mudcat.org: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeawe

Post to this Thread - Printer Friendly - Home
Page: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?

Related threads:
The Big Issue: Peggy Seeger (13)
Ewan MacColl ...Folk Friend Or Foe? (182) (closed)
Ewan MacColl on bandcamp (14)
Stage Play: Joan & Jimmy (March 2019) (10)
2007 Ewan MacColl Bio - Class Act (519)
Peggy Seeger biography 2017 (85)
New Books: Peggy Seeger / Billy Bragg (15)
Ewan Maccoll - Atheist or Religious? (23)
Lyr Req: Missing MacColl Albums (6)
Stop The Ewan Maccoll Bickering !!! (107)
Peggy Seeger- Again (5)
Ewan MacColl's trousers (110)
Peggy Seeger - In Her Prime (13)
What did you do in the war, Ewan? (297)
Ewan MacColl tribute-Maxine Peake/Joy of Living CD (15)
New book - Legacies of Ewan MacColl (80)
Ewan Macoll & Peggy Seeger Concert 1976 (4)
Peggy Seeger interview on Irish radio (3)
PEGGY SEEGER Folkways FP-49 (9)
Peggy Seeger on BBC R4's 'Loose Ends' (13)
Gulp! Ewan MacColl - Scottish or Not? (170)
BS: Who the hell is MacColl? (77)
Peggy Seeger, Desert Island Discs (16)
Obit: RIP Ewan MacColl (1915-1989) (8)
Ewan MacColl - real name? (78)
John Ross' discography of Ewan MacColl (19)
Folk 78 - Ewan MacColl & Peggy Seeger (5)
MacColl/Seeger LP-Identify? (9)
A new site: Ewan MacColl's discography (1)
Ewan MacColl autobiography - to be reissued (25)
Ewan MacColl and RTE (9)
(origins) Origins: Webnotes: Peg Seeger's newish trad album (1)
Ewan MacColl - coward or traitor? (109)
Ewan MacColl's accent (182)
MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl (174)
Why did Ewan MacColl write new songs? (58)
Ewan MacColl Collectors E-Mail List (7)
Complete Ewan MacColl Songbook (13)
Ewan MacColl and Stalin (65)
Ewan MacColl's CDs (12)
Ewan MacColl Weekend 27- 29 Sept 2002 (23)
Who's Ewan MacColl? (60)
Ewan MacColl - Recommendations? (27)
Peggy Seeger (18)
Seeger and MacColl Books (3)
Peg Seeger, Si Kahn & Sorcha Dorcha... (20)
MacColl Tribute in Salford - Sunday (13)
peggy seeger on u.k. radio (14)
Peggy Seeger on Desert Island Discs (11)
June 17th. Happy Birthday Peggy Seeger (11)
Ewan MacColl songbook out? (6)
What Peggy Seeger did last week... (6)


