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MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl

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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
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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


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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.


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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.


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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!


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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.


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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?


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

Intellectual discussion?

This is mudcat you twat!


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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!


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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.


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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?


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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).


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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 ?


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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.


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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. :||


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