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Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)

DigiTrad:
SHOALS OF HERRING


Related threads:
Tune Req: Harmonica notes for 'Shoals of Herring'? (24)
DT Corr: The Shoals of Herring (Ewan MacColl) (25)
Tune Req: Shoals of Herring (18)
Shoals of Herring tune for Concertina? (20)
Lyr Req: follow the shoals o' herring (7)


DaveRo 11 Nov 21 - 03:27 AM
Dave the Gnome 11 Nov 21 - 02:45 AM
RunrigFan 10 Nov 21 - 06:23 PM
RunrigFan 10 Nov 21 - 06:17 PM
Mysha 08 Oct 15 - 04:59 PM
Vic Smith 17 Dec 14 - 06:51 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Dec 14 - 06:01 AM
GUEST 17 Dec 14 - 05:40 AM
Les in Chorlton 16 Dec 14 - 05:33 AM
Steve Gardham 16 Dec 14 - 04:55 AM
GUEST,henryp 16 Dec 14 - 04:54 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Dec 14 - 07:01 PM
Steve Gardham 15 Dec 14 - 04:44 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Dec 14 - 04:09 PM
Steve Gardham 15 Dec 14 - 02:57 PM
Lighter 15 Dec 14 - 12:42 PM
GUEST,Gordon McCulloch 15 Dec 14 - 12:32 PM
GUEST,John Bowden (not a typo!) 13 Feb 14 - 06:05 PM
Desert Dancer 13 Feb 14 - 02:39 PM
Steve Gardham 22 Jan 14 - 04:07 PM
Lighter 22 Jan 14 - 04:03 PM
GUEST 22 Jan 14 - 03:28 PM
dick greenhaus 22 Jan 14 - 03:20 PM
Jim Carroll 22 Jan 14 - 01:07 PM
Lighter 22 Jan 14 - 12:44 PM
Jim Carroll 22 Jan 14 - 11:39 AM
The Sandman 22 Jan 14 - 11:07 AM
Vic Smith 22 Jan 14 - 10:02 AM
Lighter 22 Jan 14 - 09:45 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Jan 14 - 09:10 AM
Vic Smith 22 Jan 14 - 08:54 AM
The Sandman 22 Jan 14 - 08:39 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Jan 14 - 07:09 AM
The Sandman 22 Jan 14 - 06:56 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Jan 14 - 04:16 AM
The Sandman 22 Jan 14 - 03:45 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Jan 14 - 09:51 AM
Jack Campin 21 Jan 14 - 08:09 AM
MGM·Lion 21 Jan 14 - 08:04 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Jan 14 - 07:49 AM
Jack Campin 21 Jan 14 - 07:47 AM
The Sandman 21 Jan 14 - 07:31 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Jan 14 - 06:45 AM
GUEST,Iain 20 Jan 14 - 02:51 PM
Lighter 20 Jan 14 - 02:29 PM
Lighter 20 Jan 14 - 02:10 PM
Les in Chorlton 20 Jan 14 - 01:59 PM
The Sandman 20 Jan 14 - 12:18 PM
Newport Boy 20 Jan 14 - 11:56 AM
Les in Chorlton 20 Jan 14 - 11:49 AM
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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: DaveRo
Date: 11 Nov 21 - 03:27 AM

and the "Now you're up on deck, you're a fisherman" verse comes later - he has to earn that.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 11 Nov 21 - 02:45 AM

Sailing lugger surely?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: RunrigFan
Date: 10 Nov 21 - 06:23 PM

Luke Kelly version

With our nets and gear we're faring
On the wild and wasteful ocean
It's out there on the deep
We harvest and reap our bread
As we hunt the bonny shoals of herring

Oh it was a fine and a pleasant day
Out of Yarmouth harbour I was faring
As a cabin boy on a sailing logger
We were following the shoals of herring

Now you're up on deck, you're a fisherman
You can swear and show a manly bearing
Take your turn on watch with the other fellows
As you're hunting for the shoals of herring

Now we fished the Swarth and the Broken Bank
I was cook and I'd a quarter-sharing
And I used to sleep standing on me feet
As we hunted for the shoals of herring

We left the home grounds in the month of June
And for canny Shiels we soon were bearing
With a hundred cran of the silver darlings
That we've taken from the shoals of herring