GUEST,redmax 10 Oct 07 - 05:39 AM
Bryn Pugh 10 Oct 07 - 06:44 AM
maeve 10 Oct 07 - 06:55 AM
Folkiedave 10 Oct 07 - 07:15 AM
GUEST,clockwatcher 10 Oct 07 - 07:45 AM
GUEST,theleveller 10 Oct 07 - 08:53 AM
GUEST,redmax 10 Oct 07 - 10:09 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 10 Oct 07 - 10:38 AM
The Borchester Echo 10 Oct 07 - 10:44 AM
maeve 10 Oct 07 - 10:52 AM
Barry Finn 10 Oct 07 - 10:53 AM
Barry Finn 10 Oct 07 - 11:01 AM
Folkiedave 10 Oct 07 - 11:28 AM
maeve 10 Oct 07 - 11:48 AM
Folkiedave 10 Oct 07 - 11:59 AM
maeve 10 Oct 07 - 12:00 PM
Ebbie 10 Oct 07 - 12:08 PM
Bill D 10 Oct 07 - 12:15 PM
maeve 10 Oct 07 - 12:19 PM
maeve 10 Oct 07 - 12:24 PM
GUEST,Brian Bull 10 Oct 07 - 12:58 PM
greg stephens 10 Oct 07 - 01:52 PM
The Borchester Echo 10 Oct 07 - 02:11 PM
Dave Sutherland 10 Oct 07 - 02:52 PM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 10 Oct 07 - 02:55 PM
GUEST,Winger 10 Oct 07 - 04:46 PM
maeve 10 Oct 07 - 05:00 PM
GUEST,Ewan McVicar 10 Oct 07 - 06:10 PM
johnross 11 Oct 07 - 12:48 AM
TRUBRIT 11 Oct 07 - 01:57 AM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 11 Oct 07 - 01:58 AM
The Borchester Echo 11 Oct 07 - 02:46 AM
The Borchester Echo 11 Oct 07 - 02:49 AM
Jon Bartlett 11 Oct 07 - 03:41 AM
pavane 11 Oct 07 - 05:02 AM
GUEST,redmax 11 Oct 07 - 08:11 AM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 11 Oct 07 - 09:34 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 11 Oct 07 - 09:45 AM
GUEST,Winger 11 Oct 07 - 12:25 PM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 11 Oct 07 - 01:29 PM
GUEST 11 Oct 07 - 04:32 PM
Joe_F 11 Oct 07 - 09:29 PM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 12 Oct 07 - 02:25 AM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 12 Oct 07 - 02:27 AM
Bryn Pugh 12 Oct 07 - 10:14 AM
GUEST 12 Oct 07 - 12:27 PM
GUEST,Songster Bob 12 Oct 07 - 02:25 PM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 12 Oct 07 - 03:17 PM
Big Al Whittle 12 Oct 07 - 06:17 PM
Folkiedave 12 Oct 07 - 06:38 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:










Subject: E. MacColl - first-hand trivial anecdotes?
From: GUEST,redmax
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 05:39 AM

It seems a shame to me that a lot of MacColl threads tend to get so heated, and that a lot of assertions are made about him (as opposed to his legacy) by people who never met him. I was struck by a posting in a recent thread where someone mentioned the kind of beer he drank. Utterly trivial, I know, but it struck me that it might be diverting to start a thread which doesn't go down the well-trodden path of his name changes, his deserting during the war, etc.

Can anyone who met the man share any recollection they have of him. Did he stand on your foot? If so, did he apologise? Did you find yourself standing at the next urinal to him? Did he talk to you about the weather, the price of fish, the FA cup?

Come on, let's have a nice, fluffy, pointless thread!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 06:44 AM

It's a good idea, redmax, but I'll lay seven to two you won't get a fluffy, pointless thread.

The posting that mentioned that Peggy drank cider, and Ewan drank brown over bitter, was mine. Thank you for reading it. Did you notice also that I spoke of their unfailing courtesy ?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: maeve
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 06:55 AM

I can vouch for Peggy's courtesy. Unfailing? Yes, indeed. I never had the pleasure of meeting Ewan.

maeve


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 07:15 AM

I met them both - and I can vouch for their unfailing courtesy too. And all the people I know that met them also vouch for their courtesy. And Peggy is just the same now. (She is on tour here next year and will be at Shepley Festival which is a blatant plug for both of them).

I have on the other hand met a lot of people who have not met them, who will tell you how arrogant Ewan was.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST,clockwatcher
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 07:45 AM

Well, I knew someone who used to write really bad songs, quite hopeless, and he sent two of them to MacColl asking him what he thought of them.

The reply he got back, whilst leaving no doubt that he didn't think they were much good, was perfectly polite and even encouraging.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST,theleveller
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 08:53 AM

Thanks for that, folkiedave, enjoyed Shepley so much I'm going back to be blown away (literally) again next year.

Well, here's some useless fluffy info. I've just been told that Peggy Seeger lived in the next village to me for years, so I may have bumped into her without knowing it. Also, a friend in the village knows Msrtin Simpson's roadie really well. And Eliza Carthy used to babysit the plasterer who's been working on my house; and mrsleveller and I had a lovely chat to her mum and dad in the toilet queue at Shepley; they just turned round and asked us if we were having a good time. Trivia - don't you just love it?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST,redmax
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 10:09 AM

This is the right kind of stuff!

Jim Carroll, this thread needs you. Please don't think me flippant, but I've read so much second-hand opinion about MacColl that he seems as real as the Big Hewer in my mind. Give us some banal recollections and let's try to remember the living, breathing chap.

