Mudcat Café message #3904958 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #105162   Message #3904958
Posted By: Vic Smith
11-Feb-18 - 10:04 AM
Thread Name: 2007 Ewan MacColl Bio - Class Act
Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
This, along with all the work done by others, Vic Gammon, Roy Plamer, Mike Yates.....

I will resist the obvious joke about a typo; a joke fades with constant repetition, though very many examples are still being provided by he who posted this; far more than those from another poster who he insults as 'dyslexic'. No, the mention of one of the correctly spelled names in the quotation brought this to mind:-

There are those who think that the experience of the Critics Group and the Singers Club have enriched their lives and they continue to benefit from it. Their opinions are valid but they must not be regarded as facts that cannot be disputed.

There are those who are of the opposite opinion; that it did more harm than good and this includes former members of CG and regulars at SC. Their opinions are valid but they must not be regarded as facts that cannot be disputed.

In the early 1990s I was interviewing Vic Gammon on my BBC Radio Sussex folk music programme Minstrels Gallery. Vic was leaving Sussex to take up an academic post in the north. His contribution to the local scene had been massive as a performer, singer, musician, organiser, dance band musician, researcher, journalist, broadcaster.... etc. The long interview was sort of valedictory broadcast for all that he had achieved.
At one stage I asked him for his opinion on three figures who are regarded as the pioneers of the developing scene in the UK - Henderson, Lomax and MacColl. I looked up my transcription of that interview and here's what Vic said in the relevant section:-
I think that Ewan MacColl was the greatest vernacular songwriter in Britain since Robert Burns. I have learned many of his songs and I often find myself singing them in clubs. He never lost that power, his later songs are amongst his best. I am less impressed by him as a performer and his approach to learning and improving singing has ultimately proved to be unhelpful. With the Critics Group and their self- and peer-opinions, he was leading those involved into a blind alley. The fact that this has not been replicated since is proof of that. There are plenty of workshops now; I run them myself; I go to others led by people that I feel have something for me, but they all have the attitude that says, "Don't take it as the Gospel truth but here's what I have got to offer you".

Vic Gammon's opinions are valid but they must not be regarded as facts that cannot be disputed.

All this, I write and quote to try and point out that it does not matter who was there first, or what any pro or anti statements attempt to prove or disprove. One thing is certain and that is that all the repetitious circumlocution that has seemed endless on Mudcat for years (decades?) will amount to nothing more than a difference of opinion from firmly entrenched positions.

Perhaps it is time to move on.