Mudcat Café message #3875599 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3875599
Posted By: Jim Carroll
07-Sep-17 - 03:54 AM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
"I was questioned about whether Bob was entitled to make and sell these and I didn't (and still don't) have the answer."
Bob had the copies all of us involved with Ewan and Charles were given way, way back - neither had any objection to their being circulated - they were delighted it was being circulated and, as far as we could make out, the BBC had totally lost interest in them (the programmes didn't even appear to have appealed the entrepreneurial efforts of Peter Kennedy), so we all passed copies on to whoever could use them
Our singers workshop ran ten meetings playing and discussing them - unlike Vic, we did so to examine Ewan's ideas to see if they held water - we could get most of the examples on LPs.
For me personally, it was like lifting the corner of folk -song to see if there was anything underneath - they were basically the reason I am still involved in folk song as actively as I am after half a century and many of the ideas propounded by MacColl stood up well when we started working with traditional singers, particularly with the Travellers who, back then, had a living tradition which was still producing songs that were becoming traditional (until the advent of portable television destroyed it, virtually overnight)
This was also true of the twenty years work we did with Walter Pardon who, in his way, could be described as a researching traditional singer rather than a source for songs (there were a few of those about once)
When they were "sold" it was for less than the cost it took to produce them - a great deal of time and thought went into their production and the work was for free - it was purely a labour of love on the part of the people who passed them on.
I have no idea what happened to the original programmes, nor any of the other wonderful productions by Bert and Deben Battacharia and Charles Parker and John Levy.... and all those other dedicated people - if the films of Phillip Donnellan are anything to go by, they were probably junked (did anybody here 'Folk Music Virtuoso', or 'Voice of the People' - life-changers all, in their way?)
The BBC project of the 1950s heralded a renaissance for British and Irish folk song - the BBC and other attitudes made it a missed bus - 'the one that got away' as far as establishing folk song as a peoples' art form - Ewan, Bert and others tried their best but the Music Industries steamroller did damage during the boom which, I believe, we never really recovered from
Nowadays we can't even discuss what we mean by folk music without shouting at one another - a no-go area strewn with regularly exploding mines.
I know MacColl spent a decade with less experienced singers, examine the songs and singing - I was lucky enough to be a recipient of his generosity for a short time
Mention his name (nearly three decades after his death) and you are treated as if you'd farted in church.
As for the exercises and techniques he devised for singers, and the methods he used for making songs your own.... forget it!
Mind you - we do have the BBC Folk Awards!!!
Sorry folks - a sore point
Back to indexing our collection in the hope that some future generation might be interested in what Walter Pardon and Mary Delaney and Mikeen McCarthy, and Tom Lenihan and Ewan and all the others we interviewed had to say about folk song
Jim Carroll