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Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?

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Lizzie Cornish 05 Jul 06 - 05:32 AM
Dave Earl 05 Jul 06 - 05:41 AM
Strupag 05 Jul 06 - 05:46 AM
Lizzie Cornish 05 Jul 06 - 05:49 AM
greg stephens 05 Jul 06 - 05:51 AM
Kara 05 Jul 06 - 05:54 AM
Scrump 05 Jul 06 - 06:17 AM
Lizzie Cornish 05 Jul 06 - 06:33 AM
Dave Earl 05 Jul 06 - 06:42 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 05 Jul 06 - 06:50 AM
Dave Earl 05 Jul 06 - 06:57 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 05 Jul 06 - 07:00 AM
Paul Burke 05 Jul 06 - 07:03 AM
Lizzie Cornish 05 Jul 06 - 07:07 AM
treewind 05 Jul 06 - 08:00 AM
jacqui.c 05 Jul 06 - 08:09 AM
BuckMulligan 05 Jul 06 - 08:41 AM
nutty 05 Jul 06 - 09:09 AM
Charley Noble 05 Jul 06 - 09:09 AM
Dave Hanson 05 Jul 06 - 09:14 AM
Mr Fox 05 Jul 06 - 09:18 AM
John MacKenzie 05 Jul 06 - 09:45 AM
Folkiedave 05 Jul 06 - 09:54 AM
Richard Bridge 05 Jul 06 - 10:17 AM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 05 Jul 06 - 10:23 AM
GUEST,F augmented 05 Jul 06 - 10:30 AM
GUEST,bob af 05 Jul 06 - 11:16 AM
Barry Finn 05 Jul 06 - 11:17 AM
Morris-ey 05 Jul 06 - 11:39 AM
Folkiedave 05 Jul 06 - 12:18 PM
greg stephens 05 Jul 06 - 12:37 PM
Folkiedave 05 Jul 06 - 01:13 PM
Don Firth 05 Jul 06 - 01:41 PM
greg stephens 05 Jul 06 - 01:55 PM
GUEST,DB 05 Jul 06 - 02:56 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 05 Jul 06 - 04:22 PM
GUEST 05 Jul 06 - 04:39 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 05 Jul 06 - 04:40 PM
Lizzie Cornish 05 Jul 06 - 04:57 PM
Northerner 05 Jul 06 - 04:58 PM
GUEST 05 Jul 06 - 05:01 PM
GUEST 05 Jul 06 - 05:10 PM
Lizzie Cornish 05 Jul 06 - 05:24 PM
GUEST 05 Jul 06 - 05:30 PM
concertina ceol 05 Jul 06 - 05:35 PM
Big Al Whittle 05 Jul 06 - 05:35 PM
Peace 05 Jul 06 - 05:38 PM
dick greenhaus 05 Jul 06 - 05:38 PM
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Don(Wyziwyg)T 05 Jul 06 - 05:56 PM
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Subject: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: Lizzie Cornish
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 05:32 AM

So, what do you think?

Did he help enormously by being so dictatorial about 'folk' music?

Or has his attitude 'damaged' folk music forever?



Lizzie :0)


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: Dave Earl
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 05:41 AM

Lizzie what brought this on?

Why do we need to see things in the way you seem to be suggesting?

Like his work or not he did it and it is out there to appreciate, or not.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: Strupag
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 05:46 AM

He had his contrary side but, after all, he was a genius.
Definately a friend!

Andy


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: Lizzie Cornish
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 05:49 AM

Hang on Dave..I'm just looking for a bit in the book I'm reading, to quote. I've lost the page! Grrrr.....


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: greg stephens
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 05:51 AM

Friend, obviously. Many disagreed with him about many things(the world of folk is the world of argument), but surely nobody but an idiot could fail to spot his enormous contributions to the performance, study and dissemination of British folk music.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: Kara
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 05:54 AM

Anyway he's Kirsty's Dad, and that has to be a good thing.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: Scrump
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 06:17 AM

Definitely a thumbs up for him. Wrote some classic songs that people still sing today, and you can't say fairer than that. (I met him once and found him easy to talk to as well).


