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Lyr Add: Northern City (Ewan MacColl)

DigiTrad:
BALLAD OF ACCOUNTING
BRITAIN'S MOTORWAYS
DIRTY OLD TOWN
FAREWELL TO TARWATHIE (2)
GO DOWN, YOU MURDERERS
GOODBY TO THE THIRTY FOOT TRAILER
JOY OF LIVING
MANCHESTER RAMBLER
MY OLD MAN
NOBODY KNEW SHE WAS THERE
NORTH SEA HOLES
SCHOOLDAYS END
SECOND FRONT SONG
SHELLBACK SONG
SHOALS OF HERRING
SONG OF THE IRON ROAD
THE BALLAD OF TIM EVANS
THE FIRST TIME
THE TERROR TIME
THE TROOPER CUT DOWN IN HIS PRIME
THE WEEK YOUR MAN'S AWA' or FISHERMAN'S WIFE


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Lyr Add: Legal Illegal (Seeger/MacColl) (4)


Charley Noble 07 Mar 07 - 02:45 PM
GUEST 08 Mar 07 - 02:50 AM
Charley Noble 08 Mar 07 - 08:46 AM
Dave the Gnome 08 Mar 07 - 10:19 AM
GUEST 08 Mar 07 - 02:38 PM
Charley Noble 08 Mar 07 - 03:07 PM
Dave the Gnome 08 Mar 07 - 05:22 PM
GUEST 09 Mar 07 - 03:05 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 09 Mar 07 - 03:52 AM
Dave the Gnome 09 Mar 07 - 04:37 AM
Charley Noble 09 Mar 07 - 08:51 AM
GUEST 09 Mar 07 - 02:36 PM
GUEST 10 Mar 07 - 04:39 AM
Jim McLean 10 Mar 07 - 04:46 AM
Folkiedave 10 Mar 07 - 05:27 AM
Jim McLean 10 Mar 07 - 05:29 AM
Charley Noble 10 Mar 07 - 09:47 AM
Anglo 11 Mar 07 - 09:51 AM
Charley Noble 11 Mar 07 - 12:37 PM
Phillip 19 Mar 07 - 09:19 AM
RoyH (Burl) 19 Mar 07 - 09:59 AM
Grimmy 19 Mar 07 - 10:07 AM
GUEST,Jon Bartlett 20 Mar 07 - 01:26 AM
GUEST 20 Mar 07 - 02:39 AM
Phillip 20 Mar 07 - 05:37 AM
Phillip 20 Mar 07 - 05:59 AM
Charley Noble 20 Mar 07 - 06:56 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 20 Mar 07 - 01:38 PM
GUEST 21 Mar 07 - 03:09 AM
Phillip 22 Mar 07 - 09:48 AM
Phillip 11 May 07 - 11:45 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: NORTHERN CITY (Ewan MacColl)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 07 Mar 07 - 02:45 PM

Here's one of the first seaport songs I learned to sing, one MacColl apparently never recorded (copy and paste into WORD/TIMES/12 to lineup chords):
^^
NORTHERN CITY

(Words & Music by Ewan MacColl (1957)
© 1963 Stormking Music Inc.
Published in Ewan MacColl Peggy Seeger Songbook, Oak Publications, © 1963, p. 87)

C------F--C------------------F----C
Where the wind blows cold and salty,
--------F---C--------------Am
Where the river joins the sea,
------------F--------------------G--------------C
Where the big ships sail the broad At-lan-tic,
------------G--------G7-----C
That's the place, I long to be.

Chorus:

C
Oh, you northern city,

Oh, you matlow's city,
G7-------------C
Oh, you sailor's ci-ty

Seen the fog come creeping shorewards,
Heard the sirens through the night;
Seen the sun sink in the salt-sea water,
Heard the gulls at first daylight. (CHO)

Grew up here by the Western Ocean,
Learned to live and learned to dream;
Thought of all the things I'd never done,
All the lands I'd never seen. (CHO)

Turned my back on you one morning,
Sailed away across the sea;
Left your judies and your streets behind me,
Now I hear them calling me. (CHO)

Notes by Ewan MacColl:

Londoners profess to find the cities of northern England and Scotland grim and forbidding places. They conceive the whole area of Great Britain beyond the Home counties as either a great barren wasteland or mountain and bog or as a continuous chain of industrial cities. It is, of course, neither of these, and while the northern cities may lack much of the charm of London, they all possess distinct personalities. The city of this song could be Liverpool, Salford, Manchester or a score of similar places.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Northern City (Ewan MacColl)
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Mar 07 - 02:50 AM

Charlie,
I thought it was recorded on one of the Folkways 'New Britain Gazette' albums, but I could be wrong - I'll dig them out when I wake up. I certainly heard him sing it, but it could have been at the Singers Club.
He re-used the tune and the form for 'Saturday Morning in Angel Lane' which was written for the mini-radio ballad for schools, 'Romeo and Juliet' which was set in London's East End.
Thanks for the reminder.
Jim Carroll
PS Nice picture of my native Liverpool


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Northern City (Ewan MacColl)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 08 Mar 07 - 08:46 AM

Jim-

I don't see it listed for New Britain Gazette on the Ewan MacColl website (Click here for website ) that Peggy Seeger set up but I could be wrong.

I like to end this one by repeating the first verse. And I've given up on the chorus years ago. Maybe I'll try this one again at our sea music gathering at the Press Room this weekend.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Northern City (Ewan MacColl)
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 08 Mar 07 - 10:19 AM

The city of this song could be Liverpool, Salford, Manchester or a score of similar places.

It's interesting Mr Miller made that specific observation - The Salford and Manchester he knew were indeed 'sea faring' towns, but only by virtue of the Manchester Ship Canal linking those 'twin' cities to the Mersey Estuary at Liverpool! I am not sure what he would make of them now.

As I sit writing this looking westwards down Salford Quays towards Liverpool I have the new Lowry Centre to my right and the Imperial War Museum slightly to my left. I am sure Ewan would have approved of the former - but the latter? Where the big ships used to come and dock to unload for Europe's largest industrial centre, Trafford Park, is now all derelict. The 'Park itself is devoid of the heavy industry that made MacColls hometown so much a Dirty Old Town!

One of the largest bits of 'wasteland' we now learn is going to become 'Media City', providing hundreds of jobs at the new BBC centre and other media centres. The BBC did of course provide Ewan with a vehicle to promote the songs and views that made him famous. Would he approve of the clean new jobs replacing the heavy industrial and labour intensive work that was part of his make-up? I suspect he may well have. But what then would he have written about?

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Northern City (Ewan MacColl)
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Mar 07 - 02:38 PM

MacColl wrote Northern City for a radio pragramme based around Liverpool, I think it was called 'Scouser'.
He stopped calling himself Miller a couple of decades before Bob Dylan stopped calling himself Zimmerman - isn't it time we did the same?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Northern City (Ewan MacColl)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 08 Mar 07 - 03:07 PM

Dave-

I'm sure MacColl would still find much to write about in present day Salford, if he were still gracing this earth. But, I suppose, that is a task that is now left to you and your friends.

Would you care to share your own creative efforts on this forum?

Of course, MacColl and Seeger also speculated on the future as in "The Space Girl's Song."

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Northern City (Ewan MacColl)
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 08 Mar 07 - 05:22 PM

That's as far as my creative efforts go, Charlie;-)

Yes, Jim, everyone has stopped calling MacColl Miller and has stopped calling Dylan Zimmerman but should we forget that they ever were called that and never refer to it again? Why? Do you believe that they would be ashamed of their roots for some reason? I, for one, do not believe that either of them would want anyone to forget who they were or where they came from! My name was once Polakow but has not been so for nearly 50 years. I would not object in the slightest to anyone refering to me by my birth name.

Let's not get hung up on a name though. Thanks for the information anyway.

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Northern City (Ewan MacColl)
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 03:05 AM

Dave,
Sorry if I was oversensitive - it comes from over half a lifetime of trying to get people to look at MacColl's approach to singing rather than incidentals like, 'why did he change his name' or 'desert from the army' - it's called the 'Arthur 'two-sheds' Jackson syndrome (don't know if you were ever a Monty Python fan).
No, people didn't stop calling him Miller; rather it was used as a diversion away from discussion on his theories on singing.
I have never heard people refer to Robert Zimmerman, or Archie Leech, or Doris Kappelhoff, or Ethel Gumm (Dylan, Cary Grant, Doris Day, Judy Garland), rather, people have always respected the wishes of all those individuals by using the name they wished to b recognised by as performers.
Later this year there will be a biography on MacColl published which, I hope, will focus on his work as a singer, actor, director and playwrite - I hope these will be the subjects we will be discussing - I wonder!!
Best,
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Northern City (Ewan MacColl)
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 03:52 AM

"Later this year there will be a biography on MacColl published which, I hope, will focus on his work as a singer, actor, director and playwrite -"

And not before time, Jim! I went into my local Waterstones, the other day, and was shocked to find a whole bookcase devoted to Robert Zimmerman - some of the books were multi-volume tomes that could 'stop' a dozen doors (talk about overkill !!).