Did anyone ever buy him a packet of crisps? If so, what flavour did he prefer? Come on, this is the stuff we need to know.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 10:38 AM

The last time I saw Ewan, about a year before he died, was at a folk club near Warrington. For some reason (which completely escapes me now) the conversation got round to natural history. Ewan, of course, was one of those people who was interested in everything and told me about a recent holiday that he and Peggy had taken on a Mediterranean island (Minorca, I think) and how the wild flowers on the island had been wonderful. I told him about a Victorian flora of Manchester that I had recently found in a second-hand book shop and he was particularly amused by the idea that wild daffodils had once grown in Trafford Park.

I asked him if he would sing 'Black Dog and Sheepcrook' during the evening (my favourite among his vast repertoire) and he readily agreed - and, in the course of the evening, sang it magnificently.

After the club we went back to someone's house and he regaled us with stories about collecting folk songs in Italy with Alan Lomax.
I also remember that the evening was rather spoiled by the somewhat boorish behaviour of one of our party (not, incidentally, directed towards Ewan) - but that's another story.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 10:44 AM

No crisps but we shared a bag of cherries as he gave me notes to which I had to pitch in thirds and fifths above and below till he discovered my range. Didn't take long.

Yes, he was unfailingly polite and courteous, and always inquired into what I was doing musically and even if it was in the hope that I wouldn't burst into it instantly, he never actually discouraged me.

Contrary to most people's beliefs that he never performed it, I have seen him do First Time Ever, the song that paid for he and Peggy to produce his youngest daughter Kitty.

Seventeen years after his death, I still can't get more than half way through The Joy Of Living without collapsing in tears.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: maeve
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 10:52 AM

Diane- Same here, regarding Joy of Living. I did manage to sing it for a friend's memorial service, at the request of his family. How fortunate you are to have known him.

maeve


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 10:53 AM

I met them during a house concert in L.A. in the very late 70's. It was a strange way to meet. The host asked who had come the farthest to see them, folks knowing I was on the road traveling ask me how far I came, I said from Boston so I got to hang with them as a door prize. We got to talking, he was very interested in the type of labor I did (Roofing) & wanted to know about how the old time slater's passed on their craft & about our unions, he told me he had done a bit of stone work. I don't know if he ever did much labor, he didn't strike me as a man that worked his back & hands but he sure was interested in how the working man labored & survived. We didn't really talk music. I found them both to be very nice, engaging & more than polite & encouraging, I was always enamored of them but they became my hero's after that night. I just chanced upon the house concert by glancing at a local newspaper & couldn't believe my luck. That was probably the #2 highlight of my year & 1/2 venture to Hawaii & back, #1 was the sail back from Lahania to San Diego, that couldn't been topped unless I had spent the night with Peggy.

Barry

Barry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 11:01 AM

Diane, he did "First Time Ever" there too. Peggy also did "I'm gonna be an engineer" because it was requested but mentioned that she didn't do it often anymore because while singing it she would catch herself going over her shopping list & other daily erands because she had done it so often thather mind got to wondering. In doing the request she was very gracious about honoring it even though she had been steering clear of it.

Barry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 11:28 AM

I don't know if anyone ever recorded the Desert Island Discs programme that Peggy did - Joy of Living was the final song.

For the first time in my experience the producer allowed the song to be interrupted so that as Peggy described how she and the children were sat by the bedside in came the line "here's to you my chicks......"

Two of us in tears here and when the programme ended a close friend telephoned to say "Did you hear that?"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: maeve
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 11:48 AM

I'd like to hear that programme, FolkieDave. I wonder if it is available for a listen. Hmmm.

maeve


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 11:59 AM

Unlikely - it is never available on listen again because of ownership/copywrite issues with Roy Plomley Estates. But a private recording maybe????


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: maeve
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 12:00 PM

Ach, well, perhaps a 'Catter will have it. Thanks.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Ebbie
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 12:08 PM

My ignorance, here: Is 'Ewan' pronounced EVan or YUen?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Bill D
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 12:15 PM

Perhaps 20 years ago, I was asked to 'lead' Ewan & Peggy from suburban Maryland to downtown Wash.D.C. for a concert. We arrived early, and I had perhaps 30 minutes with them as they checked out the hall and did a sound check.
   I had gone thru my LP collection and found everything by them I had and brought along a stack of 8-9 records, which I asked if they would sign. They cheerfully did, and suggested other things I might like, including "The Long Harvest"...which I finally acquired on CD just last year! They were polite, open and friendly.

