way the thread is going and I don't care how bloody old you are! 😂


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 16 Aug 16 - 05:19 PM

Macoll was a great teacher, songwriter, and singer. He was also an actor and playwright. He has enriched my life in many ways. My only criticisms are that his acting skill spilled over into his singing, which tended to witness him assuming local accents to suit the song. His version of 'The Sheepstealer' was a classic example of this, and is the poorer because of it. I have yet to hear a Scots accent that bears any resemblance to the one he uses in so many of his songs. He was also a Stalinist which may be deeply disturbing to many people. Talking to a member of the Critics one night he said that working with Macoll was like national service. The other worry I have is that while Macoll understood and appreciated traditional folk singing, he entirely missed the point of its context; which in English means that Traditional singers do not have a musical political agenda (but plenty of views though as I found out), do not choose their songs for their antiquity, their relevance within a working class movement, or any other reason than pure love and enjoyment, and a desire to make the listener love the song as much as they do. If some of the singers I have known over the years were to witness Macoll singing sat the wrong way round on a chair with his eyes closed and a hand over one ear, they would probably ask if he had mental health problems and was addicted to singing up his sleeve.
Yes we owe a deep debt to Macoll, but his humourless self appointed Guru approach left me cold. However returning to my view of him as an (over) actor, I think this was just a stage persona he cultivated.
He must have been capable of deep love, look at The first time ever I saw your face..What a heartfelt song! He was capable of paraphrasing wildly turbulent emotions into songs with each line a discussion thread in itself. It was a rare gift, and he has left us with a view of his big heart and warmth with The Joy of Living.
So yes time to stop arguing about him. The demi-god was human and if you don't take offence at the cultivated image, was a man to be respected and admired however irritating you may find him.
Here endeth the lesson brethren, I'll make my way down from the pulpit.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Aug 16 - 05:20 PM

Is there anyone with anything new, different or original to say about the man? ?......Please!


    You're abusing your Guest privileges. Even if you come as a Guest, you should use a consistent name or pseudonym so the rest of us know who we're talking to. If what you have to say is negative, then perhaps you ought to have the courage to tell us who you are.
    -Joe Offer, Mudcat Music Editor-


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 16 Aug 16 - 05:49 PM

Not you, that's for sure.

I wonder whether he'd still have been a "Stalinist" had he been around today...


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Aug 16 - 08:08 PM

I can agree with you to a degree Nic - on accents - he had one of the worst Liverpool accents I can ever remember - it didn't happen often, but when it did I wasn't very happy.
His Scots accent was different - he grew up in a Scots household where that was the accent he heard the most so he absorbed it rather than acquired it.
In the period I stayed with them, when he and his mother sat and talked together, I might have been in a Cairo bazaar
He adopted the actors trick of neutralising the Scots accent for an English audience - may not have worked for a Scots audience, but it certainly did for me.
"He was also a Stalinist which may be deeply disturbing to many people"
A complicated one - he was from a generation of Stalinists - my father was one.
I was a wartime baby, and when the bombing of Liverpool became dangerous for my mother, sister and I, he had us moved out to Springfield in Essex - he was a navvy there at the time.
We have a family photograph of a Liverpool Street party to mark the end of the war and across the street is stretched a rope holding up an effigy bearing the inscription, "Good old Uncle Joe", marking the local people's gratitude to Stalin and the Soviet Union's massive sacrifice in W.W.2.
My favourite American writer is John Steinbeck and one of my favourite books is his lesser known, 'In Dubious Battle', written about 'The Party' - an organisation which worked on behalf of the American fruit-pickers - almost certainly the Stalinist Communist Party.
Pete Seeger, Woodie Guthrie, Howard Fast and many, many more - all admirers and supporters of Stalin.
With the comfort of our hindsight, do we not listen to their songs or read their books because of this - do we use their contemporary beliefs to dismiss them as artists?
I don't
At the time I knew Ewan, he would not discuss his party allegiances other than to say he wasn't a member of anything - he was not a party politician, but a humanist who wanted to change the world - I can live with that.
Peter Bellamy came from a Fascist background and his attitude to that as I understood it from the few times I met himt, was ambivalent.
Waddya do?
"Is there anyone with anything new,"
Masses and masses - we haven't scratched the surface - I reckon we have around 250/300 tapes worth here on our shelves alone..
What do you know about his ideas on singing - anything?
Would be interested to know what you claim to though I doubt if you are going to part with it
This seems to be how these threads go - we start to discuss the work and ideas and along trolls a necrophobic troll and (usually deliberately) nauses it up with inanities.
I've yet to meet anyone who actually knew him; few saw him perform in the flesh and he wrote little - so it can't be because you don't like him based on your own experience - so is it his ideas?
Prod a bit and you find that few people have the faintest clue what those ideas are - so you come to the conclusion that it must be ideas in general they don't like.
Now I find that oddly disturbing.
If you are not interested anonymous Guest, why not leave those who are to get on with it, or would that not be fun?
Nick
MacColl sat back-to-front on his chair as part of a relaxation technique - extremely useful but unusable for its links to MacColl - more's the pity
One contributor told the 'hilarious' story of the time MacColl sang at his club, and before the evening started he (the contributor) pinned a stip of paper onto the back of his chair reading "I AM A C****"
Can't remember with the comedian was (I lie - yes I do - he's already posted on this thread)
I really don't know how to deal with that level of mentality - though I do know if MacColl had done it to another fellow performer there'd be weekly folk-masses to damn his eternal soul!!
Now - finished with the ARTHUR 'TWO-SHEDS' JACKSON interlude - does anbody want to discuss MacColl as a creative artist?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Aug 16 - 08:10 PM

Should read - Finchingfield, Essex
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 16 Aug 16 - 08:34 PM

Jim,
Peter Bellamy came from a Fascist background and his attitude to that as I understood it from the few times I met him, was ambivalent.

