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What did you do in the war, Ewan?

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GUEST,Shimrod 16 Dec 09 - 07:04 AM
Jack Blandiver 16 Dec 09 - 07:48 AM
Dave the Gnome 16 Dec 09 - 08:00 AM
Bryn Pugh 16 Dec 09 - 08:07 AM
Dave Hanson 16 Dec 09 - 08:30 AM
Jack Blandiver 16 Dec 09 - 09:29 AM
Bryn Pugh 16 Dec 09 - 10:19 AM
Folkiedave 16 Dec 09 - 10:54 AM
Jim McLean 16 Dec 09 - 10:58 AM
GUEST,Lighter 16 Dec 09 - 11:21 AM
Jack Blandiver 16 Dec 09 - 11:21 AM
GUEST,Winger 16 Dec 09 - 02:06 PM
Jack Blandiver 16 Dec 09 - 02:34 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 16 Dec 09 - 02:47 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 16 Dec 09 - 02:51 PM
GUEST,Winger 16 Dec 09 - 03:12 PM
Folkiedave 16 Dec 09 - 03:36 PM
GUEST,Winger 16 Dec 09 - 03:43 PM
M.Ted 16 Dec 09 - 04:19 PM
GUEST,Winger 16 Dec 09 - 04:35 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 16 Dec 09 - 04:47 PM
The Sandman 16 Dec 09 - 06:57 PM
M.Ted 16 Dec 09 - 07:25 PM
GUEST 17 Dec 09 - 01:16 AM
Jack Blandiver 17 Dec 09 - 06:29 AM
mark gregory 17 Dec 09 - 06:35 AM
Jack Blandiver 17 Dec 09 - 07:30 AM
GUEST 17 Dec 09 - 07:54 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 17 Dec 09 - 09:36 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 17 Dec 09 - 03:47 PM
The Sandman 17 Dec 09 - 04:43 PM
Charley Noble 17 Dec 09 - 08:33 PM
Jack Blandiver 18 Dec 09 - 01:59 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 18 Dec 09 - 05:17 AM
GUEST 18 Dec 09 - 06:26 AM
The Sandman 18 Dec 09 - 10:30 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 09 - 01:39 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 18 Dec 09 - 01:46 PM
Joe_F 18 Dec 09 - 09:08 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Dec 09 - 03:52 AM
GUEST,guest 19 Dec 09 - 04:30 AM
Jack Blandiver 19 Dec 09 - 04:34 AM
MGM·Lion 19 Dec 09 - 06:22 AM
Jack Blandiver 19 Dec 09 - 09:06 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Dec 09 - 09:47 AM
MGM·Lion 19 Dec 09 - 09:54 AM
Jack Blandiver 19 Dec 09 - 10:50 AM
MGM·Lion 19 Dec 09 - 11:01 AM
Jack Blandiver 19 Dec 09 - 12:31 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Dec 09 - 12:33 PM
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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 16 Dec 09 - 07:04 AM

"And so our dear Shimrod wins The Order of the Brown Nose by a several good country miles! Well done there, Shimrod - & at least it saves Jim the trouble of wiping his arse - or is he still in nappies? I lose track at times, I really do!"

A rather predictable response there, SO'P. It's just that I tend to agree with MOST of what JC says (not everything of course) and thought that the the attack on him by 'GUEST, guest' was unjustified. I hope, 'dear' SO'P, that I would leap to defend you if I thought that an attack on you was unjustified - I shall keenly wait for an opportunity to put that principle to the test (could be a longish wait ... ?).


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 16 Dec 09 - 07:48 AM

Here we go again!

reckon you are letting your prejudices show there a little.

I don't deny it. My respect for EM was as a singer of traditional material; I never liked his own stuff over much.

and nowadays ordinarly people talking on radio is regarded as normal.

Albeit edited by the powers that be; much as Ewan edited them to suit his own purposes & agendas. Next you'll be telling us that Reality TV is the true Voice of the People. Hell, maybe it is at that.

I am not sure what is so revolutionary about their particular music. Would you be kind enugh to explain? & What anti-apartheid message was being put across in the jazz played by those mentioned above?

Their music soaks in he radicalism of their culture and struggle; it embodies that struggle in every phrase and nuance and addresses itself directly to that fight. The music is the message; just as the music of the free-jazz musicians in America - Coltrane, Sun Ra, Albert Ayler, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Don Cherry etc. - whose radicalism was embodied in their art.

*

You "saw" Ewan, and perhaps Peggy, at a single gig, and from that you have formulated your contempt for them as people.

