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2007 Ewan MacColl Bio - Class Act

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The Sandman 14 Feb 18 - 05:04 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Feb 18 - 07:33 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Feb 18 - 07:43 PM
The Sandman 15 Feb 18 - 12:54 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Feb 18 - 03:33 AM
TheSnail 15 Feb 18 - 05:37 AM
Vic Smith 15 Feb 18 - 06:10 AM
TheSnail 15 Feb 18 - 07:13 AM
Vic Smith 15 Feb 18 - 07:20 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Feb 18 - 07:53 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Feb 18 - 08:08 AM
The Sandman 15 Feb 18 - 08:51 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Feb 18 - 09:09 AM
The Sandman 15 Feb 18 - 09:34 AM
Vic Smith 15 Feb 18 - 09:52 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Feb 18 - 11:16 AM
TheSnail 15 Feb 18 - 11:24 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Feb 18 - 11:47 AM
Peter K (Fionn) 15 Feb 18 - 12:03 PM
TheSnail 15 Feb 18 - 02:44 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Feb 18 - 03:04 PM
TheSnail 15 Feb 18 - 03:27 PM
The Sandman 15 Feb 18 - 04:23 PM
Brian Peters 15 Feb 18 - 05:25 PM
Big Al Whittle 15 Feb 18 - 06:15 PM
GUEST,Cj 15 Feb 18 - 06:23 PM
Big Al Whittle 15 Feb 18 - 08:23 PM
The Sandman 16 Feb 18 - 03:19 AM
The Sandman 16 Feb 18 - 03:25 AM
GUEST,Cj 16 Feb 18 - 03:25 AM
The Sandman 16 Feb 18 - 03:30 AM
The Sandman 16 Feb 18 - 03:32 AM
The Sandman 16 Feb 18 - 03:38 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Feb 18 - 04:01 AM
Big Al Whittle 16 Feb 18 - 04:44 AM
The Sandman 16 Feb 18 - 05:11 AM
TheSnail 16 Feb 18 - 05:24 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Feb 18 - 06:25 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 16 Feb 18 - 07:03 AM
TheSnail 16 Feb 18 - 07:52 AM
GUEST,Cj 16 Feb 18 - 08:24 AM
Big Al Whittle 16 Feb 18 - 10:09 AM
Big Al Whittle 16 Feb 18 - 10:11 AM
The Sandman 16 Feb 18 - 10:25 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Feb 18 - 10:27 AM
The Sandman 16 Feb 18 - 10:28 AM
The Sandman 16 Feb 18 - 10:32 AM
Vic Smith 16 Feb 18 - 11:11 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Feb 18 - 11:20 AM
The Sandman 16 Feb 18 - 11:37 AM
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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Feb 18 - 05:04 PM

The MacColl bio is very interesting, it covers his years in the thirties his work in theatre and his thoughts on performing and songwriting, it is excellent


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Feb 18 - 07:33 PM

"Your failure to cooperate was also part of it."
How ****** dare you - fail to co-operate with what exactly?
We withdrew from the project, which hadn't even reached the "notes" stage because Topic had rejected what we wished to do - it was no longer our project
We still have Mike's letter requesting permission to use some of our material, which we readily gave
Mike's finished album bore no resemblance whatever to what we wanted to do and at not time did he ask for our co-operation other than our permission to use some of our recordings
We said from the beginning that we did not want "another Walter Pardon album" simply because we felt that Bill Leader's and Mike's were as good as it gets.
What are you people on Bryan?
You and your mates weigh in on the reputation of s singer who has been dead 29 years
Dig up thirty odd year old slanderous stories to malign his character, despite a plea from his widow in the article you linked to that it was time this sort of ghoulish behaviour stopped
You then take the words of his widow (out of context) to malign my character by accusing me of "intransigence", yet no one of you bunch has moved a single inch from your original position on two long threads despite being unable to respond to agruments
Kicking a fellow folk enthusiast who has been dead for thirty years is sick enough - now you appear to have gone viral and have dragged in our efforts to produce a picture of the most important traditional singer for the folksong public.
What kind of sick behaviour is this
I hope you people never have the ****** nerve to denigrate MacColl again, after this display
"I haven't got the book. I'm relying on what you can tell me and what the quote you put up from Peggy Seeger says"
So you chose to use a book you haven't read to attack me and MacColl - get's better and better with every posting !!
No wonder the revival is in the mess it it if this is anything to go by.
I trust Vic is not going to ignore this one - Dick's behaviour fades into insignificance after this display of viciousness
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Feb 18 - 07:43 PM

