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2007 Ewan MacColl Bio - Class Act

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The Borchester Echo 10 Oct 07 - 11:17 AM
maeve 10 Oct 07 - 12:17 PM
GUEST, Sminky 10 Oct 07 - 12:44 PM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 10 Oct 07 - 04:31 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 10 Oct 07 - 04:34 PM
maeve 10 Oct 07 - 05:05 PM
Big Al Whittle 11 Oct 07 - 01:25 AM
Les in Chorlton 11 Oct 07 - 04:44 AM
Folkiedave 11 Oct 07 - 05:39 AM
GUEST, Sminky 11 Oct 07 - 06:32 AM
The Borchester Echo 11 Oct 07 - 06:48 AM
GUEST, Sminky 11 Oct 07 - 07:06 AM
Folkiedave 11 Oct 07 - 07:22 AM
The Borchester Echo 11 Oct 07 - 07:23 AM
GUEST,theleveller 11 Oct 07 - 08:22 AM
The Borchester Echo 11 Oct 07 - 08:30 AM
GUEST, Sminky 11 Oct 07 - 08:39 AM
Les in Chorlton 11 Oct 07 - 08:44 AM
Dave Sutherland 11 Oct 07 - 08:56 AM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 11 Oct 07 - 09:27 AM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 11 Oct 07 - 09:41 AM
Bryn Pugh 11 Oct 07 - 10:29 AM
Bryn Pugh 11 Oct 07 - 10:30 AM
GUEST,theleveller 11 Oct 07 - 11:07 AM
Bryn Pugh 11 Oct 07 - 11:15 AM
GUEST,theleveller 11 Oct 07 - 11:25 AM
GUEST,theleveller 11 Oct 07 - 11:30 AM
Les in Chorlton 11 Oct 07 - 12:16 PM
Darowyn 11 Oct 07 - 01:02 PM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 11 Oct 07 - 01:40 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 11 Oct 07 - 04:03 PM
GUEST,Winger 11 Oct 07 - 04:27 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 11 Oct 07 - 05:18 PM
GUEST,theleveller 11 Oct 07 - 05:35 PM
TheSnail 11 Oct 07 - 08:31 PM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 12 Oct 07 - 02:57 AM
The Borchester Echo 12 Oct 07 - 03:33 AM
Bryn Pugh 12 Oct 07 - 03:46 AM
GUEST,theleveller 12 Oct 07 - 03:49 AM
GUEST,theleveller 12 Oct 07 - 03:57 AM
Bryn Pugh 12 Oct 07 - 08:52 AM
TheSnail 12 Oct 07 - 10:12 AM
Bryn Pugh 12 Oct 07 - 10:15 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 12 Oct 07 - 10:17 AM
Big Al Whittle 12 Oct 07 - 10:22 AM
TheSnail 12 Oct 07 - 10:27 AM
The Borchester Echo 12 Oct 07 - 10:49 AM
Les in Chorlton 12 Oct 07 - 11:02 AM
TheSnail 12 Oct 07 - 12:11 PM
GUEST,theleveller 12 Oct 07 - 12:27 PM
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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 11:17 AM

Yeah, yeah, Shirley Collins was waffling on about her feud with Ewan in Folk Britannia. I think she's utterly and completely wrong to try and make out that people from generations past were not making political statements about their lives, their working conditions and social inequality through their music. Of course they were, just as their heirs do today.

As for Leadfingers' complaint that Ewan was 'hypocritical' about what was and what was not acceptable as folk song, where's there any evidence for this? I think you'll find that what Ewan was concerned about was performance standards. His own repertoire was extraordinarily varied and supremely well executed and his wish was that others should aim at an equally high standard.

Ewan was above all an actor. What he achieved (with Joan Littlewood) in the Theatre Workshop, with Peggy and Charles Parker with the Radio Ballads and with the Critics in The Festival Of Fools was a magnificent amalgam of agitprop theatre and people's music.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: maeve
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 12:17 PM

Jim Carroll- I would be very interested in listening to the tapes you mention. I widh I could contact you to see if this is possible. I listen to my own Lizzie Higgins interview tapes often and always learn something new. I think you realize you have a treasure there. Can it be shared?

