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Ewan MacColl's accent

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GUEST,erictheorange 29 Sep 06 - 05:47 AM
Richard Bridge 29 Sep 06 - 05:54 AM
Les in Chorlton 29 Sep 06 - 05:56 AM
GUEST,obie 29 Sep 06 - 06:03 AM
Paul Burke 29 Sep 06 - 06:03 AM
GUEST,obie 29 Sep 06 - 06:05 AM
Big Al Whittle 29 Sep 06 - 06:09 AM
Les in Chorlton 29 Sep 06 - 06:12 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 29 Sep 06 - 07:34 AM
Grab 29 Sep 06 - 08:02 AM
GUEST 29 Sep 06 - 08:02 AM
GUEST,Jp 29 Sep 06 - 08:25 AM
GUEST 29 Sep 06 - 08:31 AM
Folkiedave 29 Sep 06 - 08:40 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 29 Sep 06 - 08:51 AM
GUEST,Musicman 29 Sep 06 - 08:57 AM
GUEST,Brian Peters 29 Sep 06 - 09:03 AM
Jeri 29 Sep 06 - 09:27 AM
Charley Noble 29 Sep 06 - 09:32 AM
Dave Hanson 29 Sep 06 - 09:35 AM
GUEST,Bee 29 Sep 06 - 09:39 AM
Dave Hanson 29 Sep 06 - 09:47 AM
stormalong 29 Sep 06 - 10:07 AM
GUEST,Coyote Breath (who stayed away too long) 29 Sep 06 - 10:10 AM
GUEST,erictheorange 29 Sep 06 - 10:50 AM
Big Al Whittle 29 Sep 06 - 11:55 AM
Folkiedave 29 Sep 06 - 12:04 PM
Scrump 29 Sep 06 - 12:24 PM
Grab 29 Sep 06 - 12:46 PM
The Sandman 29 Sep 06 - 01:04 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 29 Sep 06 - 01:22 PM
Les in Chorlton 29 Sep 06 - 01:33 PM
GUEST,Ard Mhacha. 29 Sep 06 - 01:59 PM
Joe Offer 29 Sep 06 - 02:01 PM
GUEST,lox 29 Sep 06 - 02:03 PM
Les in Chorlton 29 Sep 06 - 02:13 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 29 Sep 06 - 02:13 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 29 Sep 06 - 02:26 PM
GUEST 29 Sep 06 - 02:36 PM
Wolfgang 29 Sep 06 - 03:06 PM
GUEST,erictheorange 29 Sep 06 - 03:07 PM
Greg B 29 Sep 06 - 03:21 PM
GUEST,Bee 29 Sep 06 - 04:02 PM
GUEST,lox 29 Sep 06 - 04:04 PM
GUEST,Brian Peters 29 Sep 06 - 07:11 PM
Charley Noble 29 Sep 06 - 09:01 PM
Effsee 29 Sep 06 - 09:18 PM
GUEST 30 Sep 06 - 03:55 AM
Liz the Squeak 30 Sep 06 - 03:59 AM
Les in Chorlton 30 Sep 06 - 04:06 AM
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Subject: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,erictheorange
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 05:47 AM

Whilst getting involved in the Folk Britannia thread and the discussion regarding Ewan MacColl's army desertion in WW2, I came across another site that implied that his accent was an affectation (i.e. Fake!).

Being still very much a newbie to the folk world I had always assumed, from his name and his accent, that he was a Scot, and I always found it slighty strange that he was so heavily involved in English music.

Now being enlightened to the fact that he was originally James Miller from Salford before changing his name some of this makes sense, but can anybody explain how he came by his (to my ear) distictly (though slightly odd) Scots accent and new name?

I am aware that his parents were Scottish, but I've got quite a few cousins whose parents were Scots and they have the accent of where they grew up (London and Manchester) without any trace of north of the border except in some of the phrases they use.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 05:54 AM

Pretension....


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 05:56 AM

eric, what a cunning disguise!

Jimmy Millar became Ewan McColl because he was an actor. He used a range of accents and some sound pretty strange today. What was he to do with songs he had collected and wanted to sing? Dialect does not translate rymes, well so I guess he sang in what he judged the original dialect. I don't think he was the only one to do that.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,obie
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 06:03 AM

In a friendly way Liam Clancy described it as "the phoniest scottish accent that he ever heard." However, I think a Scottish accent is something rather hard to define. There are many distint ones in the Lowlands and Gaelic accents are very once again. I suppose Ewan developed one of his own.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Paul Burke
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 06:03 AM

I was once out on a job with another engineer. On the way back, he asked me if we could call in at his parents' house, near Derby where he was brought up. John spoke with a totally normal Derby accent, until the moment he walked through his parent's door- when he adopted a thick Glasgow accent. After a pleasant chat with his parents, and the inevitable tea and scones, we left- and he immediately reverted to Derby. I mentioned this to him- he told me he hadn't even noticed he was doing it.