MGM Lion knew him much better than you and has rebutted your claim.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST,pauperback
Date: 16 Aug 16 - 10:45 PM

Regarding Joseph Stalin: I remember my Dad referring to him as Uncle Joe also. Of course we had no television set and Beatniks were always hanging around the our back yard.

BTW ~~ Charming stories


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Acme
Date: 16 Aug 16 - 11:02 PM

An aside: Michael (MGM Lion) hasn't posted at Mudcat since July 5. Has anyone heard from him?


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Aug 16 - 03:17 AM

"MGM Lion knew him much better than you and has rebutted your claim."
Have no intention og going here Keith - it's not my practice to denigrate performers personal backgrounds.
Peter was always quite open about his father's active support for Mosley's Fascists
I raised his name among a list of others who came from backgrounds from a time we now regard as misguided - I did not use Peter's background to attack his contribution as an artist as others still do with MacColl, 8 decades after the event (and over a quarter of a century after his death)
Acme
Ive been wondering about Mike lately - he usually puts in an appearance on these threads
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 17 Aug 16 - 04:25 AM

I have no wish to get drawn into this! But something that Joe said reminded me of an interview with Moe Ashe (possibly in "Sing Out" magazine). Moe mentioned Ewan, saying that Ewan would fool around in the studio, cracking jokes etc. But as soon as the tape began rolling Ewan became a different man - one totally committed to giving the best performance that he could give and Moe was extremely impressed with how Ewan dedicated himself to giving his best.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Aug 16 - 04:50 PM

FOR FECKS SAKE. Bellamys father was certainly a fascist.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Aug 16 - 04:54 PM

"The other worry I have is that while Macoll understood and appreciated traditional folk singing, he entirely missed the point of its context; which in English means that Traditional singers do not have a musical political agenda (but plenty of views though as I found out), do not choose their songs for their antiquity, their relevance within a working class movement, or any other reason than pure love and enjoyment, and a desire to make the listener love the song as much as they do."       Absolutely correct


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Aug 16 - 05:56 PM

I am happy to discuss his creativity, I think he was indebted to Peggy, for her excellent musicianship.
I think his ability as a song writer was partly due to his training as a playwright, but he also had a respect for the creative abilities of working people be they fishermen, farm labourers or manual labourers building motorways, he listened to WHAT THEY SAID and carefully studied their speech rythyms and with producer Charles Parker allowed them to speak for themselves in the radio ballads, imo this helped towards the success of the radio ballads.
He was a very professional and polished performer. WHO REALLY SHOULD ACT AS A MODEL FOR MANY PERFORMERS.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST,Mary Ann
Date: 17 Aug 16 - 10:36 PM

The blessed work of helping the world forward,
happily does not wait to be done by perfect men.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Aug 16 - 03:54 AM

"The blessed work of helping the world forward,"
Nice to see George Eliot raising her common-sense filled head here, Mary Ann.
Very apposite to discussions like this.
Sorry Dick, this is getting a bit waffley and side-trackey.
I've tried to get a half-decent, troll-free discussion of MacColl's work with The Critics Group going many times - not because of my liking or respect for the man (I plead guilty on all counts on that one me lud), but because I believe the ideas that were thrown up and the techniques that were developed in the process, proved very helpful to the people involved and might just be useful to those who love folk song and would like to see it survive a little longer.
Rather than get bogged down in who did what to who when, I'd quite like to try first a brief summary of how and why the Critics Group came about, the theory it was based on and the different aspects that it covered - in as much detail as people feel necessary.
It will involve quite a bit of repetition of of what's been said on other threads, but it might enable us to bring it all under one roof.
While I'm happy to discuss to whatever length necessary, those ideas and practices, I'm not interested in war-records, name-changes, hedgehog feed through letter-boxes, trousers, in-fighting in the revival....... we've done all that - ad nausem, the end result being that the work still remains as remote and inaccessible as the origins of the Easter Island statues.
If it works - fine, if not - ah well!!!
Maybe the O.P., who obviously has some regard for Ewan's work by saying what should have been said decades ago, might think a thread-title change worthwhile - not necessary of course, and his decision entirely.
Bit egotistical on my part, but that's one of the few perks that comes with old-age.
It would be helpful if this can be done in a troll-free zone.
Yours in anticipation
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Aug 16 - 06:10 AM

