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Ewan MacColl and Stalin

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belfast 22 Sep 02 - 08:21 AM
GUEST 22 Sep 02 - 08:24 AM
belfast 22 Sep 02 - 08:31 AM
Thomas the Rhymer 22 Sep 02 - 03:53 PM
GUEST 22 Sep 02 - 03:56 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 22 Sep 02 - 04:02 PM
GUEST 22 Sep 02 - 04:04 PM
GUEST 22 Sep 02 - 04:07 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 22 Sep 02 - 04:08 PM
Barbara 22 Sep 02 - 04:16 PM
Gareth 22 Sep 02 - 04:29 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 22 Sep 02 - 04:36 PM
Susanne (skw) 22 Sep 02 - 05:39 PM
GUEST 22 Sep 02 - 05:52 PM
Gareth 22 Sep 02 - 06:56 PM
Gareth 22 Sep 02 - 06:58 PM
toadfrog 22 Sep 02 - 07:16 PM
belfast 23 Sep 02 - 07:00 AM
MikeofNorthumbria 23 Sep 02 - 11:44 AM
Allan Dennehy 23 Sep 02 - 12:45 PM
M.Ted 23 Sep 02 - 01:53 PM
Jim McLean 23 Sep 02 - 05:53 PM
Joe_F 23 Sep 02 - 07:29 PM
toadfrog 24 Sep 02 - 12:14 AM
M.Ted 24 Sep 02 - 01:06 AM
Big Tim 24 Sep 02 - 02:55 AM
Jim McLean 24 Sep 02 - 04:39 AM
Big Tim 24 Sep 02 - 06:41 AM
Big Tim 24 Sep 02 - 06:45 AM
Peter T. 24 Sep 02 - 09:34 AM
Jim McLean 24 Sep 02 - 10:03 AM
Big Tim 24 Sep 02 - 10:54 AM
Jim McLean 24 Sep 02 - 11:11 AM
Rick Fielding 24 Sep 02 - 11:19 AM
Rick Fielding 24 Sep 02 - 11:21 AM
Jon W. 24 Sep 02 - 12:00 PM
Jim McLean 24 Sep 02 - 12:44 PM
Amos 24 Sep 02 - 07:24 PM
JJ 25 Sep 02 - 12:10 AM
Ballyholme 25 Sep 02 - 08:55 AM
GUEST,London Folkie 25 Sep 02 - 06:31 PM
Gareth 25 Sep 02 - 07:00 PM
Big Tim 26 Sep 02 - 04:09 AM
GUEST,London Folkie 26 Sep 02 - 05:55 AM
belfast 26 Sep 02 - 06:48 AM
Ballyholme 26 Sep 02 - 08:27 AM
Desert Dancer 26 Sep 02 - 01:56 PM
Desert Dancer 26 Sep 02 - 02:34 PM
GUEST,London Folkie 26 Sep 02 - 05:46 PM
Big Tim 27 Sep 02 - 03:31 AM
Noreen 27 Sep 02 - 05:43 AM
toadfrog 27 Sep 02 - 02:15 PM
GUEST 27 Sep 02 - 02:19 PM
Big Tim 27 Sep 02 - 03:46 PM
Jim McLean 28 Sep 02 - 06:55 AM
GUEST 28 Sep 02 - 09:29 AM
Leadfingers 28 Sep 02 - 09:47 AM
GUEST,folkiedave 28 Sep 02 - 04:23 PM
Susanne (skw) 28 Sep 02 - 05:25 PM
toadfrog 28 Sep 02 - 11:11 PM
Martin Graebe 29 Sep 02 - 06:45 AM
GUEST,Stalin My Captain My Captain 18 Jan 04 - 03:42 PM
Charley Noble 18 Jan 04 - 04:57 PM
Gareth 18 Jan 04 - 07:18 PM
Hrothgar 19 Jan 04 - 05:57 AM
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Subject: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: belfast
Date: 22 Sep 02 - 08:21 AM

Reports of the sad death of Joan Littlewood (mentioned in another thread)set me to thinking about how Ewan MacColl seems to be everywhere. Ubiquity and ineluctability are useful words. And a fragment of a song popped into my head. Another Belfast man, now resident somewhere in Australia, sang a couple of verses for me years ago and said it was by MacColl. Much later in London a young Communist Party member sang more of it and assured me it was indeed a MacColl song.