Of course, I failed to find a single volume devoted to MacColl - a much more talented and significant figure than Dylan (aka Zimmerman) ever was!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Northern City (Ewan MacColl)
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 04:37 AM

No apology needed, Jim - I understand the sentiment entirely and had I have been one of the MacColl detractors you you would have been quite right to make the comment. Unless you were to trawl through hundreds of past posts you would not have known I am a big fan of Ewan (and Jimmy:-) ) I am really pleased to see that there is a biog coming out - It certainly goes to the top of my Amazon wish list!

I was quite surprised when I went to see Peggy (with Martin Carthy and Mike Waterson)at the Lowry - There was no mention of MacColl even though they were in his home town. Peggy is an excellent artist in her own right and has no need to refer to him but I would have thought they could have used the opportunity to introduce some Salford songs. Ah well - I was not disappointed at all, just a bit surprised.

Names have a very serious impact on how people are perceived. I can't imagine for one minute that Giant Haystacks could have been beaten by Shirley Crabtree. Big Daddy could do it though:-) You want to hear my theory on Ewans name change? No? Well, you are going to:-) When he went to Scotland he realised that Jimmy Miller was no name for a serious folk singer, writer and revolutionary. As he sat in a bar pondering what to call himself an old Scottish miner came in. "Gie, us a pint o'heavy. Ah've been doon the mine all day, hewin ma coal..."

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Northern City (Ewan MacColl)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 08:51 AM

Dave-

Thanks for sharing your theory about the inspiration for the name change. ;~)

Jim-

"Northern City" appears to be one of the more neglected songs that MacColl composed. Has anyone recorded it? If not I might, with proper permission, record it on the next installment of UNCOMMON SAILOR SONGS. I have fond memories of sitting one evening with a friend on a rocky headland way back in 1964 singing this song.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Northern City (Ewan MacColl)
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Mar 07 - 02:36 PM

Dave,
Nice one - it ties in nicely with the time he told me that he changed his name because he thought 'Jimmy Miller' soinded like a second rate glasgow Music Hall act - though we'll see come September - if Ben Harker has done his research.
Charlie, I'm pretty sure nobody has recorded Northern City - Ewan was the only one I ever heard sing it (you are right; it isn't on New Britain Gazette).
Wolud be nice to hear it sung again.
Best,
Jim Carroll
PS Can't remember hearing anybody else sing 'Shellback' 'Tenant Farmer' or 'The Lag's Song' either, all pretty high on my list of favourites - any takers?.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Northern City (Ewan MacColl)
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Mar 07 - 04:39 AM

Lou Killen recorded 'Shellback' on his Rose in June CD (2001).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Northern City (Ewan MacColl)
From: Jim McLean
Date: 10 Mar 07 - 04:46 AM

That's an old one, Dave, usually attributed to Alex Campbell. I was always led to assume that Ewan changed his name to fall in with the Lallans movement when Scottish writers and poets e.g. Hugh MacDiarmid from Christopher Grieves, took Highland names.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Northern City (Ewan MacColl)
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Mar 07 - 05:27 AM

That is accepted wisdom I am sure. However, there is a problem with this in that there was no Ewan MacColl to take his name from.

However there was an Evan MacColl - which takes us to the next question, did he change it to Ewan, so that it sounded better, or did he make a mistake.

There is also a story which has done the rounds for years that he was met at a railway station post war in between two military policemen and said to Joan Littlewood, "Call me Ewan".

However whilst this may be of minor interest to some people - I do believe his songwriting, his performances with Peggy and his thoughts on the nature of singing, folk music and performance are infinitely more important. Along with his politics and his work with travellers and on the Radio Ballads.