Since then I have met Peggy twice and she was as friendly as she could be in the hectic pace of post-concert. I took some digital pics of Peggy doing a house concert at the house she grew up in and gave her a CD of them at the recent concert of all 3 Seegers....a few weeks later, I got a very nice email thanking me.

I suspect, that, like most people, Ewan could be irritated at times, ...often, no doubt for good cause...and no doubt there ARE stories by folks who didn't like something about their meeting with Ewan, but I seem to see that he was usually polite, gracious and interested....and he WAS an incredibly talented and creative artist, no matter what some think of certain details of his life.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: maeve
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 12:19 PM

Thanks for your post, Bill D. I appreciate your balanced view.

maeve


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: maeve
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 12:24 PM

It's more the "YUan" pronunciation, Ebbie.

Regards,

maeve


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST,Brian Bull
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 12:58 PM

Back in the early sixties I was bluffing my way through college in London but really much more interested in folk music. I went a couple of times to the Singers Club (then at a pub near St. Pancras called 'the Pindar of Wakefield') and was so impressed by Ewan and Peggy that I booked them twice for a folk club I had started at College. Whatever anyone else's experience, I can only say they gave a very professional performance and were polite and totally non threatening. Ewan particularly spent several minutes chatting to me about folk singing and was clearly very knowledgeable and articulate. He was a great talent and as for the criticism, just remember, nobody's perfect.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: greg stephens
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 01:52 PM

Well, alas, I only met him once, incredibly briefly, and nothing happened of any interest at all. He was very courteous, very polite.I was in awe!He had a bad press of course with people claiming he went around telling everyone what they could or couldn't sing. Well, sure he had opinions, who doesn't, but he didn't go around assaulting people if they were singing the wrong songs. I remember Peggy Seeger reminiscing about a time she had openly and cruelly derided a young singer for singing in the "wrong" accent, but I have no knowledge of McColl ever doing that.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 02:11 PM

Peggy Seeger's MT piece was posted by Folkie Dave earlier in the other thread about the MacColl bio, but it hasn't stopped those who never went near B&B/Singers from posting total crap about what the policies were and how that were determined.

In this, Peggy describes how she laughed uncontrollably at a Cockney's efforts at an American song - because she couldn't help it, it was so funny. That's not the same as 'derision'.

Ewan asked me and Anne Briggs at the same time if we'd like to come along to the Critics. Anne refused point blank, declaring the very idea 'preposterous' and it certainly could be argued that she didn't actually need further guidance. I went for a few weeks on the basis that I needed all the help I could get. Ewan never told me what I could or couldn't sing. He just encouraged me to do what I did a bit better.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 02:52 PM

We booked them three times when I was involved with South Tyne Folk and Blues and each time they were supremely professional, on time, well prepared and very encouraging about the club and its residents. The first time we booked them, and the first time I met Ewan, I stutteringly asked him to sing "Sweet Thames Flow Softly" which he decided was "not a bad idea". On the ensuing occasions I asked for "Through Moorfields" and "The Midwife's Ghost" both of which he declined on the basis that he no longer sang them but he told me that his son (probably Hamish)sang the latter and he enthused over its "noble tune".After the gig that night he talked to me at length about different versions of "Tam Lin" and we discusssed the plans to make a film of the ballad which was being mooted at that time. He asked what sort of songs Ed Pickford was writing and told me how impressed he was by a young singer from the Gosforth Traditional Club (Benny Graham). All that was between 1968 and 1973.
By the way in those days he smoked Players and drove a Merc.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 02:55 PM