In the stormy seas and the living gales
Just to earn your daily bread you're faring
From the Dover Straits to the Faroe Islands
And you're hunting for the shoals of herring

Well I earned me keep and I paid me way
And I earned the gear that I was wearing
Sailed a million miles, caught ten million fishes
We were hunting after shoals of herring

You're net float men now boy you're on the move
And you're learning all about sea-faring
That's your education, scraps of navigation
As you hunt the bonny shoals of herring

Night and day the seas were daring
Come wind or tide or winter gale
Sweating or cold, growing up,
Growing old or dying
As you hunt the bonny shoals of herring


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: RunrigFan
Date: 10 Nov 21 - 06:17 PM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EspRkEcfNHw only Gaelic version


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: Mysha
Date: 08 Oct 15 - 04:59 PM

Hi,

I've just listened to parts of the documentary The Shoals of Herring. At the end is a song consisting of just these two verses (as I hear it):

With our nets and gear we're faring
On the wild and wasteful ocean
It's there on the deep that we harvest and reap
our bread
As we hunt the bonny shoals of herring

Neither men nor ships we're sparing
As we waste the wild crop of the ocean
Sowing no seed in the sea for tomorrow's need
We may see no more the shoals of herring


I didn't go through it all to see whether the entire song also makes an appearance, though.

Bye,
                                                                Mysha


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: Vic Smith
Date: 17 Dec 14 - 06:51 AM

Les in Charlton asked -
"Who's centenary next year?"


Well, Les. I am looking forward to it very much -
Bob Copper Born 6th January 1915 in Rottingdean, Sussex.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Dec 14 - 06:01 AM

"Who's centenary next year."
Oh dear - not ***** again
He was christened James Henry Miller (not "Jimmy")
He had his name changed - no more "disputed" than Robert Zimmmermann changing his name to Bob Dylan)
One day people will actually get round to discussing MacColl's work rather than this 'Two-Sheds Jackson' nonsense
"Who's centenary next year"
It's the 100 th anniversary of MacColl's birth on Burns Night next January
"Full English"
Has our collection finally gone up on Full English?
"Jim, your own memories of MacColl and Seeger are scattered across Mudcat"
Did our final interview with Bob Blair yesterday for the programmes - broadcast dates set for either side of the anniversary.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Dec 14 - 05:40 AM

From Wikipedia; James Henry Miller (25 January 1915 – 22 October 1989), better known by his stage name Ewan MacColl.

And we're already in disputed territory! Was he really christened Jimmy?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 16 Dec 14 - 05:33 AM

Who's centenary next year?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Dec 14 - 04:55 AM

Jim,
I know you don't rate the authorities over here, but it would be great to have your material even more widely available. I think EFDSS would be interested if you'd give them a chance. They've done a great job with the Full English.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 16 Dec 14 - 04:54 AM

Jim, your own memories of MacColl and Seeger are scattered across Mudcat.

Collected together, they would be another important resource too.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Dec 14 - 07:01 PM

And to you Steve
I fully intend to index some of the MacColl/Seeger actuality and pass it on to whoever will make decent use of it - it's magnificent stuff and fills a huge gap in or knowledge of traditional song.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Dec 14 - 04:44 PM

Very gracious of you, Jim. However without even seeing it I'm absolutely certain all of your work is supremely valuable to all of us with an interest in traditional song. Many thanks for this.

Happy Christmas
Steve


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Dec 14 - 04:09 PM

"A cursory inspection of the original script (I still have mine) makes it clear that the song has been cobbled together from two quite separate songs"
For the record, Shoals of Herring was largely based on actuality recorded from 2 Norfolk fisherman, Sam Larner and Ronnie Balls, and was inspired by Sam's account of his early days at sea.
The air was adapted of Gavin Greig's tune, 'Famous Flower of Serving Men' (Sweet William) - Ewan used it for a number of his songs.
The tune for the opening and closing verses are freely sung adaptations of the main tune (easily checked)
Conincidentally, I have just finished listening to an evening of Ewan and Peggy working on Gordon's Beggar man - magic.
I came away wishing that two singers of Ewan's and Peggy's status would have taken as much time and effort working on my singing.
I was only in the Critics Group for tw years (about the same length of time as Gordon, but at the end rather than the beginning of the life of the Group) - Pat was in it somewhat longer.
Personally, I came away with the opposite opinion to Gordon's, I fonf both Ewan and Peggy generous with their time and knowledge, infinitely patient and helpful towards a relatively new singer
I don't know enough to say what Ewan knew or did not know, but I found the time I spent in the Group inspirational and life-changing and I found much of what was dealt with by them was echoed in much of what we recorded from field singers.
Then again, I have listened to and indexed all 7 years worth of recordings of the Group over the last six months, so I may be somewhat biased.
Matter of opinion, I suppose.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Dec 14 - 02:57 PM