Pushing your perceptive powers to the limit I see there, Bryn. This isn't about EM as a person, it is about EM as a figure of the mythology that has grown about him - hence the Folklore prefix. I do not doubt that you had a deep and loving personal friendship with EM - but it does not matter one jot to his reputation in the realm of celebrity and legend. My personal feelings about his music are incidental, but you're way off if think I harbour personal contempt for the man.

My intention here was to gather up some folklore, instead I find myself tried and tested by what amounts to a religious inquisition, the members of which feel compelled to deride me with such personal put-downs as: In other words, IMO you have squandered any credibility which you might have had.

Get over yourself, Bryn - stick to the facts without resorting to such puerile attacks.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 16 Dec 09 - 08:00 AM

I have no axe to grind as far as Ewan is concerned. I like some of his stuff and don't like others. I never met the man and will not get involved in either defending him or perpetuating rumours so I have nothing to add to the main discussion. What I will a comment on is the drift that has occured.

It is very, very easy indeed to mask nefarious intentions with transparent excuses.

'I was not spreading rumours. Just asking if it was true.'

'Looking at child pornography? No, I was just reseaching the crime.'

I am not saying this is the case here but surely that conclusion can be drawn by those of a cynical nature. I am quite happy to accept that the opening post was by way of research. The OP has said so on a number of occasions and that will be believed by some and not by others. Human nature I'm afraid.

Now that the research has been done and the curiousity satisfied is there any point continuing the discussion?

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 16 Dec 09 - 08:07 AM

Juxtapose "puerile" and "paucity", Sean - I knew Ewan and Peggy whilst you were still in BABYGROS.

When you have something C O N S T R U C T I V E

con-st-ruc-t-ive

to say about this, let me know.

I will lend you a two shilling piece - sorry ! - you are too young to remember the proper money - I will lend you a twenty penny piece (20p),

and then, when you have a constructive comment to make, as to the music you claim to love - and, more importantly, about the people who risked everything to make sure that it passed to the likes of you and me -

Oh, please, do telephone me.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 16 Dec 09 - 08:30 AM

SO'P you sound like a tabloid newspaper editor, 'never let the truth stand in the way of a good story,' or ' if the lie is more interesting than the truth, print the lie,' or even like a minister being questioned in the commons ' I refer you to the answer I gave earlier '

I take my hat off to you.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 16 Dec 09 - 09:29 AM

I knew Ewan and Peggy whilst you were still in BABYGROS.

Even at 48 your goat-like senility makes me feel like a scampering lamb by comparison. Once again, old timer, as it's obviously taking a while to sink in - I DO NOT CARE IF YOU KNEW EWAN MACCOLL IN A PAST FECKING LIFE; THE POINT HERE WAS TO COLLATE THE FOLKLORE & LEGEND SURROUNDING THE LIFE OF A CELEBRITY FIGURE.

I will lend you a two shilling piece - sorry ! - you are too young to remember the proper money - I will lend you a twenty penny piece (20p),

Not so young that I don't remember that two shillings was actually equivalent to Ten New Pennies (10p) - two bob.

and then, when you have a constructive comment to make, as to the music you claim to love - and, more importantly, about the people who risked everything to make sure that it passed to the likes of you and me

I love Traditional Music, Bryn - can't say I've ever been too impressed by much that the so-called The Revival had to offer - EM included. I'd love to know what these people risked by the way.

Oh, please, do telephone me.

This is getting creepy...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 16 Dec 09 - 10:19 AM

Well, youngster, you know what the answer is :

arrange these two words into a well-known phrase or saying :

OFF FUCK.

The creepy thing is why you would wish to

"collate the folklore and legend surrounding the life of a celbrity figure".

Or, as usual, are you after another buzz, basking in reflected glory ?

Don't bother responding - just scamper off, like the young lamb you aspire to be.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 16 Dec 09 - 10:54 AM

Albeit edited by the powers that be

Clearly you have never heard of phone-ins then. And I have a radio show - anyone who comes on my show comes on unedited by anyone. Only recordings are edited and as anyone will tell you I much prefer to do things live.

Their music soaks in the radicalism of their culture and struggle; it embodies that struggle in every phrase and nuance and addresses itself directly to that fight. The music is the message; just as the music of the free-jazz musicians in America - Coltrane, Sun Ra, Albert Ayler, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Don Cherry etc. - whose radicalism was embodied in their art.

Copyright Pseuds Corner Private Eye


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 16 Dec 09 - 10:58 AM

We know what Ewan did in the war,
Absolutely sweet f### all.
For less than a year
He wore the King's gear
But this was not for McColl

We don't know the reason,
We know it's not treason
But why did he join up at all?
Was he made to enlist?
Or was he just pissed?
No will know but McColl.

There are stories galore
Of disguises he wore,
After he went a.w.o.l
In Manchester town
Did he limp up and down
Was that humpy backed begger McColl?