maeve... in Maine


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 12:44 PM


"It is difficult, however, to determine retrospectively why the clubs became so narrow-minded about this [authentic] performance practice, which did not leave much room for innovation and eventually led to a musical dead end. Many observers blame MacColl - and he indeed aliented performers not only by setting up rules but by being extremely dogmatic about them. Stories and comments I heard in my interviews suggest that he must have been a very difficult person. Several performers evidently fell out with him, as Frankie Armstrong, a long-time member of the Critics Group, recalled:
'He did polarize people in a way that Bert [Lloyd] didn't. I think this was partly to do with his politics; Bert was a much more complex political thinker that Ewan. Ewan tended to be much more dogmatic about everything. There was this period when he tried to insist that people should only sing songs from their own region - he put many people's backs up because it was very rigid, very judgemental and prescriptive. There were those who would hold him in great respect and would still be influenced by him but find his dogmatism off-putting.'
"

Britta Sweers - Electric Folk: The Changing Face of English Traditional Music


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 04:31 PM

Maeve
Have intended for a long time to do a selection of recordings we have of Ewan teaching.
Occasionally I get pissed off and think - who cares, but the two threads running at present make me think enough people do to make the effort worthwhile; so will knuckle down and get something done.
In the meantime, (until I get my membership problem sorted), if you contact Folkiedave I'm sure he will let you have my e-mail address.
Regarding Folk Brittania - as Bryn said, SC's (and Frankie's and others opinions only). Peggy said all that was to be said about the Singers Club policy of singing regional material only in the letter I quoted.
The old guard's attitude to Ewan was summed up by somebody who's work and opinions (on Irish music) I otherwise respect tremendously.
Reg Hall claimed on FB that it was Ewan's and Bert's aim to set up Eastern-European-type 'folk ensembles', and for evidence, produced sleeve notes of an old Folkways record which he said proved it. I knew for a fact that both Ewan and Bert detested these ensembles, so I checked my copy of the notes in question. Sure enough - there it was in black and white. Unfortunately, what Reg had neglected to mention was the fact that neither E or B had had anything to do with the writing of the notes, they were written by an American collector (Sydney Robertson Cowell?)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 04:34 PM

So now 'Guest, Sminky' quotes someone called Britta Sweers author of something called, "Electric Folk: The Changing Face of English Traditional Music". I think I've vaguely heard of it - but haven't read it. I wonder if the term "Electric Folk" could be significant?

Recall what I said earlier (08 Oct 07) about Ewan's biggest mistake being that he didn't play an electric guitar? Just think, if he'd strummed that Stratocaster he'd be remembered as a hero now - rather than the blackest of (acoustic) villains who had opinions (oh no!!).


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: maeve
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 05:05 PM

Thanks, Jim. Will do.

If there are any elves running about here, perhaps one may have time and the inclination to change my post at 12:17, 09/Oct 07, to read "wish" rather than "widh". Thanks.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 01:25 AM

Jim keeps saying we ain't talking about his music.

I tell you what I liked about his music - and its not something all these traddy types seem to latch onto. His music had an 'edge' to it. There was a point of view there - a real human quality.

If you took your tory friends to one of their concerts, they would be inchoate with rage at the dismissive attitude to their ideology. People who would hum contentedly along to The Sex Pistols would be ready to physically attack you for taking them to see Peggy and Ewan.

But it wasn't just that political thing - there something of Martin Luther and 'Here I stand' in his attitude to his music.

Since he's gone - folkmusic has been timid stuff. Nothing much to agree with or disagree. It doesn't growl any more. Okay you get bands like The Levellers - but theres so much going on. theres Dick Gaughan - but the accent is so strong, half the audience don't know what he's saying in England

Somehow Ewan got his nose up to yours (in some people's cases he entered the nasal cavity) and he growled!


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 04:44 AM

A long way from Cecil?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Folkiedave
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 05:39 AM

but the accent is so strong, half the audience don't know what he's saying in England

I am not so sure they understand him in Scotland either. But his music and his voice are great.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 06:32 AM

So now 'Guest, Sminky' quotes someone called Britta Sweers author of something called, "Electric Folk: The Changing Face of English Traditional Music".

The book contained a quote from Frankie Armstrong, a member of the Critics Group. Of what relevance is the book's title?