Now this may not measure up to the best of Ewan's work and it is unlikely to figure widely in the repertoire of many of today's singers, but it would be interesting to know the rest of the words. This is the little I recall....

a fragment of a ballad about Joe Stalin

Stalin was a mighty man and a mighty man was he
He led the people's army on the road to victory
All through the Revolution he stood at Lenin's side
and something something somethingtill the day that Lenin died.

What I actually remember is "All through the Revolution with Lenin by his side" but I must be wrong. Even the most unregenerate Stalinist would have problems with that,


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Sep 02 - 08:24 AM

See this thread


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: belfast
Date: 22 Sep 02 - 08:31 AM

Thank you. I thought I had done a proper search. Obviously not.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 22 Sep 02 - 03:53 PM

Stalin was a flagrant violator of human rights and an outright butcher of Millions of good people. Is attatching his name to the humanist MacColl even remotely viable? No. Yer not just kicking up dust, it's a smokescreen yer makin...


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Sep 02 - 03:56 PM

Well, Thomas, MacColl happened to be a big fan of his


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 22 Sep 02 - 04:02 PM

How's this? In what respect? On what points? What on earth could he see in such a gastly example of human destroying scum as Stalin?


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Sep 02 - 04:04 PM

Have you ever read Ewan MacColl's biography?

He was very heavily into Communism in his early adulthood


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Sep 02 - 04:07 PM

Sorry, I meant autobiography: 'Journeyman'


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 22 Sep 02 - 04:08 PM

Uh,... and then what happened? Did he wake up? I rather believe he did... And right well at that. I'd be willing to say that early adulthood is one of those glass houses we all had to live through... and still we throw stones...


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Barbara
Date: 22 Sep 02 - 04:16 PM

Thomas, would you be from someplace other than the UK? There, as I understand it, socialism and political correctness often go hand in hand, and I b'lieve that Ewan was always a socialist; in the 40's and 50's while the USofA was finding communists under the beds, the UK was in bed with them, admiring their progress in modernizing Russia. It wasn't till later that the truth about the pograms came out; correct me if I'm wrong, but I've had the sense that socialism is much more mainstream in UK than USA.
What about it, Brits? And is communism still a party choice there?
And, of course, it's always been a USA conceit that we confine our mass murderers to the private sector...unless you count wars and other acts of aggression...
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Gareth
Date: 22 Sep 02 - 04:29 PM

Barbara - It is a joke in political circles in the UK that the test of a dedicated hard line Communist was one who joined the party after 1953 (Death of Joe) and 1956 (Hungary)

The old CPGB (Communist Party of Great Brittain) some what disintergrated post Gorbachov, and there are various factions claiming to be the true believers.

They occasionally put forward candidates at Parliamentry or Council level - but the days when parts of Glascow, London's East End and Maerdy in the Rhondda, had GPGB Councillors have now gone.

If you want I can dig out thier voting totals over the last few General Elections, but as a volunteer organiser for another UK Party thier vote is so insignificant I don't keep the figures easilly to hand on my computer.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 22 Sep 02 - 04:36 PM

Hi Barbara! Yes, Humanistic Socialism is considered some kind of entry level to the murdurous "communist" totalitarian regime... at least it is in this way thought of now-a-days here in the USA... And yes, there have been many around the world who have been deluded... believing that Stalin's version of "communism" was humane... How awful it all seems now. At least we can learn from the mistakes...

All the best,ttr


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 22 Sep 02 - 05:39 PM

Why shouldn't that song be by MacColl? There are quite a few people who took some time to wake up to the evils of Stalinism! And you can't just take a song back - once you've published it (even by just singing it) it stays public!

For ten years now I've known a couple from Glasgow - a railwayman and a housewife, both now eighty - who used to tell me, with eyes shining, about the days when they took the Daily Worker round the houses where they lived, their visit (visits?) to the Soviet Union, and the time when the Party was their spiritual home, and bemoan its fall from grace just because the Soviet Union fell. (Incidentally, I happen to agree with them on the point that this fall does not necessarily discredit socialism as a whole, as many people seem to believe.)


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Sep 02 - 05:52 PM

How about Pete Seeger?

When the mass murderer Hitler had his pact with the mass murderer Stalin, Seeger and his ilk were American isolationists who demanded the USA stay out of WWII.