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: Lizzie Cornish
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 06:33 AM

Well...I was reading my Colin Irwin book again Dave....'In Search Of Albion'.....BRILLIANT book by the way...and in there Colin discusses many things.

One of them is Ewan and he talks about him being one of the most intimidating people he'd ever met, but without him, perhaps folk music may not have survived, as his rules and regulations about only being allowed to sing songs from your own background, in the right accent and, in particular, different songs having to be sung on a regular basis...did a lot to get people searching for things.

But, did his strict views perhaps go too far? Are they still being applied today in some places?


I think Colin puts it far better than me:

_____________________________________________________________________

From Colin Irwin's book,'In Search Of Albion, Chapter Nine 150/151:

"Ewan MacColl contended that British folk song had been misrepresented by collectors prettyfying the music and polishing its rough edges, thus eradicating proper social context and presenting a mythical idea of prissy respectability. He described the images of folk music resulting from this disservice as 'a nebulous grouping of merry Arcadian, coy rustics prancing perpetually round village maypoles and flirting archly with each other. It suited British society, he said, to foster such false images, as damning as they were to the true heart and soul of the music. To have confused 'folk' with the great army of rural cottagers driven into the Bastilles and factories by successive Poor Law acts, with the half-starved Irish navvies building the first railroads, or with the evicted Highland crofters, would have been unthinkable.

Small wonder, he said, that people had rejected such a sanitised version of folk music and turned instead to music hall and other genres. So, he duly set about reclaiming folk music. Drawing parallels between British folk songs of struggle, human emotions and the working life, with American Blues, he set up the Ballads And Blues club which settled successfully at the Princess Louise in London's High Holborn.......

......Ballads And Blues, later to become the Singers Club, had many highly respected residents, including famous American collector Alan Lomax, the great Irish uillean piper Seamus Ennis, Bert Lloyd, Ralph Rinzler and Isla Cameron.   It also pursued a musical policy so controversial, that it still inspires debate 45 years later. The club allowed artists to sing or play music only of their own heritage, a stance Peggy Seeger says was taken after discussions with residents and an audience committee, following a particularly gruesome Cockney version of Leadbelly's 'Rock Island Line'. It was so bad, she said, that the audience was laughing at the hapless young singer, and they felt something had to be done to discourage it.

Whatever else, it concentrated the British folk revivalists' minds away from slavishly copying the American songs gaining currency from the likes of the Weavers and the Kingston Trio, and triggered a flurry of research into the roots of the English tradition. Another Ballads And Blues dictum, apparently stemming from the audience committee, was that resident singers shouldn't perform the same traditional song more than once very three months, ensuring a frenzied turnover of new material. Such rigid rules have helped cement Ewan MacColl's dictatorial reputation, but there's no doubt the strong stance empowered British folk song enormously, while unemployed ex-skiffle group members rapidly involved themselves in a network of folk clubs all over the country.

MacColl was a man you didn't mess with. I only met him a couple of times and he scared me witless. He didn't suffer fools gladly, was uncomprimising in his stringent views about politics and the purity of folk song, and was one of those who felt betrayed by Dylan's decision to go electric........"
______________________________________________________________________





I suppose I'm just asking if Ewan's obsessive rules damaged the music as well, in the sense of seeming to make it become elitist and at times very overly intellectualised?


Lizzie :0)


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: Dave Earl
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 06:42 AM

Well Lizzie the man had his views which, in the main, I have no dispute with.

Like Colin Irwin says Ewan was not the easist of men to deal with.

Butthat should not detract from the work he did for the revival of Traditional song and music.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 06:50 AM

Are we going to have a Bash Ewan MacColl thread now? I think he did FAR more good than harm (if there was any lasting harm). He could be difficult but NO, of course his attitude didn't "damage folk music forever". Lizzie will probably protest that she's just asking an objective question but the wording is hardly unbiased -

>Did he help enormously by being so dictatorial about 'folk' music?

>Or has his attitude 'damaged' folk music forever?