I am a great admirer of Ewan, but if we are to discuss his life/career/personality/beliefs/singing then it has to be 'warts and all'. Otherwise there's no point.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 06:48 AM

This is the 'direct quote' allegedly from Frankie Armstrong: " There was this period when he tried to insist that people should only sing songs from their own region".
IF she said this, she knows a great deal better than I do that it is a tortuous bending of the actualité. Hands up all those who still haven't read Peggy Seeger's LT piece?
Thought so.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 07:06 AM

"People got furious with him because he insisted in his club if you were English you sang English songs, if you were Scottish it was Scottish songs."

An 'alleged' quote from Martin Carthy
Colin Harper - Dazzling Stranger: Bert Jansch and the British Folk and Blues Revival, p.31


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Folkiedave
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 07:22 AM

The policy was actually that "If you were singing from the stage, you sang in a language that you could speak and understand".

It wasn't MacColl's policy it was that of the club and was decided by the members and singers of that club. It was only meant for the club. First of all Ballad and Blues and later Singers Club.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 07:23 AM

Sigh.

Not Ewan. The membership. Pegy Seeger wrote:

The decision to lay down guidelines for what you could sing on stage was not made by Ewan MacColl - it was made by the residents and members of the B&B Club (later known as the Singers Club). If it became hewn in stone - well, that's the way things go.

This policy was meant for OUR club, not for other clubs. The policy was simple: If you were singing from the stage, you sang in a language that you could speak and understand."


Martin C thought this was quite a good idea as it made him (and others) get off their arses and explore English material. That and the other 'rule' about not repeating a song within three months.

Dazzling Stranger, now that's a very strange book. Should have been two separate books really - a Jansch bio and a potted history - but somehow it's all shovelled in together and reads as through it's been finished in a hell of a rush. [Publisher, tearing hair, shrieking 'Oh, FFS, let's get something out'].


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,theleveller
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 08:22 AM

Well, well, unsurprisingly, these MacColl threads have brought the 'folk Fascists' or, rather, 'folk Stalinists' out of the woodwork, chanting their totalitarian mantras, shouting and stamping their feet and branding anyone who dares to criticise the Great God MacColl as a liar or an idiot.

It happens every time.

Whilst I admire some of his political aims and ideals, from where I stand, looking back over 45 years as a folk aficionado, I see his 'folk', as opposed to his 'political', legacy as largely a negative one – he and his cronies, with their Critics Committees, insistence on the purity of the genre and attempts to hijack folk music to suit their political agenda, painted it into a corner, marginalising it and rendering it inaccessible to a wider audience than might otherwise have been the case. In their hands, the folk revival failed to make it our of resuss.

Surely, isn't it time we shook off this straitjacket once and for all? After all, there are many others who have, over the years and more recently, had a far greater and more positive influence on the folk genre.

And to weelittledrummer; if you think that folk music today is timid stuff, you need to get out and hear more music. Now, where shall I start……….?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 08:30 AM

Now, where shall I start……….?

The Mike Harding Show? Though I fear it might be too cutting edge for you.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST, Sminky
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 08:39 AM

Where did I say it was Ewan? I'm quoting from other people who were there at the time who say it was Ewan.

"'I remember going to the Singers Club a couple of times with Anne [Briggs]', says Bert. 'If you were a Scots person you were expected to to sing Scottish songs.'"

Bert Jansch
ibid p.162

I believe Bert (a Scot) had a fairly decent grasp of the English language, or at least he had the last time I talked to him.

PS the book was 4 years in the writing. A second edition appeared last year, presumably after a more considered re-writing. Inexplicably, the above quotes are still there.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 08:44 AM

leveler, are you doing a bit of shouting and stamping yourself? No, perhaps not.

I rather suspect that very few people who sang in or went to folk clubs in the 60's new much about McColl and the fine detail of what he thought, did or sang.

His major legacy was his songs. Lots of people sang them and many of them were and remain excellent.

"They sang,(He and Peggy) they recoded, they collected, they wrote,they organised clubs, they toured, they supported other people on a greater scale than anybody else." (My post above)

Yes, that's what they did and it was influential. Some people also did this but most people involved in the folk scene either did some of these things or not much. That's why McColl and Seeger were influential.

As for the politics, he came from a time when people thought socialism in some form was possible, it seems less possible now.

