Mudcat Café message #514096 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #36808   Message #514096
Posted By: GeorgeH
25-Jul-01 - 06:17 AM
Thread Name: ADD: The Big Hewer (Ewan MacColl)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The big hewer
CET - the best answer to your question is for you to go out and purchase "The Big Hewer" and decide for yourself! (You might also get "Singing the Fishing" and "The Ballad of John Axton" at the same time; you are unlikely to be disappointed!).

However, to try to answer your question,the "Big Hewer" was the creation of MacColl (or, possibly, the Radio Ballads team).

The Radio Ballads were made by recording ordinary people; hours of interviews for each ballad. These interviews were then intersperced with songs and music, largely composed especially to accompany the "Ballad". The intention was to present a portrait of "extraordinary 'ordinary' people", mainly in their own words.

At the time they were revolutionary in allowing people to speak in their own voices; prior to then it would be usual to have an announcer (complete with BBC English) "report" the voice of the people. Indeed, I would say there are many ways in which the Radio Ballads laid the foundation for "Documentaries" as we know them today (whether on Radio or Television). Also, artisticly, the best of them still stand up very well today.