It is also my opinion that many of the vocal techniques used by Ewan and Peggy are helpful to singers and would help to raise the standard of performance for folk enthusiasts.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST,guest 04.36 16/8 not the 05.20 guest
Date: 18 Aug 16 - 11:29 AM

NB administrator please ---Guest 0520 was not me he's getting me into trouble!
Nor am I the one using foul language.
Good to hear Mr Dow stating a commonly held view- EM was a very irritating and arrogant, but highly talented researcher and musician, but had no real empathy with the real world. Maybe it's the lot of a 'collector'- have heard a lot of 'bickering' about Peter Kennedy & to a certain extent Seamus Ennis- even Mr Carroll is not exempt!
As for Mr Shaw's tirades, would suggest Guest 0520 16/8 will wait a long time before there's anything original on this thread, especially from Mr Shaw, whose speciality appears to be abuse.
over and out, nb administrator-- any future 'guests' are not me.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST,Bloke in Groucho Mask
Date: 18 Aug 16 - 12:20 PM

Gosh.. Seems even just criticising aspects of a complicated person gets you the same treatment as having a pop at absurdity "below the line." "Guest" has my sympathies. I'd sign in but opposing bigotry means I don't have a log in any more.

Anyway, back to him singing "Tie me kangaroo down sport." Far funnier than trying to have a rational conversation about someone who, in my experience in the early '80s, didn't come over as always all that rational. A bard, a genius, a principled Mancunian... but a bit of an old sod who took delight in putting down young people trying to enjoy the evolution of folk.

I like the bit about his lack of empathy. His work certainly oozed empathy, which made his lack of personal social skills all the more intriguing. Mind you, he did work hard at developing a persona. Made his insisting that everybody apart from him only sing songs that were "indiginous" to their community look rather ridiculous.

Tales of haggis hunting around Salford docks.....


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Aug 16 - 12:38 PM

indigenous not indiginous.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 18 Aug 16 - 07:14 PM

Where did my post on disappearing posts go?


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: michaelr
Date: 18 Aug 16 - 08:04 PM

So glad to see this thread has succeeded in stopping the bickering.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 18 Aug 16 - 08:28 PM

I'm back after a few weeks rest trying to avoid the stress of mudcat.....

Hope I didn't miss any good Ewan Maccoll Bickering while I was away.....????? 😜


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 18 Aug 16 - 08:30 PM

I made the same points to the anonymous Guest as Joe Offer did. When I read or post to music threads I wish to keep fully within the spirit of what this place should be. I personally have mixed feelings about the man in question but he did write some of the very finest "contemporary" songs of this genre and has had a major impact. Someone turning up anonymously in order to take irritating little pot-shots at him without making substantial points deserves at least a minor bollocking in m'humble. And my old mum, 88 next time, was born and bred in that dirty old town of his and my Grandad worked in the docks there all his life. I was up there a couple of weeks ago. So I'm interested, but not in sniping bullshit, thank you very much!


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST,pauperback
Date: 18 Aug 16 - 10:14 PM

Ahem, guest 04.36 16/8 not the 05.20 guest, 'over and out': incorrect usage.

'OVER' indicates your part of the transmission in finished for the moment so it 'over' to the other party to respond - and - at the end of the transmission whoever has the final word says 'OUT', indicating end of transmission.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST,pauperback
Date: 18 Aug 16 - 10:48 PM

No pretense intended just a chance for some pedantry

-Grasshopper


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 19 Aug 16 - 02:12 AM

okay i admit it was me wot mooted the idea pf Ewan's main claim to fame being singing Tie Me Kangaroo Down.
sorry! it was a feeble attempt at humour.

i was and still am a huge admirer of Ewan. He was never anything but decent, kind and generous to me. To me, his contribution to folk music and drama was monumental - the idea of him and Peggy on the wobbleboard was something that captured my imagination momentarily.
sorry!


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Aug 16 - 02:26 AM

Damn, Alan. I really wanted to hear that recording...

Still, it led into some interesting observations about MacColl and humo(u)r.

I think the anonymous post we were complaining about was this one:
    Is there anyone with anything new, different or original to say about the man? ?......Please!
We disproved the cowardly bastard. The discussion of MacColl's humor was indeed "new, different, and original."

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST,Bloke in Groucho mask
Date: 19 Aug 16 - 03:49 AM

Dick, my autocorrect apologises and my lack of proof reading before posting makes me liable to take a loaded gun and bottle of whiskey (autocorrect tried whisky just then,) into my study.

My favourite song of his was "Jimmy, what did you do in the war?"