In the 60's many of us sang Irish Rebel songs, American Civil rights songs, Scottish Bothy Ballads and joined the Communist Party and most of us stopped doing it not because of the policy of the Singers Club but for the same kinds of reasons that got the SC to that point - it didn't feel right most of the time.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 08:56 AM

When John Revie, a MacColl, Singers Club, associate opened The Barleycorn folk club in Newcastle in 1970 along with Stefan Sobell he declared it would adopt the Singers Club policy whereby singers would perform songs "from their own cultural media". This meaning that those of us born in this country would sing songs from the British Isles, not just from our particular region. Since a good 90% of those attending on a Saturday night would have been born and bred in the North East it would have become pretty insular if all we had sung were Geordie songs (and a good 50% of my repetiore is from the North East). John himself had a huge collection of songs some English and Scottish but the majority of them Irish - I never heard him sing a Geordie song yet!


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 09:27 AM

"Well, well, unsurprisingly, these MacColl threads have brought the 'folk Fascists' or, rather, 'folk Stalinists'"
Did somebody mention a mantra?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 09:41 AM

"I am a great admirer of Ewan, but if we are to discuss his life/career/personality/beliefs/singing then it has to be 'warts and all'. Otherwise there's no point."
Couldn't agree more.
Nice balanced discussion so far - only one ointment in the fly
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 10:29 AM

Jim C - Greetings

At slight risk of thread-creep, would I be right in thinking that the 'young Jewish man' to whom you adverted ealier was Benny Klein ?

Don't you just love these who never knew Ewan McColl or Peggy Seeger trot out the same usual shit ?

I am glad your years in London were so productive and - all I can say is that some of the Manchester critics (sm'c' deliberate !) wqere sorry to see you go.

They were good sessions in that alehouse on High Street.all


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 10:30 AM

Sorry - that should have read 'productive and rewarding'


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,theleveller
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 11:07 AM

"Don't you just love these who never knew Ewan McColl or Peggy Seeger trot out the same usual shit ?"

I assume by that you mean have their own valid opinions.

Hark! Do I hear the tramp of jackboots again?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 11:15 AM

How is it possible for a second, third, fourth or fifth hand opinion to be 'valid' ?

Hearsay is not evidence, regardless of how much the utterer would like it to be.

Leveller - please read the key words - 'never knew'.

As to what you think you are hearing, ever thought it might be tinnitus ?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,theleveller
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 11:25 AM

Err - I never met Shakespeare, Karl Marx, Oscar Wilde, the author of Beowulf etc, etc. but I have opinions on their work and their influence. You don't know me but you seem to have an opinion on what I say. Work it out!

I met MacColl face to face and I have commented on that. I have also commented on what I think his influence was on folk music, based on 45 years of observation.

If you don't like free speech, don't come on the board.

Personally, I'm in favour of it.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,theleveller
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 11:30 AM

Oh, and thanks for asking; yes, I do suffer from tinnitus - it's a distressing complaint, especially for a musician.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 12:16 PM

leveler, just as a point of clarity do you think this untrue?

"They sang,(He and Peggy) they recoded, they collected, they wrote,they organised clubs, they toured, they supported other people on a greater scale than anybody else." (My post above)


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Darowyn
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 01:02 PM

Is this the British disease, like Chinese whispers with an escalating degree of authoritarianism?
EMcC- "It would be a good idea if we sang songs from our own cultural background"
Singers Club Committee:- "You should sing songs from your own cultural background"
Club organiser:- "You may only sing songs from your own cultural background"
Another Club organiser (thirty years on and now a card carrying Folk Nazi (or Stalinist)):-"You are a traitor to the Folk Tradition if you sing songs which are not from your own cultural background, because E McC said so"
I think that is the same "jobsworth" attitude that make EU membership such an issue in the UK. We care too much about the letter of the rules.
As the Latin saying goes.
Humanus sum. Nihil mumanum mihi alienum est.
I am a human. Nothing human is alien to me.
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 01:40 PM

Daryowyn
Wasn't like that - sorry.
The idea came from Lomax first.
He was concerned that so many early revival singers were singing American material that he suggested (to MacColl and Lloyd - who had also tries their hand at American songs) that there was a danger of the American repertoire swamping the clubs, and that maybe they should concentrate on the Brit material.
The did so - but as Peggy pointed out - it was for the residents of Ballads and Blues and later, Singers residents.
Whether other clubs came along and said, 'that's a good idea....' who knows (maybe somebody out here.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 04:03 PM

Let's get a grip!
This 'infamous' policy was confined to ONE club! And surely, at the time, if you didn't agree with that policy you just didn't sing at that particular club (there did happen to be hundreds of other clubs to choose from at the time). Where was the harm (I think that, under the circumstances which prevailed at the time, it was a GOOD policy)? What was at risk - other than egoes?

