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MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl

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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
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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 (


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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?


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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?


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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!!!


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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!


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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?


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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


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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......


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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


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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.


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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.


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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)


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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


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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.


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

At last a sensible Scottish man!

Well said.


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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


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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.


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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?


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

More likely Patel than MacColl?


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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


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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.....


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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.....


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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.


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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.


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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


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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...


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

and a traitor to boot!


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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".


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

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


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

NORMAL bodily functions will resume shortly..Ake


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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.


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

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


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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.


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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


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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!


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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.


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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).


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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.


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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.


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