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Ewan MacColl - real name?

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GUEST,Art Thieme 05 Aug 05 - 07:33 PM
GUEST 06 Aug 05 - 01:14 AM
GUEST,Art Thieme 06 Aug 05 - 01:17 AM
GUEST,fidjit 06 Aug 05 - 04:52 AM
Jim McLean 06 Aug 05 - 06:51 AM
Mr Red 06 Aug 05 - 06:55 AM
Dave Hanson 06 Aug 05 - 10:22 AM
GUEST,Art Thieme 06 Aug 05 - 10:23 AM
GUEST,DB 06 Aug 05 - 12:04 PM
GUEST,fidjit 06 Aug 05 - 01:28 PM
John Routledge 06 Aug 05 - 06:34 PM
Folkiedave 06 Aug 05 - 07:20 PM
BK Lick 06 Aug 05 - 08:20 PM
Dave Hanson 07 Aug 05 - 01:10 AM
shepherdlass 07 Aug 05 - 05:30 AM
shepherdlass 07 Aug 05 - 05:32 AM
John Routledge 07 Aug 05 - 05:49 AM
Mark Cohen 07 Aug 05 - 06:19 AM
GUEST,Art Thieme 07 Aug 05 - 10:51 AM
shepherdlass 07 Aug 05 - 06:43 PM
Susanne (skw) 08 Aug 05 - 05:29 PM
Big Al Whittle 09 Aug 05 - 07:07 AM
Le Scaramouche 09 Aug 05 - 07:35 AM
Jim McLean 09 Aug 05 - 04:18 PM
Susanne (skw) 09 Aug 05 - 05:53 PM
Jim McLean 09 Aug 05 - 06:01 PM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 01 Apr 11 - 10:10 PM
Octoman 02 Apr 11 - 03:24 PM
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Subject: RE: Ewan McColl - real name?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 05 Aug 05 - 07:33 PM

Folks, Ewan MacColl was a giant talent. The body of work he left and the music he made was generally brilliant--even if it was sometimes heavy-handed. Revisionist history aside, real or imagined, I am glad I got to hear his unique and powerful voice. He was a folksinger to the enth degree---and that is a certainty. Only one time did I hear him --and Peggy too---live in concert. It was late in May----1970 at the University Of Chicago---a rather intimate and small room in venerable old Ida Noyes Hall on 57th Street. Our son, Chris, was born a few days later--on June 4th. -- Maybe it was Ewan and others, that sometimes stretched the truth, who gave me my love for American tall tales. These stories were lies told on purpose----to reduce boredom and to make light of, and defuse, horrendous hard times. It helped, after a disaster, poke fun into the eye of the hurricane! Tall stories, possibly, even put real light on actual history in a way that illustrated an the irony that wasn't visible otherwise.

Remember, we all fabricate our own personnas for all kinds of ulterior motives. It can be the stuff that humor is made of---. After all is said and done, we are all "Coyote", the trickster. As the late Al Grierson said in his grand song called   "Old Coyote". (Below are excerpts only. Read between the lines--and extrapolate to the doings of governments now etc. etc. etc.)

I been readin' all about it
in the pages of some ancient lore,
How you were smuggled through the Garden
by the angel at the basement door.
And while the serpent in the branches
held the Mother of the world beguiled,
You wer pissin' on the Tree Of Knowledge
while the Good Lord smiled!

Old Coyote,
Little brother of necessity
the seeker and the sacred clown,
Old Coyote,
You're the fire in the water
and the diamonds in the cold cold ground.

On the mountaintop with Moses
and with Daniel in the lion's den,
In the bedroom with Delilah,
In the hollow in the hearts of men.
On the hill on Friday evening
when the soldiers rolled them bones,
In the garden Sunday mornin'
when they rolled away the stone.

Old Coyote,
On the edges of eternity
dancin' through the crack of dawn,
Old Coyote,
With a pearly white Madonna
and the Devil With The Blue Dress On.

In the bed between the Travelin' Salesman
and the Farmer's Daughter.
At the elbow of the preacher
when the wine turns back to water.
In the cabin of a smokin' locomotive
on a high speed train,
Between the Tower of Babel
and the Cities Of The Plain.