Then when Adolf broke with Joe, Seeger and his ilk were singing "Round and Round Hitler's Grave" and enlisting to fight.

To this day, Seeger has not spoken out against his hero Joe Stalin.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Gareth
Date: 22 Sep 02 - 06:56 PM

Well - Read your Orwell.

"Homage to Catalonia" - It presents the Communists in, shall we say, an unflattering mode. But accuratley. !

Now in "1984" and my God that is a long time ago, politically, there is that buetifull Cameo.

The scean is 'Airstrip 1' aka the British Isles.

A mass rally, There were 3 parties to the War Oceania, Pacifica, and I forget the other one, lets call it Europenica ( Perhaps someone will correct me - I haven't time to hut down my copy of 1984 tonite)

The venue " A mass rally - Agitprop of course. The speakers are ranting away about the evils of one of the participents - Pacifica ??

A note is passed to the main speaker - He/She reads it, and without breaking the thread of the polemics discovers that the alliance has changed - Pacifica is now an ally, Europenica is now our enemy. The Posters are torn down from the walls, they must have been put there by 'Anti Party Elements' etc.

Now, I am told, by reliable sources (Familly), this was satiring the 1941 Communist Party of Great Brittain conference which was held in July 1941.

Up till that point the CPGB line was that it was a 'capitalist war'- Workers of the World Unite etc.

Harry Pollitt (

qv the DT, it's in there) was speaking. And following the Party Line. (It was the 26th of July, though I am open to correction as to the exact date of Barbarrossa ???)

A note is passed to him, basically reading "Hitler has invaded Russia".

Fair play to Harry. It did not take him more than a second to change his tune.

The war was "Just" "Defend the Workers rights", - 'Second Front now' was not long comming.

Thats the funny bit. Orwell ( real name Eric Blair ) had no illusions.

For myself, well call me a fellow traveller, I have no doubts as to the murderous regime Uncle Joe ran, I also wonder, if under the circumstances, Lenin or Trotsky would have done any worse/different.

The fact remains if it was not been for the sacrifices of the Red Army, and the productive capacity and generosity of the US of A there would be no debate this day about the Euro - we would be using Reichmarks.

And if you want to read a really frightening book try 'Deightons "SS-GB"', or 'Harris's "Fatherland"'

Gareth

"Joe Stalin wasn't stalling,
When he met the beast of Berlin..."


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Gareth
Date: 22 Sep 02 - 06:58 PM

Sorry - my Bilcky on Harry Pollitt misfired

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: toadfrog
Date: 22 Sep 02 - 07:16 PM

I knew quite a lot of people from that tradition, and suspect there are at least several on Mudcat. My impression of McColl was that he was extremely loyal to beliefs he was born with. Notwithstanding that, he could discuss those beliefs intelligently and without screaming. I think all the above criticisms of Stalinists, including Pete Seeger, are true and correct, and those things bother me a whole lot. It bothers me that Pete Seeger's ideas would have got my father, ane others like him, killed in the War. On the other hand, those were often also the most aggressive and practical critics of racism and oppression of labor, here and in the UK.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: belfast
Date: 23 Sep 02 - 07:00 AM

I'm almost sorry I started this thread for my need for the words of this song was not great. And having got the words I had thought the thread would die a peaceful and happy death.

However, I cannot apologise for linking Ewan's name with that of Stalin. He did write the song after all. And he was a Stalinist. Millions of good honest people were. I think they were mistaken but I have the benefit a hindsight. It would be tedious to list all the reasons why anyone in the 30's and 40's would thave thought that the obvious place to be was the Communist Party.

There was a lieutenant in the Soviet Army, a woman named Pavilichenko. As a sniper she killed 300+ German soldiers. She was sent on a goodwill tour of the USA where she was warmly welcomed everywhere. Now she would be called a Stalinist. But that was when the Soviet Union was our gallant ally. Political expediency had not decided yet that it was an Evil Empire.

And Woody Guthrie wrote a fine song in praise of "Miss Pavilivhenko".

And Paul Robeson ….


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 23 Sep 02 - 11:44 AM

Hi folks!

Look, can we try and get this story in some kind of historical perspective?

