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Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!

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The Sandman 23 Aug 16 - 06:39 AM
The Sandman 22 Aug 16 - 06:03 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Aug 16 - 03:18 AM
Andrez 22 Aug 16 - 12:59 AM
Steve Gardham 21 Aug 16 - 03:58 PM
GUEST,pauperback 21 Aug 16 - 03:33 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Aug 16 - 03:26 PM
GUEST,Bloke in Groucho mask 21 Aug 16 - 12:21 PM
The Sandman 21 Aug 16 - 08:10 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Aug 16 - 02:54 AM
GUEST,Bloke in Grouch mask 21 Aug 16 - 02:43 AM
punkfolkrocker 20 Aug 16 - 10:11 PM
GUEST 20 Aug 16 - 08:46 PM
The Sandman 20 Aug 16 - 06:10 PM
nigelgatherer 20 Aug 16 - 02:56 PM
GUEST,Bloke in Groucho mask 20 Aug 16 - 11:29 AM
Little Hawk 20 Aug 16 - 10:39 AM
GUEST,Bloke in Groucho mask 20 Aug 16 - 09:51 AM
Steve Shaw 19 Aug 16 - 06:52 PM
GUEST,Bloke in Grouch Mask 19 Aug 16 - 06:33 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Aug 16 - 03:35 PM
GUEST,Bloke in Groucho mask 19 Aug 16 - 03:06 PM
GUEST,GUEST Jim Younger 19 Aug 16 - 12:36 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Aug 16 - 11:43 AM
GUEST,Bloke in Groucho Mask 19 Aug 16 - 11:05 AM
Steve Gardham 19 Aug 16 - 10:51 AM
Vic Smith 19 Aug 16 - 10:13 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Aug 16 - 09:41 AM
Steve Shaw 19 Aug 16 - 09:41 AM
GUEST,HiLo 19 Aug 16 - 09:00 AM
Steve Shaw 19 Aug 16 - 08:26 AM
Jack Campin 19 Aug 16 - 08:15 AM
GUEST,Guest Barry 19 Aug 16 - 07:41 AM
Vic Smith 19 Aug 16 - 06:04 AM
Steve Shaw 19 Aug 16 - 05:26 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Aug 16 - 04:11 AM
GUEST,Bloke in Groucho mask 19 Aug 16 - 03:49 AM
Joe Offer 19 Aug 16 - 02:26 AM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 19 Aug 16 - 02:12 AM
GUEST,pauperback 18 Aug 16 - 10:48 PM
GUEST,pauperback 18 Aug 16 - 10:14 PM
Steve Shaw 18 Aug 16 - 08:30 PM
punkfolkrocker 18 Aug 16 - 08:28 PM
michaelr 18 Aug 16 - 08:04 PM
GUEST,HiLo 18 Aug 16 - 07:14 PM
The Sandman 18 Aug 16 - 12:38 PM
GUEST,Bloke in Groucho Mask 18 Aug 16 - 12:20 PM
GUEST,guest 04.36 16/8 not the 05.20 guest 18 Aug 16 - 11:29 AM
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Jim Carroll 18 Aug 16 - 03:54 AM
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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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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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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,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: 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: 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: 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: 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
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: 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: 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: 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: 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 - 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: 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 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: 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 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: 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: 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,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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 - 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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,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: 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,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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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,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: 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: 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: 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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