Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl

Related threads:
2007 Ewan MacColl Bio - Class Act (519)
Peggy Seeger biography 2017 (85)
New Books: Peggy Seeger / Billy Bragg (15)
Ewan Maccoll - Atheist or Religious? (23)
Lyr Req: Missing MacColl Albums (6)
Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!! (107)
Peggy Seeger- Again (5)
Ewan MacColl's trousers (110)
Peggy Seeger - In Her Prime (13)
What did you do in the war, Ewan? (297)
Ewan MacColl tribute-Maxine Peake/Joy of Living CD (15)
New book - Legacies of Ewan MacColl (80)
Ewan Macoll & Peggy Seeger Concert 1976 (4)
Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes? (176)
Peggy Seeger interview on Irish radio (3)
PEGGY SEEGER Folkways FP-49 (9)
Peggy Seeger on BBC R4's 'Loose Ends' (13)
Gulp! Ewan MacColl - Scottish or Not? (170)
BS: Who the hell is MacColl? (77)
Peggy Seeger, Desert Island Discs (16)
Obit: RIP Ewan MacColl (1915-1989) (8)
Ewan MacColl - real name? (78)
John Ross' discography of Ewan MacColl (19)
Folk 78 - Ewan MacColl & Peggy Seeger (5)
MacColl/Seeger LP-Identify? (9)
A new site: Ewan MacColl's discography (1)
Ewan MacColl autobiography - to be reissued (25)
Ewan MacColl and RTE (9)
(origins) Origins: Webnotes: Peg Seeger's newish trad album (1)
Ewan MacColl - coward or traitor? (109)
Ewan MacColl's accent (182)
Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe? (156)
Why did Ewan MacColl write new songs? (58)
Ewan MacColl Collectors E-Mail List (7)
Complete Ewan MacColl Songbook (13)
Ewan MacColl and Stalin (65)
Ewan MacColl's CDs (12)
Ewan MacColl Weekend 27- 29 Sept 2002 (23)
Who's Ewan MacColl? (60)
Ewan MacColl - Recommendations? (27)
Peggy Seeger (18)
Seeger and MacColl Books (3)
Peg Seeger, Si Kahn & Sorcha Dorcha... (20)
MacColl Tribute in Salford - Sunday (13)
peggy seeger on u.k. radio (14)
Peggy Seeger on Desert Island Discs (11)
June 17th. Happy Birthday Peggy Seeger (11)
Ewan MacColl songbook out? (6)
What Peggy Seeger did last week... (6)


Brakn 05 Mar 06 - 07:24 AM
greg stephens 05 Mar 06 - 07:29 AM
akenaton 05 Mar 06 - 07:42 AM
Big Al Whittle 05 Mar 06 - 07:48 AM
GUEST,dax 05 Mar 06 - 08:00 AM
GUEST,DB 05 Mar 06 - 08:34 AM
sapper82 05 Mar 06 - 09:59 AM
GUEST,dax 05 Mar 06 - 11:25 AM
Joe Richman 05 Mar 06 - 11:45 AM
GUEST,J C 05 Mar 06 - 01:17 PM
ifor 05 Mar 06 - 01:59 PM
greg stephens 05 Mar 06 - 02:22 PM
Big Al Whittle 05 Mar 06 - 03:19 PM
greg stephens 05 Mar 06 - 03:24 PM
ifor 05 Mar 06 - 03:51 PM
akenaton 05 Mar 06 - 04:23 PM
Uncle_DaveO 05 Mar 06 - 04:48 PM
greg stephens 05 Mar 06 - 05:03 PM
Big Al Whittle 05 Mar 06 - 05:30 PM
ifor 05 Mar 06 - 05:35 PM
GUEST,dax 05 Mar 06 - 06:25 PM
GUEST,dax 05 Mar 06 - 06:28 PM
GUEST,smiler 05 Mar 06 - 06:40 PM
akenaton 05 Mar 06 - 07:07 PM
Folkiedave 05 Mar 06 - 07:26 PM
GUEST,dax 05 Mar 06 - 07:35 PM
The Badger 05 Mar 06 - 07:41 PM
GUEST,dax 05 Mar 06 - 07:50 PM
Leadfingers 05 Mar 06 - 09:48 PM
Malcolm Douglas 06 Mar 06 - 12:17 AM
greg stephens 06 Mar 06 - 02:53 AM
GUEST 06 Mar 06 - 04:28 AM
GUEST,J C 06 Mar 06 - 04:31 AM
Folkiedave 06 Mar 06 - 07:48 AM
GUEST,DB 06 Mar 06 - 09:04 AM
pavane 06 Mar 06 - 09:33 AM
shepherdlass 06 Mar 06 - 10:03 AM
GUEST 06 Mar 06 - 10:58 AM
Wolfgang 06 Mar 06 - 11:41 AM
GUEST,dax 06 Mar 06 - 11:46 AM
akenaton 06 Mar 06 - 12:15 PM
GUEST,J C 06 Mar 06 - 01:42 PM
Wolfgang 06 Mar 06 - 02:38 PM
Folkiedave 06 Mar 06 - 02:55 PM
GUEST,J C 06 Mar 06 - 03:08 PM
Dave Sutherland 06 Mar 06 - 03:42 PM
Folkiedave 06 Mar 06 - 04:00 PM
akenaton 06 Mar 06 - 05:27 PM
GUEST,Obie 06 Mar 06 - 05:47 PM
GUEST,J C 06 Mar 06 - 06:09 PM
akenaton 06 Mar 06 - 06:16 PM
ifor 06 Mar 06 - 06:21 PM
GUEST,Obie 06 Mar 06 - 06:54 PM
Folkiedave 06 Mar 06 - 07:16 PM
Goose Gander 06 Mar 06 - 07:22 PM
akenaton 06 Mar 06 - 07:45 PM
Goose Gander 06 Mar 06 - 07:55 PM
akenaton 06 Mar 06 - 08:00 PM
Piers 07 Mar 06 - 05:27 AM
Purple Foxx 07 Mar 06 - 05:47 AM
Big Al Whittle 07 Mar 06 - 06:22 AM
Wolfgang 07 Mar 06 - 06:38 AM
Piers 07 Mar 06 - 07:07 AM
greg stephens 07 Mar 06 - 07:17 AM
Purple Foxx 07 Mar 06 - 07:18 AM
Paul Burke 07 Mar 06 - 07:36 AM
shepherdlass 07 Mar 06 - 07:52 AM
Piers 07 Mar 06 - 08:43 AM
Keith A of Hertford 07 Mar 06 - 08:57 AM
Paul Burke 07 Mar 06 - 09:24 AM
ifor 07 Mar 06 - 02:24 PM
GUEST,J C 07 Mar 06 - 02:51 PM
greg stephens 07 Mar 06 - 04:37 PM
Piers 07 Mar 06 - 04:58 PM
ifor 07 Mar 06 - 06:17 PM
Goose Gander 07 Mar 06 - 06:37 PM
Big Al Whittle 07 Mar 06 - 07:07 PM
woodsie 07 Mar 06 - 10:04 PM
melodeon king 07 Mar 06 - 10:11 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 07 Mar 06 - 11:10 PM
GUEST 07 Mar 06 - 11:31 PM
GUEST,DB 08 Mar 06 - 03:55 AM
GUEST,J C 08 Mar 06 - 04:01 AM
GUEST,J C 08 Mar 06 - 04:06 AM
Wolfgang 08 Mar 06 - 04:24 AM
Piers 08 Mar 06 - 04:38 AM
GUEST,Obie 08 Mar 06 - 05:01 AM
GUEST,J C 08 Mar 06 - 06:23 AM
GUEST,G.p 08 Mar 06 - 12:47 PM
ifor 08 Mar 06 - 01:01 PM
Piers 08 Mar 06 - 01:29 PM
Big Al Whittle 08 Mar 06 - 01:40 PM
ifor 08 Mar 06 - 02:34 PM
ifor 08 Mar 06 - 02:40 PM
Piers 08 Mar 06 - 05:24 PM
greg stephens 08 Mar 06 - 05:34 PM
GUEST,melodeon thing 08 Mar 06 - 07:33 PM
Big Al Whittle 08 Mar 06 - 08:26 PM
Barry Finn 09 Mar 06 - 01:16 AM
Paco Rabanne 09 Mar 06 - 02:56 AM
GUEST 09 Mar 06 - 03:15 AM
Paul Burke 09 Mar 06 - 03:16 AM
Paco Rabanne 09 Mar 06 - 03:27 AM
GUEST,J C 09 Mar 06 - 04:00 AM
GUEST,English and proud 09 Mar 06 - 05:24 AM
Big Al Whittle 09 Mar 06 - 05:34 AM
shepherdlass 09 Mar 06 - 06:01 AM
Purple Foxx 09 Mar 06 - 06:32 AM
GUEST,DB 09 Mar 06 - 09:35 AM
GUEST,Barrie Roberts 09 Mar 06 - 10:35 AM
akenaton 09 Mar 06 - 03:40 PM
Big Al Whittle 09 Mar 06 - 04:29 PM
Purple Foxx 09 Mar 06 - 05:20 PM
GUEST,Guest DB 09 Mar 06 - 06:15 PM
Big Al Whittle 09 Mar 06 - 07:33 PM
akenaton 09 Mar 06 - 07:42 PM
ifor 09 Mar 06 - 07:42 PM
Malcolm Douglas 09 Mar 06 - 07:44 PM
GUEST,Babatunde 10 Mar 06 - 06:54 AM
Big Al Whittle 10 Mar 06 - 07:37 AM
shepherdlass 10 Mar 06 - 08:23 AM
GUEST,dax 10 Mar 06 - 09:52 AM
Les in Chorlton 10 Mar 06 - 01:33 PM
Big Al Whittle 10 Mar 06 - 02:54 PM
shepherdlass 10 Mar 06 - 02:54 PM
greg stephens 10 Mar 06 - 05:34 PM
GUEST,J C 11 Mar 06 - 03:59 AM
GUEST,Folkiedave in Spain (cookieless) 11 Mar 06 - 04:55 AM
GUEST,DB 11 Mar 06 - 05:17 AM
greg stephens 11 Mar 06 - 10:32 AM
ifor 11 Mar 06 - 04:07 PM
GUEST 11 Mar 06 - 07:33 PM
Joe Richman 11 Mar 06 - 10:52 PM
greg stephens 12 Mar 06 - 02:45 AM
GUEST,J C 12 Mar 06 - 04:22 AM
akenaton 12 Mar 06 - 06:43 AM
The Fooles Troupe 12 Mar 06 - 06:44 AM
GUEST 12 Mar 06 - 08:04 AM
greg stephens 12 Mar 06 - 08:22 AM
akenaton 12 Mar 06 - 08:26 AM
akenaton 12 Mar 06 - 08:29 AM
greg stephens 12 Mar 06 - 08:44 AM
akenaton 12 Mar 06 - 08:51 AM
GUEST 12 Mar 06 - 01:11 PM
Desert Dancer 12 Mar 06 - 06:32 PM
GUEST,DB 12 Mar 06 - 06:42 PM
GUEST,DB 13 Mar 06 - 03:45 AM
GUEST,J C 13 Mar 06 - 04:35 AM
Purple Foxx 13 Mar 06 - 05:25 AM
greg stephens 13 Mar 06 - 05:50 AM
GUEST,J C 13 Mar 06 - 02:37 PM
Joe Richman 13 Mar 06 - 10:55 PM
dick greenhaus 14 Mar 06 - 12:49 AM
GUEST,DB 14 Mar 06 - 01:47 AM
Purple Foxx 14 Mar 06 - 03:10 AM
GUEST,J C 14 Mar 06 - 04:20 AM
GUEST,DB 14 Mar 06 - 07:33 PM
GUEST,J C 15 Mar 06 - 03:02 PM
Purple Foxx 15 Mar 06 - 03:13 PM
GUEST,DB 15 Mar 06 - 06:16 PM
Big Al Whittle 15 Mar 06 - 07:37 PM
Bird Flu 15 Mar 06 - 08:18 PM
akenaton 15 Mar 06 - 08:33 PM
GUEST,J C 16 Mar 06 - 04:14 AM
Purple Foxx 16 Mar 06 - 04:16 AM
Big Al Whittle 16 Mar 06 - 06:15 AM
greg stephens 16 Mar 06 - 06:27 AM
GUEST,Dave S at Work 16 Mar 06 - 07:52 AM
Purple Foxx 16 Mar 06 - 07:57 AM
Big Al Whittle 16 Mar 06 - 09:16 AM
Purple Foxx 16 Mar 06 - 09:37 AM
GUEST 21 Apr 06 - 11:27 AM
Folkiedave 21 Apr 06 - 12:29 PM
GUEST,Joe_F 21 Apr 06 - 10:01 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Brakn
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 07:24 AM

Can't say I'm surprised.

See here.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: greg stephens
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 07:29 AM

Well, considering what Hitler was getting up to in Germany and Stalin was doing in Russia in the 30's, it is not particularly odd if the authorities tried to do a little monitoring on anybody trying to import the ideas into Britain. MacColl was a fanatastic singer, ideas man and song-writer. This should not blind us to the fact that his politics were indescribably loathsome.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: akenaton
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 07:42 AM

Greg ...Get a grip   "indescribably loathsome".
That might apply to the politics of our present leaders, but not Ewan Maccoll.
He music and his politics inspired most of the folk movement in my youth, myself included.
The manner in which these "politics" were applied in Russia or China bears no relation to the vision that MacColl portrayed.