"not be a small ginger haired pipsqueak or an old man"
Missed this - gem - gets even better
I have had dark hair al my life - now have a fine hair of grey
You really can get nothing right "except ageist abuse)
Jay-******-sus
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 12:54 AM

what makes you think i was a dressing you , i never mentioned anyone by name, I HAVE NEVER BEEN VIOLENT TOWARDS ANYONE, OLD WOMEN, OLD MEN, GINGER HAIRED PIPSQUEAKS, DARK HAIRED LIVERPUDLIANS, YOUNG WOMEN YOUNG MEN BLACK PEOPLE ESKIMOS or anybody at all, both you and vic are barking up the wrong tree. i have never met you,so why would i be adressing you i have no idea or interest in your appearance


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 03:33 AM

This vicious, grave dancing discussion seems to have gone as far as any discussion on MacColl is ever likely to go on this forum
Like all our other field-recordings and research, our own collection will soon end up in an Irish educational institute to be used by students in their Worlk-music department - hopefully more of it will go on-line - this time with the interviews.
Walter Pardon's and Ewan's and the Revival section will be accompanied by the note - "this is what the future of folk song could and should have been about - it stands more than a chance of surviving in Ireland than it does back home"
The Critics Group ended (amicably) at the beginning of 1971 when a number of members led by Ewan, went off to form a theatrical Group - it lasted a year and broke up far more acrimoniously than any disputes that ever took place in The Critics Group - we weren't part of that break-up, so we never quite understood what happened.
Over a decade later, Karl Dallas arranged a symposium to celebrate Ewan's life and work - a number of Folk and Theatre figures from Ewan's past turned up to pay tribute - Alan Lomax, Hamish Henderson. Theatre Workshop's Howard Goorney, Leslie Shepherd, some of the old mass-trespassers.... and an array of singers and musicians - a truely memorable, shit-free week-end for Pat and I.
A few weeks before the event I was asked by Ewan and Peg, to speak on The Critics Group - in the circumstances surrounding the break-up I was, to say the least, petrified and only agreed to do so if I could interview previous members of the Critics Group and get their impressions of the experience - I did the best I could to a somewhat divided audience
Like all the talks Pat and I have given, it was fairly carefully scripted.
If anybody would like a copy of my summing up of the Critics Group, as limited as it is, they are welcome to a copy
It seems the only way to discuss MacColl and his work afer three decades since his death, is off-line - that says something about someone or something!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 05:37 AM

How ****** dare you - fail to co-operate with what exactly?

It seems that Topic felt that these later recordings failed to show Walter at his best and so Jim and Pat withdrew from the project, leaving Topic with a single CD that was without notes or documentation.
Michael Yates
Almost two years ago, after parting with Topic, Jim and Pat asked me if I would be interested in releasing the 'second' CD - and I readily agreed. We exchanged a letter or two, but they then got involved in a protracted move to Ireland which seemed to take up most of the summer. I phoned them several times afterwards, but it seemed clear that they had lost motivation for the project.
Rod Stradling

I haven't got time for this fight. You'd better take it up with Yates and Stradling.

Dig up thirty odd year old slanderous stories to malign his character
Could you produce ONE example of where I have ever done that?

I hope you people never have the ****** nerve to denigrate MacColl again, after this display
Could you produce an example of where I have done that either in this thread or at any other time?

YOU quoted MacColl as saying
"I used to think that Traditional song would never die as a performed art; now I am not too sure
It seems that the folk clubs have fallen into the hands of people who neither understand nor like folk song"

I asked you whether you couldn't see that some people might be pissed off at him for that. You haven't replied.