'A cursory inspection of the original script (I still have mine) makes it clear that the song has been cobbled together from two quite separate songs {each with its own air} embedded in quite distinct passages of the radio ballad. My recollection is that the idea of grafting the songs together was my own...'

Please do enlighten us further, Gordon. What exactly are the 2 quite separate songs?

Would you consider posting the original script on a website if one could be found to host it?

The album is BTW one of my absolute favourites. Thank-you for your contribution to the programme and to the thread here.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: Lighter
Date: 15 Dec 14 - 12:42 PM

Valuable reminiscence, Gordon. Thanks for posting.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: GUEST,Gordon McCulloch
Date: 15 Dec 14 - 12:32 PM

Having recently been steered to the contents of this correspondence, I confess to having been astounded at the sheer volume of specious nonsense generated about MacColl`s glorious song, even some 50-odd years after its creation. I believe I might throw a wee light on one of the more contentious aspects.
As pointed out by "Les in Chorlton", Ian Campbell and myself both sang
on Ewan`s Radio Ballad "Singing the Fishing" for which the song was written. Every evening after rehearsals/recordings we would walk home
endlessly singing/debating over MacColl`s songs. Out of these enthralled discussions arose the format of the song
which was later to become recognisably "The Shoals of Herring"...that is to say with the slow freely-sung stanzas that bookend the main body of the text.
A cursory inspection of the original script (I still have mine) makes it clear that the song has been cobbled together from two quite separate songs {each with its own air} embedded in quite distinct passages of the radio ballad. My recollection is that the idea of grafting the songs together was my own...but it might just as easily have been Ian`s...memory fades! Either {or both) of us would, however, be equally proud to have made some contribution, however small, to the genesis of MacColl`s splendid creation.
Turning to the vexed question of MacColl`s supposed plagiarism,I feel
this brand of mean-spirited claptrap can only be put about by individuals who have not understood any of the protean workings of the folk process..of which plagiarism is an essential building block . Clearly, Ewan openly embraced this notion in his numerous borrowings from and re-workings of existing materials. Consider, for example, his wry version of "Sweet Thames Flow Softly". MacColl, more than most, respected Brecht`s injunction to "watch the people`s mouth".
In case it might be thought that I speak as one of "MacColl`s disciples"...nothing could be further from the truth. At the time I abandoned (with others) the Critics Group I had already come to rather
dislike the man...particularly his embracing of Maoist ideology at the very height of the notorious Cultural Revolution. I found him to be a self-opinionated bully. Ewan was a polymath who would not recognise any limits to his knowledge...endlessly exasperating...endlessly self-contradictory...a deeply flawed genius...but a genius nonetheless.
He should be given his place.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: GUEST,John Bowden (not a typo!)
Date: 13 Feb 14 - 06:05 PM

"For the record, "Singing the Fishing was aird on BBC in 1959. Before the end of 1960, the song was well known (and badly overdone) in Greenwich Village folk circles".

Not according to the BBC, Dick:


"Singing The Fishing
First transmitted on16 August 1960 .... Singing the Fishing won the Prix d'Italia for radio documentary in October 1960 and was eventually transmitted in 86 countries".

