Mudcat Café message #3805437 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #160405   Message #3805437
Posted By: GUEST,Nick Dow
16-Aug-16 - 05:19 PM
Thread Name: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
Subject: RE: Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!!
Macoll was a great teacher, songwriter, and singer. He was also an actor and playwright. He has enriched my life in many ways. My only criticisms are that his acting skill spilled over into his singing, which tended to witness him assuming local accents to suit the song. His version of 'The Sheepstealer' was a classic example of this, and is the poorer because of it. I have yet to hear a Scots accent that bears any resemblance to the one he uses in so many of his songs. He was also a Stalinist which may be deeply disturbing to many people. Talking to a member of the Critics one night he said that working with Macoll was like national service. The other worry I have is that while Macoll understood and appreciated traditional folk singing, he entirely missed the point of its context; which in English means that Traditional singers do not have a musical political agenda (but plenty of views though as I found out), do not choose their songs for their antiquity, their relevance within a working class movement, or any other reason than pure love and enjoyment, and a desire to make the listener love the song as much as they do. If some of the singers I have known over the years were to witness Macoll singing sat the wrong way round on a chair with his eyes closed and a hand over one ear, they would probably ask if he had mental health problems and was addicted to singing up his sleeve.
Yes we owe a deep debt to Macoll, but his humourless self appointed Guru approach left me cold. However returning to my view of him as an (over) actor, I think this was just a stage persona he cultivated.
He must have been capable of deep love, look at The first time ever I saw your face..What a heartfelt song! He was capable of paraphrasing wildly turbulent emotions into songs with each line a discussion thread in itself. It was a rare gift, and he has left us with a view of his big heart and warmth with The Joy of Living.
So yes time to stop arguing about him. The demi-god was human and if you don't take offence at the cultivated image, was a man to be respected and admired however irritating you may find him.
Here endeth the lesson brethren, I'll make my way down from the pulpit.