YOU quoted Seeger as saying
Those of you who have followed or partaken in this controversy might find my long critique of him as a person and an artist enlightening. It won't be what you expected from the person who was his lover and working partner.
I haven't got access to that book so I asked you about it. You have been evasive to the point of not acknowledging that the critique exists.

You have described this as a display of viciousness.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Vic Smith
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 06:10 AM

I trust Vic is not going to ignore this one - Dick's behaviour fades into insignificance after this display of viciousness
It is the job of the moderators to police Mudcat and I am not one of them. I am not prepared to take the on-going role of unofficial referee. I have made an effort to bring the qualities that I mention in a post 12 Feb 18 - 03:37 PM but this behaviour has become ingrained in some Mudcat threads which is a pity because it lowers the enjoyment and spoils the discussion. In fairness to Bryan, I can read anger, outrage and frustration in his recent posts, but nowhere does it tip over into insult though my view would be that he is getting into a situation that has no easy resolution.

If anybody would like a copy of my summing up of the Critics Group, as limited as it is, they are welcome to a copy
I think that I would find these useful to read though I would suggest that sending them by PM or email might be better than posting them here.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 07:13 AM

You don't happen to have Peggy's book do you Vic?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Vic Smith
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 07:20 AM

No, Bryan. It's on the list of the books that I want to buy but it hasn't come to the top yet.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 07:53 AM

"It is the job of the moderators to police Mudcat and I am not one of them"
Hasn't stopped you in your one-sided moderation of me Vic
Never mind - call it an experiment on my part - turned out as I knew it would
Bryan - I gave my position on the Walter album - it was exactly as I said
If I was the slightest bit interested in what you thought I would produce it - I am not
It was a piece of venomous spite to put it uop here anyway - it was meant to malign our work with Walter which confirms there id no place for him in today's revival
"I asked you whether you couldn't see that some people might be pissed off at him for that. You haven't replied."
Of course I can in a revival that considers itself above criticism - plenty of evidence of that here, if further were needed
"I haven't got access to that book so I asked you about it."
I found using a book you hadn't read unworthy of response - however, I have you the many comments Peggy made on Ewan' influence and abilities - including her describing him as a "tyrant" (which I as a member who received the sharp end of Ewan's tongue on occasion, which she never did) somewhat of an overstatement - she's still as prone to such as she ever was.
The book contains no condemnation of Ewan - some political criticism, but that's it - I had those with him.
Using the widow of a long-dead man to continue to dig him up and kick him is as vicious as it gets, especially when you haven't ever read what she has to say and prefer one-liners to make your accusations
Peggy said what she said about Ewan as an artist in the sections i put up - in full - not "extracts" as you snidely suggest
You really do confirm everything I've heard about you
Both Peggy's autobiography and Jean Freedman's study of her are a must for understanding the work of Ewan and Peggy, though Jean's is far more analytical and objective -
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 08:08 AM

" I would produce it "
Should be "I would produce the correspondence on it"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 08:51 AM

Jim your regular and consistent insulting of people on this forum diminshes the good side of your character your willingness to help others. I read Peggys biography,and much asrespect her as a songwriter musican and singer, I did not find it as intersting, Ewan imo had a more varied career having been involved in hunger marches,and protests against enclosure of land to prevent rambling, theatre, writing plays as well as performing, which imo made a more interesting read


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 09:09 AM

"Jim your regular and consistent insulting of people on this forum diminshes the good side of your character your willingness to help others"
Don't be yso-self-righteous Dick - not with your serial behaviour af abusing and insulting people with no provocation at all - members and non-members alike.
It wouldn't take too much of an effort to provide a string of examples
Leave it to Vic - he does it far better than you
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 09:34 AM

"I read Peggys biography,and much asrespect her as a songwriter musican and singer, I did not find it as intersting, Ewan imo had a more varied career having been involved in hunger marches,and protests against enclosure of land to prevent rambling, theatre, writing plays as well as performing, which imo made a more interesting read"Jim do you agree or not what is your opinion of theTWO biographies


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Vic Smith
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 09:52 AM

Hasn't stopped you in your one-sided moderation of me Vic
I know I shouldn't but let me try one more time.
I think that we need to have a look at what is meant by 'insults'. Let's make it simple by restricting ourselves to these most recent exchanges between Bryan and Jim. Now we know their attitudes are miles apart an that there is not much likelihood of them agreeing on this subject, and others for that matter
I have pointed out the Bryan has been pretty heated in his comments, but to my mind he stays the right side of the line.
Now let's look at the post at 14 Feb 18 - 07:33 PM. If two sentences were removed, I would say that the post was acceptable. However, look at these two questions:-
What are you people on Bryan?
What kind of sick behaviour is this?