He was by far the finest of the "modern" singers and writers and it was his "indescribably loathsome" politics above all else which made him so ....Ake


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 07:48 AM

his politics were a bit unworldly, but he shared his empathy with the USSR with all sorts of other intellectuals. His left wing sympathies were shot through with great humanity and empathy for the downtrodden. he was an okay guy - and I don't like to hear any aspect of his character described as indescribably loathsome.

also its important to remember that his plays were not much performed on TV or anything, whilst he was a celebrated playwright behind the Iron Curtain. As an artist you are bound to feel some gratitude for people who recognise your work.

Ian Campbell(who was in the Radio Ballads with Ewan, and was having his phone calls monitored by MI5) told me that Ewan thought Joan Littlewoods Oh What a Lovely War had to doing something wrong when retired Army Generals were coming out of the show saying, how marvellous! all those lovely old songs! - and obviously not getting any of the irony.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,dax
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 08:00 AM

I guess there was a stain of McCarthyism in Britain as well, but never the witch hunt that occured in post war USA. Some of the beliefs of people trying to improve the lot of the working poor were not so loathsome at all. Yes , the actions of both Hitler and Stalin were dispicable but wasn't Stalin on our side in the war?
Neither Britain or the USA really feared the violent invasion of their country from Russia. What they feared most was that the wealthy and powerful may have share with the less fortunate, through democratic implimtation of socialism. Of course this threat was from within, so many governments spied on their own citizens, especially those who had any kind of following. (musical or other)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 08:34 AM

I see that the release of Ewan's MI5 file has given the British press a marvellous opportunity to get all of the facts of his life wrong (all they had to do was Google 'Ewan MacColl' the pathetic wankers!).
The first thing that hits you about the 'Independent on Sunday's' coverage is a picture of Peggy Seeger labelled 'Joan Littlewood' ...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: sapper82
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 09:59 AM

Dax;
There are two sayings that pertain to the alliance with Stalin, "My enemy's enemy is my friend" and "When you sup with the devil you need a long spoon."
Regarding the abuses of McCarthy, there was a factual basis for the fears that the CPUSA was directed and funded by Moscow.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,dax
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 11:25 AM

Yes sapper, but I am sure that there were just as many British and American funds going the other way. The alliance with Stalin was only after the one between him and Hitler fell apart, so it was never one of friendship, but one of necessity.
People tended to equate socialism and it's advocates with external subversion, but many only wanted to remove the nest of rats in control of their own country. If Christ were alive in the USA between 1930 and 1955 he may well have been charged with Un-American activities as well. The parodox of all this is that the far right has always claimed to be the only true Christians. They never did figure out how to get that camel through the eye of the needle.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Joe Richman
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 11:45 AM

My Mother was a working member of the ILGWU back in the 40s (not a piecard). That union had leadership that mainly came out of the Socialist party. The Communist Party bitterly opposed them, and did everything they could to screw them over. (See the song "The Cloakmaker's Union".)

Tactically, I can't see much resemblance between Communists and Socialists at all!   Communists and Nazis use the same tactics. But the Socialists are committed to the same "will of the people" principle as other democratic political parties. So why didn't EMacC just join the Labour Party? Because the Communists in the east bought his plays?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,J C
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 01:17 PM

Can't see what all the fuss is about. MacColl never made any secret of his MI5 record – in fact he was quite proud of it and was often accused of romanticizing about it.
My father, because he fought in Spain, was also on MI5 files – as a 'premature anti- fascist' – he was proud of it too, despite the fact that he was blacklisted from work and excommunicated from his religion.
MacColl's 'crime', along with most of the other rank-and-file Communists – (the Communist Party leadership was another matter) and many of the Socialists of his generation, was to be fooled by what was happening in The Soviet Union under Stalin – it took Kruschev's 1956 congress speech to blow the gaff on that one, by which time he was out of party politics. If he was gullible, he was no more so than many of his generation. Nor were they any less gullible than those who more recently supported the McCarthy witch-hunts, the Viet Nam War and the invasion of Iraq (which has included the use of chemical weapons against civilians in these latter two).
MacColl devoted his life to the cause of working people and as one of those working people I've always been grateful for that fact.
As has already been said (by weelittledrummer, he was a humanitarian and also a pacifist, though he respected those who believed that the only way to change the world was through armed struggle – hence his support for revolutionary movements.
He threw his weight behind the Civil Rights Campaign, the Anti-Apartheid movement, CND, the anti-Vietnam war campaign and the Trades Union movement. His last big cause was the miner's strike.
I knew him as selfless and generous to a fault and think myself lucky to have spent time in his company.
MacColl was a great artist and was recognised as such by most people who knew him, even by many of those who disagreed with him.
There is a forthcoming biography in preparation that covers virtually everything that has been 'exposed' in these latest revelations; I for one look forward to the record being set straight.

PS
The Labour Party sold out at the time of the General Strike and no longer pretended to be Socialist - New Labour was an inevitable outcome.
Incidentally, one of his big gripes was the fact that he was never paid for his plays being performed in Eastern Europe.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: ifor
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 01:59 PM

Ewan McColl was one of the greatest songwriters to come out of the folk or any other tradition.The man was and is an inspiration.He has gifted a huge number of wonderful songs from Dirty Old Town to The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.
He was a communist I think because capitalism had "gifted "the 20th entury with the barbarism of the 1914-1918 war,mass unemployment and huge inequality.The 1930s has been described as "the dark valley and fascism was on the march with all its beatiality and horror.
Many socialists looked to the beacon of the bolshevik revolution in Russia and saw in it a way of opposing war ,poverty and fascism.One of the contributors rightly said that Khruschev blew the whistle on the crimes of Stalin although probably the first opponent of Stalin was Trotsky one of the leaders of the boshevik revolution.
Ifor


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: greg stephens
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 02:22 PM

I stand firmly by "indescribably loathsome" for my description of MacColl's politics. I fully understand, and totally support, the obvious decision to stand together with Russia in the 1939-1945 period to defeat the terror that fascism was unleashing on the world.
MacColl's slobbering adulation of Stalin's atrocities went way beyond that. He gave no support whatever (that I am aware of) to the pathetic working class victims of Stalin's terror. I am no historian no, I just rely on what I've read and experienced. If anybody can produce any contrary evidence, please do so. I would honestly love to change my mind, I deeply admire MacColl's work. He in many ways the greatest product of the folk revivals, his songs are fantastic, his Radio Ballad awesome. But as far as I know he admired a monster, and kept admiring him. He could make no "I didn't know" defence. He knew what was going on, he kept admiring. He was no repenting teenager, he just loved that "smack of firm government" stuff: I loathe it. A matter of personal taste: I never shared his. But of course, I keep singing "Dirty Old Town": a masterpiece.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 03:19 PM

all i can say is that a lot of people( including my own parents who were quakers not communists) found the volte face rather hard to take when 1945 came around and Russia started being our enemy rather than an ally.

the choices weren't as easy as they look in retrospect. America was the only country to have used the bomb, talked about the possibility of doing it again, and really fucked us over at the time of Suez - appearing very self serving to a lot of Brits.

In a world where you were forced to choose sides, some people got it wrong. easy to see now. not so easy in the climate of fear that existed in the cold war.

ewan macColl was a humanitarian, a very decent guy and deserves the benefit of your doubts.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: greg stephens
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 03:24 PM

Ewan Mac Coll made his decision pre-1939, wee little drummer. We are not talking about "understandable decisions in the cold war period". And are you serious in using the word "humanitarian" for a time-served brown-nosing Stalinist? Have you read any history ever? How could the word "humanitaian" be applied to a system that would make a dog vomit?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: ifor
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 03:51 PM

Dear Greg
It was rank and file communists who went to Spain to fight the fascists when the liberal democracies of western Europe imposed an arms blockade on the democratically elected republican govt of Spain.
It was the communists in east London who led the working class of that city in the battle to stop the British Union of Fascists at the Battle of Cable St in 1936.A fight which basically stopped the British nazis from growing into a force that could take power in the late 1930s.

It was the Russian Red Army , created by Trotsky, that [in the words of Churchill ] "tore the guts out of the nazi war machine".

Have a listen to the Ballad of Jamie Foyers by Ewan McColl,his homage to the ordinary men from Scotlaand who went to fight in Spain to oppose the spreading threat of fascism.

In the 1930s it seemed that nothing could stop Hitler from taking over the whole of Europe.McColl's generation stood up to be counted and his work is on the side of humanity in all he did .

Read Phil Piratin's book "My Flag Is Red " for an insight into left politics and the Communist Party in Britain in the 1930s and 1940s.
Ifor


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: akenaton
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 04:23 PM

Read somewhere today, that MacColl fought in the Spanish Civil War??

Ifor thanks for that post. I worked for years with an old railwayman who was a CP member during the General Strike and who helped battle the fascists in East London.
He was so proud of what he and his brothers and sisters had achieved.

He loved to quote Burns...and one of his favourites was

Its comin' yet for a' that, their Atom bombs and a' that.
When man tae man the world ower shall brither's be for a' that.

Doesn't sound like a Nazi mantra to me!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 04:48 PM

GUEST,Dax said:

Yes , the actions of both Hitler and Stalin were dispicable but wasn't Stalin on our side in the war?

The short answer is NO, he was not "on our side". He and Russia were on their own side, and we merely shared an enemy. But we were what might be called "the enemy in reserve".

The old wheeze, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" is seriously flawed in this instance. Soviet Russia (and Stalin) was never our friend.

Dave Oesterreich


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: greg stephens
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 05:03 PM

What the communists did in the Spanish Civil War is pretty well documented by now, and I am sure wqe are all pretty familiar with what happened there. Maybe if they should have stuck to fighting Franco? I have no quarrel with what the rank and file communist heroes did, in Spain or the second world war, or on the streets of the East End. My contempt is for their leaders (primarily Stalin), and his unrepentant running dogs like MacColl.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 05:30 PM

okay, you're right Greg. Stalin and his regime were unpleasant. However Ewan MacColl was a decent guy and if you study the general themes through his songs you will find that he had a very humanitarian attitude and really was against the bosses getting away with acting like thugs. and moreover he was just the guy who would have told Stalin that face to face.

he had a lot of bottle, a lot of integrity and you want to hear my music.... I am a million miles away in my ideas of what constitutes folk music. the wide acceptance of his ideas has made it really difficult for people with divergent views to get a hearing in folk clubs. I disagreed with him on a million subjects, but just cos he wasn't as politically astute as you think you are, you shouldn't disrespect him. That's one thing in a very hardworking life.

Perhaps he got some ideas wrong, but he did his best. I remember martin Carthy talking about working with him not too long before he died, and poor old Ewan was suffering with angina onstage - but still doing his damndest to finish a song. Measure yourself by that kind of committment not just cos you were lucky enough to be born at the cushy end of a bloody rough century.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: ifor
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 05:35 PM

Greg
You call Ewan McColl "an unrepentent running dog"...you ve been spending to long with the likes of those M15 agents!
Ifor


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,dax
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 06:25 PM

Och, if only a mirror were a crysyal ball perhaps the world would have had no Hitler, Stalin , or Joe McCarthy. How comforting it is though to think of all three sitting around the fireside together in Hell!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,dax
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 06:28 PM

.......................for eternity


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,smiler
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 06:40 PM

However much we respected his songs, it was shameful that he toadied to Stalin, and as far as I am aware he was Stalinist to the end of his life.

When you sing songs of peace and freedom, it takes the edge off a bit when you support a regime that may have killed 20 million people for having a dissenting opinion.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: akenaton
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 07:07 PM

Soviet Russia (and Stalin) was never our friend.

Dave Oesterreich

Well "UncleJoe" had at least one thing to be proud of.
Our list of political "friends" since the end of WW2 leaves a lot to be desired.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Folkiedave
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 07:26 PM

I doubt Ewan needed to renounce Stalin. By his other political stances he was clearly not interested.

I am far more fascinated by the time between joining up - (1940) and coming back - (1945)

Joan tells us he was writing a song a day.

Where are the songs and where was he?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,dax
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 07:35 PM

I wonder what songs they choose to sing around that fireside? Maybee Ring of Fire! Does any of the three play guitar. It is well documented that the Devil plays fiddle. :-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: The Badger
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 07:41 PM

Apparently he deserted from the army and managed to hide out until the war was over - and then resumed normal life. Interesting!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,dax
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 07:50 PM

Rumour has it that he spent the remaining war years with his buddy Willard Kitchener MacDonald ( who had also deserted ) in the deep forests of Nova Scotia.
   For more information type "hermit of gully lake" into google.
             LOL,
                   Dax


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Leadfingers
Date: 05 Mar 06 - 09:48 PM

Another thread that has got lost in the way people want to remember !!

OK - Ewan MacColl was a humanitarian - He was also a hypocrite ! If you wanted to sing at his club you had to convince him that your song was relevant to YOUR background and origins , while HE sang songs from Scotland , Lancashire , Yorkshire or whereever !

Yes , he wrote a lot of superb songs , and , through the Radio Ballads
gave inspiration to God knows how many other writers ( By the way - catch the NEW series of Radio ballads on Aunty Beeb) , BUT he still antagonised a fair proportion of the UK Folk Scene .

I am still undecided as to wether Ewan macColl did more harm than good to the UK Folk Scene , but we are at least to the good with some superb songs from him .