😎


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Aug 16 - 04:11 AM

I'll give this a try as I said I would - off to Dublin for a few days culture next week (Heritage Week) so I'll get as far as I ca in bite-sixed portions.
Early in the sixties, a number of singers on the folk scene approached Ewan and said they were not particularly happy with what was happening in the revival and would he consider holding classes - so, not so much a "self appointed Guru", but a respected figure on the scene asked to pass on tips to fellow performers.
Ewan refused the idea that he should teach, agreed to help set up a group of singers and enthusiasts who would work on each other's singing on a self-help basis.
Early members included; John Faulkner, Sandra Kerr, Frankie Armstrong, Brian Pearson Charles Parker, Luke Kelly, Gordon McCulloch, Alasdair Clayre - Bobby and Helen Campbell were early visitors, but not members.   
He agreed to act as chairman and provide a series of exercises that had been developed to assist actors working in Theatre Workshop - these consisted of:
Relaxation exercises based on those used by T.W. - along with a full explanation of the effects of tension on the singing voice.
Voice exercises - basic vowel-sounds (not actual vowels), to enable a singer to find, control and develop their natural voice rather than that imposed by environment and everyday surroundings.
Singing exercises to improve pitch development, accuracy in learning tunes and handling large and small musical intervals , breath control, word articulation....
These comprised two short pieces from Wagner - one to handle large and unusual interval leaps; another to cope with small intervals with accuracy.
A piece from Gilbert and Sullivan to help accuracy of articulation at speed
A piece of Irish 'showpiece' singing (Rocky Road to Dublin) - again for articulation, also breath control (one verse and one chorus sung in one breath).
Similarly, a piece of Scots mouth-music, (Tail Toddle) - sung at speed - two choruses and one verse in one breath.
Also thrown in as an alternative (for the politically inclined!) was Brecht's 'Lament For the Death of a Comrade' - one of the most complicated tunes I have ever tried to sing - I eventually managed it and can still sing it with a degree of accuracy (not in public!).
These formed the bases of the technical work - once (easily) learned (took me less than a week, thanks to the tolerance of my bed-sit neighbor), they stayed with you forever.
One other technique was the handling of tones and 'efforts' (the latter developed from Rudolph Laben's theory of movement, taught by Ewan's then wife, Jean Newlove, in Theatre Workshop and developed for the voice by Ewan) - both need a little more explaining so will deal with them separately.   
MacColl stressed that technique should not be considered an end in itself, but a means to access the entire range of songs available in the folk song repertoire.
He suggested that, at first, they should be done daily (the lot take less than half-an-hour), and eventually, at regular intervals, to keep the voice in shape and to help push its limits.
The voice exercises helped me personally when, after a long interval of not singing, I found my range had reduced considerably and I had lost several of my most rangy songs - took me a month to get them back.
There were other aspects of technique discussed - cupping hand over ear, back-to-front chair, stance...., but those are the basics.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Aug 16 - 05:26 AM

Now that's the stuff I want to read! Maybe one day someone will actually get me singing...


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Vic Smith
Date: 19 Aug 16 - 06:04 AM

Been away on holiday and making my first visit to Mudcat in some time....

GUEST 16 Aug 16 - 05:20 PM wrote -

Is there anyone with anything new, different or original to say about the man? ?......Please!


Joe Offer berated this saying You're abusing your Guest privileges. and I would agree with him on this as I have often felt that trolling on Mudcat hiding behind a GUEST tag is one of this site's great drawbacks but I am not sure why Joe feels so unhappy about this particular post. If I had come on this thread from the opening post, I feel I could have predicted who the main protagonists would have been, what their entrenched positions would have been and which of the previously posted stories and opinions about the man would be trotted out yet again. (Perhaps I spend too much time reading these threads!) I feel that there is something heartfelt about the appeal for anything new, different or original. The only thing that I have read in this thread that I have not encountered before here is Mike Yates' story about Ewan's attitude and behaviour in the recording studio.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST,Guest Barry
Date: 19 Aug 16 - 07:41 AM

I am a very occasional visitor to Mudcat - like all online forums, it's a bit hard to stick with many of the discussions because, after a while, they start getting tediously bickering and point scoring. Always amazes me but it's like the way that drivers abuse each other in a way that they wouldn't dream of out of a car.
Anyway, to the point. I feel privileged to think that I was (to a much lesser degree than my friend Jim Carroll) a friend of Ewan McColl. I'm not sure that he knew it but he shaped my life in so many ways. He was always kind and helpful. As for his sense of humour, I just can't understand why anyone should think he was humourless. Yes, he could be very serious at times but he was usually great company and, as Jim said, had an amazing store of funny stories. If you grew up with left politics in the decades after the 2nd WW, you were invariably likely to be a Stalinist - most of my family and friends were. So what? His 'Stalinist tendencies' did not lessen the impact of his songs or his amazing performances.
Funny that Jim should mention 'TH' OWD CHAP' - I had the privilege of a criticism from Ewan at the Singers Workshop (another activity to help singers inspired by EM) and he sang this song to illustrate how broad humour should be tackled - it was eye opening.
Most important is that the huge body of work left behind should not be neglected and I am pleased to read that moves are afoot to make the Critics Group recordings more widely available.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Aug 16 - 08:15 AM

Jim Carroll:
Virtually everything is digitised and listed, still needs indexing properly - but as I have become so familiar with everything we have, I'd probably be able to do this without too much effort.

What I'll do is tidy up the listing and hopefully, discuss it with other interested people to see if there is some way of co-operating.


Jim, for whatever reason (disability or technical problems), your posts to Mudcat are invariably the worst formatted and hardest to read of anybody's here, with the exception of Dick Miles. The same sort of thing at book length or more would be a totally impenetrable waste of time. If you are intending anyone else to make use of this stuff, PLEASE get some assistance in making it presentable. A lot of us here would be willing to pitch in.