It is these unnecessary interjections that spoil things. The first suggests that he (and unspecified others) are drug takers. The second implies that some unpleasant mental attitudes or conditions are involved. These false derogatory jibes do not put you in a good light and detract from the power of the case that you are making.
It is this constrant drip of defamatory comments that throw a smokescreen over understanding the points that you are trying to put over.
You say that you object to my "one-sided moderation" of your comments. I would really like you to see that this is because you are by far the main perpetrator. Time and again these rude barbs appear in your posts.
In recent posts you have mentioned being asked to give presentations at Irish universities and of writing a critique of The Critics Group (a difficult task for anyone I would think). How did you express yourself in those situations? If differently, then why?
Earlier in the thread you were advised by someone to check what you have written before clicking "Submit message" and it was very good advice.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 11:16 AM

"but to my mind he stays the right side of the line."
Thought you d=said there were no sides
Personally, i find attacking dead men and using their widows words (out of context) to attack both her dead husband and a supported/friend/beneficiary of his generosity... way beyond any acceptable behaviour
And still you select a couple of my responses to outrageous behavior without reference to what they were a response to - I think we get the message loud and clear - some insults are more acceptable than others, as Orwell nearly said.
I post far more than most on these subjects and thae fact that what I have to say tends to be somewhat out-of- step puts my in the firing line for far more personal abuse from people like Dick, Bryan and Steve Gardham than I dish out - I don't react to personal abuse too well - macColl doesn't have to bother about it - he's dead
You pick two examples and totally ignore th fact that Bryan has dragged in our work on a proposed CD on Walter which he has searched out as a stone to throw, which he obviously knows sfa about and which has nothing whatever to do with the subject under discussion
If you find that unworthy of comment or response, we were brought up in different stables
Similarlty, you chose to ignore Steve's attacks on both mine and Ewan's character based on a book he has not read and has top go cap in hand to get those have to tell us what is in it.
And you consider yourself fair,
Yeah, sure you are!!!!
All this corpse-kicking has gone of far too long Vic - it has prevented discussion on (in my opinion, of course) an important body of work, and it continues to besmirch the memory of(also in my opinion, of course) one of the founders of a revival that brought us altogether in the first place and has provided us all with a great deal of pleasure and food for thought.
At present, I am digitising articles from some of the early folk-song magazines so the originals can be donated to an archive.
MacColl came in for some stick back in the sixties, but nothing compared to this - his death seems to have opened the floodgates on a deluge of sewage.
One of the problems I am having is stopping myself from re-reading the masses of intelligent and inspiring arguments and opinions - a breath of fresh air and a welcome freak from all this stench
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 11:24 AM

Me? Heated? Surely not? I thought I was being remarkably calm under the circumstances. I think three was plenty more to take objection to in that post than those lines. I'm not too keen on "this display of viciousness".
Anyway, since Jim has now started taking issue with what Peggy Seeger says, there isn't much point in carrying on.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 11:47 AM

"Anyway, since Jim has now started taking issue with what Peggy Seeger says, there isn't much point in carrying on."
WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Can you manage to get this any lower Bryan - you are doing your best?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 12:03 PM

What tedious self-indulgence since this thread came back. Sheer ennui.    Wby is reverance for Peggy Seeger's musicianship sacrosanct? (Ok, she could strum an autoharp.) For all the good they did, she and McColl made an arrogant pair. McColl indeed was a pain in the arse, in whicb respect Jim McC is proving a worthy disciple.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 02:44 PM

I've heard this before but it is rather interesting
How Folk Songs Should be Sung


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 03:04 PM

"I've heard this before but it is rather interesting"
It's a gross distortion of how the group worked
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 03:27 PM

I was going to avoid engaging with you at all, Jim, but...
You are now saying that Sandra Kerr, Frankie Armstrong, Brian Pearson, Richard Snell, Phil Colclough were all lying?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 04:23 PM

Jim, please answer my question what did you think of the 2 biographies


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Brian Peters
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 05:25 PM

Wby is reverance for Peggy Seeger's musicianship sacrosanct? (Ok, she could strum an autoharp.)