>I'm just asking if Ewan's obsessive rules damaged the music as well, in the sense of seeming to make it become elitist and at times very overly intellectualised?


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: Dave Earl
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 06:57 AM

Who is bashing who here?

A question was asked and answers have been given.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 07:00 AM

I'm only asking the same questions you did. Since when is that bashing? The questions ARE worded negatively.

>Lizzie what brought this on?

>Why do we need to see things in the way you seem to be suggesting?"


Outta here now. Bye.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 07:03 AM

Nobody had to do what he said, he couldn't be in all the folk clubs at once. I remember clubs run on "those" lines, no guitars, no American songs, no music hall songs, beards sweaters sandals FITE and all the stereotype. A regular run of themed nights through round-the-year, soldiers' songs, industrial songs, just like in the books. But if you didn't like it, well, lots of pubs had back bars or function rooms, happy to give them out free or cheap, and if you didn't like it, go and start your own. And lots of people did.

McColl and co deserve the credit for getting things going, just as the Dubliners/ Clancy Brothers/ Peter Paul and Mary/ Seekers/ Spinners/ Pentangle and all that lot that we patronisingly looked down on back then deserve the credit for getting stuff circulated. Weren't they naive? Weren't we naive? Aren't we still naive?


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: Lizzie Cornish
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 07:07 AM

>>Are we going to have a Bash Ewan MacColl thread now?<<

Oh Sigh! Here we go again!

Bonnie....I've just taken AGES to type all that out above. I'm merely asking some questions that Colin didn't.

You've said what you thought....fine.

But lay-off all the personal stuff....there's a dear.

Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: treewind
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 08:00 AM

The same question could be asked about Cecil Sharp, and with the same answer - everybody who does great work in collecting, researching and promoting folk music also has a personal agenda. It's good to be aware of that agenda, and none of them has all the answers, but that's no reason to denigrate their work. (Sharp's agenda was very different from MacColl's of course)

I don't know what point Lizzie was trying to make with the Colin Irwin quote, but it doesn't seem overly critical of MacColl, and it quite clearly explains what he wanted to achieve. People who change the way we think about things are usually extremists. If they weren't, nobody would have taken any notice.

Is there any evidence of "damage" now, caused by MacColl?

If you want an excuse to devalue his work, I'd have thought it was not his dictatorial attitude or his scary personality, but his hypocrisy. He appears to talk about being authentic to your roots and performing songs from your own culture, but he used an assumed name, I believe his Scottish accent was deliberately acquired, and he wasn't averse to writing "traditional" songs that didn't belong to his own background. Even so, as most of us here seems to agree, he made an enormous positive contribution to music, to attitudes, and to making people think.

How many of us are doing any better?

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: jacqui.c
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 08:09 AM

I'd go along with Paul. There have been many influences on the modern folk scene and, it seems, there are many interpretations of what folk is and how it should be performed.

However well known, accomplished or intimidating one person is their view is simply that, their view and the rest of us can take or leave it as we see fit.

I find it difficult to see how anybody who takes an interest in and tries to put forward folk music can be seen as a foe. Possibly, as MacColl seems to have be perceived by some, overbearing and arrogant in their views but still a friend to a musical genre that needs all the friends it can get.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 08:41 AM

I can't see how anyone - dictatorial, intimidating or whatever - could harm the music. It was what it was, it is what it is, and it will be what it will be. "Folk" music is pretty much whatever the folk play & sing to amuse themselves. If a buncha "folk" sit around a campfire and sing "Act Naturally" then that song is on its way to becoming part of a (if not "the") tradition. Some can sniff that it ain't folk, by by gum the folk have the last word, always. There have aleways been - and probably always will be - confused people who think that scholarship is prescriptive; who study stuff as it is & has been, and bollix themselves into thinking that's the way it's supposed to be. Pshaw. These folks help a great deal by letting us know what's been; smart "folk" stop listening when scholars begin dictating.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: nutty
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 09:09 AM

I see MacColl as belonging as much to "folk theatre" as to folk music. Every booking he undertook was a performance with a message - very similar to Roy Bailey performing today.