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 12:17 AM

Every idol has feet of clay, but one thing is for sure: whatever his faults -and it's true that he had his share, though the policy of the Singers' Club is often misrepresented- MacColl did more for folk music (or whatever you prefer to call it) than any of us have, or are ever likely to.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: greg stephens
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 02:53 AM

I agree with Malcolm.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 04:28 AM

" If you wanted to sing at his club you had to convince him that your song was relevant to YOUR background and origins , while HE sang songs from Scotland , Lancashire , Yorkshire or whereever"

Where the hell did this come from???
I was a regular at the Singers Club for over 20 years and more than often cringed at some of the singers who turned up casually.
The Club policy - IE - the type of singer who was booked as GUEST - was decided on by an audience committee and by ALL the residents of the club.
MacColl's view, along with that of Alan Lomax Bert Lloyd and all the people that brought the club (and the revival) into being, was that it was important to explore your own national repertoire rather than all try to sound like Guthrie, Leadbelly, Broonzie and the other American artists who were influencing the scene in the early days. The end result was a blossoming of the British and Irish reperoires. I saw The Stewarts, Joe Heaney, Walter Pardon, Doc Watson, Seamus Ennis, Paddy Tunney, Bobby Casey, and scores more traditional performers at the Singers Club - they were always given a great welcome and they were all perfectly comfortable performing there (except on the night Harry Cox had to take his new false teeth out because they were affecting his singing!)
The club policy was that the songs performed there by the residents or by the booked guests should be traditional or traditionally influenced and that it should be performed to a reasonable standard - they (and I) had no time for the 'near enough for folk' school of thought that once (and still, to some extent) permeates the folk scene. It wasn't, and didn't pretend to be a singaround club and you invariably came a way with a night of good songs well sung under your belt. Ewan and Peggy always played to a packed house.
Would that there were more clubs with policy and standards today.

PS
I agree totally that Stalin's policied were loathsome (though, as Ifor has well pointed out, he managed to fool a lot of the people a lot of the time). But I have problems in deciding whether those policies are any more loathsome than those of a country that has persistently armed and financed some of the worst tyrants in history (including Saddam Hussain), has dropped bombs on more than 50 countries since the end of WW2, has invaded numerous (usually poor, 3rd world) countries, has used chemical weapons such as napalm, agent orange and phospherous on civilians, has interfered with the internal politics of scores of countries throughout the world and has helped overthrow democratically elected leaders (and helped rig their own presidential election). This (unnamed) country is at present illegally holding prisoners without charge and subjecting them to abuse and torture - I suppose one man's monster is another man's cuddly toy.
PPS Where was MacColl after he deserted - do I sense another urban legend in the making?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,J C
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 04:31 AM

Sorry - forgot to sign the last one - J C


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Folkiedave
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 07:48 AM

There is absolutely no doubt about the poicy of the Singer's Club.

First of all it was Peggy whose idea it was not Ewan.

The story is here


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 09:04 AM

We shouldn't forget that Ewan MacColl was brought up in Salford between the Wars. Salford, at that time, was the archetypal "Classic Slum" with high levels of poverty, unemployment, environmemtal pollution and sub-standard housing. Those of us born after the 2nd World War can only guess at what it might have been like (although I did catch a glimpse of the last of this world, in the early 70s, and could only give thanks that I wasn't brought up in it).
In the face of such adversity intelligent people were often drawn towards radical politics - and who can blame them? Unfortunately, the most radical of these political groups, the Communist party, demanded absolute discipline and obedience to the party line. It also pushed the concept of 'Socialism in One Country' ie. The Soviet Union. Many people seem to have been fooled by this and turned a blind eye to what was actually happening in the Soviet Union.
Remember, though, it wasn't just politicised working men and women who were fooled by Joe Stalin. I've just read a book about the experiences of the Polish Nation ('Rising '44: The Battle for Warsaw' by Norman Davies). The Poles put up an heroic resistance to Hitler but were ultimately smashed. Stalin just sat by and let it happen so that his armies would meet no resistance when he took over after the War. When he did take over, Polish men and women, who had fought bravely against Hitler, were rounded up, imprisoned, tortured and executed. Western governments knew very well what was going on but they, in their turn, just sat by and let it happen. They only had themselves to blame when Stalin got himself a Bomb.
I still occasionally meet old Communists who believe that Stalin was a hero and that the Allies couldn't have won the War without him. I, personally, think that it was ordinary Russian people who turned the tide and that they did it in spite of Stalin who considerably worsened their sufferings.
I don't honestly know what Ewan thought of all this towards the end of his life; I hope he had a more balanced view - but I'm sure someone will tell me different.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: pavane
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 09:33 AM

I appreciate the many fine songs that were written by Ewan MacColl but on the one occasion when I saw him with Peggy live (1971), they were full of songs like Ho Ho Ho Chin Min. Opposing the Vietnam war is one thing, but glorifying the other side is a different matter. Not an enjoyable evening for me, and it doesn't look as if his views had altered much.

It appeared to me as if Peggy Seeger was even more left-wing, but that was only an impression I got.

That gig in Stratford (London) was recorded and extracts televised by the BBC in a series on expatriates living in the UK.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: shepherdlass
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 10:03 AM

There's another article on this in yesterday's Observer (you can get it from the Guardian online site). Not much more enlightening, but it all adds to the picture.

So many people were seduced by Stalinism before WWII it seems unfair to single out MacColl just because he became a leading voice in the revival. The Communist ideal must have seemed so wonderful in those years that it was probably convenient to overlook the fact that the USSR didn't live up to it in practice. In a fantastic BBC4 show, "My Dad Was A Communist", Alexei Sayle talked with horror about his own parents' state of denial after 1956: (something like "they kept saying you can't make an omelette without breaking a few hundreds of thousands in the gulags"). It looks so clear-cut in hindsight to those of us born after 1950, but a betrayal of such huge dimensions must have been much harder to accept at the time.

This isn't really to defend MacColl, who seems to have been in part an inspirational genius and in another part a divisive and destructive force. He was at least very vocally linked with (even if not sole originator of) "the policy" and can be held personally responsible for that. But being just one more dupe of Stalin after living through the Depression? How many people could we castigate for that?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 10:58 AM

I have read the BBC report linked to the first post, and a couple of things interest me. How can you Maccoll fans revere a man who deserted his country in the blackest time in its history? And how can you revere a man who pretended to be scottish?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Wolfgang
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 11:41 AM

The ballad of Stalin (Ewan McColl)

Wolfgang


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,dax
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 11:46 AM

No urban legend here, or even suburban. Deep woods sticks legend! :-)


http://www.pottersfieldpress.com/books/hermitgully.html


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: akenaton
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 12:15 PM

Folkdavie...Thanks for posting that piece by Peggy. Hadn't read it before and found it really inspiring, just like the man himself.

Peggy encapsulates in her writing what's going wrong with the music.

Relate what Peggy says to the thread on "BBC4 Folk "and its easy to see that were going in the wrong direction.

I'll say it for the last time, Ewan's love for the music was driven first and foremost by his political philosophy and I wish there were more of his kind around today. The critics on this forum should read and understand what Guest JC has to say, instead of whining about ideas political and musical which they can barely grasp...Ake


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,J C
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 01:42 PM

Much of the discussion around MacColl's politics is totally irrellevent - MacColl devoted the last half century of his life to the passing on of traditional music an I, for one am grateful that I was one of the recipients of his knowledge and his experience.
I would hate anybody to hold me accountable for what I was saying and doing fifty years ago (I was on an anti-aparthied march one time next to Peter Hain - I bet he feels the same way now).
MacColl was a dedicated anti-facist but I once heard him remark that he couldn't understand how killing German workers was going to rid the world of Facisism - I'll drink to that.
As for 'deserting his country in its hour of need' for gods sake
Wrap the union jack round me mother,
For I'm to be queen of the May.
You'll be handing out white feathers next.
MacColl's earliest influences were Scots. I met his mother on many occasions and quite often had difficulty penetrating her accent.
His family moved to Salford when he was a few months old - the community he lived in was Scots, the ealiest singers, including a lodger in their home, was Scots and the earliest songs he heard were Scots.
Was it the Duke of Wellington who said "Being born in a stable doesn't make you a horse".
Perhaps if we spent more time talking about his work and ideas, and less abound inconsequention sidelines we might understand a little of what he was about - take my word for it - it's worth the effort.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Wolfgang
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 02:38 PM

Another sideline:

J C: His family moved to Salford when he was a few months old

from Peggy Seeger's online biography of MacColl: In 1910 the Millers moved to Salford in search of work.
MacColl was born five years later, in 1915.

Well, I see no one who would not admire what MacColl has done for the music we love. He's a brilliant songwriter, a fine collector of songs, and his contribution to the Radio Ballads will considered outstanding for all times to come.

Now this is a thread about politics and not music, for I doubt the MI5 would have monitored him only for the music part of his life. The interesting point is what his political ideas have to do with his music?

I read J C Much of the discussion around MacColl's politics is totally irrellevent and I read
Akenaton Ewan's love for the music was driven first and foremost by his political philosophy and I read
Greg Stevens MacColl was a fanatastic singer, ideas man and song-writer. ...his politics were indescribably loathsome.

That is (for me) the interesting part of the discussion. Do we have to buy his ideas about politics if we love his music? I think his politics have influenced which he chose to write about (to collect) or not but the brilliance of his songs comes not from his politics but from closely watching and describing everyday life. He's best as a songwriter where he describes (and gives the listener free rein). He's worst where his politics enter into his songwriting (like in the incredibly bad Stalin song).

Wolfgang


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Folkiedave
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 02:55 PM

It seems that MacColl's life was in a number of phases almost separate and yet interlinked. We sometimes forget how good a playwright he was:

Most of MacColl's plays are extraordinary. George Bernard once quipped that other than himself, MacColl was the best living playwright in Britain.

I am grateful to JC for the close-up of the man.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,J C
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 03:08 PM

Sorry, I was interrupted and didn't finish. This is taking far too long, but I'm getting very verbose in my old age and I think there are some points that are worth making.
Back in the late eighties my wife and I recorded a long interview with MacColl stretching over six months. One of the questions we asked him was did he regret having written The Ballad of Stalin. He said he didn't - not that he still held those sentiments – he certainly wouldn't have written it again - but "If you go through life worrying if you will still think the same in ten – twenty – thirty – forty years time, you would never put pen to paper.
My own family was made up of a mixture of Socialists, Communists, Irish Republicans, and those who didn't give a toss one way or the other.   I can remember when Stalin died in 1953 some of them wept; as far as they were concerned the world had lost the leader of the world's first worker's state. On the basis of the information they had available to them then, they were right. The fact that later information led them to change their minds is really beside the point. I was lucky enough to have that information available to me so I didn't make the same mistakes they did, but I hope I'm not smug enough to castigate them for not knowing what I know.
On MacColl's nationality – again from personal experience.
I was born and brought up in the North of England to an Anglo-Irish family. I never really thought about whether I was a Brit or a Paddy, but I got numerous kickings when I was at school for being the latter. I now live in the west of Ireland where I am regarded (I think) as a returned Brit. In the summer we are visited by hundreds of people with London, Birmingham, Bronx, Sydney (you name it) - accents, all pleased to have made it 'home' – sometimes for the first time in their lives: (any Yanks out there named Murphy or Kennedy who know what I'm talking about?).
Finally, there was a wonderful Monty Python (remember them) sketch about a composer named Arthur 'Two-Sheds' Jackson.   He was invited onto an arts programme to discuss his work, but the interviewer insisted on asking him why he was called 'Two Shed', did he compose his music in one of his sheds, what colour were they, why did he need two and on, and on, and on, and on – a bit like this thread really!   
Let's talk about the man's work, not his youthful indiscretions, his politics, where he was born or why he changed his name (or whether he picked his nose). Freeborn Man, Shoals of Herring, The Tenant Farmer, and the 137 Child ballads he put back into circulation tells me everything I want to know about him


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 03:42 PM

Well said J.C.in similar vein would he have written "China Rag" in the sixties had he forseen the events of Tiananman Square at the end of the eighties "China me old China, your kids have gone astray"?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Folkiedave
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 04:00 PM

Dirty Old Town, Manchester Rambler, Ballad of the M1, First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, Ballad of Accounting, Browned Off, Champion at Keeping 'em Rolling, Big Hewer, Moving-on Song, Joy of Living, My Old Man.............,

Dave


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: akenaton
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 05:27 PM

Wolfgang...."He's worst where his politics enter into his songwriting (like in the incredibly bad Stalin song)."

First time I,ve seen you affect naivety as a debating device Wolfgang!!
MacColl was a revolutionary socialist. I don't know if you've ever been of that persuasion, but I can tell you it gets into your blood and consumes every waking moment.

From what I have read, MacColl believed the Capitalist system to be the biggest impediment to the happiness and fulfillment of humanity and made that point over and over again in his songs.

As I'm sure you know for a song to be "political" it doesn't require to contain the names of political figures

MacColl knew that Capitalism destroyed any culture which didn't fit the pattern (The Travelling People.) Destroyed working folk (They killed him...my old man) and will destroy the music we love if we don't heed MacColl's advice.

His work songs are full of political comment and his celebration of the working man and woman in dozens of songs is socialist to the core.

Can you seriously argue that songs like Dirty Old Town, where he contrasts the joy and expectancy of young love with the squalor and hopelessness of youth in a Northern industrial environment has no political content?

To a socialist of MacColl's mould, politics are everywhere. In the books you read, the songs you sing and the air you breathe.