Unpleasantly patronising. Peggy is is an excellent banjo frailer and concertina player and, at a time when instrumental virtuosity was less common in the folk music world than it is now, was indeed an instrumentalist others looked up to. Oh, and she's a great singer and a pleasant and generous person. More generous than that comment, certainly.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 06:15 PM

Why don't the two of you make out a list each. A list of the issues you disagree with each other about.

Then we can bear that in mind, when you both express an opinion.

I'm sure you are both represent different strands of opinion in the world of traditional folk music.

Its sort of nearly interesting that you disagree with each other.   On the other hand, neither of you agree with me about anything much, but it doesn't make everything valueless that I have to say. And to me you are both GOM of folk music - I cannot conceive of either you holding an insincere or uninformed thought about folk music.

If you can get to the point where you say this my opinion , and I come at the subject from this direction. I think a harmonious and respectful dialogue could be achieved.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Cj
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 06:23 PM

Dick, I'm a fan of your music but that ridiculous post about the ginger man is a disgrace and you should apologise for it.

Regardless of who came up with the idea and how lax the rules were for EM and PS, I applaud the "sing in your own accent" ideal. An impression of an Appalachian, Irish, Devon or Jamaican accent is one step away from BnW Minstrels not to be taken particularly seriously.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Feb 18 - 08:23 PM

some of us - don't give a shit about being 'taken seriously'.

but we do take our music seriously. we entertain. and in this way we wring a living as performing artists from the dull earth.

being told to sing in our natural accents is frankly as f---ing stupid as telling Dustin Hoffman playing Tootsie to play the part using his natural accent.The people who wrote the songs we sing have and usually had lives quite as removed from most folksingers lives, as Dorothy was from Dustin.

There are far too many folksingers concerned with being taken seriously rather than applying themselves to doing a decent well presented professional performance.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 03:19 AM

I applaud the "sing in your own accent" ideal. An impression of an Appalachian, Irish, Devon or Jamaican accent is one step away from BnW Minstrels not to be taken particularly seriously
that was exactly what the lad [i believe it was long john baldry] was doing when singing Rock ISLAND LINE.singing it with a south east english accent, PEGGY SEEGER burst out laughing.
I found the anecdotes about Brendan Behan in Journey man particularly intersting, it is a very interesting book.
CJ ,i have nothing to apologise for i have no idea what Jim Carroll looks like i have never met him, I did not name him, he apparantly has black hair i have never attacked anyone whether they were eskimos black haired ginge haired,wering amohican or anything else   if i did meet him I would be polite, say good morning and move on , i have more interesting things to be doing


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 03:25 AM

So it is ironic, singing in your own accent was encouraged yet when a so called cockney lad sings rock island line he is publicly laughed at, the whole episode is reminiscent of the mad hatters tea party


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Cj
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 03:25 AM

See for me Al, I find UK people singing in American accents ridiculous. Sure, they may be professional, but they're not themselves. It's just Stars In Their Eyes.

Knock away the "seriously" word if you like, but I find the "professional" word just as galling. A professional what? A proffesional mid-atlantic dj?