I think we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to MacColl for giving us all a good shake and reminding us that there were burning issues in the outside world that needed to be commented on and that the folk clubs were places where those comments could be aired.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 09:09 AM

One probably has to initiate a thread on Ewan MacColl at least once a year, or revive one of the older ones (which would be my preference). He was and is an important figure in the revival of traditional and traditional style folk music, and probably will continue to be for years to come. Some younger folks will be curious about the man himself. Some older folks make still be feeling the sting of being told what they should be singing and how they should be singing it.

I only encountered MacColl as a performer with his wife Peggy Seeger and found that a wonderful experience. I also mined many of his recordings, and his songbooks.

I haven't anything else of value to contribute to this thread.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 09:14 AM

Ewan MacColls ideas about only singing songs from your own culture to quote Martin Carthy " helped me to discover English folksong " Ewans legacy to folk music is immeasurable.

I've never read Colin Irwins books but his journalism left a lot to be desired, he often repeated the erroneous fact that Ewan MacColl was born in Auchterarder, when everyone else in the world knew he was born in Salford.

Lizzie, do a search, it's all been discussed over and over before.

eric


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: Mr Fox
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 09:18 AM

Can't say I agree with Lizzie about Irwin's book. He seems to spend half of it apologising for English culture and the other half mocking it or making snarky comments about football hooligans.

'The Magic Spring' by Richard Lewis (http://www.delevine.com/readfrommagicspring.html) is MUCH better value.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 09:45 AM

Well I met him and sang in his club, and named my son in his honour.
But he was at times a 'difficult' person to get on with. He had his beliefs, and he had his funny little rules, but like me you either took him or left him alone.
He did write a fine body of songs, and he did give birth to the Radio Ballads along with Charles Parker, and for those alone he deserves undying gratitude from all lovers of folk music.
Giok


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 09:54 AM

As Charley says this seems to come up every year. Before posting to this thread any more and taking Colin Irwin's uncritical words as gospel please read this article. Colin Irwin was plain wrong.

There is a link to the original article here.

Clearly the policy of " If you were singing from the stage, you sang in a language that you could speak and understand" came not from MacColl, but from members of the Ballad and Blues Club. Likewise the policy of that ".....not sing the same traditional song more than once every three months..." came from the members of the Ballad and Blues Club also.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 10:17 AM

I think there is much to be said for limiting the repeated utterance of the same song, and there is also much to be said for people singing folk songs from their own cultures. There is much to be said against hypocrisy and there is also much to be said against arrogance dictatorialism and compulsion - and how could a socialist (NB, for the benefit of Americans, usually a term of praise in the UK) fail to understand that?

There is also a remarkable hubris in purporting to write "folk" songs and a fortiori in purporting to write them for a culture that is not one's own.

Let it not be forgotten that in some ways the golden age of English folk revival came after MacColl was a spent force, and by that measure, his influence if he had one of the magnitude suggested must have been beneficial overall.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 10:23 AM

Ewan, ne: Jimmy Miller was one of the greatest unaccompanied ballad singers I've ever heard.
He brought that tradition to life.

Every artist, I believe, has a certain bias and passion for what they do. This means that they revere their art to the point of not wanting to see it debased for any reason.

Jazz musicians tend to be like this. Some are more tolerant of pop music forms and some think they suck.

Personally, I understand Ewan and Alan Lomax who decried the popularization and bowdlerization of trad music. I don't agree with the "pollution" but I understand why they would think that way.