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/radioballads/original/singingthefishing.shtml

I find it unlikely that the song should have been "well known (and badly overdone) in Greenwich Village folk circles" weeks after its first broadcast in the UK, and even more unlikely that Llewyn Davis could have made a recording of it when he was 8 years old! The annoying thing is that there are innumerable traditional fishing/maritime songs the Coen brothers could have chosen to be Llewin's father's favourite song, which was supposed to have such an emotional effect on him in his care home (though why they had to have his father shit himself is another question)! After all, if they could (allegedly) base Jim's beard on that of Paul Clayton, there are plenty of Clayton's maritime songs that would have fitted the bill!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 13 Feb 14 - 02:39 PM

Interesting point, Dick Greenhouse... so it's not anachronistic to have Llewyn Davis sing Shoals of Herring. Still a problem for him to have sung it with his father when he was a child, though.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Jan 14 - 04:07 PM

Yes, of course it was me, decookied again!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: Lighter
Date: 22 Jan 14 - 04:03 PM

Thanks for the suggestion, GUEST (Steve?), but I do have a copy.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Jan 14 - 03:28 PM

Jon,
If you haven't got it I'd take Jim's offer up. He very kindly sent me a copy which I treasure. Thanks, Jim.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 22 Jan 14 - 03:20 PM

For the record, "Singing the Fishing was aird on BBC in 1959. Before the end of 1960, the song was well known (and badly overdone) in Greenwich Village folk circles.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Jan 14 - 01:07 PM

Yup
Nice little monograph on him if anybody would like a copy
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: Lighter
Date: 22 Jan 14 - 12:44 PM

Ben Bright was his name. Didn't know he'd sung for Carpenter, though.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Jan 14 - 11:39 AM

I wish more people sang 'Shellback' - much neglected in my opinion
The inspiration for it arose from a chance meeting by Charles Parker with an old Welsh sailor who had served under sail Parker was crossing London Bridge when he say an escape artist trussed up in a canvas sack wrapped in chains.
He started to talk to the assistant who, it turned out, had given James M Carpenter songs in Cardiff 50 years earlier, and had jumped ship in the California in the 1930s and joined the I.W.W - the Wobblies, working alongside Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and T-Bone Slim, organising the fruit-pickers.
MacColl and Seeger recorded him and structured the song Shellback around his description of life under sail - it was used for the BBC film, 'Before the Mast' - stunning song.
Talking of new songs, wonder if anybody has come across Con 'Fada' O Driceoll's latest - 'Hunting the Hair' (not a typo, rather a reflection (pun intended) on hair loss).
There were a number of glowing bald-spots when he sang it here at a concert on Saturday night - magic!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jan 14 - 11:07 AM

"Nice of you to say so as the fine performer you are"
Jim Carroll.
what has anybodys abilties as a performer got to do with giving praise to someone elses singing and song writing skills? even if I was as not as gifted a performer as yourself I would still be entitled to praise MacColls abilities.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: Vic Smith
Date: 22 Jan 14 - 10:02 AM

Sam Larner once said he felt as if he had been singing 'Shoals of Herring" all his life.

Adam McNaughtan was asked to review Betsy Whyte's great book Yellow On The Broom. On reading it, he immediately wrote the lovely song of the same title. When Betsy heard it, she said that she couldn't understand how an outsider could summarise a part of her life so perfectly.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: Lighter
Date: 22 Jan 14 - 09:45 AM

> Bert Lloyd listened carefully to this and then said, "I think what you are describing is the great skill of the man."

I think Lloyd was right. If speech idioms aren't in the public domain, what is?

Furthermore, whatever else in MacColl's songs might be criticizable as "inauthentic," "too political," "too sophisticated," "not folk," etc., those passages are immune by origin and nature.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Jan 14 - 09:10 AM

Sam Larner once said he felt as if he had been singing 'Shoals of Herring" all his life
Social commentator and writer, Jeremy Sandford, whose book 'Gypsies' first inspired us to become involved with recording Travellers compiled an excellent collection of Travellers songs (Songs of the Roadside) from his experiences in the Midlands.
He included several of MacColl's songs, which he had been given by Travellers, attributing them as "traditional" and suggesting that Ewan had lifted them from the Gypsies themselves - unintentional praise.
Hi Vic - how's retirement - counting the grapes on the wallpaper yet?
Go away Dick - finished wasting my time with you.   
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: Vic Smith
Date: 22 Jan 14 - 08:54 AM

I remember talking to Bert Lloyd many years ago about MacColl's songwriting.
I mentioned that in the couple of years before that conversation that we had got to know Belle & Alex Stewart well and that phrases that came up in their day to day conversation, I found had been used by MacColl in the songs that he has written for The Travelling People. I said that I felt that MacColl was somehow cheating by using so many of their phrases.
Bert Lloyd listened carefully to this and then said, "I think what you are describing is the great skill of the man."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jan 14 - 08:39 AM