Eaxh to their own though. And the important thing to remember was, this rule was only for their club. There were hundreds of other clubs where you could wear a cowboy hat and sing about life on the trail.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 03:30 AM

Professional[imo] means trying to to a job to as high standard ,that means practising, turning up to a gig on time and not getting drunk so that one cannot [perform well.
it also has a different meaning which is getting paid for doing a job, but i do not think that is the interpretation that is meant in this thread


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 03:32 AM

but the the rule may have just been for this club, however i was there at the time and the influence spread way beyond that.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 03:38 AM

Brian Peters, can you clarify who made that post about Peggy , IT CERTAINLY WAS NOT ME


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 04:01 AM

"Jim, please answer my question what did you think of the 2 biographies"
Why should I Dick, you haven't answered any of mine?
I think it is a rather meaningless question anyway - like "what do you prefer, a Madras Curry or a sticky-toffee pudding - I like both, they both give me different sensations and satisfy different cravings
Ewan and Peggy came from different backgrounds and both brought different experiences to the music scene - one is no more or less valuable than the other
Peggy introduced me to a totally different aspect of traditional song than Ewan could possibly have done - and vise versa
I became totality hooked on her ballad singing, just as I did with Ewans
I got masses of new information from Ben Harker's book that I didn't know, but I half filled a notebook with critical comments on some of his conclusions.
Harker's problem was that he never knew MacColl so he had to rely on the often contradictory opinions of others, many who also didn't know MacColl
Harker interviewed us and he told us that everybody he had interviewed who had worked with him were incredibly defensive and guarded in what they said even though the acting group had broken up acrimoniously
That was the way it was with MacColl - you took what he had to offer and, if you had any sense, you filtered out that which you were not sure about or didn't agree with - isn't that what you do with every genius (like him or not, that was what Ewan was as far as passing on his analytical approach to performing - I've heard both his enemies and his friends describe him as such).
What made Ewan unique was his desire to share ideas and pass on opinions, information and material.
Of all the things I got from Ewan, it was the desire to pass on anything we have to anybody who would make good use of it that has stuck with me.
Before I moved to London I spent half a dozen week-ends staying with them, copying their recordings - fieldwork, lectures - anything they had was there for the taking
Peggy had a filing cabinet draw of song texts she had assembled from various places, all in multi copies - she told me to help myself as long as I didn't take the last copy of a song so she could make more duplicates for the next person - that's the way they organised their lives
I remember feeling sorry for their youngest son Calum, whose small bedroom had been rigged out with two linked tape recorders so that visitors could use it as a copying studio and a spare bed - every time a visitor turned up he would be turfed out to share a bed with his brother Neil so we could work away for a couple of days
Say what you want about MacColl and Seeger - I never knew another person on the scene who did that (Charlie Parker did to some extent, but he was away from home a lot)
Both Ewan and Peggy have two books on their lives - Ewan has his own 'Journeyman' and Ben Harker's biography
A roughly accurate picture of his life, in my opinion, would be got by reading the two and sorting the wheat from the chaff in both
The same with Peggy - her own book is basically an outpouring of her life, full of personal information without too much analysis - a pleasure to read
Jean Freedman's book is analytical and well researched. with masses of information from others
Jean told us when she interviews us on line that she got the same guarded defensiveness about Ewan from everybody she interviewed
Like Ewan, the two Peggy books work hand-in-hand
Peter Cox's 'Set into Song' is a brilliant analysis of the work that went into the Radio Ballads - a must.
I've yet to read Alan Moore's and Giovanni Vacca's 'The Legacy of Ewan MacColl' - only just got it
It's a waste of time if you read these books uncritically, but it's equally pointless to read them with some of the preconceptions and misinformation that has always surrounded the work of Ewan and Peggy.
They really did have a lot to offer, and they offered it far more readily than anybody I ever met - on the folk scene or anywhare else in my life
They deserve more than the garbage that has been built up around their work - usually by people who offered to share nothing
Jim Carroll
Sorry if this is a mess - a stream of semi-consciousness from somebody who hasn't woken up yet


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 04:44 AM

I meant getting paid. If you don't get paid, you can't afford decent instruments, recording oppotunities.

What the professional folkies don't get is that their 'natural' accents are as bloody pathetic to actual dialect speakers, as any cabaret artist being Johnny Cash or Tom Jones. American accents are the lingua franca of working class music - has been since American acts became popular in music halls in the 1880's.

Ian Campbell once told me that his Dad's biggest influence as a singer was Al Jolson.   My Mum sang in an approximation of Americanese. Didn't speak that way - but that's how she sang.