Now, there's an ancient city
Hidden just beneath the waves,
It was founded on the principles of justice
and the sweat of slaves,
And I heard a lot about it
in a New Age gospel hymn,
But I ain't never gonna wade in any water
where the fish won't swim.

Old Coyote,
In a verticle position while the world walks upside down,
Old Coyote,
At the center of the circle
while the wheel goes round and round.

Old Coyote,
In the center of the chaos
waitin' since The Lord knows when,
Old Coyote
Gonna wait a little longer
till it all comes round again.

--------------------------------------
Al Grierson was killed in a flash flood in Texas while riding in his pickup truck a few years back. There's more than a small chance that one of the last things he thought of was Old Coyote.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Ewan McColl - real name?
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Aug 05 - 01:14 AM

What I'm saying, I think, is that it's what people actually DO, and not necessarilly whether it's true or not, that makes the adventure and the panorama of our lives.

Ewan MacColl was a fine folksinger no matter what his real name was or whether he actually wrote all of the songs he said he had written.

In the old days, when I was younger, I cared about "TRUTH" much more than I do today. Looking back from where I am now, I'd be lucky if a third of what I thought went down really did happen that way at all.

It's the stories we tell and sing --- and whether they are any good or not---is what seems most important to me now. Look at Bush and this war happening now! All you know is what you think you know. What about carbohydrates? Are they good for you, or are they bad?
Hell, in the 1960s we thought cranberry sauce caused cancer! That was pretty dumb I guess, right? ---

All I know is that Jimmy Ewan MacColl Miller, or whatever, did the finest version of "Farewell To Tarwathie", "The Leavin' Of Liverpool", "Shoals Of Herring", "The American Stranger", "The Bleacher Lassie Of Kelvin Hall", "Blow Away The Mornin' Dew", and fifty or a hundred other songs, that I have ever heard!!!!!

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Ewan McColl - real name?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 06 Aug 05 - 01:17 AM

The last post was me again. Sorry!

Art


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Subject: RE: Ewan McColl - real name?
From: GUEST,fidjit
Date: 06 Aug 05 - 04:52 AM

JIM. And yet Alex told ME that he pinched 'er from him. But then Alex ended up with Pat.


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Subject: RE: Ewan McColl - real name?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 06 Aug 05 - 06:51 AM

Fidjit, it was all a question of visas and Ewan's Communist connection. Alex married Peggy to get round that. And yes, he ended up with Patsy, a lovely lady.


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Subject: RE: Ewan McColl - real name?
From: Mr Red
Date: 06 Aug 05 - 06:55 AM

ic the red - The website seems to think he was christened James.

He was called Jimmy - surely. A minor distintion but I am doing a footnote to a folk collecting program which may be accepted on a Radio Station and one has to be more pedantic that those that really know or "THERE WILL BE LETTERS"

From Little Hawk if no one else!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Ewan McColl - real name?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 06 Aug 05 - 10:22 AM

I'm sure you are right Mr Red, incidently throughout her life Joan Littlewood [ Ewans first wife ] always refused to call him anything but Jimmy Miller.

eric


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Subject: RE: Ewan McColl - real name?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 06 Aug 05 - 10:23 AM

From afar, in the USA, I've always felt that the album Ewan made with Isla Cameron, trading tracks, duets maybe too?, was an exceptional one. I'm wondering what others might think of it? And did the Cameron/MacColl colaberation produce any more music that was/is available?

Is that LP with both of them, the one containing "Bleacher Lassie" and "American Stranger" etc., available as a CD now?? My old tape that I made from the LP from the Chicago Public Library has been re-dubbed so many times that it's nearly unlistenable.