Have stayed out of this one deliberately because of my tendency to monopolise, but will perhaps join later.
One of my earliest memories was of the first time I went to stay at their home; I had been asked to re-wire the lighting system which was giving trouble.
Ewan was writing the script for 'The Festival of Fools' (an annual political show the Critics group and volunteers (Diane?) put on at the end of the year).
Whatever we were doing, Ewan would come down from his workroom with part of a script and demand that Peggy and I listen to and comment on it after he had read it through. He did this towards the end of the day once when I had miscalculated how long a job would take me. We had to sit there in the almost dark and listen while he read the script by the light of a torch, then I had to borrow the torch to finish the light circuit.
That week we drove to the Singers Club where they were performing. I sat through what I believed to be a near perfect night of singing, but going home in the car he and Peggy went step-by-step through everything they had sung that night, criticising it minutely; then they asked me what I thought. I replied with an extremely feeble "it sounded all right to me".
My fondest memory of Ewan was when I moved to London and they gave me a home (and fed me) for a month. Ewan was totally impractical and, instead of letting me go out and find work, he would insist I help him in the garden, though most of the time we sat in deck chairs and talked.
He seldom spoke of his childhood, but on one of these occasions he told me of an incident when he was still in junior school (Grecian Street Salford). His father had been blacklisted at work and had taken to the bottle. One time he turned up at the school during playtime, the worse for drink and had beckoned him through the railings. Ewan said he deliberately pretended not to know him - he was still ashamed at having done so.
Nuff sed.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST,Winger
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 04:46 PM

Well done, Jim. By your own definition you've just become a fully paid-up Folk Luvvie. ("What is a Folk Luvvie - well; as I was just saying to Martin the other day................").


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: maeve
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 05:00 PM

Thanks for the post, Jim. Their graciousness and generosity show clearly, balanced by other very human traits.

maeve


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST,Ewan McVicar
Date: 10 Oct 07 - 06:10 PM

Well, I met Ewan MacColl twice. Once, Enoch Kent rather wickedly introduced me in the darkness -I was sat in a car, Ewan MacColl was stood outside - as 'another Ewan', which rather startled MacColl.
Another time we briefly conversed across the width of a venue where he and Peggy were sound-checking. I learned with astonishment that he and Peggy had learned and sung my Shift And Spin song for a workshop. I had made a few versions of the song for different shows, so asked which version they had used. MacColl was again startled - why had I changed it?
In addition I had various correspondence with both, mostly via Peggy. They were unfailingly polite and encouraging re various projects, and gave a very fine commendation quote for me to use for the Scottish CND Buskers cassette.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: johnross
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 12:48 AM

I organized and produced concerts for Peggy and Ewan in Seattle several times over about the last ten years before he died. They also did a master class in ballads for us (and before you ask, yes, there's a tape of that session here someplace). They were always a joy to work with; fully professional, they knew exactly what they wanted and needed, but they weren't pushy or prima donnas.

Once, when I was in London, I went to the Singers' Club at the Bull and Mouth to see and hear them. I happened to arrive before the upstairs room was unlocked, and waited on the stairs with a handful of other people. One of them was a Folk Bore, who observed my obvious American accent, and decided to tell me all about his wonderful record collection of American Folk Music. I was trapped in the stairway, so I had to stand there and listen politely as he went on and on. After about ten minutes of this, Ewan and Peggy arrived with the key. Ewan greeted me warmly and Peggy gave me a big hug, and one of them said, "Why didn't you tell us you were in town?" As this is happening, I could see that the Folk Bore was shrinking back, with a look on his face that said, "Oops. I should know who this is, shouldn't I?" It was a great moment.

During the interval that evening, I mentioned to Ewan that I had found an old Wheatstone concertina at a bargain price in a street market that day, but I didn't have the cash to buy it, so the seller had put it aside for me. But I was leaving before I could get the chance to go to the bank and arrange to buy it. Ewan said, "that's too good a deal to miss. Give us the name of the shop and we'll get it for you. You can send us the money." Which they did, and took it to Harry Crabbe to repair. Of course, I sent them the money immediately after I heard from them. On their next U.S. tour, which ended here in Seattle, Peggy brought my concertina instead of her own, and played it at all their concerts. On the final night of the tour, she left it with me.

So, yes, I would agree that he (and Peggy as well) was generally gracious and approachable. But I never got into either a political or artistic confrontation with him, so I don't know how that might have gone.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: TRUBRIT
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 01:57 AM

If any one does have a copy of that Desert Island Discs (one of my favorite programs) with Peggy, I sure would love to hear it......