Just after the war
When the danger was o'er
And Ewan could once more stand tall.
They thought he was mad,
Not stupid or bad
No sentence was passed on McColl

We now know the score
Of his time in the war
Let's stop this unseemly brawl.
We know he could write,
Be it wondrous or shite
The last man to care is McColl!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 16 Dec 09 - 11:21 AM

That, Jim, pretty much sums it up.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 16 Dec 09 - 11:21 AM

Don't bother responding - just scamper off, like the young lamb you aspire to be.

So mote it be.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: GUEST,Winger
Date: 16 Dec 09 - 02:06 PM

"arrange these two words into a well-known phrase or saying :

OFF FUCK."

Tut, tut, m' learned friend, surely you can do better than that.

It never ceases to amaze me that when anyone dares to ask questions about events in MacColl's life there's a rush to stifle discussion by those who will hear no ill spoken of their hero.

I was moved to find out more about him after I had bought his autobiography (Journeyman) some years back. Having been somewhat pleasantly surprised that he would want to chronicle his life at all, I looked forward to learning about the events that shaped the man.

Imagine my surprise when I find that there's a "hole" in the book (i.e., the years covering World War II – arguably the most important event in the 20th Century). Having shelled out hard-earned money to buy the book, I felt that this was a less than honest recounting of the life of a man who had spent much of his later years writing, performing, recording and publishing songs about contemporary conflicts (Cuba, Vietnam, South Africa, etc).

Having raised the question about his WWII years on Mudcat, I discovered a number of people who are prepared to prevent any discussion of this topic with Freemason-like earnestness. Instead they prefer to divert our attention with "read the book(s)" or allegations of "corpse kicking". To them, MacColl's word is final – 1939-45 never existed and even if it did, it was not a "good" war (not like the Spanish Civil War, anyway).

To these people MacColl was the "star" they so despise elsewhere in the folk world. But he was their star and some of them even knew him personally, giving them a veto over all other opinions.

Personally, I find O'P downright irritating, but then a number of his adversaries on this thread are equally so. I have always thought MacColl to be a great songwriter, so I'm not coming at this topic from a point of total negativity. "Journeyman", however, peeked my interest (and left me a little lighter in the wallet) so I'll keep on asking "What Did You Do in the War, Ewan?".


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 16 Dec 09 - 02:34 PM

Personally, I find O'P downright irritating, but then a number of his adversaries on this thread are equally so.

It's this sort of gratuitous sniping that irritates, Winger. Otherwise, nice post.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 16 Dec 09 - 02:47 PM

" ... so I'll keep on asking "What Did You Do in the War, Ewan?"."

It's all in Ben Harker's biography, 'Class Act: The Cultural and Political Life of Ewan MacColl', Pluto Press, 2007.

So 'GUEST, winger' when you've read this book and obtained the information that you crave, what are you going to do with it?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 16 Dec 09 - 02:51 PM

In fact, 'Guest, winger' there's a whole thread about the Harker biography entitled, 'New Ewan MacColl Biography'. This is now up to 252 posts. I'd give you the link but I can't be arsed - why should I do all the work?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: GUEST,Winger
Date: 16 Dec 09 - 03:12 PM

Oh dear, not another conspiracy theorist!

"Do with it?" Do you think that everyone is going to "do" something when knowledge is exchanged? Do you think that I'm going to call the CIA, MI5, the KGB? Come out of your bunker – the war is over – we're not being bugged.

By the way - I've read Harker's book. I was asking the question metaphorically but apparently it went over a couple of (rather thick) heads.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 16 Dec 09 - 03:36 PM

It isn't a case of wanting to hide discussion of MacColl and his history.

You say Imagine my surprise when I find that there's a "hole" in the book

I am surprised you say that when there are a number of holes in the book. His wives and children (to me) is a much bigger one. Peggy mentioned it in the foreword in the original. Remarkably few people come along and mention that one.

I suppose if people kept on coming onto saying who wrote "The Fields of Athenry" people get irritated and eventually say "Go away and look it up".

It's a bit like that with what Ewan did in the war. It is well-documented, has been discussed lots of times and people like me (who have done it) get irritated with people who are apparently really keen to know apparently can't be bothered to buy, beg, borrow or steal the book.

And you were asking the question metaphorically? Well you fooled me too.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: GUEST,Winger
Date: 16 Dec 09 - 03:43 PM

"Well you fooled me too"

Easily done I'm afraid.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: M.Ted
Date: 16 Dec 09 - 04:19 PM

Winger's question about JC's claim about Nelson's funeral seems petty, but in point of fact, but that comment has already spurred a discussion on another, non-folk music forum--Discussion of Jim Carroll's Nelson Funeral Allegation on Nelson and His World.