I think that this constant, tiresome harping on about that long-dead policy is a cover for those who found, and still find, MacColl's views - on folk music - not just politics - just too challenging and unconventional. And I mean unconventional in the sense that they had little too do with contemporary fashion and popular music. Now if had just picked up that Stratocaster ...


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Winger
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 04:27 PM

Oh, dear, Shimrod. What's all this electric guitar stuff? You seem to be under the impression that the world of folk music is divided into two camps - those macho enough to appreciate the "real thing", and those lily-livered "folk Luvvies" who like their music with a little pop influence.

You don't get out much, Shimrod, do you. There's a big world out there and there's lots of people with lots of different views on folk music. Are you suggesting that to enjoy the music of MacColl excludes you from other kinds of music?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 05:18 PM

'GUEST, Winger' you wrote:

"You seem to be under the impression that the world of folk music is divided into two camps - those macho enough to appreciate the "real thing", and those lily-livered "folk Luvvies" who like their music with a little pop influence."

Umm, yes, I do actually. That sums it up nicely (apart from the word 'macho' - which isn't really relevant)!

Turning to 'Guest,theleveller', you wrote:

"Well, well, unsurprisingly, these MacColl threads have brought the 'folk Fascists' or, rather, 'folk Stalinists' out of the woodwork, chanting their totalitarian mantras, shouting and stamping their feet and branding anyone who dares to criticise the Great God MacColl as a liar or an idiot."

So, 'theleveller' it seems that you believe that anyone who you happen to disagree with, or has a different set of opinions to you, is a 'Fascist/Stalinist', do you? Do I detect a tiny bit of exageration there?
Has anyone prevented you from expressing your opinions or attempted to supress those opinions by declaring them illegal? Has anyone persecuted you on the basis of your ethnic backgound, religion etc.? Has anyone prevented you from earning your living by blacklisting you from your chosen profession? Has anyone banged on your door in the middle of the night and arrested you? Has anyone subjected you to a show trial? Has anyone imprisoned you without trial and tortured you? Has anyone sent you, or members of your family, to a concentration camp?
Perhaps you'd like to compare notes with the people of Burma or Zimbabwe - it could be that those people could restore in you a sense of proportion ...


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,theleveller
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 05:35 PM

Well, now Shimrod, that's a total misinterpretation of what I believe and, indeed what I have said. I'm afraid that this debate goes back a long way and if you take the time to go and read some of the comments made about me and others in the past on the BBC Folk and Acoustic board, you'll get a better idea of what I'm talking about. One of the people who made those comments has now been banned from that board for extreme and immoderate behaviour, but features in the above debate.

I have no objection to people disagreeing with me; indeed, the reason I come onto boards like this is for lively debate. As I have always maintained "I may disagree with what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it". I do, however, object to being branded a liar and told that my opinions are "shit". So, perhaps you should get your sense of proportion right and take the terminology in the context that it is intended - I did not say Facists or Stalinists, i said 'folk Fascists' and 'folk Stalinists'. The difference may be a subtle one but is essential to the debate.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 08:31 PM

I'm not sure that I particularly care about whether Ewan MacColl was a tyrant or a saint but I am concerned about the attitude to people I (and a great many others, I'm sure) hold esteem. Shirley Collins's and Frankie Armstrongs's views aew "opinions only". "Shirley Collins was waffling on...", Frankie Armstrong is accused "a tortuous bending of the actualité". I think that means lying.

Reg Hall is dismissed as one of the "old guard" (surely he is a generation after MacColl and Lloyd) and attacked for assuming that performers hold some sort of responsibility for the sleeve notes on their recordings.