Tolerance is OK up to a point and then you gotta' tell the Emperor about his new clothes.
American Idle comes to mind.
Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: GUEST,F augmented
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 10:30 AM

Personal characteristics aside, MacColl was a huge positive influence.
It's entirely possible that without him and others, English traditional music would have acquired all the distinctiveness of a Big Mac and that certain revered English singers of Some Vintage would now be plying their trade with transatlantic accents.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: GUEST,bob af
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 11:16 AM

In terms of folk song writing, some people might consider Ewan MacColl to be "The Woody Guthrie of the UK", I think. Like Woody Guthrie's best songs, MacColl's songs seemed to also reflect a desire to create a new world (and not just a desire to individually make a good living as a professional musician or singer-songwriter within a corrupt society). Many of MacColl's songs seemed to also reflect Woody Guthrie's view of what constitutes a "folk song". In a July 15, 1946 letter of 60 years ago, for instance, Woody Guthrie wrote the following:

"Every folk song that I know tells how to fix some things in this world to make it better, tells what is wrong with it, and what we've got to do to fix it better. If the song does not do this, then, it is no more of a folk song than I am a movie scout."


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 11:17 AM

I had met both Ewan & Peggy, once, back in the late 70's. They were on tour & I was traveling cross country for no perticular reason. I found a singing swap & then found out that they were doing a house concert in L.A. the next night & dived a the chance. I was introduced to them because I had come the farthest to see them. 3,000 mile but not really to see them. Anyway I found them to be very easy to talk to, interesting, attentive & Ewan was very interested in my trade (roofer) asking about the old timers & how they were treated, how they past on there knowledge, etc. I came away with a great respect for them both. I think that they were very pleased that a young someone whose neck was dirty & had rough hands appeciated their singing.

That said, who gives a care about how he ran his show. His contributions were tremdous & far reaching, mony of his written songs are songs are the world over (so have claimed to have even collected them), he's lead many others in their quest into traditional music & without him there's a lot that wouldn't be. SO how can you fault someone if he might've rubbed a few people in a different manner.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: Morris-ey
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 11:39 AM

Lizzie

What do you think about the name changer "Ewan MacColl"?


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 12:18 PM

There is much to be said against hypocrisy and there is also much to be said against arrogance dictatorialism and compulsion - and how could a socialist (NB, for the benefit of Americans, usually a term of praise in the UK) fail to understand that?

I assume - though you do not name him Richard, that those words are meant to refer to MacColl. Where is the evidence to say that MacColl was arrogant and dictatorial?

Everyone who met him (as opposed to those who have just read Colin Irwin's book or heard about him second-hand) will tell you just the opposite as they have on this thread.

I also met him on a number of occasions and found him just the opposite to dictatorial and arrogant.

He was not perfect and I have never met anyone who claimed he was, and Peggy certainly doesn't, but arrogant and dictatorial were not amongst his faults as far as I know. (Except by second-hand reputation).

Colin Irwin met him twice and he was scared witless each time. I think that says more about Colin Irwin than it says about Ewan MacColl.

As far as the name change goes there are two verions to this. The one I prefer to believe is that a number of people of Scottish heritage were writing poetry in the 1940's/50's and they took other names. Thus Christopher Grieve took the name Hugh McDiarmid. Jimmie Miller took the name Evan MacColl, and got it wrong!.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: greg stephens
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 12:37 PM

He liked to do things as well as he could, and he expected the same from other people. And he had very poweful opinions about folk music. Good for him. And of course he was self-contradictory: he famously sang "John Henry" but tried to stop others from doing so. Fine by me, what's wrong with changing your opinions from time to time? Thing is, he made things happen. Wonderful.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 01:13 PM

How do you know he tried to stop others signing John Henry?

Dave Eyre


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: Don Firth
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 01:41 PM

Being "allowed" to sing only folk songs from my own culture raises a bit of a problem for someone like me. What are folk songs from my culture? I'm urban born and raised, most of my musical influences when I was younger came from listening to the radio. Other than the usual run of kids' programs (Jack Armstrong, Captain Midnight, The Green Hornet, The Lone Ranger, etc.) that often used excerpts from classical music as theme and background, I heard programs of popular and classical music (Manhattan Merry-Go-Round, Your Hit Parade, The Frederick and Nelson Concert Hour, etc.), as well as I can remember, the first folk singer I ever heard was Burl Ives, who had a radio program on Sunday afternoons for a short time. Later on, records of Susan Reed and Richard Dyer-Bennet. These singers and others that I heard early on sang folk songs from a wide variety of sources.