My father in law's Derbyshire was impenetrable to me when I first met my wife. Apparently his Dad spoke in an even more unintelligible stain of Derbyshire.

No name no packdrill, but I've sat through evenings of Derbyshire folksong, that were about as convincing as Laurence Olivier's rasta Othello. To date, to my certain knowledge - no one has ever conquered the Eastwood accent in any DH Lawrence production known to man.And considering the eminence of Lawrence's talent - that's a pretty sloppy response by the educated classes.

I'm not saying attempts by middle class folks to sing folk songs is valueless - but for Christ's sake - get off your high horse about pro- singers who venture outside the Hundred Acre wood of English folk club type audiences.

Why do we have such bile towards other singers and artists. And why for God's sake can't you just do your own thing without criticising and telling us about how bloody superior your vision of English folksong is?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 05:11 AM

by coincidence i sat in Budds cafe in ballydehob this morning the first song was Rock Island Line sung by jo henry and billy bragg, Ienjoed it despite billy singing in a strange accent, it was imo not as good as leadbelly but better than lonnie donegan, but it was a pleasure to hear an american folk song in a public place rather than what is available in most places which is bland 90s pop often the lyrics are banal and the music seems very samey.
on the subject of singers and singing it really is subjective for exam-ple there are two well known uk revialist singers one has a beautiful voice ut in my opinion lacks interpretation, the other is a good interpreter but i cannot take to his voice, then you have singers like Carthy who have good voices and are good interpreters and good accompanists.
in my opinion Peggy was a good singer a good musician a good accompanist and a good songwriter, and generous with her time as was Ewan


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 05:24 AM

Dick suggests that the "Cockney lad" was Long John Baldry so this is interesting reading - https://www.theguardian.com/news/2005/jul/23/guardianobituaries.artsobituaries
Scroll down for the reference to MacColl but not a Cockney.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 06:25 AM

Find you diatribe against regional accents interesting Al - are you suggesting we all shoulfd sing in phony accents that are not our own?Folk songs are stories or thoughts set to music - try telling a story or expressing an opinion in a phony accent and see how many people you convince
Some people need to be a fly on the wall after a Yank or Brit singer has left a session after a Yank or Brit has attempted an "Oirish accent"
I'm pretty sure American or Scots audiences are no different
You can SING in any accent you wish - I don't believe you can INTERPRET any song in any accent other than your own - that's the difference
In fact the Linga Franca of song being American is a relatively new thing - up to the beginning of the 20th century, when pop music overwhelmed folk song in people's culture, people tended to sing in their own accents without feeling the need to copy any other accent
Any performer who can't take friendly criticism needs to stay at home and sing in the bath to their rubber duck
What audiences don't say to your face they'll say behind your back - I know which I'd rather have
If you are able to listen to criticism with an open mind and without resentment from people who come to listen to you you might gain something from it
Thinking yourself above criticism is for Prima Dons and Donas - they've always been a pain in the arse, no matter how good they are

Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 07:03 AM

Thanks to TheSnail for posting that obit. It's been a long time since I read it.

If Peggy was correct in claiming that the song was sung by a "Cockney Lad" then it certainly was NOT Long John Baldry. John's normal speaking voice was far away from that.

There is an error in the obit re The Steampacket but I won't go there or I'll be accused of thread drift and probably a lot more.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: TheSnail
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 07:52 AM

On the other hand, Baldry was there at the time and is likely to have sung Rock Island Line. Peggy's perception of British accents might not have been that great.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: GUEST,Cj
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 08:24 AM

Hey Al, not sure how much of that was aimed at me, but I'm happy for anyone to sing however they like, I merely prefer when they don't do it in somebody else's voice - be it from the otherside of the world or the other side of England.

Each to their own. Personally, I enjoy the personality of the performer. Everyone has their own personality - why try and copy someone else's?

There's a couple near me who sing Gillian Welch songs, attempting her and David Rawlings accents. They get it as close as they can and yep, it has its place, but for me, well, it's more an homage than anything particularly personal or interesting. I mean, it's nice hearing what someone has done in their kitchen, but not particularly thrilling. Singing it as themselves would just add a layer of intrigue and individualism.