Art


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Subject: RE: Ewan McColl - real name?
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 06 Aug 05 - 12:04 PM

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, Ewan MacColl was the only true genius that I have ever met. If he was a fraud then he certainly fooled me! Having said that, I do not appear to have suffered any ill effects as the result of being 'hoodwinked'!
When I was in my teens and early twenties one of my great joys was hearing Ewan singing ballads - preferably live; he was an absolutely brilliant singer and he sang wonderful songs that few other people seemed to be singing. Then, as now, it seemed impossible to escape from the trite and superficial world of rock and pop (which I find soooo f...king booooorrrinng!!!). Ewan, and a handful of others on the folk scene were offering something different and with so much more depth and colour and emotional satisfaction. Ewan was the King - and still is, as far as I am concerned.


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Subject: RE: Ewan McColl - real name?
From: GUEST,fidjit
Date: 06 Aug 05 - 01:28 PM

Peggy wrote the mine disaster song


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Subject: RE: Ewan McColl - real name?
From: John Routledge
Date: 06 Aug 05 - 06:34 PM

A couple of years ago at the "Ewan MacColl" weekend in Salford was a guy, from Sheffield University I think,who was writing Ewan's biography

Anybody an idea of how this is progessing or otherwise.

Depending on the honesty of his sources it might answer many of the perennial questions that are regularly asked on Mudcat in various guises.


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Subject: RE: Ewan McColl - real name?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 06 Aug 05 - 07:20 PM

A couple of small points of information. Without looking it up and purely from mmeory I think you will find that the Lallans poet that Jimmy Miller borrowed his name from was actually EVAN and not EWAN MacColl.

He was married to Jean Newlove and not divorced so Alex "married" Peggy to get her into the country.

Hew was a brilliant songwriter. Listen to Sam Larner talking about his life and see how Ewan weaved this into a song (Shoals of Herring); a great scholar (his work with travellers is of the highest order); and a wonderful singer. Some of his renditions of ballads are simply stunning. There were all sorts of things some people might consider faults, virtually all freely acknowledged by Peggy in the introduction to his autobiography "Journeyman".

Dave


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Subject: RE: Ewan McColl - real name?
From: BK Lick
Date: 06 Aug 05 - 08:20 PM

Here's a link to a 1970 photo of Ewan and Peggy from Art's collection. (Use "mudcat" for both username and password.)
—BK


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Subject: RE: Ewan McColl - real name?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 07 Aug 05 - 01:10 AM

It won't accept my password, why ?


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Subject: RE: Ewan McColl - real name?
From: shepherdlass
Date: 07 Aug 05 - 05:30 AM

MacColl/Miller did all sorts of things - good as well as dubious. The problem is we're dealing with a form of music that is pushed forward by the borrowing and renaming of tunes; ownership of songs that were created by other people but linked in certain cases utterly with their best performer, etc. Jimmy Miller wasn't any different in that respect, and he was clearly a great promoter of some aspects of folk music. The thing about MacColl's legacy that seems to have been really destructive was his attempt to codify "good performance" and "authenticity" .


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Subject: RE: Ewan McColl - real name?
From: shepherdlass
Date: 07 Aug 05 - 05:32 AM

Sorry - I don't know whether I should have said that MacColl's search for authenticity was DESTRUCTIVE... really, I meant DIVISIVE.


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Subject: RE: Ewan McColl - real name?
From: John Routledge
Date: 07 Aug 05 - 05:49 AM

A very valid point shepherdlass.In my view the correct word is somewhere between destructive and divisive.


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Subject: RE: Ewan McColl - real name?
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 07 Aug 05 - 06:19 AM

One of my greatest thrills occurred during a two-week vacation in Britain after my internship. I had just discovered (or rediscovered) British and Irish folk music, and went to the Singers' Club at the Bull & Mouth where Ewan and Peggy were the hosts. They said they had room for an extra floor singer and asked for a volunteer, so I raised my hand. And there I was, a very nervous 24-year-old, on stage between the two of them, playing Peggy's Martin, singing my "Delaware River" song. I only wish somebody had taken a picture... Afterwards, Peggy said to me, "So THAT'S how you pronounce 'Schuylkill'!" (One of her songs begins, "My name is John Jay Curtis, my age is twenty-one/Born in Schuylkill County..." and she pronounced it, as most people would, "Skile-kill." But it's "Skook'l.")