Though he hasn't mentioned it, Winger knows of this discussion, because one of his posts above contains a directed citation, and I suspect that JC knows of the thread as well, since he responded directly to it--bad internet etiquette on Winger's part to cut and paste without referencing the source, and imprudent, because it is very easy for anyone to google it--

My point is simply that Mudcat is the most cited folk music source on the web, and if generally comes up within the first four threads on google, so every petty, ill-thought, and nasty remark made here becomes very public--

I would never tell anyone what to say, of course, but I think that it is important to remember that the comments carry a long way.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: GUEST,Winger
Date: 16 Dec 09 - 04:35 PM

I don't think asking Jim to clarify his claim about an historical event is petty,ill-thought or nasty, especially if it is made on the most cited folk music source on the web. Such claims are likely to be quoted in future as facts.

Is M.Ted suggesting that we shouldn't let the facts get in the way of a good story?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 16 Dec 09 - 04:47 PM

Hmmm!! So, your question was 'metaphorical' was it, 'GUEST,winger'? Although you already knew the real answer! Well, perhaps my 'what-are-you-going-to-do-with-the-answer?' question was 'metaphorical' as well - even though I knew the 'real' answer was 'fuck-all' apart from shit stir!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Dec 09 - 06:57 PM

from what I understand from my father, who was also a member of the communist party, the official communist party line was that it was a capitalist war, and not one that communists had to bother themselves about, so many communist party members [other than Ewan], went absent, and didnt join up until the Soviet Union entered the war.
I suspect that Ewans memories of the war are not as interesting as other aspects of his life,such as his contribution to the Radio Ballads, which are described in the excellent book by Peter Cox.
Dick Miles.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: M.Ted
Date: 16 Dec 09 - 07:25 PM

On the contrary, Winger, I think that, given the fact that the Nelson Question has taken on a life of it's own, outside of Mudcat, Jim should make every effort to find his source and, to whatever degree is possible, clear this all up.

As far as you are concerned, I only suggest that it is good internet forum etiquette to cite your source when you take something from another page, and, if possible, to post a blue clicky link.

My larger point, which I backed up with the link to the Nelson Forum above, is that the insults, scatological references, and four-letter admonitions resonate by way of Google through all of cyberspace, not necessarily to the credit of the folk music community--


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Dec 09 - 01:16 AM

Hear hear M.Ted - unfortunately the loudest and most vitriolic voices that have pervaded the Mudcat lately don't seem to know what good manners are, let alone good forum etiquette.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 17 Dec 09 - 06:29 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYyJ8pRdfYs

Not sure where my head was at the other day, but this is something else. Listening to this, there emerges a depth of sincerity with respect of matters whereby MacColl's evident mastery becomes transcendent, affectations notwithstanding.

Respect.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: mark gregory
Date: 17 Dec 09 - 06:35 AM

the original message now appears as a classic example of dog whistling rather than a genuine enquiry:

Date: 26 Aug 09 - 05:15 AM

Filtering though the gossiping Folk Grapevine we often hear of the celebrated gap in Ewan McColl's biography covering the period 1939-45. Rumours, it would seem, abound. One of the best would have him going in bearded disguise, wearing calipers, so as to avoid both conscription and facing the indignities suffered by more genuine COs.

Just rumours though, as I say...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 17 Dec 09 - 07:30 AM

Not at all, Mark - however so light-hearted my intention the inquiry was genuine enough. EM remains a controversial figure & a large body of Myth has grown up around him. Regardless of my personal feelings about his work (I love his traditional stuff but find his own songs hard to take) he is one of the more fascinating figures thrown up by The Folk Revival, a unique catalyst for all manner of legend and reputation which remains a subject worthy of discussion - which is what we come here for. Looking at the other thread on his war record - Ewan MacColl - coward or traitor? I am hearted by the overall tenor of the responses to the OP's somewhat derisory opening gambit. My own, as I say, I meant as something more playful, in the nature of the Folkloric subject matter. The reality, I would think, would have been no laughing matter at all, but remains nonetheless intriguing in the light of both the facts and folklore of the case which are in every respect exceptional. The more I learn, the more I admire the man - no matter what he did, or didn't do, in the bloody war.