Jim you said "I was said to learn the late Louis Killen was one of the Ewan knockers who claimed MacColl didn't write some of his best songs, but stole them from elsewhere"
clear evidence you believed the statement supposed to be made by Killen.
Jim, stop wasting everyones time, including your own.
what i would have like you to do was not repeat the statement.
"I' used to this shit from revival superstars - why shoul it be any more untrue than all the other garbage" what are you on about? what shit from what revival superstars?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Jan 14 - 07:09 AM

"VALUABLE TO SAY, he wrote many good songs and was a good performer,"
Nice of you to say so as the fine performer you are
Who said I actually believe what was said about Killen - what do you want me to do - call a contributor to this thread a liar
". I saw Louis Killen many years ago and he claimed to have put it together as a song. He even laughed about Ewan being asked to sing it and not being able to."
I' used to this shit from revival superstars - why shoul it be any more untrue than all the other garbage
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jan 14 - 06:56 AM

You throw a hissy-fit about Killen being criticised for something someone (not me) has claimed that he said, but you have little compunction in taking snidey pops at a major performer whose contribution to our love and understanding of folk song is immesureable (and who has been dead for over twenty years)."
give it a break jim , you are pathetic, i have consistently praised macColl as a singer performer and song writer, i take exception to you repeating hearsay about Killen. OF COURSE MACcOLL HAD SOMETHING VALUABLE TO SAY, he wrote many good songs and was a good performer, you however continue to believe any old hearsay rubbish[ some years old written on this thread] in my opinion you appear to be paranoid about any comments about macColl] why did you automatically believe what the earlier poster said about Killen. I knew lou well enough to know that the comment about killen was very unlikely to be true.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Jan 14 - 04:16 AM

Does it matter who claimed what Dick?
Somebody claimed that Killen put together Shoals of Herring from MacColl's fragmentary writing of it - you claim that Ian Campbell did.
As far as I am concerned, neither clam has the slightest basis in fact - MacColl wrote it and shortly afterwards recorded it for Folkways Records (New Briton Gazette)
MacColl's technique for making all his songs, for the Radio Ballads, fr the Irishmen, Romeo and Juliet, Before the Mast... all his media work, was to completely make the song complete and pass complete recordings to the singers who were to perform them.
I've just been listening to a recording of Joe Heaney singing MaColl's song, 'New Rocks of Bawn' for 'The Irishmen'.
Joe was given the song and asked to learn it, then perform it in two-verse sections, each section sung in a different key to suit the part of the film it was to be used in - absolutely brilliant.
You throw a hissy-fit about Killen being criticised for something someone (not me) has claimed that he said, but you have little compunction in taking snidey pops at a major performer whose contribution to our love and understanding of folk song is immesureable (and who has been dead for over twenty years).
Quite honestly, I'm tired of mediocre performers and folkie eccentrics working out their inadequacies on a twenty-year-old corpse - grave dancing at its most extreme.
Pat and I have just embarked on a project of producing 1, maybe 2 radio programmes outlining MacColl's work on singing.
I am staggered at the amount of information on his approach to singing and his aspirations for folk song has lain untouched and unconsidered, largely due to the barrier of garbage that has made discussion on his work virtually impossible.
MacColl is dead - let's see if he had anything valuable to say shall we?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jan 14 - 03:45 AM

here is more info on who recorded the song,Killen recorded it some years after ian campbell, which in my opinion reinforces my point that killen would not have made such a ridiculous claim as to have put it together, killen was not noted for her song writing skills.The Shoals of Herring

[ Roud 13642 ; Ewan MacColl]

The Shoals of Herring was written for the third of the eight BBC radio ballads by Ewan MacColl, Charles Parker and Peggy Seeger, Singing the Fishing (first broadcast on August 16, 1960, released on an Argo LP in 1966 and now available on a Topic CD). It was about the herring fishery and fishermen, and the song was designed specifically to highlight the life-story of Sam Larner, who had spent a long life as a herring fisherman, but was retired at the time of the recording. He first went to sea, he said, in 1892, when he was just a boy. In this moving documentary, the song is sung partly by Ewan MacColl and partly by Bert Lloyd, all skilfully interpolated among the spoken words of Mr Larner. An extract of this with A.L. Lloyd and Sam Larner is on the last track of the first side of Karl Dallas' brilliant 4 LP anthology, The Electric Muse: The Story of Folk into Rock.