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 01:58 AM

Winger:
"Well done, Jim. By your own definition you've just become a fully paid-up Folk Luvvie. ("What is a Folk Luvvie - well; as I was just saying to Martin the other day................")."
If it pleases you to thinks so - please feel free; I knew and worked with Ewan for over 20 years, and consider(ed) both he and Peggy good friends, as well as contributors to my love and knowledge of traditional singing. This is not the creeping, first-name, assumed familiarity that infested the revival at one time (and maybe still does); merely personal reminiscences I was asked for.
By the way, I intended to ask you - do you always tell anybody who offers you advice on singing to "fuck off?"
I think that one of Ewan's greatest achievements is probably that, nearly twenty years after his death, he still manages to provoke frothing-at-the-mouth hatred from people like yourself, whose contact and knowledge of him and his ideas was so marginal as to be non-existent, .
Regarding the myth of the Singers Club policy not allowing singers to sing songs out of their own region, there is, of course, the other side of the coin:
On numerous occasions E&P and other members of the Critics Group were offered bookings at clubs on the condition that they didn't sing their political songs; and also, they were requested by some not to sing 'modern' songs (ie-their own compositions); kettle/black springs to mind!!! (They turned down both requests, by the way).
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 02:46 AM

Just for the sake of getting #100 I recall the feeling of terror when Ewan & Peggy were espied climbing the stairs to the XXX club - a week early. They'd driven back especially that day from mainland Europe too, for what? A floor spot? And indeed that is what they did, being true pros. And a 'Don't forget to come back again next week.

Fortunately, a copy of the contract was swiftly produced, clearly showing the date of the booking. Phew!

Semi-Luvvie Department: As a certain performer was saying to me only last week after blowing a gig: 'I'm 48 years old and this is the first time ever I've misread my diary . . . '


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 02:49 AM

Ah, no, that's the other thread that's up to #99 . . .


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Jon Bartlett
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 03:41 AM

A bonne bouche for those who like trivia: Ewan and Peggy dined with us at a seafood cafe in Vancouver (the Marine View, almost entirely shoreworkers and now long gone) a few decades back and Ewan was DISGUSTED that they fried oysters there - apparently a no-no for people who've only ever eaten them raw (I've never eaten one at all!).

Rika Ruebsaat and I were their guests in Kent when we asked for their input on our radio series, and they gave it to us with both barrels, for which we are eternally grateful. We regarded them as comrades in a joint struggle for traditional music, and their greater experience made our music better. We both grew up in households where argument and back-and-forth were one of the joys of living, and so strong opinion is to us a blessing. I can well understand that those whose childhoods lacked that back-and-forth because "it's not polite to argue/disagree" might well have trouble dissociating the personal from the political in a loud argy-bargy.

Jon Bartlett


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: pavane
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 05:02 AM

I turned up at a club in Stratford, London in 1970 to see them (and the BBC also turned up to film Peggy Seeger for a documentary about foreigners in England, which I later saw on TV). Although I had great admiration for Ewan and his work, I was not happy that the evening was full of songs like 'Ho ho Ho Chi Mihn'. I did prefer work like that on the Long Harvest, which I used to borrow from my local record library in the 60's.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST,redmax
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 08:11 AM

I've enjoyed the posts so far, thanks for sharing this info. Please stay with us, Jim. Let's keep it going!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 09:34 AM

In the very early days I used to go for a pee when Peggy sang, amazing what getting old does for you.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 09:45 AM

Somewhere above it is stated that Ewan never attacked anybody. Well you obviously were not at the Horseshoes in Tottenham Court Road the night Malcolm Nixon was forced to step between Ewan and Dominic Behan.
Dominic had been suggesting that Alan Lomax had been going around Ireland collecting from ageing singers and rewarding them with a bottle of Guiness and Ewan obviously thought that he should physically defend Lomax's honour.
Bold Sportsmen All.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST,Winger
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 12:25 PM

"By the way, I intended to ask you - do you always tell anybody who offers you advice on singing to "fuck off?"

I've no idea what you're on about, Jim, and I take strong exception to you suggesting that I may have done so. For this, I expect you to apologise.

"This not the creeping, first-name, assumed familiarity that infested the revival at one time (and maybe still does); merely personal reminiscences I was asked for."

Clearly, you feel that the revival has left you behind and does not show you the respect you feel you are due. Words like "infested" suggest a note of bitterness towards those who are merely a mirror image of yourself.