S O'P


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Dec 09 - 07:54 AM

Oh lordy lord!
I only look into Mudcat every month or two, so just reading most of the above now. I am with Jim Maclean this.
One of my few claims to fame is that I was named Ewan before Jimmmy was. That the name is now very popular is surely down to him - one small indication of the nature of his influence. Ewan MacColl did more wonderful things than most of the people I know of, and a few less than wonderful things. Would we could all say as much.
I would say more but I won't be back soon - partly for probably unfounded fear of what is said to / about me and what I've just said that I would feel I have to get into dispute about, and life is too short to flame at people when it's not essential.
I found reading this thread very interesting, for a variety of reasons.
Ewan McVicar


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 17 Dec 09 - 09:36 AM

Thanks for your last post, SO'P. I had not heard that recording before. But perhaps now you begin to understand why some of us fell so thoroughly under Ewan's influence. I had the privilege of hearing him sing ballads just like that, on several occasions, in pub rooms, or occasionally concert stages, in London, Manchester and my home town. And always a spell would be cast across the room and the audience would be so entranced they would almost have to remind themselves to breathe. He really could bring these old songs to life, and make them relevant to a modern audience, with no compromises whatsoever.

He also thought deeply about the material, and how to present it, and was always willing to share his insights with anyone who was willing to listen. For me his interpretation of the ballad repertoire was his graetest achievement and I belive that the work that he and Peggy Seeger did on the ballads was at least as important as the work of Child and Bronson.

You might now like to see if you can find recordings of 'The Swan Swims sae Bonny' ('The Twa Sisiters'), 'Clerk Colvin' and 'Sir Patrick Spens', which are particular favourites of mine.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 17 Dec 09 - 03:47 PM

"Not sure where my head was at the other day, but this is something else. [...] Respect."

Yeah - TtR was the first song I'd heard EM sing - and I was pretty impressed I must say - it never gets boring, which for twenty verses with no instrumentation or much at all in the way of vocal frills, is pretty impressive IMO. I haven't heard his self-penned material, so no idea on that. But his TtR is great. Would like to hear his Sir Patrick Spens too, anyone gonna upload it? Currently I've only heard a couple of renderings of Sir P including this by Buffy St. Marie, which despite it's thoroughly torturous vocal affectations, I find quite peculiarly compelling!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Dec 09 - 04:43 PM

yes,Ewan McColl sings a good version of Thomas The Rhymer ,his diction is much better than Maddie Priors, and there are no irritating instrumental breaks, and general poncing about that characterises Steeleye Spans version.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 17 Dec 09 - 08:33 PM

Dick-

There's really little point in discussing how MacColl/Miller sang, or composed, or even what he thought of the world with SOP et al. They are only interested in provoking response, as classic trolls do. They don't give a shit about what happened 60 years ago, 10 years ago, or even yesterday.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 18 Dec 09 - 01:59 AM

Charley - have you actually bothered to read this read at all? As for what MacColl sang, see my last couple of posts - and elsewhere. Seems most of the time I've got to defend myself from people, like yourself, who seem determined to miss the point entirely. Thus it is you who are classic troll here, not I - especially as Dick's comment is following up on a general discussion of EM's rendering of Thomas the Rhymer which I instigated as a way of somehow turning the thread into something more celebratory, which as my intention all along before being pounced on by The Inquisition and subject to their Ineffable Righteousness.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 18 Dec 09 - 05:17 AM

Yes, SO'P I think that you've (finally!) done us all a favour by giving an example of the quality of MacColl's work rather than the constant rehashing of rumours about him.

All of this weary Mudcat wrangling and the recent re-issues of 'Journeyman' and selections from the Riverside recordings have got me thinking about MacColl, his life and work and attitudes towards him within the British folk revival. His politics and (to a ceratin extent) certain aspects of his personality obviously alienated some people (to such an extent that some of them can't seem to let it go 20 years after his death). But I suspect that it goes deeper than that and could be a generational thing. He was born in 1915, in an old-fashioned industrial slum, and lived in conditions that we can barely imagine now. He rebelled against those circumstances - a rebellion that shaped his personality and his work. There are passages in 'Journeyman' that suggest that he was a 'teenage rebel' in the 1930s at a time when most teenagers were 'just' younger versions of their parents. By the time the pop music driven 'youth rebellion' of the mid to late 1950s arrived MacColl was a mature man in his 40s whose earlier rebellious spirit had evolved into a mature and disciplined artistic vision. I suspect that that artistic vision was bound to collide with the more hedonistic 'rebellion' of the baby boomers. Added to that most post-war youth rebellions have had a strong aspect of inter-generational rivalry (i.e. young people rebelling against the previous generation(s)); and what also strikes me is how fashion-driven they have been. Although the participants have tended to see themselves as 'rebels' they have, in reality, tended to be more conformist than their parents but have conformed to different, often more hedonistic, norms. MacColl, on the other hand, seems to have revered his parents (although I'm sure that they had their differences) and to have inherited their political views and rebellious outlook.
So MacColl was well into the process of developing his vision of folk song, and its place in the modern world, when the pop-driven 'youth revolution' arrived. I suspect that many young people who chanced upon the folk revival were puzzled that its leading figure didn't conform to the usual stereotype of a pop hero. He was not in the least bit hedonistic, was of their parents' generation and was a bit fierce and austere (and, crucially I suspect, didn't play a guitar!). He was also an intellectual interested in ideas and keen on a disciplined approach to the singing of folk songs. Unfortunately, youth culture (which was rapidly becoming mainstream) was leading in a different direction and rapidly 'dumbing down' as it went; it despised (was terrified of!) intellectuals of any sort. MacColl's biggest 'crime' was that he didn't conform to the newly evolved norms of post-war pop culture and thought deeply about his art - but then he was a 'real', and very original, rebel from an earlier generation who refused to compromise or sell-out.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Dec 09 - 06:26 AM

