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GUEST,Jim Carroll Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes? (239* d) RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes? 13 Oct 07

Sorry WMD;
I don't think I have ever read such ill informed and pseud psychobabble (about anybody).
The inspiration for the contemporary songs you mentioned came directly from actuality which was recorded from Sam Larner, Jack Elliot and other working men who were interviewed during the making of the Radio Ballads. If you listen to these field recordings (which are accessible at the British Library and Ruskin) you will see the skilful way MacColl has taken the speech patterns and the use of the vernacular of those singers and woven them into the songs. Far from being masculine posturings both were, for me, accurate and sympathetic representations of fishermen and miners.This is what made the songs and The Radio Ballads unique.
Some years ago we recorded a magnificent elderly storyteller named Jack Flannery in County Roscommon. He gave us around a dozen tales the longest of which was two-and-a-half hours, and the shortest about forty-five minutes.
Clare singer Martin Reidy (octogenarian), prided himself on long songs and once said "a song isn't worth singing unless it has a few verses in it". His 'True Lover's Discussion is slightly longer than Tam Lynn - penis substitution, do you think?   
Regarding his sitting back to front on his chair; it was part of the relaxation technique he devised for himself and discussed regularly in the Critics Group. It was never taken up by members of the group because they did not wish to be seen 'worshiping at the shrine of St Ewan' by adopting a technique that was so readily identifiable with him - (for justification of this fear, see 'finger-in-ear epithet).
Jim Carroll

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