You cant have MacColl without his politics and he needs to apologise to no one for his beliefs, as most of his fears for the future of society and of folk music have been proven correct...Ake


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,Obie
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 05:47 PM

Communism started out as a form of socialism. However it was derailed by human greed for power and wealth. If people demand too much shoot them on the protest line!
Capitalism was more up front. Give the lions share to the greedy and wealthy and use others as servants to the system. If people demand too much shoot them on the picket line!
The bottom line is that neither gives a shit about the little guy, although lying bastards on either side would argue otherwise!
However, capitalism today is the greatest threat because it wields the most power. Capitalism has money and governments of the western world in it's arse pocket. Today it is growing into the more dispicable of the two.
       Obie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,J C
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 06:09 PM

Nice one Akenton - that sums MacColl up nicely.
Just one more word on something raised earlier. The Ballad of Ho Chi Mhin isn't my favorite song - MacColl wrote many better ones.
However, our tradition is full of hero figures, (not all deserving) from Bonnie Prince Charlie to Willie Brennan, Captain Kidd and Ben Hall - even bodysnatcher William Burke has his say in verse.
A song about the leader of a small impoverished peasant country that stood up to and eventually kicked the arse of the most powerful and avariciously aggressive nation in the world (having already seen off Japan and France) has my vote as a candidate for a song, and as far as I'm concerned Ho Chi Mhin certainly wasn't 'the other side'.
Cheers to all


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: akenaton
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 06:16 PM

I agree with you Obie, because we despise Capitalism , it dosn't follow that we think Communism the answer.

Due to environmental degradation and dwindling energy suppies, work in the indusrial sense will no longer be seen as a virtue.
People will demand more contact with the natural world and some meaning and fulfillment in their lives.
The days when life consisted of slavery for the many in pursuit of power for the few are thankfully almost over...Ake


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: ifor
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 06:21 PM

"Communism started as a form of socialism.However it was derailed by human greed for power and wealth".
Actually I disagree with the above statement!
The Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in the months and years after 1917 was viciously attacked and just about strangled by a right wing counter revolution with over a dozen foreign armies including British and American invading.They in turn supported right wing "white "armies led by the most reactionary anti semitic generals who were determined to conduct a bloodbath against the Russian working class led by the Bolshevik Party.

Russia had already seen some 20 million peole killed in the war between 1914 and 1917.The foreign invasions and the white russian onslaught meant millions more dead and the collapse of the economy and indeed the working class itself.The flower of revolutionary Russia died at the front defending the revolution and with the death of Lenin and the defeat of Trotsky Stalin was able to basically lead a counter revolution based on state capitalism and a form of Russian nationalism. The revolution had been choked to death.

Stalin through the control of the state apparatus murdered and imprisoned the bolsheviks and it is interesting to note that almost all the original leaders of the revolution were killed by him including his most implacable foe ,Trotsky.While Stalin stood for a vile kind of russian nationalism Trotsky was a revolutionary internationalist and a long time opponent of capitalism and its barbaric wars.Incidentally ,Trotsky was firmly opposed to any "party line" on culture and art.In this he differed completely from the Stalinists who followed a cultural line that celebrated the motherland and Stalin himself.
If the revolution was defeated by power and greed it was conducted on behalf of a imperial capitalism wading through the blood of the first world war to ensure that their rule was not challenged by revolutionary communism or the bolshevik revolution of 1917.
ifor


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,Obie
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 06:54 PM

ifor,
   I argue not with your statement but with the concept that communism started with the Russian revolution. Karl Marx was not a Russian but a German who died 35 years earlier and Thomas More an Englishman who died centuries earlier. At least in theory it existed long before. What you state seems to agree rather than disagree.
Likewise capitalism in one form or another has been with us for many years.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Folkiedave
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 07:16 PM

A song about the leader of a small impoverished peasant country that stood up to and eventually kicked the arse of the most powerful and avariciously aggressive nation in the world (having already seen off Japan and France) has my vote as a candidate for a song, and as far as I'm concerned Ho Chi Mhin certainly wasn't 'the other side'.

Very sincerely, I wished I had written that.

Please if we wish to argue the value of Ewan's work - and my limited knowledge of the man leads me to believe he would have loved such an argument - lets keep that to one thread.

There is a separate and possible equally valid argument about the value of the various types of socialism and the personalities involved.
.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Goose Gander
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 07:22 PM

"MacColl knew that Capitalism destroyed any culture which didn't fit the pattern"

The Soviet Union spent decades attempting to strangle the folk cultures of Eastern Europe and Central Asia in order to create a 'new Soviet Man' or something like that. Capitalism in the twentieth century didn't so much destroy folk culture as absorb it and commodify it. Much was destroyed in the process, I agree, but in the case of the American recording industry in the 1920s commercial interests inadvertently documented traditional music that otherwise might have been 'lost' (not that it would have disappeared, of course, but the record would have tremendous gaps). Which would you prefer, a system that at least allows for some space in which folk culture can be preserved, or one that deliberately obliterates it in order to advance a 'scientific' theory of social organization?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: akenaton
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 07:45 PM

What I think is not pertinent to this thread, but you generalise. The folk music of Communist Cuba and many Eastern European states are subsidised and encouraged.

The indigenous people of Latin America, who are about to form a great socialist alliance also have a strong folk culture which I believe will be assured by the new regimes.

So if I must choose it would be the system which values music and art for its own sake, not the one which bends and distorts anything of real worth into the shape of the £ or the $.....Ake


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Goose Gander
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 07:55 PM

I don't mean to hijack this thread either, so I'll just say that my comments were in reference to the USSR during the rule of Stalin. I don't consider Hugo Chavez to be anything close to Stalin, and I even admire him for standing up to George W. Bush (whether recent events in Latin America lead to a "great socialist alliance" or just another series of incompetent regimes remains to be seen).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: akenaton
Date: 06 Mar 06 - 08:00 PM

Thanks MM


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Piers
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 05:27 AM

In writings of the pioneers of socialist and communist thought in the late 19th century, the terms socialism and communism were used interchangebly, both to mean a society of social/common ownership which involves the abolition of private property, money (the means of exchanging privately owned things) and actual democracy (one person's say being as good as anothers in the workplace and in social matters). These pioneers believed that the only possible way of building such a society was from the bottom up, as it were. Marx wrote that workers of all lands should unite to overthrow existing social conditions. Most Russians didn't want socialism/communism in the early 20th century and they didn't get. They got a society with even less democracy than countries with mixed state-private capital-based economies and an economy of mostly state-owned industries where the political elite lived off surplus created by the workers rather than private individuals, workers in "Communist" Russia were as exploited as we are in the west, and Lenin's worker's state never turned into socialism.

The Bolshevik policy of a revolutionary vanguard seizing power by any means necessary (force, deception, populist tactics) to control the state and emancipate the workers on their behalf (whether they wanted it or not) is anti-democratic and anti-socialist. Many people call themselves socialists and still advocate this kind of means to achieve socialist/communist society (like Trotsky did, remember Kronstadt!). Whilst one can empathise with those like MacColl who support and have supported Bolshevik tactics you can't have socialism without socialists. If we want to be rid of war, poverty, miserable work, leaders and bosses and have a society where the priority of production is simply to fulfil human needs we have to make socialists. That is what it means to be a socialist.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Purple Foxx
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 05:47 AM

Marx only ever used the word "Socialist." pejoratively.
20 Years ago Anthony Wright wrote a book suggesting we ought to speak of "Socialisms."I think that's valid.
I actively disliked MacColl's hard line Authoritarian dogma.
This does not invalidate his music.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 06:22 AM

George Moore (great novelist who happened to be Irish) once described Jesus a "the pale socialist of Galilee".

Some people (George amongst them)weren't keen on Jesus either.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Wolfgang
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 06:38 AM

Ake,

you did not understand my point. I consider Dirty Old Town (and many other songs) as brilliant and Ballad of Stalin as crap.

A very noble feeling can lead to a very bad song (rather not vice versa) so motives are not a good guide to discuss song quality.

I agree that MacColl's political ideas have led him to select the themes of his songs and the radio ballads. His ideas led him to portray workers, gipsies, outcasts instead of "normal people". A good choice in my eyes. But that's not what makes him a great song writer.

The way he writes is what makes him great. He gives voice to the people he writes about. He lets us look at life how it is for them (fishing, boxing, mining,...) The morale and the politics are between the lines. We are moved for he can make us feel how injustice, hard work, laughter, losses feels for the people he writes about. He makes them alive for us. That's what makes him great in my eyes. His songs are in a subtle and very efficient way propaganda for humanity.

The Stalin song however is crude, blunt propaganda without any subtelty.

We (in Germany) have a legacy of such songs from the GDR. The "happy worker" songs of the "real" socialism or the anticapitalist propaganda songs always with the socialist morale being directly spoken about in the last verse. These songs are only useful today to make people laugh. Ballad of Stalin is one of the very few MacColl songs that comes for me in that category.

That anyone can have shed a tear about Stalin's death and claims not to have known is just as believable to me as statements from my parents' generation that they hadn't known about Hitler's crimes. It may even be true for some people but they have blinded themselves by only attending to propaganda from one side.

Wolfgang


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Piers
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 07:07 AM

Purple Foxx, unless you can show me otherwise I only know of Marx using the term socialist perjoratively when prefaced by terms such as utopian, reactionary or "true". It was Lenin who drove the wedge between socialism and communism, created state capitalism and set back the project for human emancipation by an era, the tosser. Socialism cannot be a nicer kind of capitalism, this is a great misunderstanding, and indicative that not much is known about socialism.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: greg stephens
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 07:17 AM

Apologists for MacColl's politics tend to say "he was fooled about Stalin,like everone else"
    Granted, there were a lot of fools about dutifully selling the Daily Worker etc, and very nice humanitarian people most of them were too, and great supporters of folk music, and friends of mine. They were, in Lenin's rather chilling phrase "useful idiots". But for every hundred people being fooled, there was one of the clever people doing the fooling. And MacColl, I am afraid, stunningly eloquent and educated man that he was, was one of the foolers. He knew about Stalin. He made his choice.
    Fascinating piece by Peggy Seeger, wasn't it? Bit rude of her publicly laughing at some poor sod's performance because she thought the accent was a bit funny, wasn't it? MacColl sang in some remarkably dodgy accents (witness his recording of John Henry), but I bet she didn't howl derision at him.
But all in all, I think they were quite right to try to run a club with some high standards that they believed in. As Peggy Seeger pointed out quite fairly,that was the rules for their club, and their club alone. Nobody had to go.. They weren't imposing the same rules on anyone else.Unlike any folk club run by Stalin, for example, when anyone singing Rock Island Line would have been shot.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Purple Foxx
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 07:18 AM

(On The Communist Manifesto)"We could not have called it a Socialist Manifesto ... Socialism was a Middle-Class movement,Communism a Working-Class Movement.Socialism was,on the Continent at least,respectable;Communism was the very opposite."
Friedrich Engels(1887)
Fred's words,Charlie's rationale.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Paul Burke
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 07:36 AM

You can't look at things that simplistically. The choice was not entirely Stalin or not-Stalin. It was Stalin or Hitler, then later Stalin or McCarthy.

Remember that the threat of Communism forced western capitalsit society to make huge concessions to the workforce. Even the thirties were less brutal, less raw than the recessions of previous eras- purely because the lower orders had an outside force to which they could threaten to transfer their allegiance. Capitalism operated best (for most people under its control) when it had competition- ironic?

As for people knowing about Stalin... people partly knew, but partly didn't want to believe- after all, there WAS black propoganda, our lords and masters haven't always been totally open about the full facts.

I suppose in a way it's like famine relief- if the churches didn't do it today, probably no one would. Because religion gives people the ability to think in black and white, they can motivate themselves to do what they see as totally virtuous, no need to ask questions. The side issued (why does it NEED to be called "Christian" Aid? Are you pushing an updated version of what the Chinese called "Rice Christianity?)

Similarly, a strong belief like Soviet Communism could give people the ability to act unhindered by second thoughts. The welfare state in Western Europe, the NHS, and the whole tenor of European society today makes me glad that they did.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: shepherdlass
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 07:52 AM

Among the "useful idiots" there were an awful lot of very clever people (EP Thompson, Eric Hobsbawm et al spring to mind) who were fooled by Stalin at least for a time. And some stayed with the CPGB after Kruschev's denunciation of the old regime ... because they wrongly believed that they could change it from within and create a shiny, new improved revolution in already-industrialized countries that better fitted the Marx-Engels template than poor old Russia. When you've held a dream then disillusion is hard to accept and you might perform all kinds of moral gymnastics to continue believing. (Just look at how many bizarre justifications are trotted out by the religious when a natural disaster calls their faith into question.) Can we really say that, just because some people (like MacColl) were a bit better informed than most, they were therefore complicit in the worst atrocities? Or were they just hanging on for old times' sake and fear of the alternative?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Piers
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 08:43 AM

Purple Foxx, In that paragraph from the historical preface Fred is talking about the popular reception to the words communism and socialism at different times. Engels himself wrote a book called Socialism:utopian and scientific, advocating the latter against the leagues of religious obscurantists and utopians (blueprint formers) that called themselves socialists.

As I understand it Marx and Engels began to drop the use of the word socialism in their later days for the reasons he describes.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 08:57 AM

Paul,
Christian Aid is not like that.
It does not evangelise. It will help communities build mosques and temples.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Paul Burke
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 09:24 AM

I didn't say it was, and I know it isn't. But "why Christian"? was the point. It's the motivation I'm talking about- Christians know their reward shall be in Heaven.

Communists of the 30s-50s knew that Stalin wasn't the end point of communism, but accepted his function as a step on the way- just as Christians don't think of Constantine or Calvin as defining their aspirations.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: ifor
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 02:24 PM

I can't agree that it was Lenin who drove a wedge between socialism and communism.
Firstly it was Lenin and the Bolshevik Party in Russia that was opposed to the First World War with all its horror and barbarism.
Only a very small of other parties across Europe opposed this war.Think about it.In Britain and in Germany the young Labour Party and the huge Social Democratic Party rushed to support the most reactionary and militaristic warmongers [sounds a bit familiar]
.Lenin was astounded and didnt believe this at first because right up to the outbreak of war the socialists and democrats were opposed to the coming war but collapsed in the face of the war hysteria.
Not Lenin.The situation was so bad that at the socialist called peace conference in Zimmerfeld in Switzerland in 1916 only a couple of dozen delegates managed to turn up to attend.
Within a little over a year Lenin and Trotsky had led the Bolshevik revolution and had pulled Russia out of the war.This had a huge destabilizing effect on Germany and the allies and hastened the end of the conflict which had caused so much death and suffering.