Sorry, but Ewan MacColl is not Spring Heel Jack or Robin Hood. He is not a 'folkloric' character. He was a colourful character, but not *that* colourful. It rings very hollow and unconvincing, all this po-mo, 'playful' stuff: there's a very good reason why Todd Haynes made 'I'm Not There' about Bob Dylan, rather than Ewan MacColl. The fact is, there is a prosaic, banal, boring 'yes' or 'no' to all these questions about EMC, and you'll find it in the 'Class Act' book. It *does* matter whether something said about someone who actually once existed is true or not. It may not matter to you, but it still matters.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Dec 09 - 10:30 AM

I will talk about his singing,it is good,the words are clear and he is in tune, his interpretation would be different from mine, but then interpretation is a very personal thing , but I shall go back and listen to this quite a bit more,its a good version for aspiring singers to listen to,if they wish to learn the song.
There is little one can be critical of in this version, its not very emotional[imo],but to be understated is better than to be overdramatic.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 09 - 01:39 PM

"This is about collecting folklore, not the people behind it,"
Just got back from a trip to West Cork and thought - "Oh dear, what a lot to catch up on". But on closer examination - well..... not really; still the same old unsubstantiated (yawwwwwn) shite - with the notable exception that it has miraculously metamorphosed into a folklore field trip! Nope - it is still what it started out as; a small-minded unimaginative piece of snide at somebody who has been 'Blowin' in the Wind' since his ashes were scattered over Kinder Scout all those years ago.
Will check out if there's anything new to be read or said when I get my breath back.
Guest.guest:
"......but you do come across as a particularly nasty piece of work."
Sorry - you don't come across as anything, especially as you choose not to disclose your identity.
I suppose this means the engagement's off?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 18 Dec 09 - 01:46 PM

Dear Jim - Some of us (like no-nuthin me) just follow these threads as a source of (possibly interesting) information, irrespective of 'who started it' or other stuff. I'm just interested in knowing the facts, without ploughing through books I might otherwise have no time for. I only just heard Ewans Thomas, so this thread has become more interesting. It might be helpful if posters considered that these threads are a kind of educational resource, rather than merely a squabble!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: Joe_F
Date: 18 Dec 09 - 09:08 PM

The title of this thread led me to expect that it would appeal to my vulgar curiosity, and I read & contributed to it in that expectation. I have valued Ewan MacColl over the last 45 years, and gotten hold of every recording of his that I could, because he sang, and sang well, more songs that I cherish than any other singer has done. He was (as I put it on another thread) a container & dispenser -- the teapot, not the tea. That naturally makes me sentimental about him, tho, and it would be priggish to deny myself the pleasure of gossiping about his career as a Stalinist dupe (which I was myself 55 years ago) & as a figure in the history of the folk-music industry. I expect, in a few days, to get around to reading the rest of Harker's book, but I also expect that, after that, it will stay undisturbed on my shelf far longer than any of MacColl's records will.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Dec 09 - 03:52 AM