People sitting on private archives for a lifetime don't have a good track record of success in editing them. Look what happened to the Dead Sea Scrolls.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Aug 16 - 08:26 AM

Er, Jack, Jim types many a long post, often a good number of them every day. I suspect that the deficiencies you describe may be far less significant were he to have the time to do some careful editing every time. He's hardly going to be publishing stuff without having done that himself. He makes his points clearly enough for me (a relatively careful self-editor) and, on the whole, it's probably good manners to overlook the perceived deficiencies here. And diplomacy is not, as you know, my middle name.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 19 Aug 16 - 09:00 AM

I do agree with Vic Smith. I did not find the "Guests" posting to be in any way offensive, nor do I think he deserved to be called "a cowardly bastard" simply because he asked a reasonable question. A number of posts to this thread have disappeared as well. Why is that ?
As for the subject of Ewan McColl, there have been dozens of threads regarding him . I don't think that asking why should get a poster called a "cowardly bastard"!


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Aug 16 - 09:41 AM

No use asking the poor bloody infantry why your posts haven't appeared or have vanished. Just shrug and get on with it. I get why anonymous guest posting is permitted this side of the divide, but I don't get why anyone should be allowed to do no more than just snipe from that position. Which is basically what he, she, it or them were up to. They got what they deserve. When I get what I deserve, even though I think I don't always deserve it, I just press on.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Aug 16 - 09:41 AM

"your posts to Mudcat are invariably the worst formatted and hardest to read of anybody's here, "
Put it down to my Secondary Modern education Jack - I invariably post while doing something else.
I didn't think my postings were as bad as you describe - had enough published to believe them not to be - but if they are - they are.
I would never dream of writing a book - on the Critics Group or anything.
It's my intention to gather the material we have assembled into a usable form and deposit it somewhere it will be looked after and made available.
I would also like to see recorded examples of the work done by the Critics made available to anybody who think the would like to try it in an understandable form.
I'm in the process of doing this now for a Scots singer living in Australia, whom I met at the Ballad Conference in Limerick.
My own input would be to explain the whys and wherefores - no more.
As far as I'm concerned - the recordings speak for themselves.
There is one thing I would like to see published.
At the end of regular Critics Group working sessions, Ewan would flop back in his chair and soliloquise - sometimes for up to an hour, on an aspect of song that had been touched on during the session.
For me, these were often the most inspirational parts of the evening.
Ewan actually wrote very little on his ideas and opinions, but he spoke extremely articulately - those interludes cover his attitude to folk song and singing that is to be found nowhere else - they were the best I've ever heard and read on the subject - they would make a fine collection of essays and would certainly clear away much of the gossip, misinformation and distortion on what he was and what he believed.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Vic Smith
Date: 19 Aug 16 - 10:13 AM

Jack Campin wrote -
"Jim, for whatever reason (disability or technical problems), your posts to Mudcat are invariably the worst formatted and hardest to read of anybody's here,"


Harsh and unjustified, I would say.
Surely there is a difference between expressing your immediate opinions on an internet chat group and carefully considered well-edited published prose? I have never felt that Jim has a problem putting his ideas over in a way that I can understand - even where I have disagreed with what he has been saying. On his own admission, he can be a bit hasty in what he says when his spirit is up - but I would feel that if Jim were to take a good editor's advice (and that is what they are there for) then he would have a life's work story to tell in a book that I would find interesting to read.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Aug 16 - 10:51 AM

Jim,
On another tack, are the proceedings of aforementioned conference likely to be published?


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST,Bloke in Groucho Mask
Date: 19 Aug 16 - 11:05 AM

I suppose it is a compliment to the man that he has such a pedestal in the first place. As time goes on, those of us who met him, let alone knew him tend to be asked about him from new generations of people who wish to get underneath the singer, songwriter, collector, playwright etc and find what makes a genius tick.

I have to say, he remains my best example of "never meet your heroes". A complicated man who put complicated things over in an uncomplicated prose. People who knew him well probably got beyond the persona he put out but the rest of us can only judge him by either the man we met on occasion or for many now, the historical figure we read about.

Don't forget, those who he was critical over, especially in song, may not share the adulation. Anyone with political views dissimilar to his (99% of the western world I reckon) may listen to a jibe of his and think "fuck you too." Not many Stalinists with Castro worshipping ideals in your average audience, even a folk club one.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Aug 16 - 11:43 AM

" are the proceedings of aforementioned conference likely to be published?"
I think so Steve - they usually are.
Immediately after the conference, Limerick Uni went into its annual hibernation period, which means the recordings of the papers will have gone with them.
"never meet your heroes".
Have we established that you actually met him - I'm afraid I missed it if we did?
Put me down as an adimirer of Castro, if you like.
Any leader of a Third-World nation who can keep the most aggressively powerful country on the planet at arm's length for over half a century has my vote for sainthood any day!
As for Ewan's 'Stalinism' - you're not exactly the 'listening bank' are you?
Others, apart from myself have explained how they saw Ewan's generation's 'Stalinism'.
None so deaf as those who stuff their ears with sailmaker's wax so they can't hear the Song of The Sirens eh?
Wonder how you ever got to hear 'I Don't Like Mondays' to decide it was a 'folksong'!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST,GUEST Jim Younger
Date: 19 Aug 16 - 12:36 PM