It was Lenin that saved the honour of international socialism and we should remember that today.
When workers and artists like McColl flocked to join the communists it was because of this sort of achievement not the grotesque tyrannies of Stalin who picked up the pieces after the Revolution had been choked and exhausted.
Ifor


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,J C
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 02:51 PM

There are those (like Greg Stephens) who will continue to vilify MacColl and not let a small thing like lack of evidence get in the way of a good bit of grave dancing. I notice he doesn't say why MacColl should have known the truth about Stalin - very few others did at the time. Was MacColl a party official? Did he have a hot line to the Kremlin? - we need to be told!!! Or maybe all the old socialists and communists were really sado - masochists who not only didn't give a toss about the people of Russia but, by fighting for a communist society were prepared to undergo the same fate.
I really thought that the folk song revival had reached a stage of maturity where it was possible to discuss calmly and intelligently some of the important aspects of our song tradition without our still having to plouter in the mire - there have certainly been enough well balanced and thoughtful contributions to this discussion to indicate that this is the case. But it seems we still have to wait for the sound of grinding axes to die down before we can get round to the important issues - like the songs (remember them?) and how best to ascertain that they don't disappear under a barrage of invective or indifference.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: greg stephens
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 04:37 PM

You could hardly avoid hearing what was going on in Russia in the 30's, 40's and 50's, the period we are talking about. there was a continuous stream of refugees getting out.Some people chose to ignore what was going on,` because they thought there was a Higher Good being served in the turmoil.
    I don't find it takes any great leap of the imagination to admire part of someone's life, but not others. My deep admiration's of MacColl's achievements are something I have made very clear throughout a working life in the theatre, directly inspired by McColl's and Littlewood's extraordinary work. But that does not tempt me to act as any kind of apologist for the man's politics. Someone suggests I am "vilfying" him. Nonsense: anybody who worships Stalin after finding out the truth vilifies himself..


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Piers
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 04:58 PM

Ifor, It's in here. Lenin's work is available on the internet. His philosophy was one of contempt for working people, in theory, and in practice.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: ifor
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 06:17 PM

Reply to Piers
You have attacked Lenin using the website of the Socialist Party of Great Britain.Well they would say that wouldn't they!!

It is a miniscule little sect that claims to be socialist but has done zilch since its foundation over a hundred years ago.

The claim that Lenin had contempt for the workers is also absurd.
For much of his life he lived on the run in contact with workers,seeking their support and their advice.

In power he pulled the new soviet state out of the war and helped to shorten it.I think that is the opposite of contempt.He hated war,injustice and capitalism which in his day was dripping from head to foot in blood [literally].
Lenin gets a bad press from the bosses,the warmongers and the bigots...and I think it was because he was their implacable enemy.

Lenin's Soviet Russia was attacked on all sides by foreign enemies and vicious right wing   czarist armies.It was starved and surrounded and terrible things happened...but perhaps you could tell me why David Lloyd George ordered the British army and navy to invade Russia in 1918...Hadn't he had enough of slaughter??By the way the 18 year old Nye Bevan stood up to and faced down a group of ex servicemen who supported the British attack on Russia.
Rather than attack Lenin we should be looking at the actions of the Labour type parties in western Europe who would not come to the aid of the beleagured revolution ...and Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were among the few honourable exceptions!!
Yes that Lenin was on the side of the workers!
ifor


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Goose Gander
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 06:37 PM

ifor-

Under Lenin's adminstration, a system of prison camps for political prisoners was set up in the Soviet Union. Under Stalin, these camps became the Gulags. To the extent that he was the architect of the camp system, Lenin bears direct responsibility for the millions of deaths that followed in the 1930s.

The whole idea of the 'vanguard party' was that the slavs were too stupid to know what was good for them, so the revolution would have to instigated by intellectuals. If that's not contempt, I don't know what is.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 07:07 PM

The long and short of it is that a lot of people got very cynical about what their Lords and Masters told them about communism. And by and large the toffs were the folk imparting the information, plus we'd had Orwell's great works urging us to view propaganda urging us to hate the enemy with circumspection.

A hell of a lot of my parents' generation are still like that. Not an entirely bad thing, given the monolithic nature of the Murdoch empire and the politicians whom he has in his pockets like so much loose change.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: woodsie
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 10:04 PM

The man was a plonker.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: melodeon king
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 10:11 PM

I agree

Anybody who pretends to be scotch is a plonker.

I hate people who force their crap politics on you.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 11:10 PM

Under capitalism, people exploit people.

With communism, it's just the reverse.

MacColl was a fine singer who did a mountain of good work. I am glad I got to hear him and Peggy that one time in Chicago -- 1970.

Art


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 11:31 PM

Words cannot describe how much I hate that plastic scotch dead thing.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 08 Mar 06 - 03:55 AM

Dear GUEST - let me guess, you don't hate MacColl and his memory because of his politics or his Scottishness. You really hate him because he didn't endorse your particular musical tastes. Let me push my neck out a bit further and speculate that you belong to the 'anything goes' school of 'folk music' - a school whose basic project is to colonise folk with rock music. Am I getting close?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,J C
Date: 08 Mar 06 - 04:01 AM

Melodeon King - the word is Scots - if you don't like Scotch, drink brandy (don't understand the plastic - dead bit, perhaps you might like to try harder and describe it!!!!). Do you, for instance, find those who pretend to be American when they sing just as hateful?
(Jeeze - I find that strange Mid-Atlantic accent more than a little off-putting too!)
There is one name left out of all this of course - Bert lloyd. Bert's politics were similar to MacColl's and would be described as Stalinist, though he was far less open than Ewan was about his beliefs. He was (I'm pretty sure) chairman of the Anglo-Albaninan Friendship Society and a regular visitor to Central and Eastern European countries such as Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Rumania. His activities would have guaranteed him a file in the MI5 archives. I await with interest to see if the publicising of that file generates the same degree of venom as this one.
The early musical choices of Topic Records would almost certainly have earned themselves a place in the shelves - Soviet Airmen's Song, Song of Poland, Chi Li, Song of The Partisan, Kevin Barry (et al) - even down to the pro IRA LP 'Easter Week And After' (Dominic Behan never pretended which side he was on).
I never cease to be amazed how disputes such as this one sort out the pygmies from the giants. On the one hand you have those who will credit a person for all of his contribution to our knowledge and enjoyment of traditional song. On the other there are those who continue to judge him on the basis of what he believed more than half a century ago and will use this to denigrate his work.
I have to say that I find this rush to join the Stella Rimmington School of Grave-Dancing more than a little distasteful.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,J C
Date: 08 Mar 06 - 04:06 AM

PS
Melodeon King,
I notice from another thread that you recommend singing the songs of Bob Dylan - a assume you are addressing this only to Americans.
Do you sing Dylan songs - are you an American - we need to know!!!!!!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Wolfgang
Date: 08 Mar 06 - 04:24 AM

I don't find it takes any great leap of the imagination to admire part of someone's life, but not others. My deep admiration's of MacColl's achievements are something I have made very clear throughout a working life in the theatre, directly inspired by McColl's and Littlewood's extraordinary work. But that does not tempt me to act as any kind of apologist for the man's politics. (Greg Stephens)

On the one hand you have those who will credit a person for all of his contribution to our knowledge and enjoyment of traditional song. On the other there are those who continue to judge him on the basis of what he believed more than half a century ago and will use this to denigrate his work. (J C)

But still the leap's too great for some.

Wolfgang


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Piers
Date: 08 Mar 06 - 04:38 AM

Ifor, perhaps Lenin did have good intentions but they were betrayed by his elitism. He was clearly wrong to say that "the working class, exclusively by its own efforts, is able to develop only trade union consciousness", you and I are living proof of that. The principle of leadership is opposed to the socialist principle of actual democracy. There can be no leaders and followers in socialism.

Lenin's idea that "socialism is merely state-capitalist monopoly which is made to serve the interests of the whole people and has to that extent ceased to be capitalist monopoly" is clearly flawed and history proved it so.

The only way we are going to get socialism/communism (common ownership, direct democracy and free access) is by making socialists. The SPGB may be small but for over a hundred years we have only been solely concerned with building a movement of socialists for socialism and have done so by producing journals, cds, dvds, pamphlets, books, giving talks, standing in elections, holding meetings, debates and discussions. Other so-called socialist parties have presented a programme of policies to patch up capitalism, supported the murder of workers, collaborated with islamofascists, obscurantists and all kinds of capitalist parties, lied, deceived and done more to discredit socialism than advance it.

State capitalism and labour parties and are all dead and good riddance. Building socialism can now proceed with less hinderence from those labouring (pun intended) under the fallacy that capitalism can somehow work in their interests with a few tweaks here and there.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,Obie
Date: 08 Mar 06 - 05:01 AM

The simple truth is that "power corrupts"!
Many a good project has been derailed because the leaders thirsted for wealth and power at the expense of those that they were entrusted to fairly represent.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,J C
Date: 08 Mar 06 - 06:23 AM

PPS
By the way – Lenin didn't invent the gulags – they were well established in Tolstoy's time in the 19th century when he wrote Resurrection.
Trotsky was exiled to one in 1898 and escaped in 1902


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,G.p
Date: 08 Mar 06 - 12:47 PM

Interesting thread, but I haven't got time to read it all at the moment.

Two thoughts; has anybody ever noticed how many people. Do try to pretend they are Scottish or Irish ? I think it's flattering .( In our family we say : many were called, few were chosen!) I'll tell you what though, true Scots ( like me ) have got an accent that leaves no doubt as to where you are from.

I would find it interesting to see which other "folkies" were being watched. I know that Hamish Imlach was under surveillance, yet amongst the folkies he was almost a Tory !

Is there any way of finding out, I wonder ? My interest is personal; we grew up firmly believing that our dad ( a folk singer ) was being watched, and the phone was tapped. He was great, though ! If I was in MI5 I would have watched him too !


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: ifor
Date: 08 Mar 06 - 01:01 PM

Piers
Lenin was no elitist.He worked for years to build the party whether in factory branches or in towns and cities.And who were the members?They were the most determined class conscious socialists and militants around.And it was not an easy thing to be in a czarist Russia with secret agents everywhere and a population which often appeared cowed after the failure of the 1905 revolutionary uprising.
ifor


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Piers
Date: 08 Mar 06 - 01:29 PM

He worked for years to build the party which came to power by coup, used military force against rebels and established a secret police force - he was no socialist.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 08 Mar 06 - 01:40 PM

not like that nowadays eh - folksingers getting mbe's!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: ifor
Date: 08 Mar 06 - 02:34 PM

came to power by coup. ??...
The Romanovs had presided over 20 million Russian war dead.Tsarism evaporated because it was rotten to the core.When the Revolution broke out Lenin was still in exile.The Russian workers had had enough of the slaughter and starvation and took to the streets with the slogans "Down With The Autocracy!,Down With The War and We Want Bread!"
The Bolsheviks echoed their volcanic discontent with the demands for an end to the war,the redistribution of land and workers control of the factories.This is what the workers wanted-and they gave the October Revolution mass support when others wanted to continue with the war and bring back the old generals who were thirsting for blood.

It is said that more people died during the making of a film by Eisenstein about the October Revolution than during the actual revolution itself.

Used military force against rebels??.....
The Red Army was created to defend the precarious revolution against a bunch of bloodthirsty reactionary anti semitic generals who specialised in torture ,massacre and rape.If they had succeeded the word fascism would have been Russian in origin. Add into the mix the dozen or so western imperial armies and expeditionary forces and you can see why the Revolution needed to defend itself.Trotsky who led the Red Army had no military training and had spent much of the war years living in the slums of New York's Lower East Side.He was a writer,journalist and political agitator and yet his Red Army defeated all that could be thrown against it...Ifor


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: ifor
Date: 08 Mar 06 - 02:40 PM

Try reading Ten Days That Shook The World by the American writer John Reed for an eye witness account of the Revolution.
ifor


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Piers
Date: 08 Mar 06 - 05:24 PM

Ifor, what exactly has all this got to do with socialism?

Trotsky wasn't sending in troops to kill bloodthirsty reactionary anti-semitic generals who specialised in torture, massacre and rape at Kronstadt. He sent workers to kill workers who were rebelling against the bolshevik government.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: greg stephens
Date: 08 Mar 06 - 05:34 PM

As Ifor correctly points out, far more people died after the revoltion than during it. The so-called "Russian revolution" of 1917 was a small coup in St Petersburg/ Petrograd/Leningrad/St Petersburg, that toppled the semi-liberal/bourgoeois Kerensky regime(which had been vaguely voted into power by a not-excessively-democratic democratic process after the czar had been de-powered). After this Leninist(Trotsky and Stalin were also around) coup, the Bolsheviks started consolidating, and seriously started killing their opponents, sometimes with the simple bullet to the head or starving in camps, sometimes in more imaginatively amusing ways. This continued, with steadily escalating and more revolting intensity, as Trotsky's army, and then Stalin's regime, took over(with others fighting back, with matching or exceeding ferocity). Hardly surprisingly, this system is still having difficulty evolving into anything very conducive to a peaceful life for the working-class citizens of Russia, even 79 years later.
Ifor is absolutely right, the revolution was nothing. What came after was the real business. And Ewan M thought it was bloody wonderful. Most people who sit back and take a long hard look would think it was just bloody revolting.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,melodeon thing
Date: 08 Mar 06 - 07:33 PM

Singing in a mid atlantic accent hardly equates to changing your name to a scotch one, being a miserable git, pretending to be working class and being a total wanker!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 08 Mar 06 - 08:26 PM

a scotch name...?