So what am I supposed to sing? In terms of folk music, what is my culture?

I think I can see what MacColl was getting at:   the somewhat prissy parlor renditions of British (or for that matter, American) folk music having to do with milk maids and shepherds cavorting in the clover and depicting some sort of bucolic paradise hardly reflected the broad range and frequent grittiness of real folk music, and it would undoubtedly be a bit galling for someone such as MacColl to be inundated with British folk enthusiasts singing "covers" of American singers when there is such a rich body of British Isles music that may very well have been generally neglected.

But perhaps I'm doing exactly what I should be doing:   most of the first folk songs I learned, I learned from the recordings of Burl Ives, Susan Reed, Richard Dyer-Bennet, Cynthia Gooding, Ed McCurdy, and other such sources, along with a collection of song books, like Carl Sandburg's American Songbag or those of the Lomaxes, or Song Fest, et al. A few songs I've learned directly from other singers, such as Walt Robertson or Bob Nelson. But they, in turn, probably learned them from recordings or song books just as I did.

If I sang only songs from my cultural background, I would be singing songs learned from Frank Sinatra records, along with an occasional operatic aria. And once in a great while, a song recorded by the Weavers or the Kingston Trio.

What is my culture? I would love to have had a chance to talk to MacColl (I did meet him once, but we talked of other things) and ask him that question.

But don't get me wrong. I respect him very highly and don't see that he could possibly be regarded as a foe of folk music.

By the way, I sing several songs I learned form MacColl's records. Does my Scottish ancestry count?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: greg stephens
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 01:55 PM

Folkiedave: because he told them not to. Often, and loudly. Obviously he did not set the police on them, or shoot them, but he brought whatever influence he could to bear on the situation to prevent people singing Rock Island Line and John Henry in the wrong accent. And he didnt want them trying to imitate the right accent either. I can see why he did it, and sympathise. And it was a good thing for English music that he did raise those questions: though I'm not sure that he wouldn't have been a bit more successful if he'd used a more softly softly approach.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 02:56 PM

Dear Morris-ey,

What do you think about the name changer "Bob Dylan"? I know what I think - if an artist decides to change his/her name, who gives a s..t??

As for Ewan MacColl - I met him at an impressionable time in my life and he made a very deep impression on me that has lasted me for the rest of my life. He definitely changed my life for the better - and, personally, I always found him very approachable.

No artistic experience that I have had, before or since, has ever had the same impact as Ewan singing ballads. At a time when our popular culture was being swamped by commercial rock music here was this remarkable artist, singing these exciting and dramatic, traditional narrative songs, and holding audience after audience in the palm of his hand. I think that many of his detractors still hate him because he was uncompromising and made absolutely no concessions to commercial popular culture. He was unimpressed by passing fads and fashions and had a truly wide-ranging perspective. He was both an internationalist and a person with a deep feeling for history and the historical roots of our culture. He was a giant whose like we will never see again.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 04:22 PM

Can I clear up one mistake repeated above:

The Ballads and Blues Club at the Princess Louise and various other venues was organised by Malcolm Nixon. It DID NOT BECOME THE SINGERS CLUB. All the people mentioned above; Lomax, Ennis, Lloyd, Rinzler, Cameron, plus Dominic Behan, Sandy and Caroline Paton, Rambling Jack Elliott, Fred Gerlach, Dean Gitter, Oscar Brand I could go on, ALL appeared at the Ballads and Blues Club before Ewan and Peggy decided to go off and start the singers club with Bruce Dunnett.
Ewan's dictum was if you are American it's ok to sing American Songs and if you are English you should sing English songs. However if you were born in England of Scottish parents it would be perfectly ok to sing bothy ballads in a mock Scots accent and be accompanied by the five string banjo, just like they used to in the crofts.
The Ballads and Blues Club continued using it's previous broad policy.
Just wanted to get that straight.

But he did write one or two good songs and some rubbish too!


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 04:39 PM

Does the originator of this thread actually perform, sing, write, make music?