But absolutely, each to their own. 'supposed to be fun, after all.

Not on my high horse - that galloped off decades ago.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 10:09 AM

no i'm not saying i'm against regional accents. but all my family were regional accent speakers, as i suspect yours were jim,   you're a scouser, n'est-ce pas?

and you've got to admit its not just phoney American accents that can be toe curlingly embarrassing. Remember all those Americans with Beatle accents around the time of the fab four? my parents and me had lancashire accents.

I think it was my year doing English for A level that I realised the Lancashire accent was taking me weird places.

The first line of TS Eliot's poetry I ever looked at was

Let us go then you and I
When the moon is spread out against the sky.

I read it out loud, and it was at that point I realised I had never used the word 'I' in my life. My accent went...Ah'm doing this or Ah'm doing that.

if you have to change your accent for poetry, why not song?


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 10:11 AM

correction , when the evening is sspread out against the sky -s'been a long time!


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 10:25 AM

that was my whole point earlier PEGGY did not know a cockney accent, i belive the singer had a southern accent. anyway the whole thing was ridiculous as well as impolite, there is peggy singing appalaschian songs with a northern american accent, and she laughs at someone singning rock island line with an english accent as for jims remak about interpretation more bull shit, billy bragg interprets the song rock island lin4e very well admittedly he is singing with jo henry, it is a good version imo better than lonnies


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 10:27 AM

but all my family were regional accent speakers, as i suspect yours were jim"
I still have a strong Scouse accent - I tend to modulate it when I sing without (hopefully) sounding phony because that's what we were taught to do in school - to "speak properly"
MacColl was often slated for his 'phony' Scots accent, but it wasn't
He grew up in a Scots family surrounded by Scots people - he grew up speaking in one accent at home and another in the street, as did many families of exiles
I had meals with Ewan, Peggy and Ewan's mother and sometimes, when Ewan and Betsy were talking, sometimes you might have been siting in on a Bangladeshi conversation.   
Even now, when I'm on the phone talking to my sisters, Pat will know who I'm talking to because my accent changes
This is a thousand miles away from the phony Mid-Atlantic accents that are used by so many singers - neither fish nor fowl
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 10:28 AM

by the way it was long john baldry and Baldry's birth was registered in Brixworth Registration District in Northamptonshire, some feckin cockney, for god sake


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 10:32 AM

Baldry's birth was registered in Brixworth Registration District in Northamptonshire in the first quarter of 1941. He was born to William James Baldry (1915-1990), a metropolitan police constable and his wife, Margaret Louisa née Parker (1915-1989). His early life was spent in Edgware, Middlesex where he attended Camrose Primary School until the age of 11, after which he attended Downer Grammar School, now Canons High School. Just before his death, he attended the school's 40th anniversary celebrations."
that still does not make him a cockney, I WAS BORN CLOSER IN BLACKHEATH ,BUT I AM STILL NOT A COCKNEY, It is rsther liker calling a teesider a geordie, feckin ridiculous and incorrect


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Vic Smith
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 11:11 AM

he grew up speaking in one accent at home and another in the street

Don't tell me about it! I use to joke about being bi-ligual is Scots and English according to which parent I was talking to - but it means that the songs of rural Oxfordshire and rural Aberdeenshire both seems to trip easily of my tongue.


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 11:20 AM

"feckin ridiculous and incorrect"
Don't know what this ill-mannered outburst is about Dick - you seem happy to behave in the way you've critcised others for bahaving
The young singer was not Baldry - it was an East London lad local to the club according to Peggy
If you can't tell the difference between a Londoner trying to sound like a black American convict and an American singer singing an American song in their own accent you should not be debating this
It was always an issue of trying to sing in a phony accent that had no part in your lives that was the issue
I think I know a dozen shanties and two songs that probably originated in Liverpool
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Ewan MacColl Biography
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Feb 18 - 11:37 AM

Jim an east londoner is not a cockney unless born within the sound of bow bells. Jim, it,is fec kin ridiculous and incorrect.
no jim, an a north east american singer singing appalachian songs is no more valid accent wise than a londoner singing geordie songs., stop talking balderdash.


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