Yes, it's true that Ewan, like several other prominent folk singers of his era, was a committed Marxist. It's easy enough - with the benefit of hindsight - to criticise them for this. But try looking at the world from the position they were in.

When MacColl was a teenager, the world was gripped by a massive economic depression. Millions of people couldn't earn enough money to feed themselves, while food was being dumped or destroyed because prices wouldn't cover the cost of hauling it to market. ("The harvest is in, and the crops are all rotten…" Woody Guthrie) Many people (not all of them Marxists) believed the global economic system had broken down irretrievably.

Some leaders - Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, etc - claimed the only answer was an authoritarian government with the power to eliminate anyone who disagreed with it. They justified this repressive policy by claiming that their nations were threatened by "racially inferior" enemies, within and without. Their admirers included Sir Oswald Moseley and his aristocratic friends in Britain, the Action Francaise movement in France, Henry Ford and Father Coughlin in the USA, Major O'Duffy and his Blueshirts in the Republic of Ireland, and many others.

Meanwhile, the rulers of the Western democracies had few remedies to offer, beyond waiting patiently for the slump to end, and praying that the dictators would only gobble up far-off countries about which "we" knew little and cared less. No wonder so many concerned and energetic young people joined a radical movement which seemed to have more constructive policies, and the will to carry them out.

In those days, the full extent of Stalin's terror was still concealed. His lesser crimes were excused as tragic necessities by plausible advocates. Of course, we know better now. Lucky us. How pleasant it is to live in an era when there are so many intelligent leaders with stainless records! How happy for us that genocidal dictatorships, indecisive democracies, economic slumps and mass poverty are merely subjects for historians to debate!

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Allan Dennehy
Date: 23 Sep 02 - 12:45 PM

II seem to remember reading that Mac Coll was regarded by many as a bit of a dictator himself in his attitudes to folk music. Can anybody add to this?


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: M.Ted
Date: 23 Sep 02 - 01:53 PM

I suppose this is the time to bring up the fact that Alan Lomax was also a Communist, and many of the ideas that we carelessly bandy about concerning what a folksinger should be and what folk music is all about came to us through him--

The Communist Party was run from the top, and the views and actions of its members were dictated from the top--there was a strong and organized folk music section that was charged with using "the People's music" as a vehicle for transmitting the messages of the party, and it was very active--it would not be wrong to assume that all the communist party affiliated folk singers were subject to it's direction--hence MaColl's song--

I have known a good number of old time Communists, and to down to the last one, they have been caring, giving, committed and selfless humanitarians who simply saw evil in the world and wanted, more than anything else, to change it--They were drawn into the communist party for the best of reasons, and duped into acting out the definitely unhumanistic plans of Stalin and his inner circle--


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Jim McLean
Date: 23 Sep 02 - 05:53 PM

MacColl once berated me for writing what he called 'Scottish Nationalist Songs' (1962ish) and pointedly remarked that I was wearing a tartan tie (McLean), as this signified a fascist attitude. I replied that "my name IS McLean, Mr Miller".
Jim McLean


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Joe_F
Date: 23 Sep 02 - 07:29 PM

I am just barely old enough to be a former semi-fellow-traveler myself (then, in high school, I read Orwell).

Stalin shed plenty of sympathizers on account of
*the Moscow trials,
*the alliance with Hitler,
*the invasion of Finland,
*the subjugation of eastern Europe.
(I am bad on dates, but I think I have them in the right order anyway. I leave aside such messy subjects as the Spanish War.) Anybody who stuck with him till Khrushchev discovered his wickedness, as MacColl seems to have done, may reasonably be accused of excessive piety, IMO.

Nevertheless, if the 20th century were about to be erased & I were allowed to pluck one singer out of it, he would be the one.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: toadfrog
Date: 24 Sep 02 - 12:14 AM

Surely McColl was one of the very best. And all of this political stuff would not even be worth mentioning, if McColl, Pete Seeger, and others had not put so much ideology into the songs they composed, and into the songs they chose to sing and in McColl's case, into his THEORIES, which are discussed at GREAT length on the indicated site. So that it is awfully difficult to understand where they were coming from without understanding the politics.