A great artist, in my opinion, in theatre and song, and very encouraging to youngsters. There aren't many who would invite you up on stage to play concertina on Shoals of Herring with himself and Peggy - and no warning! Ewan and Peggy lent us a mandolin one time for a good six months, and again there's not many would do that, in my experience. So, if he wasn't flavour of the month with some, I can only shrug and say I speak as I find.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST,Bloke in Groucho mask
Date: 19 Aug 16 - 03:06 PM

I'm an admirer of Castro, if you include our shared interest in tropical fish... After that, his reliance on kangaroo courts, summary executions and oppression through enforced poverty tend to get in the way of shared ideals.

Ditto Stalin, really. It seems you can say you admired Stalin but are kept at arms length if you say you like Hitler, yet you couldn't separate them with a crowbar in terms of the harm to the reputation to humanity they equally represent. Or indeed their motives and methods.

Rather revealing really.

The bit about "I don't like Mondays" is interesting. A song about an event that questions the state of the society it was based in. It has been played in folk clubs as a representative song of society ever since Bob Geldof wrote it. Here's a bit of trivia for you. Elvis Costello's first ever professional paid gig was at a folk concert, opening for Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger. I have been playing his "Veronica" at folk clubs for the last thirty odd years, and that, together with the many who sing "I don't Like Mondays" are an excellent example of...

The living folk tradition that MacColl spoke of. (Including within the two interviews he gave me for a syndicated radio show in 1981 and 1985. He spoke eloquently about how folk music is about an ideal rather than a style and in the second interview mentioned Geldof's song as one that will help future generations understand the late c21. Other than that, and being a floor turn during one of the folk club nights within that, my personal knowledge was confined to those two nights, although I have done studio work with their Calum in more recent years.)

Like MacColl's own work, acknowledging that folk music includes capturing events and what that tells us about those around at the time flies in the face of the tit trousered old codgers who refer to the 1954 nonsense.

Some say good old Jim. Some say f


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Aug 16 - 03:35 PM

Seems your Goucho mask is slipping Muskie - we really have been here before
No matter - our discussion is finished
I'll stick with what I know about Ewan rather than the Chinese whispers version, if it;' all rigth with you
G'night George - g'night Gracie
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST,Bloke in Grouch Mask
Date: 19 Aug 16 - 06:33 PM

And g'night to you and your mate.

"Jimmy, what did you do in the war?
Did you know what my Dad was fighting for?
Did your play call a soldier a leech,
After he protected your freedom of speech
And your sycophant audience cried for more?"

You see, that's the thing. He made a fine living out of decorating your Chinese whispers. A bit like your rather odd comments above. I've nothing but respect for the artist himself in abstract. I don't decry those who put a human touch to the person behind, yet ignoring three quarters of what someone posts is definitely your style Jim. Not to mention making assumptions on who is posting.

I'm sure you do know a bit about him. Many many people do in fact, and most of them maybe give a more balanced view? Still, it's a bit like pointing out to my granddaughter that the gruffolo has a rather unpleasant side to him.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Aug 16 - 06:52 PM

I repeat. Does anyone here who accuses yer man of being a Stalinist think that he would still be a Stalinist were he still to be alive today? And I also repeat: my feelings about the man are mixed. He's no hero of mine, but he's a towering figure in 20th century folk music, whatever you think of him.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST,Bloke in Groucho mask
Date: 20 Aug 16 - 09:51 AM

You sum him up Steve, as well as how many think of him now.

Would he still be such a Stalinist? Who knows? Many people saw what they thought as socialism as being progressive and stories of woe as propaganda. MacColl however did spend time in Cuba and saw what was happening yet still stuck to his views. Most misty eyed wannabe communists hadn't had his experience so it is easier to be kind to the history of a Liverpool tradesman who thought going to London was an adventure than it is to a well travelled man who is meant to be an intellectual.

He is a historical character now, so whatever he was, his persona risks revisionist input, whether they liked him or not.

His and Peggy's music is there to judge first hand though, the prose contained in the songs reflect his take on society as he saw it. Nobody needs old men with their pedestal cleaning apparatus to "inform" them of the artiste, just a pair of ears.

The man behind the artiste? Frankly, who cares? This isn't X Factor or Bake Off. Those of us who met him give our take on what we saw and that's that. His fan club can dismiss the reality of others if they wish but rose tinted testicles can't alter personal experience.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Little Hawk
Date: 20 Aug 16 - 10:39 AM

Ach! Ye're aw' nae maer than a bunch o' scabby worthless eejits! Be off wi' the lot o' ye!


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST,Bloke in Groucho mask
Date: 20 Aug 16 - 11:29 AM

Excellent Scottish accent there! Even allowing for the Irish "eejit" it's better than anyone from Salford could ever muster.