Glen Livet
Red Label
Johnny Walker
Talis Kerr

as for Ewan - let's leave it that some of you weren't keen on the bloke. However, some of us thought he was quite nice.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Barry Finn
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 01:16 AM

I believe that MI5 just like our FBI did & does as all nations do. Spy on their own. Those that disagree & make noise will come to their governments attention & will be watched & seen as a threat. It is usually the arts & their artists that will suffer first & foremost for when they speak through their medium they speak for their people, and their people listen. As for Ewan he spoke often & loud, no matter what your beliefs are he sang, spoke, wrote & acted on behalf of his people, working people. His heart was always with the working people.

I met Ewan & Peggy once, in the late 70's in LA at a house & was introduced to them because I had come the farthest distance to see them. Actually I was driving cross country, from Boston heading for San Francisco. They were warm, inviting & very friendly. Ewan & I talked mostly about unions. What came through mostly was his love & respect of the working class & his disdain of anyone or thing that ment to exploit or harm them. I don't know what kind of ideology that might be called but it workd for me before that, then & still does.

I love alot of great songwriters (not that there are that many greats like him), even if they write a piece of shit once & awhile.

Barry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 02:56 AM

100!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 03:15 AM

"Singing in a mid atlantic accent hardly equates to changing your name to a scotch one, being a miserable git, pretending to be working class and being a total wanker"!

MacColl changed his name to a SCOTS (


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Paul Burke
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 03:16 AM

Piers and Greg, remember that virtually EVERY freedom you have is as a direct result of the Russian revolution. There would have been no concessions to trades unionism at all but for the fear of revolution in the west, and the best you would have had now would be in a far- eastern style sweatshop. And grateful for it, at least you don't starve this week.

As for the horrors of the revolution, they weren't entirely caused by the Bolsheviks, were they? The Kerensky government was doomed from the moment they elected to continue the policies of the Czarist government, and continue the war. The Bolshevik/ Left Social Democrat alliance worked for the moment- but the exigencies of the civil war brought repression, after all, if you don't survive, there can't be any reform. That's not an excuse, it's just history.

Russia was a marginally- industrialised country, and subsequently, progressives were hoping that the economic development which Stalin promised (and delivered, at horrific cost) would bring about the circumstances in which a classically Marxist proletarian state could exist. Misguided, yes. But what better model did they have? Liberal socialism, with its history of beiing absorbed into token gestures? Anarcho-syndicalism? Mussolini's state was syndicalist. Or just let capitalism win, and hope for the best?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 03:27 AM

pAUL,
    You wrote 'every freedom you have is a direct result of the Russian revolution' fair enough. There was also the small matter of keeping the Germans out of England! A matter in which Mr Maccoll dodged playing his part. Did he change his name in order to avoid arrest for desertion?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,J C
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 04:00 AM

Whoops, sorry, wrong button.
MacColl changed his name to a SCOTS one (I never once saw him dress up as a bottle of Highland Park) in the same way many people in the theatre did. I see you were promoting the songs of a Robert Zimmerman on the other thread - didn't he change his name to a Welsh one at one time?.
He didn't pretend to be Scots - he was born of Scots parents, grew up in a Scots household surrounded by Scots people singing Scots songs - in my book that makes his cultural influences Scots certainly in his formative years. He always managed to get his songs across to me. The subject of his nationality - along with that of his name are irrelevancies used by those who would prefer to divert the discussion away from his achievments as an artist - like now for instance.
He did incorrectly claim on a few occasions (most of the time he avoided the subject) to have been born in Auchterarder in Perthshire, where his mother came from - but there you go - we all have our little romances at times - I'll bet you go round telling people you're a thinking human being who knows something about singing.
I take it you knew him long enough to know he was a miserable git - I knew him long enough to know he wasn't - I'll show you mine if you'll show me yours.
He never claimed to be working class - he was born into a working class family and he always sided with working class causes (again -I'll show you mine....... etc).
As for him being a total wanker - I'll bow to your greater experience on that one; you obviously have an insider's knowledge of the species.
From your deafening silence on what accent to sing in - I take it you prefer the mid-Atlantic variety - well horn mah swoggle - Ah'd never have guesssed!!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,English and proud
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 05:24 AM

Why are scotch people embarrased by being scotch?

Stupid sub-human, penny pinching, self rightous, kilt wearing, porridge quaffers. SCOTCH is what you all are.

Scotch is a contraction of the word SCOTTISH. It came about cos the stupid cross dressers north of normality SAID IT THAT WAY.

Whiskey came from Ireland.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 05:34 AM

It's all so uncreative, all this sneeering at each other for whatever accent you feel comfortable singing in. Ian Campbell, a protege of Ewan and founder of the Ian Campbell Folk Group once told me that his own Dad's singing style was based on that of Al Jolson.

American music hall acts were popular in England from about the 1880's so its hardly surprising that there has been cross fertilisation in different singing styles. My own mother (Lancashire/Irish) always affected accent of crooners like Bing Crosby when she sang. Ian Campbell's kids sing with Jamaican accents in the group UB40.(probably outselling their Dad and Ewan and the Seeger family and influencing more would be singers out there!)

Ewan MacColl was a great human being, a great artist and achiever, and he was wrong about some things and he was right about others. he did his best. It is pretty obvious from this thread that most of us who met him, found him and Peggy approachable and pleasant.

I just don't see where these people are getting off - saying shitty things about him. Okay so he admired some weird people. Martin Carthy once told me that he admired Cecil Parkinson....no I didn't get it either, but as the French say chacun a son gout, everyone to his goat, and handing out white feathers ....well that is despicable.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: shepherdlass
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 06:01 AM

Thanks, weelittledrummer, for some much-needed balance. I presume a lot of us would agree that he was right about some things and wrong about others ... and would also bet that we'd disagree about which things fell into which category. As you said, each to their own ...

Have to admit, though, it does seem deliberately confrontational when people talk about "Scotch" accents. Where I come from, Scotch certainly doesn't denote a people, it doesn't even always mean whisky - it's a kind of beer.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Purple Foxx
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 06:32 AM

Remember a Scottish relative buying a round Shepherdlass, I ppted for a Pint of Scotch. He nearly fainted!
Dennis Skinner was reputedly a mean Al Jolson impressionist.
Back on subject. Is it not acceptable to respect & admire MacColl as an important contributer to music & reject his,of their time, Political beliefs ?
I think Stalin was beneath contempt.
I wish I had written "First time, ever I saw your face".
I see no contradiction between these two statements.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 09:35 AM

Dear 'GUEST English and Proud',

Not sure what you're trying to achieve by insulting out SCOTTISH brothers and sisters. I notice that they're all far too intelligent to rise to the bait.
Nevertheless, I'm rather hoping that a group of brawny hielan chiels have hacked into your computer, worked out where you live, and are now, as we speak, heading down the M6 to sort you out!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,Barrie Roberts
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 10:35 AM

Since I discovered the Mudcat Forum I have been astonished by the number of people there are in the world who have never made a mistake, adopted a wrong idea or expressed a dubious opinion. Is it some kind of statistical freak that so many of them communicate throuth the Mudcat?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: akenaton
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 03:40 PM

If Ewan had been a footballer, he would have been eligible to play for our team....and we could sure do with him!!
So he was probably quite at liberty to call himself Scottish if he so wished....The shame of being born South of the border was obviouly too much to bear :0).

Getting back to the thread, I'm surprised by the number of people who say they love Ewans music but hate his politics, or we can forgive his mistake because of his songwriting brilliance.

You just don't seem to get it.


Dont you realise that if Ewan had been a Conservative,a Lib Dem, or perish the thought, a follower of New Labour, his wonderful songs would never have been written.

Revolutionarys like Ewan live for their beliefs and in my opinion they should never be separated.

If you're a middle of the road jogger and you like Ewans songs...well you just don't understand them...Ake


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 04:29 PM

If you ever are lucky enough to hear Alan Bennet's Poetry in Motion series about major poets - there is this gem about Louis Macniece - the Ulster poet, and Ake's comment just calls it to mind.

In that wonderful earnest Yorkshire voice, Bennet says something to the effect....Macneice was lot more sensible than Auden and Isherwood and all those other writers of the 1930's. He never made a fool of hinmself over boys, or daft religions, or even dafter politics.
But y'know, if y'never go off the deep end about anything. Y'do tend never to make much of a splash......


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Purple Foxx
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 05:20 PM

Reframing that writing great songs & spouting spurious rationalisations for mass murder should never be seperated?
Well it's a view


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,Guest DB
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 06:15 PM

Another thing us scotch are good at is kicking the shite out of you english.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 07:33 PM

No what it says is that major artists tend to make their startling observations from some pretty startling points of view.

It's just an observation, founded on fact. those of us who stand in awe of artists like auden , ezra pound, woody guthrie, oscar wilde, james joyce, ts eliot, mozart, js bach, etc. we don't necessarilly share these viewpoints, but we realise that the vision these doctrines gave them was part of the magic.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: akenaton
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 07:42 PM

Weve had our differences in the past wld, but you seem a very perceptive fellow

Do I sense a swing to the left?..:0)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: ifor
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 07:42 PM

"The revolution was nothing what came after was the real business"Ifor
The October Revolution was a cataclysmic event ...one of the great political and social dramas of this or any other age.For a brief period the working class of one country was able to overthrow their bosses and take power.And this came during a war which was like a slaughter house right across the Europe from Russia to Flanders.And it was an international event that inspired millions to the revolutionary cause including Ewan McColl.
Revolutionary Russia was blockaded,attacked and starved and its revolutionary bolshevik party veterans almost killed off in the turmoil defending the Revolution at the front against the Tsarist and foreign armies.
Lenin died in exhausted in 1924 [?] and it was left to Trotsky to conduct a battle against Stalin and to defend the Revolution against what Stalin had in store [ie forced industrialization and the gulags etc]
The Revolution was betrayed and of course what came after was dependent on what occured in those few years of hope and despair.Storming the very gates of heaven indeed!
ifor


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 09 Mar 06 - 07:44 PM

Much of the debate here is way off topic, and I'll keep out of the political side of it for now.

On the linguistic side, however, I feel obliged to make the point (as I've done before) that "Scotch" is no more than a contraction of "Scottish". A great many people, including many very well-informed Scottish people, have used, and continue to use, both words interchangeably.

It's certainly true that the word "Scotch" is fast going out of fashion except as a specific term for whisky, mist and other more-or-less inanimate objects; but it is quite wrong to state, baldly and without qualification, that it is per se incorrect or insulting to use it of people. That is a fairly modern snobbery, though one that I must confess to having believed when younger and more impressionable.

That doesn't mean that people don't sometimes use the word with the intention of insulting; but the person who takes offense and rises to the bait risks appearing just as ignorant -or more so- as does the person who made the remark (perhaps innocently) in the first place. Let's try to avoid irrelevant distractions of that sort.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,Babatunde
Date: 10 Mar 06 - 06:54 AM

At last a sensible Scottish man!

Well said.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Mar 06 - 07:37 AM

ake, you're probably the last person on mudcat to notice that my political leanings are slightly to the left of Pol Pot


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: shepherdlass
Date: 10 Mar 06 - 08:23 AM

Point taken, courtesy of Malcolm Douglas. "Scotch" was used in titles of some old song collections, wasn't it? I still can't help but visualize a pint when I hear the word, though. Then again, maybe this says more about me than the word and maybe, like the immortal Father Jack, the first thing that pops into my head in any given topic is the word "Drink!!!!".