(A 12" LP of Mr Larner was later produced: Now is the Time for Fishing: Songs and Speech by Sam Larner of Winterton, England, collected and edited by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger; Folkways 1961; Topic 2000.)

Ewan MacColl sang The Shoals of Herring again in 1983 on his album Black and White; this track was also included on the 3 CD anthology The New Electric Muse: The Story of Folk into Rock.

The Ian Campbell Folk Group sang The Shoals of Herring on the 1964 LP Edinburgh Folk Festival Vol. 2, and Nigel Denver recorded it in the same year for his eponymous LP Nigel Denver.

The Three City Four (Martin Carthy, Leon Rosselson, Ralph Trainer and Marian McKenzie) sang The Shoals of Herring on their 1965 LP The Three City Four.

The Exiles sang Shoals of Herring in 1967 on their Topic album The Hale and the Hanged.

Louis Killen recorded Shoals of Herring in 1968 for his 1973 LP Sea Chanteys, sang it in 1973 with the Clancy Brothers on their album Greatest Hits, and sang it solo in 1979 on the Folkways album Sea Songs Seattle and in 1995 on his CD Sailors, Ships & Chanteys.

Dave Burland, Tony Capstick and Dick Gaughan sang Shoals of Herring in 1978 on their album Songs of Ewan MacColl.

Bob Fox sang Shoals of Herring in 2003 on his Topic CD Borrowed Moments.

Robert Lawrence sang The Shoals of Herring in 2010 on his CD The Journey Home.

Jon Boden sang Shoals of Herring as the February 20, 2011 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day. He noted in the blog that it's a "powerful song from the Radio Ballads. Sung on FSC, despite being a tad wordy for communal singing—the strength of the melody drives it on."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Jan 14 - 09:51 AM

A matter of emphasis Mike - Jacket - one word, jack it two words.
As with 'Shoals', MacColl made the song directly from interviews with navvies and tunnel workers - he said that this was how the phrase was explained to him - there are recordings of the interviews he did with some of them on our shelves.
It would seen he might have got it wrong, if he did, he and I owe an apology to Adrienne Johnson (but sadly both are dead)
Thanks for the heads up Jack
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: Jack Campin
Date: 21 Jan 14 - 08:09 AM

I don't recall any discussion about this before.

Why wouldn't MacColl have found out what the standard terms of art used in the tunnelling trade were, and put them in his song?

http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-89013607/stock-photo-metal-caisson-jacket-on-the-underground-footpath-tunnel-across-the-river-thames-in-greenwich.html


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 21 Jan 14 - 08:04 AM

"Up with the shield and jack it, ram it""
They had sung
"Up with the shield and jacket, ram it"

,..,

I can't see how these would actually sound any different in singing.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Jan 14 - 07:49 AM

OH DEAR - NOT AGAIN!!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: Jack Campin
Date: 21 Jan 14 - 07:47 AM

They had sung his 'Tunnel Tigers' and he was carefully the significance of the chorus:
"Up with the shield and jack it, ram it""
They had sung
"Up with the shield and jacket, ram it"
Now that doesn't make sense.


Both make equal sense to me. The normal way you make a tunnel is by connecting short segments of lining after boring a few feet more hole. Why wouldn't you call the lining a "jacket"? A quick google says the word is used in exactly that way in "Tunnel Construction" [1998], edited by Messe München International, p.31.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Jan 14 - 07:31 AM

I dont believe Lousia Killen claimed she put it together.
I said "I was under the impression that the Campbells put it together as a song"I am also sure MacColl told me he did not sing it live,    that does not mean that i said he did not record it.
as far as i am concerned MacColl wrote the song, Furthermore there is no vendetta, just a desire for you to stop believing and repeating ridiculous claims that Killen said certain things, based on supposed hear say.
it is fairly easy to check who recorded it first in its entireity, and is not a matter of vast importance, I have never disputed who wrote the song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Jan 14 - 06:45 AM