🤓


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: nigelgatherer
Date: 20 Aug 16 - 02:56 PM

I have nothing useful to add to this discussion, other than it is one I have enjoyed reading from beginning to end. Jim Carroll's personal knowledge of Ewan MacColl is, in my opinion, invaluable, and it has been worth reading the thread just for that. In addition I don't think there has been much heavy duty bickering (the topic in question). Disagreement yes; the odd inane nonsense, sure. I've seen much worse, so thanks, guys.

Art is divine, artists are human.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Aug 16 - 06:10 PM

The new freedom of expression brought by the Internet goes far beyond politics. People relate to each other in new ways, posing questions about how we should respond to people when all that we know about them is what we have learned through a medium that permits all kinds of anonymity and deception. Peter Singer


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Aug 16 - 08:46 PM

"There will never be a computer program that can effectively respond to the command, "Tell me everything I need to know that is true, wise and relevant." When we search for that, we will always have to fall back on our own hard-won ability to make graceful use of ideas we inherit from those who needed no machines to think with, but only the resources of their own naked minds, a quiet place to gather their thoughts -- and perhaps a stick with which to scratch those thoughts in the sand."


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 20 Aug 16 - 10:11 PM

this may be all very interesting..

but there are far more important issues to ponder.....

like, were The Yardbirds better with Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, or Jimmy Page..?????? 🤔

or...

Did the "Carry On", or "Confessions Of" movies contribute more to British culture....??????????


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST,Bloke in Grouch mask
Date: 21 Aug 16 - 02:43 AM

Clapton and Carry On


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Aug 16 - 02:54 AM

Thanks Nigel
I hope to put up part two today (bad weather permitting).
It seems the trolls are doing their best to block any half-decent discussion - push on regardless.
Perhaps we'll see a return of Muskett's childish attempts to shock us all with his "Tit-trousers" blanket insults of all our source singers and his suggestion that all they were good for is to sit at the back of the room and watch how it's done.
Kids (and trolls) - who'd have 'en, eh?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Aug 16 - 08:10 AM

Jims contributions on MacColl are interesting


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST,Bloke in Groucho mask
Date: 21 Aug 16 - 12:21 PM

Perhaps if Jim started reading posts rather than making assumptions, normal people might put more weight to his other claims. His hostility towards others of us who experienced the person as opposed to hearing him on the wireless, on the basis of his hero worship is rather funny really. Yes, you knew him better than most of us Jim, whoopy do. He was still an ignorant nasty twat at times, which was in contradiction to the wonderful prose, full of empathy, poetry and vivid imagery in his work. If you saw another side, great but don't go around saying the many who experienced his bad side are liars. We aren't. By the way, recent interviews with Peggy Seeger reveal a side consistent with those of us that Jim tries to ridicule.

By the way II, I never ever saw Ewan MacColl wearing his trousers up to his tits. I reckon Fred Jordan copyrighted the image... (He also loved my "tit trousers" name I used when introducing him or referring to him.)

As I said, some say good old Jim, some say f


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Aug 16 - 03:26 PM

Pat suggests that I am getting ahead of myself by starting with the exercises and perhaps should have begun with some basics.
Ewan argued that, unless there was something physically wrong, anybody could sing if they worked at it – the more work you put in, the better the end result.
His attitude to working on singing was summed up in an interview we recorded with him in the late 1970s.

"Now you might say that working and training to develop your voice to sing Nine Maidens A-milking Did Go or Lord Randall is calculated to destroy your original joy in singing, at least that's the argument that's put to me from time to time, or has been put to me from time to time by singers who should know better.
The better you can do a thing the more you enjoy it. Anybody who's ever tried to sing and got up in front of an audience and made a bloody mess of it knows that you're not enjoying it when you're making a balls of it, but you are enjoying it when it's working, when all the things you want to happen are happening. And that can happen without training, sure it can, but it's hit or miss. If you're training it can happen more, that's the difference. It can't happen every time, not with anybody, although your training can stand you in good stead, it's something to fall back on, a technique, you know. It's something that will at least make sure that you're not absolutely diabolical
The objective, really for the singer is to create a situation where when he starts to sing he's no longer worried about technique, he's done all that, and he can give the whole of his or her attention to the song itself she can give her or he can give his whole attention to the sheer act of enjoying the song."