I don't think this puts the pro-MacColl lobby in a good light.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 02:57 AM

Shimrod,
'folk Fascists' and 'folk Stalinists' 'jackboots. (all used by theleveller).
Irony, not exaggeration is the word that springs to mind; the above language is designed to suppress discussion, as is the application of hidden agendas such as that of Winger who said that I held the views I do because I found myself 'not appreciated'.
If people can't respond directly to the argument rather than resort to invective there is little point in these discussions (occasionally, both are to be expected, but replacing argument with this sort of viciousness gets nowhere and proves nothing). In the cases of Shirley Collins and Frankie Armstrong, people addressed the statements of both of them made rather than relying on meaningless namecalling.
I referred to Reg Hall as 'the old Guard' because he came from the early days of the revival (50s, when he was playing in Camden Town with Michael Gorman and Margaret Barry) and was (and still is) one of MacColl's most vociferous knockers. The sleeve notes I referred to were not his but that of an American collector; he quoted them dishonestly to discredit MacColl and Lloyd, giving the inaccurate impression that they had been written by either/both of them - re-view the programme if you are able.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 03:33 AM

Somebody calling himself, singularly inappropriately, 'The Leveller', refers above to a 'ban from the BBC F&A forum for 'extreme and immoderate behaviour'. If he means me (and I think he does), this is inaccurate.

I was instructed, firstly, to make an undertaking not to refer to perceived links between Smooth Operations and a highly dubious music production and distribution business and this I refused. Secondly, I was one of three people threatened over an alleged breach of House Rules for outing a ridiculously annoying, inane airheaded troll who is now, thankfuly, scarcely welcomed anywhere.

As for Shirley Collins, I heard what she said, I cannot agree on the basis of personal experience, and said so. As for Frankie Armstrong, this was merely a quote and more than likely a misquote about which I shall, nevertheless, ask her when I see her. As far as 'Old Guard' Reg Hall is concerned, I've been meaning to take up his comments on FB about the attribution of sleeve notes à propos East European ensembles, and will do so (if I remember) when I see him later on today.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 03:46 AM

I was going to respond to Leveller's diatribe, but what's the use. I am neither a folk fascist nor a folk Stalinist, but there are some out there who won't accept this. I leave this discussion sadder but wiser. At least I have the balls to post under my true name.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,theleveller
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 03:49 AM

Sort of the pot calling the kettle black, isn't it, Jim? Perhaps you should reflect on calling me a liar before you start trying to take the high moral ground about free debate and name calling. Far from trying to suppress discussion (what would be the point of that, for god's sake? You obviously haven't bothered to read what I wrote two threads above.)I'm trying to stop myself and the others who are less than enthusiatic about MacColl from being shouted down by the hard liners who won't hear of any other opinion but there's. Perhaps you should look at the remarks of Mr Pugh, above, if you want to mete out criticism. If you're not enjoying the debate, no-one's forcing you to take part. Personally, I'm having a great time.

Les in Chorlton wrote:
leveler, just as a point of clarity do you think this untrue?

"They sang,(He and Peggy) they recoded, they collected, they wrote,they organised clubs, they toured, they supported other people on a greater scale than anybody else."

Sorry, Les, it's such a sweeping statement that no-one could prove or disprove what you say. "on a greater scale than anyone else" covers a lot of ground. Who do you have in mind?

If you're asking me if I hold a different opinion, the answer is 'yes'. I think there are people who have been, and still are, far more influential than the MacColls. The names that immediately spring to mind are The Watersons and Msrtin Carthy. I may be a bit biased regarding the Watersons (but, hey, there's plenty of that around on this thread) because they were always around during my early years in folk music; I frequently used to go to their clubs and they came to mine. They were always very generous with their help and encouragement. What a contrast to the atmosphere in the clubs I visited when I first arrived in London! I think their lifetime achievement (so far) far outstrips that of MacColl and his group, especially with the younger generation that is carrying the torch forward. Mr Carthy's record speaks for itself.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,theleveller
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 03:57 AM

Diane, I apologise if I misrepresented your reasons for leaving the BBC board. I didn't know about it until some time afterwards and certainly missed the passion of your arguments - but certainly not the invective and personal remarks. No, I don't believe in denying people the right to have their say - thaqt's exactly the my remarks about 'folk Stalinism'. I've now said this on numerous occasions, but it just seems to be ignored.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 08:52 AM

"Personally, I'm having a great time."

I wonder why that don't surprise me ?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 10:12 AM

From Peggy Seeger's article -

It is possible that they [Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie] have inherited some of Ewan's intransigence and argumentative temperament

Seems to apply to all of MacColl's supporters.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 10:15 AM

Afraid to name me, Snail ? See my earlier post as to use of my true name for postings.

