Mudcat Café message #2709453 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #123172   Message #2709453
Posted By: Jim Carroll
26-Aug-09 - 07:57 PM
Thread Name: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
What book? Hope you didn't mean MacColl's autobiography."
Two books and numerous threads on mudcat on this tired old subject.
'Class Act' by Ben Harker and 'Set into Song' by Peter Cox (both mentioned above).
Dylan - he was the one who changed his name from Robert Zimmermann just as MacColl was once Jimmy Miller, though it's ok for one to do it but not the other according to the Dylan crowd.
I knew MacColl for twenty years; I had some idea of the work he did on singing. Many of the problems that are raised on this forum; relaxation, voice production, tone, breath control, were covered by The Critics Group and could, I believe be of help to singers here. People like Frankie Armstrong and Sandra Kerr, both respected workers on singing techniques, cut their teeth in MacColl's group.
Yet whenever MacColl's name comes up we still have to plouter through this shit.
I constantly hear what a bastard MacColl was; what evidence are we given for this? He evicted travellers off land he didn't own. Great stuff!!!
We are told that somebody wrote 'arsehole' on the back of his chair at a club where he was booked - but it was ok because he was only there "to please the punters" - wonderful way to treat a visiting guest and it doesn't show much respect for the audience who apparently wanted him there - does it?
If any of us connected with The Singers Club had pulled such a stunt with a visiting singer we'd have been out on our arses. Whether we liked their singing or not we had far too much respect for fellow performers than to treat them in the infantile way SO'P apparently finds so amusing.
SO'P, I'll give you a MacColl story to add to your repertoire.
The Radio Ballad, The Travelling People probably did more for Travellers in Britain than any other single event. It made many of us aware of the situation they faced and almost certainly had a considerable influence on the passing of the 1969 Camping and Caravan Act which went some way to getting them recognised as human beings.
When it was near completion and ready to go on air it was decided to include some songs made by the Travellers themselves so an appeal was put out, and was answered by a feller named John Brune, who, no doubt you would have admired immensely.
Brune turned up with recordings of a couple of women Travellers singing such songs; the Radio Ballad team were delighted and gave one of them to Sheila Stewart to learn.
When the programme was all but completed Brune announced that the songs were fakes and he was the singer - because of where the song had been placed in the programme, as an example of Travellers own composition, it was withdrawn and Sheila, one of the finest singers on the scene, was deprived of the chance of appearing in the programme to represent her people. Had the song been included it would have undermined the authenticity of the programme and the Travellers would have lost the chance to be heard.
Don't take my word for it; read Bob Pegg's interview with Sheila Stewart on 'The Living Tradition' archive.
You've got to larf - haven't you?
I think it's time somebody "got over it" - don't you?
Jim Carroll