""Shores of Erin" is a later, er, "folk" development."
No - it is possibly a mishearing.
It happened all the time, especially among non-literate communities like the Travellers - you want to here some of the mondegreens we've recorded down the years.
It can and does happen among folkies.
I was present during a musing discussion between MacColl and The Johnsons, who had just guested at The Singers Club.
They had sung his 'Tunnel Tigers' and he was carefully the significance of the chorus:
"Up with the shield and jack it, ram it""
They had sung
"Up with the shield and jacket, ram it"
Now that doesn't make sense.
"JIM , I Think you are incorrect, i never heard lou killen make any such claims"
Don't care if you did Dick - I didn't make the claim - somebody else did further up.
If you are going to interrupt a discussion, please don't do so before making sure you know what you are talking about - it helps to read what other people have written.
"it live and that the Ian Campbell group put it together as a song"
Load of crap - he recorded it on the folkways album, 'New Briton Gazette' not long after he wrote it.
He always wrote all his songs for the radio ballads in full and gave full texts to whoever was going to sing them to rehearse before they were recorded - standard practice.
Someone said Lois Killen put it together, you claim Ian Campbell did - thereby hangs yet another MacColl Chinese whisper!
And don't use loaded terms like "MacColl disciple" - I certainly am not, and such inanities get in the way of the real discussion - just as you are getting in the way of this one.
Please take your vendetta elsewhere.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: GUEST,Iain
Date: 20 Jan 14 - 02:51 PM

Shoals of herring was recorded by the Dubliners, with Luke Kelly singing, around 1966 if I remember correctly. This version has the slow verse beginning and end. Also the diction of Luke Kelly is very clear.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: Lighter
Date: 20 Jan 14 - 02:29 PM

Here's someone clearly singing "Shoals of Herring," and the poster thinks it's "Shores of Erin."

Which doesn't even make sense in the song!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiU04meCXI0

Come on. Has anybody actually heard a real song called "The Bonny Shores of Erin" that had anything to do with MacColl's song?

The Internet suggests not.

It's a big jump from a mondegreen to a whole song built around it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: Lighter
Date: 20 Jan 14 - 02:10 PM

The divil's always in the details.

Beck did include the song in Folklore and the Sea as anonymous and traditional about forty years ago, but the title there was "The Bonny Shoals of Herring."

"Shores of Erin" is a later, er, "folk" development.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 20 Jan 14 - 01:59 PM

Re my post above: Gordon McCulloch and Ian Campbell (no relation to Bobby) are listed as vocalists on the recording so clearly both would have the ealiest access to the song

Singing the Fishing


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Jan 14 - 12:18 PM

JIM , I Think you are incorrect, i never heard lou killen make any such claims, furthermore he heard me sing it once, and i introduced it as being written by MacColl, LOU made no comment, please stop repeating drivel., are you sure you are not confusing lou killen with ian campbell?I was under the impression it was the Campbells that put it together as a song.
I sympathise with you Jim, because I understand you are a disciple of MacColl, and misinformation must be very annoying for you.
I recall having a conversation with MacColl and he said he never sung it live and that the Ian Campbell group put it together as a song .I think this is likely to be nearer the truth than the absurd claim that Lou Killen said he put it together as a song, honestly Jim, you do repeat some old cods wallop sometimes.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: Newport Boy
Date: 20 Jan 14 - 11:56 AM

I don't know when people suggest that Louis Killen 'put this together as a song', but I would be surprised if Ewan couldn't remember it in 1963. That's the first printed version I know - in the 'Ewan MacColl, Peggy Seeger Songbook', Oak Publications, New York. The copyright is to Stormking Music, 1962.

The words (apart from the omission of the introductory verse) are exactly as in the DT. The tune is also the same, except that it's in 3/4, which is how I hear it and have always sung it.

Phil


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Subject: RE: Origins: Shoals of Herring (MacColl)
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 20 Jan 14 - 11:49 AM

Look I don't get the chance to drop a name very often so here goes:

In a discussion I had with Bobby Campbell in July or August 1972 in his flat in London when he still lived with Bea Campbell, he said the song had been pulled together from the Radion Ballad where, as pointed out above, it can be heard in parts - across a number of passages through the programme.

As I recall, it came into the repertoire of the Exiles (Enoch Kent, Bobby and Gordon McCulloch) via this process.

I guess loads of people listened to Singing the Fishing and did pretty much the same - as I also guess, was what Peggy & Ewan wanted.

Great song


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