Back on topic, we should remember how many people considerably to the right of MacColl were deemed worthy of monitoring by MI5 - didn't they keep a close eye on many in the Wilson government? I suppose the one thing these recent revelations show clearly is that MacColl's work was considered influential enough for them to bother.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,dax
Date: 10 Mar 06 - 09:52 AM

All this begs the question:
Who today is on the MI5 watchlist?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 10 Mar 06 - 01:33 PM

More likely Patel than MacColl?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Mar 06 - 02:54 PM

the British security services are the augean stables that evry elected government can never quite bring itself to clean. the spycatcher thing showed that they have no real attachment to democracy.   the philby business showed that they regard class loyalty well above loyalty to country.


one things certain watergate could never have happened in England. they just ain't that accountable.

truly a law unto themselves.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: shepherdlass
Date: 10 Mar 06 - 02:54 PM

In the arts and media, I'd suspect they keep a subtle eye on all those who've quite openly refused OBE/MBEs like Ben Zephaniah and Yasmin Alibai-Brown.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: greg stephens
Date: 10 Mar 06 - 05:34 PM

And Alan Bennet, a pretty dangerous revolutionary character too.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,J C
Date: 11 Mar 06 - 03:59 AM

While I hesitate to disagree with somebody with as Scots a sounding name as Douglas, as far as I have been informed by in-laws and friends, Scotch was once a term commonly used by English and Scots alike for those coming from Scotland but nowadays it is not favoured by them. My dictionary gives as part of the definition "Scotchman/woman are forms sometimes heard outside Scotland, but many people find them mildly offensive. Scottish is the generally acceptable collective term". It could be argued that terms like Nigger and Yid are contractions of Nigerian and Yiddish and, while I would agree that there is a difference between the level of offence intended and taken by these terms, all give offence to one degree or another and are best avoided, just like the term 'snobbish' when applied by an individual to a large number of people (in which case the similarly offensive term 'arrogant' springs to mind). I understand from Scots friends that the term Scotch has Socio-Historical connotations rather than Malcolm's somewhat simplistic and dismissive analysis.
Back to MacColl;
I have followed this thread with some fascination.
When I came to traditional song back at the end of the fifties the pro-anti MacColl battle was being waged fiercely even then – and many of the arguments used then are still being aired – little has changed, (except MacColl has now been dead for over fifteen years).
I picked my sides back then on the strength of what I heard. I was immediately sucked into the serious side of the revival by the Topic sea albums of Ewan, Bert Lloyd and Harry H Corbett. I became a life-long ballad devotee on the strength of the Riverside albums of MacColl and Lloyd, described by Betrand Bronson as "the most important event in the field since the publication of Sharp and Karpeles' Southern Appalachian collection."
Theme albums like 'Chorus From The Gallows', 'Shuttle And Cage' and 'Bold Sportsmen All' helped make me aware of the broad scope of traditional song, and the still unsurpassed 'Song Carriers' deepened my interest and understanding. The Radio Ballads helped place the language of traditional song into a social context. The few times I met MacColl back then, I was impressed by someone who regarded folk song as an art form which deserved to be treated just as seriously as any other art form.
Down the years I have heard MacColl and Seeger give varying qualities of performance, but I can never remember hearing them sing badly, come unprepared to a club evening, or, as I have heard elsewhere, treat the songs, or the audience with contempt - (I did once see one of the 'stars' of the revival at a club in Manchester, stagger onto the stage drunk and vomit over someone in the front row. I've lost count of the number of times I've heard performers of traditional songs take the piss out of them as being quaint and risible).
While most of these 'stars' were getting on with their own careers, MacColl was running a weekly workshop for less experienced singers. The work of this workshop was helping broaden our understanding of traditional song through its researches into the London repertoire, the Waterloo – Peterloo project and the club feature evenings they were putting on combining song, poetry and prose readings.   
I found that MacColl's politics broadly coincided with my own. In the early days he was lending his support to the peace movement and the trades unions. When Apartheid thugs massacred unarmed Africans, MacColl responded by pointing the finger with his 'Ballad of Sharpville. He was one of the prime movers in the 'Folksingers For Freedom in Vietnam' campaign and helped draw attention to the atrocities that were taking place in that country. Throughout the Thatcher period when she and her government were tearing Britain in half and teaching the workers their place in society, it was MacColl's outpourings that gave many of us a boost and when she used the British police force as a private army against striking miners his support for those strikers was unwavering. How politically effective in changing the political situation is debatable, but as far as those of us who were involved were concerned they certainly helped keep us going.
That MacColl's and my father's generation were guilty of errors of judgment is of course true; as Barrie Roberts rightly suggests, isn't everybody capable of being wrong? An excellent history of the British Communist Party was published about ten years ago which deals fairly comprehensively with who knew what and when about Stalin.
On Thursday night I watched a film based on the experiences of three British Asian in Guantanamo and yesterday morning I woke up wondering why there weren't thousands of people on the streets of Britain and America protesting at the atrocities that are being committed in their name. Not too far from here there are weekly flights landing at an airport carrying torturers and their victims to countries where these activities can be continued with impunity, yet, as I write, the greatest visible response is that four people are on trial for the heinous crime of unfurling a banner in the departure lounge of that airport.
Each day in the national press we are regaled with yet another account of children being abused by paedophile priests – the main reaction – a constant stream of letters complaining about the ordeal these priests are being put through by these revelations.
A deafening silence hangs over the systematic ethnic cleansing that is being carried out on our Traveller population. With very few exceptions, those who don't actively support the policy pass by on the other side.
I have no idea why such things happen in our 'enlightened' society; but one thing I am certain of; I know exactly where MacColl would have stood on these issues.
There was a song dating back to the 1930s Harlan County mining wars which was popular in the early days of the revival – 'Which Side Are you On?'. Anybody who ever met MacColl was left in no doubt as to which side he was on.
If, as has been suggested by one 'highly articulate' individual, MacColl was a "total wanker", it seems to me that what the world (and traditional music) needs now is a few more "total wankers" like him.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,Folkiedave in Spain (cookieless)
Date: 11 Mar 06 - 04:55 AM

Thanks for that JC. I was listening to the story of the travellers who were moved from a site in Leeds. It would have been cheaper to buy them a patch of land of thier own - but no they had to be moved on.

All I could hear was the "Moving on Song" - from 30 years ago.

Go to the BBC website and listen to that brilliant piece of social commentary when the Brimingham councillor says Travellers should be exterminated Ewan says (I think the only time he spoke in the whole series) "Isn�t that too strong a word" and the man says "No".

And as I write this just above me is a mudcat message that says

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: woodsie
Date: 07 Mar 06 - 10:04 PM

The man was a plonker.


I should be such a plonker.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 11 Mar 06 - 05:17 AM

Well said, 'GUEST JC'. Although some of MacColl's political views may be open to criticism there is no doubt that he championed many worthy causes during his lifetime and was not afraid to be outspoken or to fight against the concensus.
Nevertheless, I am convinced that most of those who seek to criticise MacColl don't really give a toss about his politics or his name change (as JC so rightly points out no-one ever criticises Robert Zimmerman for changing his name)- they hate him because HE DID NOT ENDORSE THEIR MUSICAL TASTES; it's as simple as that. Again, as JC points out, MacColl believed that folk song was a serious art form, in its own right, and should not be mindlessly colonised by the latest fads in contemporary commercial popular music. For the record I believe that he was absolutely correct in this respect.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: greg stephens
Date: 11 Mar 06 - 10:32 AM

I agree with 99% of GUEST JC's analysis, but I have to say that his exoneration of MacColl's Stalinism as an "error of judgement" seems a bit gentle. Their were many many opponents of Sharpeville, of the Vietnam war, the treatment of Gypsies etc etc. Thevast majoriy came from a politcal viewpoint diametrically opposed to Stalinism. There is no need to support(or even condone) Stalinism in order to admire and share in "The Shoals of Herring", "Thirty Foot Trailer", "Dirty Old Town", "John Axon", "First Time Ever I saw Your Face" etc. The man was a giant.I believe that, but it's not going to make me start executing my political opponents, or even start wanting to.
    It wpould have been intriguing if his politics had won, and Ewan MacColl became First Secretary of The Party in the People's Republic of Britain. The sight of all our cities having a Peoples' Revolutionary Square in their centre with a thirty foot high statue of a man with his finger in his ear would have been amazing.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: ifor
Date: 11 Mar 06 - 04:07 PM

reply to Greg
Well it is true that there were many opponents of Sharpeville,Vietnam and the mistreatment of gypsies.It is also true that those who opposed Apartheid,the Vietnam war and the mistreatment of gypsies usually came from well outside the ranks of the powerful.
.
Years after Vietnam and Apartheid it is easy to forget that the banks,big business and mainstream political parties were only to willing to support the war and racism in South Africa.

In the UK it was usually the students,left wing parties,radical church people,South African exiles and trade unions who were the back bone of the anti apartheid movement.

But the ranks of the monied classes were usually solidly behind the apartheid regime and their investment portfolios in that country.Barclays Bank's involvement in South Africs springs to mind.

Likewise with Vietnam ,a million died in that slaughterhouse and they were mainly nameless Vietnamese.The British Communist Party for all its faults was heavily involved in all these issues.Take for example the Medical Aid for Vietnam Committee which is still at work today...set up by CP members.It is still raising funds to helpmaimed Vietnamese while the US has walked away from its legacy of agent orange and mines etc.
Ewan McColl was on the side of humanity.What a great artist,and yet a common everyman.
ifor


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Mar 06 - 07:33 PM

of a man with his finger in his ear

Id like to try and get rid of this idea that MacColl put his finger in his ear. He didnt. He cupped his hand behind his ear...........lots of singers do it....Mike Waterson being another well known example. Take a look at the frontpage cover of "Journeyman". no finger in ear.

Some people find it helps them hear themselves - especially when singing harmonies. A " finger in the ear" is about as useful as an ear plug when singing (IMHO)

See here.....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Joe Richman
Date: 11 Mar 06 - 10:52 PM

I never saw MacColl sing. The only time I ever saw his widow Peggy sing was at an old time fiddler's convention, where she was the mid- day "name" act. Her choice of instrumentation and material was hardly traditional.   She accompanied herself for many of her numbers on an electric piano. I wasn't particularly impressed.

She has moved on since her days with Ewan, and, she told us, she is living with someone decidedly not like Ewan now (sexually I mean, not politically). OK......

But back to who is monitoring whom. Both Capitalist and Communist governments (but not necessarily exclusively those two types) seem to spend a lot of time collecting information for files on people.   I wonder if the KGB had a file on Ewan MacColl? Or on me? Naww.....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: greg stephens
Date: 12 Mar 06 - 02:45 AM

GUEST two posts previously: I was waiting for someone to point out, perfectly correctly, that the Great Man did not actually sing with his finger in his ear. But statues in city squares, after all, represent myth rather than reality: and let's face it, Ewan MacColl was the definitive "finger in the ear folkie". The phrase has passed into common usage, so that is how I would wish the monumental statues to be.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,J C
Date: 12 Mar 06 - 04:22 AM

Finger- in-ear has become a term of abuse for anybody who takes traditional song seriously.
The act of cupping the hand over the ear to allow the singer to hear his or her voice more clearly is not a new phenomenon. There are nineteenth century woodcuts of street ballad sellers using the technique. I have a record of Bengali temple singers with their hands cupped over their ears. It is a common device throughout the world with traditional singers and has been for centuries.
Perhaps those who sneer at it can't stand the sound of their own singing - maybe some audiences should adopt it!
Joe - Peggy has changed her act over recent years. While she has always sung contemporary songs, there seems to be an imbalance in her performances nowadays, and the electric piano tends to give the impression of a cabaret performer. I have a recording of a wonderful lecture she gave many years ago on accompaniment; perhaps she might want to re-listen to it sometime.
As far as I am concerned her sexuality is her own business.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: akenaton
Date: 12 Mar 06 - 06:43 AM

I have adopted the "finger in the ear" technique lately

It was during the recent "Daughters of Albion" concert. I also found that the beneficial effect was enhanced by putting a finger in each ear.

I'm sure Ewan MacColl would strongly agree with this improvement to his style.

The critics of MacColl on this forum, would probably find that *removing* their finger's from their arsehole's would improve brain function...Ake


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 12 Mar 06 - 06:44 AM

I think some people are getting confused with the song "Stick yer finger in yer ear, and go tingalingaloo!"

Some years ago, I was doing theatre workshop - we were workshoping a play over a fortnight. the director would then take any useful ideas and then work with his professional theatre groups to put the play on at a major theatre.

It was a scene in a nameless Shakespearan comedy, in which a buch of drunken fools (see typecast again!) were singing a drunken song. I just cupped my hand ove my ear to find my voice in amongst all the others, and the director shouted out "Keep that! Looks Good!"... I'm sorry...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Mar 06 - 08:04 AM

and a traitor to boot!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: greg stephens
Date: 12 Mar 06 - 08:22 AM

Akenaton: well, I shall continue to admire MacColl's work, and dislike his politics(luckily his have not caught on too much here, so I am still allowed to criticise him if I wish). Anyway, to emphasise the duality of my feelings, I am following your advice, and have one finger in my ear and one up my arse, while singing the "Ballad of Joe Stalin".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: akenaton
Date: 12 Mar 06 - 08:26 AM

Greg....I said REMOVE the finger from arsehole...:0)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: akenaton
Date: 12 Mar 06 - 08:29 AM

NORMAL bodily functions will resume shortly..Ake


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: greg stephens
Date: 12 Mar 06 - 08:44 AM

Sorry Ake, you're a Stalinist apologist, I'm an anarchist. Someone tells me to pull my finger out, I just ram it up.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: akenaton
Date: 12 Mar 06 - 08:51 AM

I think you're on the right track Greg...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Mar 06 - 01:11 PM

I saw Peggy perform quite recently - just before Xmas - and she was exquisite.

I thought her singing had improved! - in a way not so "whiney". She played concertina, autoharp, guitar and banjo, and electric piano once or possibly twice. She also sang unaccompanied. She sang a mixture of self-penned and unaccompanied American traditional songs. A fairly normal performance I would have said and certainly different from her last tour of the UK in her choice of material.

Let us remember she is 70 years old - 71 shortly June I think. She tours all over the world still.

And she says she has been lucky to meet two wonderful life partners in one lifetime. Seems about right to me.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 12 Mar 06 - 06:32 PM

Piano was Peggy's first instrument, and the non-electronic variety are not always available, especially at bluegrass festivals...