An absolute giant, whatever he decided to call himself.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Northern City (Ewan MacColl)
From: Jim McLean
Date: 10 Mar 07 - 05:29 AM

There's no problem in as much as poets like MacDiarmid didn't necessary take their name from someone else. They merely made it it up.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Northern City (Ewan MacColl)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 10 Mar 07 - 09:47 AM

I was thinking that I had also heard "Shellback" recorded, and sung occasionally at our shanty sings. I can certainly hear the tune in my head.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Northern City (Ewan MacColl)
From: Anglo
Date: 11 Mar 07 - 09:51 AM

Ian Robb also recorded The Lag's Song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Northern City (Ewan MacColl)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 11 Mar 07 - 12:37 PM

"Northern City" was well received at the Press Room shanty sing last evening.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Northern City (Ewan MacColl)
From: Phillip
Date: 19 Mar 07 - 09:19 AM

Jim Carroll mentioned a forthcoming biography of Ewan MacColl - any details would be welcome.

I also remember once seeing a reference to a biography of Martin Carthy that someone was writing (Can't remember who.) - anyone know what happened to that one?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Northern City (Ewan MacColl)
From: RoyH (Burl)
Date: 19 Mar 07 - 09:59 AM

Hear hear to the post from Phillip. I too would love to have details of this MacColl biog. Any info anyone? Burl.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Northern City (Ewan MacColl)
From: Grimmy
Date: 19 Mar 07 - 10:07 AM

There's a copy of his autobiography ("Journeyman") currently on eBay UK.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Northern City (Ewan MacColl)
From: GUEST,Jon Bartlett
Date: 20 Mar 07 - 01:26 AM

"Shellback" and "My Old Man" are my two favourite MacColl songs - sing them every chance I can get!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Northern City (Ewan MacColl)
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Mar 07 - 02:39 AM

Biography virtually finished - should be out in the second half of this year.
It deals with all of Ewan's work, early days, family, army, politics, Ramblers Association, theatre - as far as I can make out, his music is only part of it.
The author is Ben Harker; don't know the title yet - will pass it on when I get it.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Northern City (Ewan MacColl)
From: Phillip
Date: 20 Mar 07 - 05:37 AM

To be published by Pluto Press. Nothing on their website yet.

Harker teaches English at York University, and has a couple of articles referenced on the internet - one about MacColl and the mass trespass in 1932 ("'The Manchester Rambler': Ewan MacColl and the 1932 Mass Tresspass, History Workshop Journal - Issue 59, Spring 2005, pp. 219-228") and one in North West Labour History Journal ("'Was there another England?' Joan Littlewood in Manchester" issue 28, pp 36-41). The latter journal has another couple of articles in it about MacColl which might be interesting, and as I am from Manchester I think I might try and get hold of them.

I have also been trying to get hold of a book edited by MacColl and Howard Goorney (Agit Prop to Political Theatre) but it seems unavailable. If anyone has a copy they don't want anymore please PM me.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Northern City (Ewan MacColl)
From: Phillip
Date: 20 Mar 07 - 05:59 AM

Eh, I wonder if he's Dave's brother...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Northern City (Ewan MacColl)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 20 Mar 07 - 06:56 AM

Phillip-

Thanks for the update.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Northern City (Ewan MacColl)
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 20 Mar 07 - 01:38 PM

"Eh, I wonder if he's Dave's brother..."

Could be wrong but I don't think so. He is, though, a very nice bloke and an excellent guitarist. I am looking forward to the book with great anticipation.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Northern City (Ewan MacColl)
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Mar 07 - 03:09 AM

Dave's brother - go and wash our mouth out!
Jim Carroll
Ph


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Northern City (Ewan MacColl)
From: Phillip
Date: 22 Mar 07 - 09:48 AM

There's also going to be a biography of Hamish Henderson published in the summer. The title might well be Hamish Henderson - The Making of the Poet, by Timothy Neat.

Timothy Neat does not appear to have a brother called Dave, either, so that makes two of them.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Northern City (Ewan MacColl)
From: Phillip
Date: 11 May 07 - 11:45 AM

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Class-Act-Cultural-Political-MacColl/dp/0745321658/ref=sr_1_1/202-8066260-3239856?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=11



http://www.amazon.co.uk/Making-Poet-Timothy-Neat/dp/1904598471/ref=sr_1_8/202-8066260-3239856?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1178898016&sr=


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