I don't think anyone who's heard the intensity with which Ewan sang political and labor songs (whether or not he wrote them) would call him a charlatan or a fake. But, chacun à son gout, which of course means, "he who doubts me is the son of a goat."

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Ewan McColl - real name?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 07 Aug 05 - 10:51 AM

Those of us that love the man for his music and the work he has done agree with Mark Cohen completely.

I feel quite lucky to not have been aware, when I encountered his music, of the aspects of Ewan MacColl's life that possibly gave him feet of clay in the eyes of those so close to him that his body odor, after he'd been working out simply being alive like, all the rest of us, was noticable.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Ewan McColl - real name?
From: shepherdlass
Date: 07 Aug 05 - 06:43 PM

Art Thieme puts it beautifully when he mentions feet of clay: folk music is made by people and not gods or heroes. So there were aspects of MacColl's behaviour that were less than likeable: there were positives to balance them. As somebody who is researching the social/political aspects of the revival, I tend to hear - and weigh upon - more of the negatives but that's because these are the aspects in which his legacy's probably most controversial. He certainly added to the canon, and transmitted a great deal more of it. And how fascinating to read Mark Cohen's first hand account of the Singers' Club, which shows a different side to that venue.


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Subject: RE: Ewan McColl - real name?
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 08 Aug 05 - 05:29 PM

I remember going to the Singers' Club once in 1978 or 79, in a dreadfully bare and uncomfortable hall. Ewan appeared rather dry and serious to a young girl (yes, me!), and hearing him sing live didn't sound any better to me than his albums. I just didn't care too much for his voice. However, he patiently explained the origins of 'Jack Orion' to me, and when Tom Paley, who was there that night, couldn't get his fiddle tuned, Ewan asked him something like, 'Tom, is there any instrument you can play without tuning it for half an hour?' Tom smiled at him and offered: 'Accordion?' And Peggy gave me her half-brother's home address because I had a question concerning one of his songs. Not a night wasted, but not the magical experience I'd been looking forward to either.

However, there is a short biography of Ewan the singer / songwriter on the Working Class Movement Library by Peggy Seeger. She seems very honest about his less appealing traits, so it reads like quite a balanced assessment.


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Subject: RE: Ewan McColl - real name?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Aug 05 - 07:07 AM

Thank you . i really enjoyed that bit by Peggy Seeger. I will probably read the book now.


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Subject: RE: Ewan McColl - real name?
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 09 Aug 05 - 07:35 AM

Very beautiful. The best peice on MacColl I've read.


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Subject: RE: Ewan McColl - real name?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 09 Aug 05 - 04:18 PM

An interesting experience, Susanne. I have a life time history of both Scottish gaelic and Lowland folk songs (experiences) and visited the Singers Club many times in the early sixties. I found it basically very dry and boring, with McColl singing in a dreadful pseudo Scottish accent. I'm afraid I didn't go much for Peggy's whining delivery or Bert Lloyd's castrato redition of sea shanties. I enjoyed the new blood that was allowed to sing in the second half including Dylan's 20 minute spot although he shoud only have done five! McColl was extremely upset.bAcademically I found it interesting, a bit like The English Folk Dance and Song Library but with beer.


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Subject: RE: Ewan McColl - real name?
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 09 Aug 05 - 05:53 PM

Jim, when are you going to start writing your memoirs? (In verse, perhaps, and called 'A Life Outside the Scottish Folk Scene'.) To think of all the memories that must be buried in your head!! :-)

No, I don't care for Peggy Seeger's singing style either, though she writes very good lyrics. I've got used to Bert Lloyd, though, and quite enjoy his renditions. Never heard him live, though.


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Subject: RE: Ewan McColl - real name?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 09 Aug 05 - 06:01 PM

Susanne, I've been writing a book called 'How Presbyterianism killed my Auntie Lilly' for some time now! Maybe I'll get around publishing it soon!


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - real name?
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 01 Apr 11 - 10:10 PM

House!


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - real name?
From: Octoman
Date: 02 Apr 11 - 03:24 PM

Jimmy Miller-fraud-deserter!!!


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