Perhaps I should clarify my position regarding MacColl.
I have been an admirer of his singing since some time in the early sixties when I was given one of his albums for my 21st birthday.
I first met him around 1967, when he and Peggy offered me the use of their spare room and recording equipment in order to copy some of their field recordings. They also offered their help and advice in facilitating my setting up a singers' workshop in Manchester.
A year later Ewan invited me to join the Critics Group, which I jumped at, and in 1969 I moved to London; again, they offered me a bed for the weeks it took me to find a home and work.
I was (and remain) extremely impressed by the workshop technique Ewan had devised to help singers improve – 'groundbreaking' is the word that springs to mind.
I remained a member of The Critics Group until it broke up a couple of years later. Pat, who I met in the Group, had been a member for a couple of years before I moved South.
When the group was disbanded in order to form an acting company, we continued our friendship with Ewan and Peggy, remained members of the audience committee of The Singers Club and became residents. Our friendship lasted until Ewan's death in 1989 and Peggy's move to the US shortly after.
In 1978, sometime after the end of the C.G., Pat and I approached Ewan and asked him if he would agree to be interviewed and in the September we made a start, carrying on till the following February.
Our objective was to get as much information as we could about his approach to singing, his collecting work, his teaching methods, (Laben, Stanislavsky, relaxation and voice exercises etc….) which we stuck to over the six months. At one stage wires became a little crossed as Ewan believed us to be recording information for a biography, while we were neither interested nor qualified to tackle such a project. We finished the job and later got permission to make copies of all the recordings that had been made of Critics Group meetings from its beginning (around 250 cassettes worth).
Any knowledge I have of MacColl and his work comes from the above.
At no time have I been interest whatever in defending MacColl from the personal attacks that are par for the course whenever his name is mentioned. Nor have I any interest in covering up his faults; I was close enough over a long period to see many of those first hand, but none of them merit the dishonest shit thrown at him (throughout his singing life and up to twenty years after his death). I will try and set the record straight when something comes up that I know to be untrue and unfair, I feel I owe him that much – but that's as far as it goes.
MacColl's and Peggy's generosity towards other, less experienced singers, the time and effort they put in with us, the use of their home and library, the times they volunteered their services without cost in order to help set up new clubs (4 we've been involved with) – all this while the other 'superstars' of the revival were seeing to their own careers – make Ewan and Peggy a bit special in my book. I know of no other established singers apart from a couple of ex-Critics who involved themselves in such work (if we took anything away from our time in he C.G. it was to pass on what we had and what we'd learned).
As far as I'm concerned MacColl's legacy to folk music, the books, albums, songs, recordings, the 137 Child ballads he breathed new life into…… is more than enough to identify him for what he was and achieved, and that is what will remain when P O'B's (et al) bilious vomit is swilled down the drain hole of history.
Earlier on Winger was astute enough to suggest that I was "fuel for P O'B's flame".
Again, let me make my position clear. I welcome any opportunity to discuss MacColl and his work as he was an important part of my life and also a vital figure in the revival that has given me and many others so much pleasure and interest, in my case approaching half-a-century's worth. I sometimes wish that these discussions did not take place at the 'village idiot' level that this and other such have plummeted to on occasion, but beggars can't be choosers. When I do get pissed off with the childish vitriol being slung about, I can always fall back on the fact that these threads are often started by the type of people who find it acceptable, even amusing, to attempt to publicly humiliate a guest singer (any singer) at a folk club by scrawling "arsehole' on the back of his chair (though let me hasten to add that our o.p. only stood on the sidelines cheering, not being in possession of either the bottle or the imagination to devise such a stunt himself, but was content to leave it to somebody else).
Pretty indicative of the level of some of these debates, I'd say.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 19 Dec 09 - 04:30 AM

Guest.guest:
"......but you do come across as a particularly nasty piece of work."
Sorry - you don't come across as anything, especially as you choose not to disclose your identity.
I suppose this means the engagement's off? UNQUOTE

It's not my intention to come across as anything, merely to point out something I see as obvious. Let me say you were doing OK in your last post - reasonable, informative etc - but you just couldn't keep it up could you? So late in the post your internal anger and bitterness took over and you reverted to your former self. It's nastiness like this that has spoiled Mudcat.

So I stand by what I say. If you want to continue coming across as a nasty piece of work, ignore my message by all means. Or you could try to do something about your obvious internal anger.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 19 Dec 09 - 04:34 AM

Pretty indicative of the level of some of these debates, I'd say.

Well, indicative of your contributions to them, old man. Pipe & slippers time - what a happy place dotage must be! Anyway, no more from me here - I've clarified my position regarding Ewan MacColl the Myth & Legend and, unlike the senile members of the folk inquisition, I'm quite happy to be able to appreciate his unique legacy without being blinded by the light shining out of his Holy Arsehole.

Here he is singing Lord Randal:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0l-bCT0OedQ

Enjoy!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 19 Dec 09 - 06:22 AM

GUESTguest, as I have already remarked above, makes no valid point whatever. He direly mistakes if he finds anything ill-natured in Jim's cogent, intelligent & well-argued posts: where these are contentious it is invariably in reply to provocative obloquy on others' parts. [I should perhaps reiterate that my sole acquaintance with Jim is thru these threads - to the best of my knowledge & recollection we have never actually met.]

You are nothing but a troll, Gg, so take your irritating self off this thread — or at least please have the grace to join properly to entitle yourself, at least to some extent, to have your absurd opinions aired hereabouts.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 19 Dec 09 - 09:06 AM

He direly mistakes if he finds anything ill-natured in Jim's cogent, intelligent & well-argued posts: where these are contentious it is invariably in reply to provocative obloquy on others' parts.