As all those involved were singing traditional songs in a using more or less traditional styles, that was what was concentrated on.
The first work done as a Group was to listen to recordings of source singers; Harry Cox, Sam Larner, Jeannie Robertson, Paddy Tunney…., discuss how they were producing their voices and attempt to imitate them – not to sing like them, but to become aware of voice production and learn to control it for your own singing.
None of these very early meeting were recorded – recording Group work didn't start until later.
MacColl's attitude towards field singers was interesting – while he regarded them important both as passers on of songs and by the way the best of them made the songs an extension of their own lives and experiences, he regarded the tradition as largely moribund, certainly in England, with only a handful of singers who had been part of an active singing tradition, and mostly past their prime technically.
The parochial background of traditional singers, he argued, limited the repertoires – it was seldom you would find a singer whose repertoire encompassed all or even many of the different types of traditional song.
He felt that a revival singer needed to develop a wide spectrumof songs to hold the attention of a club audience – the group was set up for club performers rather than for occasional singers.
During themaking of the Radio Ballads, Charles Parker had done some research work with senior schoolchildren, measuring their attention span by playing singers and speakers.
He came to the conclusion that, in order to retain the attention of listeners over a comparatively short space, it was necessary to vary the voice tonally and in the use of efforts (more later).
The first critical working sessions involved individual singers being asked to present up to half a dozen varied songs, with introductions and perform them for discussion.
The earliest Group recordings were of performances by John Faulkner, Luke Kelly, Charles Parker and Alasdair Clayre, with a follow up of an earlier discussion on a performance by Gordon McCulloch singing 'The Beggar Man'.
Usually, a maximum of two singers would be worked on in an evening, but often it was just one – it appears from the dates that in the early days, the Group met more than once a week, but eventually it settled down to once.
Singers were asked to prepare a varied programme of up to six songs (max), with introductions , with a view to having them discussed and suggestions of how they might be improved be made by the rest of the group.
It was stressed that comments should be both positive and critical, commenting on where the songs worked for the listener and where they didn't.
They were dealt with both as individual songs and as a whole performance.
Everybody would be asked to comment and Ewan, as chairman, would sum up the discussion and the group would choose a couple of handleable points that could be worked on for the rest of the session
At the end of the session the singer was asked to bring one or two of the songs back at a later date (usually three or four weeks) to see if any progress had been made.
The suggestions were just that – suggestions – there was no compulsion to follow the advice given; all that was expected that SOME work be done by the singer to justify the time allotted by the group.
On several occasions, Ewan or Peggy, or others of the more experienced of the group would offer to spend time to bring a newer member up to speed.
After my first performance, I got a visit from Dick Snell, who lived a few miles away, who asked if I wanted to do any work – he brought a couple of printed sheets he had prepared which explained some of the more complicated aspects of group work – still have them on file somewhere.
I'll go into more detail of how the evenings worked when I have time.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: GUEST,pauperback
Date: 21 Aug 16 - 03:33 PM

ill force
that spot
a promise
or threat
do misery

to touch the earth is to have harmony with nature


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Aug 16 - 03:58 PM

This all looks very reasonable and constructive, Jim. If it isn't already being worked in Sheffield then that would be a good place to reintroduce it. I know some of the younger singers have worked on vocal technique and some of them have run workshops on this, and some at least are very interested in where the songs came from.


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Andrez
Date: 22 Aug 16 - 12:59 AM

Hi Jim, I'm interested in learning what I can about Ewan McC as a person and and as a performer from this and other threads as they arise.

That said, having followed this thread over time, I wonder if I can respectfully ask you to use the return key on your computer key board to make your posts a little more readable for some of us by breaking up the very long sentences used. This will also make it a little easier to see when you have moved on to make a different point or a new theme.

Kind regards and best wishes,

Andrez


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Aug 16 - 03:18 AM

Will do my best Andrez
I'm doing this as I can fit it in at present - so it comes out in spurts.
I've been intending to write up my experiences and opinions of the Critics Group.
I spoke on the Group at the symposium given for Ewan on his 70th birthday.
Pat and I also spoke on Ewan at the Week-en held in his memory at Salford University
These talks are scripted, and we still have copies, which I'm happy to pass on to you, or anybody, if you are interested.   
This goes for any of the documented material we have here - you just have to ask, and let me have an e-mail address.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Aug 16 - 06:03 AM

thanks Jim,
most musicans practise their instruments, well the voice is an instrument too


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Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Aug 16 - 06:39 AM

here was a very useful post from jim carroll which i have bookmarked and which i use.
Subject: RE: warm up vocal exercises
From: Jim Carroll - PM
Date: 22 Oct 10 - 07:12 PM

Hi Cap'n
Yes, I have examples of MacColl's exercise programme.
They fell into several parts.
1.   Four basic vowel-type sounds
The objective was to produce them in a pure, open, relaxed and unrestricted tone in order to work out where your 'natural' voice was being produced in order to have control over it.
2. A number of singing exercises to handle different aspects of the voice. They consisted of:
Two short pieces of Wagner ('Tis Ended' and 'By Evil Craft') to help with the handling unfamiliar (small and large) intervals and unusual tunes accurately.
One short piece of Gilbert and Sullivan (Rising Early in the Morning; from The Gondoliers; but similar G&S will do) for precise articulation while singing at speed.
One piece of Mouth Music (Tail Toddle - 2 choruses and one verse sung in one breath) for speed and articulation also breath control (sometimes Rocky Road To Dublin was substituted - one chorus and one refrain sung in one breath).
These can be memorised in a week, once learned, never forgotten, still can do most of them after forty years, though breath control is not as good as it was (takes at least 2 breaths for Tail Toddle and Rocky Road nowadays)
3. Series of relaxation excercises (neck, shoulders arms, back, legs) to help control tension (starts off as full exercise, but once mastered, full exercise is seldom needed and tension can be contolled wherever it appears) Probably the most useful work I was ever given; can help with activities other than singing.
All the exercises came with full explanation of their purpose and uses, along with a breakdown of the theory of their necessity.
They might sound complicated, but they come automatically once learned.
Jim Carroll


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