And yes, they all used very humanistic-sounding rhetoric, which surely reflected good motives and intentions. No American joined the C.P. in hope of making money from it. But good intentions not infrequently lead to bad consequences. And the old (and young) Stalinists I knew tended to be frighteningly closed-minded, and frighteningly nasty if they imagined you were in their way.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: M.Ted
Date: 24 Sep 02 - 01:06 AM

Good points, and well spoken, Toadfrog--the last one sends a chill through me, even at this late date--


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Big Tim
Date: 24 Sep 02 - 02:55 AM

"Closely minded and frighteningly nasty", now there's a phrase that could be applied to one or two apart from communists: Russian Czars, Roman emperors, countless religious sects, Hitler, Franco, thousands of minor politicians, IRA, UDA, Maggie Thatcher, the secretary of my local darts team, George W Bush...

Ewan MacColl was very doctrinaire but that shouldn't be allowed to detract from his major contribution to the folk scene. Only certain Mudcatters, it seems, are perfect in every way, shape and form. And as for Jimmy Miller, what about Robert Allen Zimmerman...


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Jim McLean
Date: 24 Sep 02 - 04:39 AM

I don't think Robert Allen Zimmerman would verbally abuse someone for wearing a kippah. Jim Mclean


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Big Tim
Date: 24 Sep 02 - 06:41 AM

Ouch!


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Big Tim
Date: 24 Sep 02 - 06:45 AM

PS Jim: I WASN'T thinking of you when I mentioned "certain Mudcatters". Honest.

How do you rate Dylan by the way?


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Peter T.
Date: 24 Sep 02 - 09:34 AM

Jim McLean, that is a very funny story. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Jim McLean
Date: 24 Sep 02 - 10:03 AM

Hi Big Tim, no problems. I just mentioned the anecdote to show how confused (to me) was MacColl's thinking when it came to Scottish politics. I think it was an age thing as anything smacking of Scottish Independence was seen as fascism to an old guard communist like Ewan. I had a few chats with him both in his home and outside, but although he would sing old Scottish songs about the Jacobite era, etc., he insisted that modern Scotland was British and it was a betrayal of the British Working Man to seek to split them up! I'm afraid this misunderstanding still exists in modern labour Scotland and the 'Parliament/devolution' ploy was seen as a means to stop any drive for independence. Since Ireland's partial independence, a British monarch can visit Dublin as a (welcome?) guest, something which could never have happened previously.
By the way, I admired MacColl greatly for his contribution to and influence on the folk scene. He wrote some great songs and plays but I'm afraid I cannot take his singing voice or those of his Ganymedes but that is just my personal taste.
Dylan has no effect on me. I knew him in London in the early sixties and thought he was a good 'turn' when he did his Woody Guthrie. I'm afraid, though, as I've said somewhere else, he was on 'pot' and we were on whisky and never the twain did meet!
Cheers, Jim McLean


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Big Tim
Date: 24 Sep 02 - 10:54 AM

Some further thoughts on Ewan:

I knew one Scottish folksinger who attended some of his workshops: she told me, in 1968, that he was "a bastard".

According to the (fairly) recent RTE docu on Luke Kelly, a communist of sorts too, Luke listened to Ewan, or pretended to, then just went his own way. I suspect that was the way for most people.

Re Jacobite songs: that was a great record Ewan made in the 60s, amazing that it never found its way onto CD. He also did a great Burns album, which is available on CD.

Where was the guy actually born? Auchterarder, Perthshire, is usually given but according to himself in Journeyman he was born somewhere in Stirlingshire, can't remember exactly where, if my memory is correct as I only read the book once, when it was first published, 1990?


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Jim McLean
Date: 24 Sep 02 - 11:11 AM

I think he was born in Salford, near Manchester, or at least that's where he was brought up. His parents were Scottish born. I think I said earlier that I was the first 'roadie' for the Dubliners but knew Luke Kelly before he joined the group. He had a lot of time for MacColl, as was proper, but his singing style was entirely different. Luke was probably the best singer of Daintie Davey I have ever heard, (also Peggy Gordon). Cheers, Jim Mclean


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 24 Sep 02 - 11:19 AM

Salford I believe, Tim.

Boy, was I amazed when I absolutely could NOT find a copy of his book shortly after it was published. I'm not talking about cosmopolitan Toronto (pop. almost 5 million) but LONDON fer Gawd's sake! I was on tour at the time, and visited at least a dozen book stores with no luck. The most amazing thing to me was that NOT ONE salesperson or store owner had even HEARD of the man. I figured I'd get a copy when I got to Edinburgh or Glasgow though. Not a chance. Same thing. He, and apparently his amazing life and accomplishments were completely invisible to all but the most dedicated (and rapidly ageing) folkies. Yes, some had heard of his daughter, the semi-pop-star, but Ewan, nope.