~ Becky in Tucson


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 12 Mar 06 - 06:42 PM

I saw peggy perform too. Then she got dressed and went home - slapper!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 03:45 AM

That last post wasn't from me - I suspect that some of my previous posts may have upset a certain Scotophobe Ewan hater - good! Anyway, I'm out of here now.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,J C
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 04:35 AM

This argument has now become a circular one revolving around whether MacColl did or did not know what was going on under the Stalinist regime in Russia.
Greg Stephens says he did, I say that not only did he not know, but there was no reason for him to know, any more than the rank-and-file New Labour or Republican Party supporters knew the facts behind W.M.D and the Iraqi invasion – just like wives, the electorate are always the last to be told.
If MacColl was guilty of collusion, so were the British citizens who hung their 'good old Uncle Joe' banners after Russia's great wartime victories. So were the electorate of Stephney in East London and in Glasgow who elected Communists into parliament. So was Pete Seeger, Howard Fast, Bertold Brecht, Garcia Lorca, Bert Lloyd and the host of other artists and intellectuals, (many, like Seeger, were prepared to go to McCarthy's prisons for their beliefs), who continued to lend their support to the Soviet Union right up to Kruschev's revelations at the Party Congress. So, strangely enough, were the vast majority of Soviet citizens who adored Stalin right up to his death, despite the fact that his disastrous collectivization policy was the cause of millions of deaths (Stalin's purges were aimed largely at his political opponents (real or perceived), rather than the ordinary man-in-the-street).
I am sure that the British authorities (and MI5) knew exactly what was going on, but, ever cynical, the British people were kept largely in the dark because, after Lenin's death and the power struggle between Stalin and Trotsky, it had been decided in high places to soft-pedal on anti-Sovietism on the basis that Stalin's 'Communism in one country' policy was preferable to Trotsky's 'Permanent Revolution'.
I have enjoyed this discussion (apart from the usual idiot who inevitably raises his empty head), and would be happy to continue it elsewhere, but once again it, like many other red-herrings , has acted as a diversion from discussing MacColl's contribution to traditional singing – shame!
By the way, the voice on 'The Travelling People' interviewing Justice of the Peace Harry Whatton suggesting that Travellers should be exterminated was that of producer Charles Parker. Charles said that the BBC management wanted to cut out that section and his refusal to do so was the cause of there being no more Radio Ballads (I don't count the two that MacColl and Seeger were not involved in as they abandoned the 'no interviewer' policy and reverted to the old interviewer-interviewee technique).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Purple Foxx
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 05:25 AM

As you say, the Majority did change their view on Stalin after Khruschev's revelations.
However MacColl did not, he remained a devotee until the day he died.
In spite of which fact his contribution to music remains incalculable.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: greg stephens
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 05:50 AM

GUEST JC: we disagree fundamentally, but like you I think we've all said enough for now. Now you're anonymous(why?), but I'm not. You can find me any time at a gig, so come and have a chat some time. I am most interested in your comments on the final days of the radio ballads...were you involved in some way? I worked for Charles Parker briefly on the post-McColl ballads, recording singers.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,J C
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 02:37 PM

'However MacColl did not, he remained a devotee until the day he died.

I would be interested to know on what grounds you base this on - I knew him well for twenty years up to his death, during which time I interviewed him on several occasions. This is not the impression I was left with.

'Now you're anonymous(why?)',
Well basically because I'm employed by MI5
I was a member of the Critics group along with Charles and knew him quite well. He was generous enough to invite me to his home on several occasions in Birmingham and in Leominster to take copies of his recordings. I was not involved in The Radio Ballads but have done a great deal of research on the work of MacColl, The Critics Group and the revival in general.
If your ever gig ever makes it to West Clare I'd be pleased to share a pint and an opinion with you.
Best wishes,
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Joe Richman
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 10:55 PM

I only know about Peggy's love life because she felt it was important to tell me (and several hundred other strangers) about it.

But more importantly, is there also a KGB file on MacColl? As I recall, there were files on such folks as the Rosenbergs and Mr Hiss,and Gus Hall, too. So perhaps they did have a very nice folder on EMacC. It would be interesting to compare the MI5 file and the KGB file. Or maybe it would just be boring. I don't know.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 14 Mar 06 - 12:49 AM

JUst out of curiosity, what did MI5 (or the FBI or anyone else) think that MacColl, or Seeger, or Guthrie were going to do? Sing "subversive" songs? They were doing that anyway, and in public. Spy out military secrets? Where in hell would a singer get his hands on any military secrets? Start a revolution? Not bloody likely.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 14 Mar 06 - 01:47 AM

Ewan McShitface - A traitor who pretended to be Scotch - should have been shot!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Purple Foxx
Date: 14 Mar 06 - 03:10 AM

As for MacColl being a lifelong Stalinist,this assertion was based on an interview I read some time in the mid80's.
I have been unable to find that interview & therefore feel morally obliged to retract that claim.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,J C
Date: 14 Mar 06 - 04:20 AM

There is a forthcoming biography of MacColl written by Ben Harker and commissioned by The History Workshop Journal (I think) which should be available before too long. I have seen the chapter on the mass trespasses movement in Derbyshire. It seems very even handed, which will make a nice change.
I hope (some time) to make available the material I have on him, particularly on his work on singing technique which I believe to be unique.
Purple Foxx - would be grateful if you find the interview you could let me have a copy - thanks.
'Ewan McShitface - A traitor who pretended to be Scotch - should have been shot!'

Don't you just love to wake up to a good intellectual discussion?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 14 Mar 06 - 07:33 PM

Intellectual discussion?

This is mudcat you twat!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,J C
Date: 15 Mar 06 - 03:02 PM

Whoops, sorry,
Take your pills - we'll go for a walk later!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Purple Foxx
Date: 15 Mar 06 - 03:13 PM

Guest JC If it's any use I have it in mind the interview I mentioned earlier may have been in N.M.E.
Can't imagine they interviewed MacColl very often.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 15 Mar 06 - 06:16 PM

You're right, NME was a music paper, so why would they be interviewing a stalinist plastic scotchman?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Mar 06 - 07:37 PM

They interviewed MacColl because he was a name that was constantly cropping up. No folk song book (which were selling by the lorry load) was complete without The First Time Ever. Dirty Old Town was the first song in the harmonica instruction book that was everywhere. the Bells of Rhymney was on an a toptwenty Pete Seeger album. Pete was having hits - little boxes, etc - and ewan was of interest because he was married to a Seeger.

If you can imagine folk music was of absolutely central interest to everyone - it's validity as an art form was discussed everywhere, every medium sized town had two three folk clubs, every music teacher in England was playing Joan Baez's versions of Childe Ballads...folk music was ubiquitous.

MacColl finished the whole thing with that interview. He said that Dylan and Donovan weren't folk music - they were pop singers. that was in june or thereabouts. By the summer the words had got round that it was allright to be as rude as you liked to anybody who didn't conform to your idea of folk music.

I can remember reading that interview as a sixteen year old kid with my head in my hands, and realising that something that I had wanted to be involved in was dead in the water.

There have been some spirited attempts to breathe life into it since, but I think quite instinctively I had got it right as a kid. Its been downhill all the way, since the central unity of the movement was thrown away.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Bird Flu
Date: 15 Mar 06 - 08:18 PM

Never liked the bloke. He was obviously jealous of Dylan's genius. You can't get a more POP song than his "first time ever I saw your face". The man was up his own proverbial arse.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: akenaton
Date: 15 Mar 06 - 08:33 PM

You can't get a more POP song than his "first time ever I saw your face"........   Oh Fuck!!   You've been spendin' too much time with the chickens.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,J C
Date: 16 Mar 06 - 04:14 AM

Purple Foxx,
Thanks; will look that one out - a year would help. Never had any problem with vigorous discussion; god knows, MacColl and Seeger came in for enough flak themselves right from the word go. Had a wonderful example of a piece of outright distortion from Reg hall in the first of the "Folk Britannia' series the other week.
One of the most comprehensive interviews of MacColl and Seeger, in which their politics were fully discussed, appeared in the eighties in Folk Review Magazine, entitled 'And So We Sang'; it was spread over three issues.
More recently, and probably more accessible was a boxed set of 3 cassettes called 'Parsley, Sage and Politics' which has sections entitled, 'Making of a Folksinger', 'Singing Streets'.'Manchester Rambler', 'Stage Left', 'First Time Ever', 'The Radio Ballads', 'Ballads And Blues', 'It's All Happening Now', and 'Singing Out'. This leaves no doubt whatever as to their political beliefs.
The song 'First Time Ever' was written in 1957 and did not become a 'pop song' until Roberta Flack and Elvis Presley got their hands on it.
As we found out to our cost when we recorded a song called 'What Will We Do' from a Travelling woman, once a song is put into the public domain, there is no control whatever on how it is performed.
Peggy Seeger recorded 'First Time Ever' the way it was intended to bwe sung on a number of occasions, the first being on a Folkways LP in the sixties.
Ewan was in the public limelight long before Peggy came along. As a playright he was heralded by Shaw, Brecht, MacDairmid and others as the shining light of the non-commercial British theatre. He was a leading member of the revival along with Bert Lloyd right from the beginning. Peggy brought along the American ballad tradition and marvelous accompaniments. Pete was performing a different kind of music to a different kind of audience altogether.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Purple Foxx
Date: 16 Mar 06 - 04:16 AM

Guest JC,I can't even remember the year but I think it was either 1985 or 1986.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Mar 06 - 06:15 AM

Of course Ewan had a huge public presence. The question we were asked ia why a publication like NME {which in general spent its time chasing after the likes of The Searchers and Herman's Hermits in 1965) should have wanted to interview him at that point.

MM was at that point a more culturally aware publication with heavyweight writers like Max Jones, Allan Jones, Chris Welch and of course Karl Dallas writing for it.

NME concerned itself was chart stuff, but such was the public fascination with folk music that Dylan, Donovan and The Seekers weren't available every week and my guess is that when they chose to Ewan, they were writing about somebody who was constantly being mentioned in folk circles. Ian Campbell had been in charts with The Times They are a Changing and of course Ian had been involved in the Radio Ballads. Ewan MacColl was a name that was in the air, because folk music so popular.

Both magazines sold around 4 million copies a week, and each issue it was reckoned was read on average by three people. they were enormously influential in an age when there wasn't that much music radio or tv.

After 1970 I think the music business became a tributary of showbiz, and the creative force went out of the English music scene to a large extent. By the time Julie Burchill was writing about punk in the 70's, she had a much smaller and shrinking constituency.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: greg stephens
Date: 16 Mar 06 - 06:27 AM

GUEST JC: would you consider joining up as a member of this forum, and sending me a PM to let me know you've arrived? Or alternatively, google on my name or the Boat Band, and get in touch that way. I would like to ask you some questions about Mary Delaney and stuff(assuming you are that Jim Carroll).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,Dave S at Work
Date: 16 Mar 06 - 07:52 AM

Are we not confusing this interview with a famous one that he certainly did for Melody Maker with Karl Dallas in 1965 in which he slaughtered Dylan and Paxton(I don't recall Donovan getting a mention)for their stance as protest singers saying that they were not writing anything with which LBJ could disagree. When asked were they not the voice of young America MacColl said that sadly they were, before telling people to listen to Aunt Molly Jackson if they wanted to hear a real protest singer. He really went to town on Dylan dismissing his songwriting as above and rubbishing his poetry as "re-hashed Ginsberg,punk and terribly old hat" Naturally over the next few weeks the letters page was crammed with replies, some from well known rock stars of the day, denouncing MacColl for his tirade. Personally as a devotee of both men's work I think that this was the first time that I respected someone's opinion even though I did not agree with it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Purple Foxx
Date: 16 Mar 06 - 07:57 AM

No I am certain it was not the MelodyMaker one.
I was only 3 in 1965.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Mar 06 - 09:16 AM

I was 16, but 65 was a big year. It was along time ago - Ithought of it as NME, but I could be wrong. Sorry if I misled anybody.

But i remember it as the start of that sort of polarisation.Not long after I saw Bert jansch fans booing and being horrible to Fred Jordan at at a big folk concert in Exeter. Fred just wasn't the sort of thing they thought of as folk music. there was a young American called Marc Sullivan in Exmouth folk club that year and the traddies pointedly talked incessantly through his set.

The year before there had been a more tolerant and gentler zeitgeist in the folk clubs.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Purple Foxx
Date: 16 Mar 06 - 09:37 AM

1965 Was also the year that Dylan went electric & Lennon went acoustic.
Both were bridge builders.
I think the "Newness" was distressing to people who needed the sense of belonging that being "in the gang" gave them.
Now we can all (should we wish) enjoy "Like a Rolling Stone" & "You've got to hide your love away."
One person who was particularly adept at crossing backwards & forwards across the bridge was Kirsty MacColl.
None of us fully live in the same world as our parents.
But we can all learn from that world.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 11:27 AM

"Ewan was in the public limelight long before Peggy came along. As a playright he was heralded by Shaw, Brecht, MacDairmid and others as the shining light of the non-commercial British theatre. He was a leading member of the revival along with Bert Lloyd right from the beginning. Peggy brought along the American ballad tradition and marvelous accompaniments. Pete was performing a different kind of music to a different kind of audience altogether."

Who is MacDairmid ? Was he a poet ? Did he perchance sometimes call himself Hugh MacDiarmaid ?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: Folkiedave
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 12:29 PM

http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/arts/writingscotland/writers/hugh_macdiarmid/

will tell you all about him.

Two things not mentioned. He had a long and often vituperative discussion with Hamish Henderson in the pages of the Scotsman about the nature of Scots Traditional Music and in particular the big ballads. Some of this is related in the book "The Armstrong Nose" which covers Henderson´s correspondence.

He took his pseudonym from a Lallans poet. (Plenty about these on the internet- google for it if you are interested) The connection with MacColl is that he may have done the same (almost) for there is one called EVan MacColl.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
From: GUEST,Joe_F
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 10:01 PM

I still know some of MacDiarmid's poems by heart, from when I was in Scotland in 1959 and the Scottish Nationalist students were enamored of him; so if memorable speech makes a poet, he was a poet. He was also a Marxist Christian mystic, and something of an impostor. One of his poems that I learned turned out not to be his, but to be a snatch of somebody else's prose broken into lines. After that came to light, it transpired that even the breaking into lines had already been done by someone else.

--- Joe Fineman    joe_f@verizon.net

||: In German there are no regular nouns, and in psychology there are no normal minds. :||


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 26 April 9:41 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.