I know I bowed out but as it's mostly myself that gets it in the neck from Jim Carroll I feel obliged to point out that nothing I have written here has been intended as provocative obloquy, but only wilfully perceived as such by JC who, on the evidence of these & other posts, is a very nasty piece of work indeed. He has consistently (and deliberately) misunderstood & misrepresented the intention of this thread which, far from defaming the infallible reputation of MacColl, was to explore the Legend, Mythology & Folklore, both positive and negative, that has grown up around the man. Perhaps, albeit unwittingly, in his cloyingly mawkish testimonies to the divine nature of his Guru JC has provided us with an essential balance to the real white-feather merchants & real corpse-kickers out there.

Ultimately though, I'm pissed because when I tried to play some of my favourite EM recordings the other week I couldn't get passed the anger that JC had blackened my heart with and so effectively ruined the pleasure I've always taken from EM's superlative ballad singing. Happily, I'm passed that now, but it took a real effort.

Here's another: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_A6I2pKWa1E

Does it get any better than that? As I say - enjoy!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Dec 09 - 09:47 AM

"Talentless arsehole just about sums up Ewan MacColl; a pedlar of spurious, the bogus and the faux - so, as a figurehead of the so-called revival, he'll do just nicely. The real mountain? The man was barely a molehill. Still, nice to know that you're keeping the faith so devoutly, old man!"
I think you're trying to say somebody forged your signature - have I got that right?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 19 Dec 09 - 09:54 AM

Sorry Sweeney - I am bound to disagree. It was not you I was accusing of the 'provocative obloquy' — most of your posts have been reasonably if strongly expressed, I should say. But others far less so - including this unprovoked [as I read] it denunciation by GUESTguest. But I can't feel you justified in describing a man, who is quite obviously intent on defending the reputation of a dear friend whom he knew well and from whom he over the years received many kindnesses, as indulging in expressions which were 'cloying' or 'mawkish': they struck me, within the context of this thread, as eminently reasonable.

When I responded [30 Aug 09 12.37AM] to Jim's request for any example anyone could adduce of EMacC's having behaved like 'a bastard' [his word, quoting another poster], with a true story of some unreasonable behaviour on Ewan's part of which I had been a close observer back in the 50s, the response I got from Jim was entirely fair & unobjectionable. I see JC as one fighting his corner, often with vehemence as we all will at times [as you & I well know from past experience] - but I find no justification for any description of him as 'a nasty piece of work'.

Not quite sure why I am becoming involved in this particular bit of contention, in which I am not directly concerned — some sort of love for justice & fair·play I suppose... More fool me, probably ["Peace, Kent - come not between the dragon & his wrath": Shakespeare King Lear Act I, sc i].


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 19 Dec 09 - 10:50 AM

"Talentless arsehole just about sums up Ewan MacColl; a pedlar of spurious, the bogus and the faux - so, as a figurehead of the so-called revival, he'll do just nicely. The real mountain? The man was barely a molehill. Still, nice to know that you're keeping the faith so devoutly, old man!"

As I have already explained, my use of Talentless Arsehole was inspired directly by you using that very phrase about me in the previous post. This is what I meant by the hatred that your crabby self-serving bile inspired in me regarding EM's craft; but as I say I'm over that now. However, I do stand by most of the above a pedlar of spurious, the bogus and the faux - so, as a figurehead of the so-called revival, he'll do just nicely. Perhaps he was a wee bit more than a molehill with respect of The Revival, old man - but hardly a mountain in terms of musical greatness. A big fish in a small pond perhaps?

Anyway, I'm determined to exit this thread on a happy note; so a further example of Ewan MacColl at his inspirational best.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYpwMGCd5pw

Again - enjoy!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 19 Dec 09 - 11:01 AM

So you admit, SO'P, that he was 'inspirational'. Then why so much negativity about him? He could be a very awkward, contentious man to deal with, as many discovered — see the post of mine of last 30 Aug which I mention above: but how does your "inspirational" fit in with your "molehill"? You just are not being consistent. And don't say you are driven to such negative comments as a counterblast to Jim's [perceived by you] overpraise: I persist in seeing you as more intelligent and sensible than to react in such a fashion.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 19 Dec 09 - 12:31 PM

but how does your "inspirational" fit in with your "molehill"? You just are not being consistent.

Inspirational as a singer of traditional ballads, but in other respects I find him a bit of a molehill, albeit one who has made into a mountain by even lesser talents - as I've been consistent in presenting throughout this thread.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What did you do in the war, Ewan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Dec 09 - 12:33 PM

Please stop digging - this is getting embarrasing.
Jim Carroll


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