I DID get my copy eventually, direct from Peggy, but I was truly amazed at how few people were aware of the man.

It hasn't changed over the last few years, as I just discovered.....I've recently read FOUR obituaries of Joan Littlewood, and not ONE mention of MacColl!!

Holy cow, what a small world our little folkie 'thing' is.

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 24 Sep 02 - 11:21 AM

P.S.

Forgot to say "great story Jim"!

Rick


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Jon W.
Date: 24 Sep 02 - 12:00 PM

Even knowing full well that MacColl was a communist I still appreciate the work he and Peggy did preserving and handing down some old Scottish songs including the Jacobite ones - not to mention his collaboration with A.L. Lloyd in the sea shanties and songs.

The big problem with communism, and other forms of humanism as well, as I see it, is that of human nature. They neither recognize the truth about human nature nor do they have the spriritual power to change it to what it would need to be for the economic order of communism to work. Capitalism on the other hand, is capable of functioning (by that I mean providing a decent standard of living to the most people, which is not necessarily the same thing as economic equality) without changing human nature at all. I don't consider either to be the ideal economic/social system but in the world in which we live, capitalism is clearly superior. It's unfortunate that in their youth, most people tend to go to extremes in one direction or the other.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Jim McLean
Date: 24 Sep 02 - 12:44 PM

Rick, in Monday's Guardian, on her obituary it says that in her book 'Joan's Book' she said she got pregnant by MacColl and had an abortion. Cheers, Jim Mclean


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Amos
Date: 24 Sep 02 - 07:24 PM

Ach, what a waste, that!

A


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: JJ
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 12:10 AM

The New York Times mentions him in Joan Littlewood's obit as, "...Jimmy Miller, who wrote plays under the name of Ewan McColl..." It then refers to him a second time as "Mr. Miller."

She must be having a good laugh over that!

(Obit by Brit theatre critic Benedict Nightingale)


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Ballyholme
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 08:55 AM

I'm intrigued by your source, Belfast - "Another Belfast man, now resident somewhere in Australia". That wouldn't have been Dave Scott? I believe Dave knew MacColl well and someone told me that he had moved to Australia some years ago.

I read Journeyman at the time it was published and recall being struck by the fact that MacColl made little or no mention of other prominent figures of the British folk revival. It was almost as though he and Peggy Seeger had engineered the whole movement themselves.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: GUEST,London Folkie
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 06:31 PM

I heard from Alex Campbell that Ewan paid him to go to America to marry Peggy and bring her to London. He, Ewan, couldn't go himself due to his communist connections. Alex duly did the business but Ewan's cheque for the divorce was drunk a few times by Alex and his pals before Peggy was finally free to marry Ewan. Check it out!


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Gareth
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 07:00 PM

Seem a suitable time for another bit of Communist folklaw.

The 1956 Party conference in Moscow.

Comrade Kruschov is laying it on about th evils of Uncle Joe, and the cult of the personality. A heckler shouts from the audience " And what were you doing while this was going on "

K asks "Who said that ?" - Stoney silence.

Agsin Comrade K demands "who said that ?" - Silence.

"Well," said Comrade K, " Now you know we we said nothing !"

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Big Tim
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 04:09 AM

Why didn't Peggy just come on her own? Did she have to be married to a Brit citizen to gain her red, white and blue card(!)?


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: GUEST,London Folkie
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 05:55 AM

Yes.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: belfast
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 06:48 AM

You are are correct, ballyholme, Dave Scott was the man I first heard the song from. He's currently living in Australia.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Ballyholme
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 08:27 AM

London Folkie, I spent some time with Alex Campbell about a year before his death. He confirmed that he had married Peggy Seeger "platonically" in order to get British citizenship for her. MacColl was unable to do this himself as he was married at the time. I understood this to have taken place in Britain, rather than the U.S. Perhaps others, who knew Alex better than I did, might shed some light on this.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 01:56 PM

Peggy Seeger wrote(in The Peggy Seeger Songbook, Oak Publications, 1998):

[In 1955 she left home for Europe to ?continue her Russian studies.?]