Leave it out, Jim.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 01:29 PM

Winger
My apologies, I was confusing you with Leveller
As for the rest of your posting stet.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 04:32 PM

Jim, do you mean that as you get older you don't have to go so often? I bloody hope so.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Joe_F
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 09:29 PM

Jon Bartlett: I like oysters both raw and fried. However, in deprecating the frying of oysters MacColl agreed with another eminent person, viz. H. L. Mencken, who waxed eloquent on the subject in his columns. He once recorded having been in a respectable restaurant that had deigned to serve fried oysters because a misguided VIP had ordered them. The maitre d' should at least have had the decency to set up screens around the table, he said.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 02:25 AM

Jim, do you mean that as you get older you don't have to go so often? I bloody hope so"
Guest - on the contrary unfortunately.
I learned to appreciate Peggy's American analogues as much as I did the British repertoire.
Thank you for asking
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 02:27 AM

Afterthought.
Joe Heaney once said that it takes him all night to do what he used to do all night.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 10:14 AM

At risk of thread-creep, following on from Joe Heaney's squib :

I am slowly beginning to understand what my pupil master meant when, many years ago, he said :

'There is only one f*cked in my home, and it is I'.

(See other threads for advice as to over 60s farting, micturition ansd naughties).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 12:27 PM

Opened for Maccoll & Seeger a number of years ago at the Queens Hall in Hexham. Peggy was very protective of Ewan - due to his heart condition. I had travelled up from Stockport to play the gig. Ewan was pleased to tell me he used to live there and described the location of the house (on the side of Werneth Low for those who know the place) - a house I've always coveted because of the view. During the interval Peggy was playing a song backstage and I picked up my mandolin and jammed along. Her reaction was that she was not ready to do the song in public yet but that I wouldn't be there when she was so we'd better do it in the secong half. An altogether memorable night!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST,Songster Bob
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 02:25 PM

I never met the man, but do know a story, related by one of the many Brits (it could have been John Roberts, Mike Waterson, or any number of others -- I truly can't remember) who came through Helen Schneyer's house "back in the day." I can't tell the story properly, and don't know the address that comes as the punch line, but here goes.

An acquaintance of the story-teller was looking around a junk shop and came upon a stuffed turtle. Huge thing, it was, but, on a whim, he bought it. It got wrapped in brown paper -- not enough to totally cover it, but enough to let him carry it out of the shop -- and he trotted off down to the bus line. On the bus, a woman said to him, "What's that?"

"My turtle," he answered.

"Oh, what does it eat?" she asked, oblivious of the fact that it was dead and stuffed.

"Slugs."

"Oh," she said, "My garden is full of those. Would you like me to send you some?"

"That would be very kind," he answered.

"What address should I send them to?" asked the kind old soul.

"Ewan MacColl, 50 High St., Soho*" he answered, giving Ewan's real address.


Bob

* I told you I didn't know the real address.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 03:17 PM

Bob,
Heard it as being Mervin Plunkett.
If you want to tell the story with authority, the address was 35 Stanley Avenue, Beckenham, Kent.
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 06:17 PM

I think Peggy must have given him a real sense of security on stage. She could play things. with Ewan - he had theatrical training - the show must go on, etc - and really it was all a pose. There was nothing only his presence there onstage. Peggy was so relaxed - she ate a pork pie one night onstage at The Nottingham Club that used to be at The Coop.

people weren't nice to Peggy. i remember Tony Capstick (a great singer in my opinion) saying as he introduced Freeborn Man - Ewan MaColl and peggy Seeger - they say every man carries his own cross....

Yet I think - it meant a lot to him that he could collect himself while she sang Freight train or Peggy Gordon or The Travelling Man. People found that weird sort Appalachian/Hedy West sort of voice - unnatural, when they were being asked to honestly focus on their roots.

I'm sorry if these reflections aren't about what a great guy he was - i don't know if he was ... this is just about what I remember feeling and thinking at the time.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl - any first-hand anecdotes?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 06:38 PM

She could play things. with Ewan - he had theatrical training - the show must go on, etc - and really it was all a pose.

Really? what sort of pose? How do you know?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
Next Page

  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 17 November 10:17 PM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.