Not called Brian, by any chance, are you ?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 10:17 AM

"No, I don't believe in denying people the right to have their say"

'Theleveller' no-one is denying you your right to have your say! After all, you've said it, haven't you? As far as I can see what seems to get up your nose is people disagreeing with you.

PS: Note that it is not I who has labelled anyone a 'Fascist' or 'Stalinist' ('folk' or otherwise) - and neither do I intend to. In my opinion those are terms too loaded with hatred, grief and suffering to be bandied about lightly in a mildly heated discussion about the British Folk Scene.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 10:22 AM

''Theleveller' no-one is denying you your right to have your say!'

No, but Jim more or less called him a liar over Nottingham/Yorkshire story.

does sound a bit weird, doesn't it?

I dunno what to make of it all.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 10:27 AM

Bryn Pugh

Afraid to name me, Snail ? See my earlier post as to use of my true name for postings.

Not singling you out in particular, Bryn. There are several on here who are rubbishing people I respect in their effort to defend MacColl. I specifically quoted Diane Easby and Jim Carroll in my earlier post.

Not called Brian, by any chance, are you ?

No, I'm called Bryan and can be found here.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 10:49 AM

Who are you saying I rubbished, Mr Snail?

In my post above at 3.33, I said:

(1) that I disagreed with the statement Shirley Collins made on FB (quite a vicious attack as it happens) that Ewan MacColl had misappropriated music that did not belong to him.

(2) that I was doubtful that Frankie Armstrong had been quoted accurately and that I would ask her about her experiences with Ewan (which as far as I can see were exactly the same as mine but continued for much longer) next time I saw her.

(3) that I would similarly speak to Reg Hall about the attribution of the sleeve notes (also made in FB), about which he had no doubt made a genuine mistake.

And I also drew people's attention time and time again to Peggy Seeger's LT piece which described exactly what did happen at the Singers'.

In fact I didn't even rubbish the Leveller when he sounded off about me in a dispute with the BBC/Smoothops about which he admitted he knew nothing but relied on malicious hearsay.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 11:02 AM

leverler,

1. They sang,(He and Peggy)
2. they recoded,
3. they collected,
4. they wrote,
5. they organised clubs,
6. they toured,
7. they supported other people on a greater scale than anybody else."

"Sorry, Les, it's such a sweeping statement that no-one could prove or disprove what you say" - Prove? Very hard to do.

I recognise that some people did more of some of things and did some of them better. I am hard pushed to thing of any person or persons who did all these things so much and so well. It is because they did so many things so well that they were and are influential.

"on a greater scale than anyone else" covers a lot of ground. Who do you have in mind?

Well, I don't, not because I have some kind of bias, I simply cannot think of anybody. If you do please let us know what you think.

If you're asking me if I hold a different opinion, the answer is 'yes'. OK Opinion is a word easy to deal with. Carthy and the Watersons? Never fail to excite, friendly, generous, talented, original, hard working, in certain areas the most influential people around. But not in the all encompassing way that E & S have been.

Best wishes

Les Jones


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 12:11 PM

Diane Easby

Who are you saying I rubbished, Mr Snail?

In your post of 10 Oct 07 - 11:17 AM you said -

Yeah, yeah, Shirley Collins was waffling on about her feud with Ewan in Folk Britannia.

That strikes me as a pretty good rubbishing. I know Shirley; she doesn't waffle. I think you realised this when you changed it to "I cannot agree".
Shirley clearly has strong opinions as can be seen in this interview.

In your post of 11 Oct 07 - 06:48 AM you said -

This is the 'direct quote' allegedly from Frankie Armstrong: " There was this period when he tried to insist that people should only sing songs from their own region".
IF she said this, she knows a great deal better than I do that it is a tortuous bending of the actualité.


You seem to be squirming a bit here. Not sure who to call a liar, Britta Sweers or Frankie Armstrong. What are you going to do if you find out it's true?

It was Jim Carroll who rubbished Reg Hall, attacking him for assuming that MacColl actually ready the LP cover notes before it was released.   He has since escalated this by saying "he quoted them dishonestly to discredit MacColl and Lloyd".

I feel that those who support MacColl could put up a better case by producing evidence instead of either trivialising their opponents or calling them liars.

I'll leave the Leveller to fight his own corner.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,theleveller
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 12:27 PM

"I'll leave the Leveller to fight his own corner."

Thank you, small crustacean, but not right now - Im off down the pub.


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