"I traveled, sightsaw, and hitchhiked for a year. I was staying in a Danish youth hostel when the folklorist Alan Lomax put a call through from England. Granada Television needed a female singer-cum-banjo-player for a production of Dark of the Moon. So at the age of nearly twenty-one, on March 25, 1956, at 10:30 in the morning, I entered a basement room in Chelsea, London, and sealed my fate. Ewan MacColl was sitting on the other side of the room. Twenty years my senior, he was a singer and songwriter par excellence and it is to him that I owe the basis of my political education and commitment. He said that he fell hopelessly in love the first moment he saw me. Ewan was a married man with a child. I returned to America.

I came back in July 1957 to attend the World Festival of Democratic Youth in Moscow. From there I was invited, with 300 members of the U.S. contingent, to go to China. Forty of us went, to the consternation of our paranoiac government. I returned again to England in the spring of 1958 to work with Ewan, displacing the four-string-banjo player who had been accompanying him. Mrs. Banjo-Player reported my expired work-permit to the Home Office and I was given two days to leave. I went to France via Dover but made the mistake of trying to return too early. I was kept overnight in the marine police cells and put on the boat back to France. The French authorities shoved me over the border in to Belgium. The Belgians bequeathed me forcibly to the Dutch who discreetly slipped me back into Belgium a week later. The Belgians made a deal with the French and there I was, back in France again. They must have made deals with each other for none of this traffic appeared on my passport. The Pentagon had made a deal with them all?- but this time they all slipped up. I had a two-month respite in Lucienne Idoine?s microscopic fifth-floor flat in the Rue Jacob, St-Germain-des-Prés. Idoine: Thank you with all my heart, for by that time I was in love?- and seven months pregnant. Ewan thanked you too, for he had followed me by plane, train, boat, bus, and on foot to Boulogne, Antwerp, Rotterdam, Dieppe, Amsterdam and was glad to have a resting place in Paris. Alex Campbell, the Scots singer, broke the chain of events by marrying me in Paris on January 24, 1959. Thank you, Alex, It was a hilarious ceremony. The American priest, in surplice and sneakers, lectured Alex at length on his forthcoming lifetime commitment to the poor girl whom he had gotten into such trouble. The following day I arrived, unimpeded in London, six weeks before the birth of my first son. In the flyblown office of a Commissioner of Oaths, I swore allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen (and all her issue thereof into perpetuity) and then settled down with Ewan, with great upheaval for everyone concerned."

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 02:34 PM

Oh, the perils of cutting and pasting from a wordprocessor... anyway, you get the gist of the story, despite the ?.

As to being MacColl being dictatorial, if that's a reference to the Ballads and Blues Folk Club policies, go to the Living Tradition's web site (here ), select "Back Issues", and scroll down looking for the Issue 39 "Opinion" by Peggy Seeger for an interesting and relatively recent comment on that topic.

Also, here's a basic bio of Ewan MacColl according to Peggy Seeger, on her web site. And folks might like to know that she's accumulating errata for The Essential Ewan MacColl Songbook (now available) here.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: GUEST,London Folkie
Date: 26 Sep 02 - 05:46 PM

I'm sorry I should have said Paris. We spent many a night drinking Ewan's divorce cheques! At one time Alec had one of them framed over the mantlepiece when he lived in London. I said 'cheques' because it took a few before Alec agreed to the divorce. Orra best!


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Big Tim
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 03:31 AM

Becky, very interesting: good work by you, thanks.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Noreen
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 05:43 AM

Fascinating! Thanks all, especially Becky.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: toadfrog
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 02:15 PM

One thing I'm curious about. I am told McColl always lived in relative poverty, but made it big with a single hit song, published very late in his life. Can anyone say which song that was?


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 02:19 PM

The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Big Tim
Date: 27 Sep 02 - 03:46 PM

Despite being quite a big fan of Ewan (I have six albums), I don't rate "The First Time.." too highly. I think it's honest and heartfelt but not that good. I think "Dirty Old Town" is his best and will be the most enduring. Thoughts?

Was E & P's first son Hamish? If so, saw him on tv recently (17 March 2002, Tara tv of fond memory) backing Christy Moore. Can't be bad.