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 04:40 PM

Sorry but I should also have included among the people that appeared at the Ballads and Blues Club prior to Ewan & Peggy's departure; Sam Larner, Bob & Ron Copper, Enoch Kent and Harry Cox.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: Lizzie Cornish
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 04:57 PM

>>Does the originator of this thread actually perform, sing, write, make music?<<

Why would you like to know?



Great info guys.....I'm enjoying reading all this. Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: Northerner
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 04:58 PM

I met him in the early 70s when I visited his club. He immediately put my back up by inviting me to sit on his lap. I was younger then and a great deal slimmer and lighter!!! His audience were way too reverential for my liking. Plus he was doing stick to your own culture stuff. I'm English of Scottish parentage and immediately posed a problem (it's actually pretty much the same background as Ewan). I did return to his club on several occasions but tried to avoid going on the nights when he was present. I admired the man but couldn't like him. I thought he was snobbish.

Brilliant for what he did for our country's folk heritage (though I reckon he made a few errors). But likeable? Well, not always.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 05:01 PM

Sidmouth Folk Week


Saturday 4th ~ 11th August 2006

There will be a Folk Festival in Sidmouth; including a series of concerts and other events.


For further information visit the official website: www.sidmouthfolkweek.co.uk

Contact us by e-mail at info@sidmouthfolkweek.co.uk


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 05:10 PM

>>Does the originator of this thread actually perform, sing, write, make music?<<

Why would you like to know?



Credentials.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: Lizzie Cornish
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 05:24 PM

You're not Ewan II are you? ;0)


You'll have to elaborate a bit more than that I'm afraid.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 05:30 PM

There seems to be a surfeit of mindlessness on Mudcat lately. I simply wondered why you chose to add to it.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: concertina ceol
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 05:35 PM

He had a nice SAAB and wanted to be put up in a hotel when he came to our folk club. That went down well in a pit village - not. Why did he change his name as well? He didn't start off as a MacColl. Bizarre bloke - but then most geniuses are flawed in some way.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 05:35 PM

well I found him likeable, pleasant, helpful, witty and I have nothing but nice memories of him. he never tried to tell to sing in my own accent, as I was trying to write calypsos at the time. I knew he thought I was crackers and he invited me to sing a song at his club - but I was young and dim and i wouldn't go anywhere for less than a three song spot - certainly not all the way to London.

On the other hand the vocal gurning and hey up, ee ba goom!, willie eckerslyke, routines are firmly established as the lingua franca of the English folk revival.

are you sure these people are not blaming some stuff Ewan said experimantally thirty years ago for not being brave enough to sing in something approaching their own voices?


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: Peace
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 05:38 PM

Jimmie Miller did much to preserve music. His views were his views.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 05:38 PM

You know folks, you don't really have to like the man. Or even have to have liked the man. What he did for traditional folk music is awesome--even completely apart from the material he wrote. His collection of Scottish songs (predating Buchan and Hall) really kicked off the Scottish folk revival; his early recordings were the first introduction to traditional singing that most of the US ever encountered.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: Lizzie Cornish
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 05:39 PM

From er 'Guest'

>>There seems to be a surfeit of mindlessness on Mudcat lately. I simply wondered why you chose to add to it.<<

You've obviously not read all the posts on this thread then....it's filled with great stories that loads of us probably knew nothing about, until a short while ago.

Stop grizzling, there's a sweetheart...and just enjoy....

And now...back to Ewan


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 05 Jul 06 - 05:56 PM

"Does the originator of this thread actually perform, sing, write, make music?"

Pointless question Guest (not unbommon).

All that is required for the valid expression of an opimion is an appreciation of music. It is not necessary to be a musician for that to apply.

If you have nothing to add, other than personal attack, go play elsewhere.

Ewan's contribution to folk music is indisputable. His opinions about performance were just that, HIS opinions, to be accepted or rejected at will. His people skills were a problem only to those who allowed them to overshadow his singing skills.

BTW, guest, I DO sing, perform, write, and make music. Does this give any extra weight to MY opinions?..........I THINK NOT!

Don T.


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