This one is sensitive, but here goes anyway. The Scottish singer I mentioned earlier told me recently that Kirsty "cut Peggy off from the royalties that she was morally, if not legally, entitled to - this caused Peggy some 'financial embassassment' ". This was just days after Kirsty's extremely sad accident. ??


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Jim McLean
Date: 28 Sep 02 - 06:55 AM

Are not Ewan and Peggy joint writers of First Time ...?
Jim McLean


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Sep 02 - 09:29 AM

No. Although Peggy was his inspiration for the song, Ewan wrote "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" by himself.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Leadfingers
Date: 28 Sep 02 - 09:47 AM

Ewan MacColl was a great influnce on the British Folk scene,both good and bad.The songs he wrote,especially for the Radio Ballads have been absorbed into the tradition in most cases,as have some of his other offerings.I still think that at heart he was too hypocritical,in the way he insisted that any one else could only sing songs that pertained to their own background and upbringing,while he could sing what he fancied-Scottish or London,or Lancashire or Yorkshire or whatever else.Look at what he recorded-even Army songs from a pacifist.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: GUEST,folkiedave
Date: 28 Sep 02 - 04:23 PM

Further to the story of Peggy and Ewan first meeting. In her "Desert Island Discs" programme Peggy talked as she does above about coming from Denmark. What she doesn't say above - which she did on the programme - was that the meeting was in the Newlove/MacColl home and that Jean Newlove was a model. When Peggy turned up Jean Newlove threw her in the bath tidied her up, dressed her in Balenciaga and put her hair up. She then went into the room and sat on a stool and played. And the was "The First Time Ever.....etc.

Two further questions to add to the discussion and keep (what to me is) a fascinating thread going.

It was always a mystery where MacColl was during the war.......suggestions I have heard included desertion and Moscow.

Also it was a story circulating for a long time that the name change came about when Miller/MacColl re-met Joan after the war and the first thing he said to her was "Call me Ewan" - the suggestion in that story again linking to his desertion.

Can anyone shed any light on these?


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 28 Sep 02 - 05:25 PM

Folkiedave, desertion is what Joan Littlewood implies in her book. (I think I quoted it on another thread.)


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: toadfrog
Date: 28 Sep 02 - 11:11 PM

Probably THIS THREAD [Cross-reference to main McColl thread.]


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Martin Graebe
Date: 29 Sep 02 - 06:45 AM

The De Vere Hotel in Swindon has a room they call 'The Library' - very swish, for executive-type meetings. I was in there a couple of years ago and noticed that among the job-lot of books that they had bought to fill the shelves were a dozen copies of 'Journeyman'

Very ironic!


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: GUEST,Stalin My Captain My Captain
Date: 18 Jan 04 - 03:42 PM

To bring this thread back to its original purpose, MacColl admired Stalin because Stalin brought one of the most backward countries in the world screaming into the 20th Century until it rivaled America as an industrial power. (You need only look at the space race: first, Sputnik, an then the first man-and then the first woman!)He made Russia (and all the other countries in the USSR) important on the world stage. Illiterate and superstious peasants were given an education second to none. Free healthcare, good housing and secure jobs. A standard of life undreamt off by the poverty stricken masses under the Tsar. Equality in wealth distribution. A reason for Soviet citizans to be proud of their country. When history looks back on the 20th century, they are more likely to appreicate MacColl's view than most of the reactionaries writing here.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Charley Noble
Date: 18 Jan 04 - 04:57 PM

Well, thanks for refreshing this old thread anyway. It does make intersting reading.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Gareth
Date: 18 Jan 04 - 07:18 PM

GUEST,Stalin My Captain My Captain - IS NOT ME ! Though within certain parameters I might concur with some of his comments.

Just remember that the basic flow of Lenins thought were towards industrialisation.

There is a thought (excuse ??) in leftwing circles that Uncle Joe was mislead, by his subordinates, rubbish, he had a distinct view towards Party Discipline. I suspect the overview of history will justify some of his views and actions.

Gareth - A founder member of the Raymond Mercardo fan club.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl and Stalin
From: Hrothgar
Date: 19 Jan 04 - 05:57 AM

Just a couple of thoughts:

Russia did make great progress in some areas under Stalin - but was it because of him or despite him?

And good old Uncle Nikita, who denounced him, certainly made some bones along the way.

Of course, they had all the best intentions....


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