McColl/ Miller's parents were Scottish, and it's quite probable that he spoke that way at home.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,obie
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 06:05 AM

"very different once again."


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 06:09 AM

Hm one wonders if these people so free in their criticism could bear the spotlight on them. Of course he used different accents. so does BB KIng, so does Marin carthy - its an act!

I wonder if these people go to the circus and sneer at the clowns because they don't really have red noses.

I bet these buggers were doing all sorts of weird Irish accents a few years ago in the Irish theme bars.

i seem to rember a time in Cambidge hearing this student saying - How ya doin'? Frightfully well I hope!


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 06:12 AM

So far so more or less reasonable, but will it last?


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 07:34 AM

Surely, there are not many English singers - in any musical genre, who don't affect an accent of some sort! 60 years ago they were apeing Bing Crosby, then it was Elvis, and so on! Nic Jones, for heaven's sake, was VERY close to copying Martin Carthy; and where did Martin find his voice?


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Grab
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 08:02 AM

What was he to do with songs he had collected and wanted to sing?

Had he been honest with what he told everyone else to do, he wouldn't have sung them. His philosophy was that you should only sing songs from your cultural background. I don't mind that (although I absolutely disagree with it) but I agree with Richard that *inventing* a cultural background is bogus. As I've read, he had a standard Mancunian accent when he was a kid.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 08:02 AM

He picked up his accent from his parents - his mother had a broad Scots accent until the day she died; also he was surrounded by Scots people throughout his childhood and early youth.
While he had a Salford speaking accent, according to his contemporaries the one he used for singing was that he got from his mother Betsy and other members of his family (the fact that he was singing her and other family members songs in the 1930s was confirmed by D G Bridson in his book on the BBC, 'Prospero and Ariel'). He neutralised his accent in order to sing the songs he had heard from childhood.
I wonder why nobody ever challenges the phony mid-Atlantic accent which is used by many singers, folk and pop, on the scene today.
Likewise, why does no-one ever query Robert Zimmerman's change of name?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,Jp
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 08:25 AM

"Likewise, why does no-one ever query Robert Zimmerman's change of name?"

People do, and Dylan often made up stories about his background - just watch 'No Direction Home' for an idea.

The difference is, Dylan never claimed to only be singing songs from his "cultural background", most people likened him in his early days to a sponge, soaking up influences from everywhere!


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 08:31 AM

Wasn't MacColl singing songs from his cultural background (Scotland and England)?
MacColl was an actor - playwrite - director. I wonder how many of that particular profession retained their own names?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Folkiedave
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 08:40 AM

Had he been honest with what he told everyone else to do, he wouldn't have sung them. His philosophy was that you should only sing songs from your cultural background.

Except it wasn´t. Dealt with on numerous threads already. Go read.

Try here for starters:

http://www.folkmusic.net/htmfiles/edtxt39.htm


Dave Eyre


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 08:51 AM

Of course, if his mother was Scottish, Scottish songs are part of his cultural heritage!


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,Musicman
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 08:57 AM

Why have people got to make excuses for this creep?
He walked around pretending to be Scottish. My parents are both Irish and speak with a strong accent. I myself was born in Ireland and moved to England when I was 5. I don't this as an excuse to walk around pontificating at folk clubs in a stupid false accent. I also didn't steal loads of material from poor ignorant peasants and call it my own!


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 09:03 AM

I recently heard for the first time the radio series "The Song Carriers". Is it actually MacColl narrating the programmes? The voice is very educated, with hardly a trace of either Scotland or Salford. Or was this perhaps an actor's take on a BBC accent?

Regardless of accent, the programmes are bloody terrific! I realise this may overlap with other current threads, but what happened to the source recordings used? Tanner, Tunney, etc. are familiar, but some of the source recordings of wassailers, for instance, I've never heard before. Fantastic. And very interesting to hear MacColl's analysis of the singing styles.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Jeri
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 09:27 AM

It perhaps is a measure of his greatness that so many people seem to feed off attacking him. It also seems that when a subject gets thoroughly exhausted on Usenet, people who still want to keep going come to Mudcat to start things all over again. Tiny, toothless Lilliputian rats, trying to gum to death a huge, respected reptutation.

I don't care if he deserted, because he was conscripted. Some people can handle being put in a situation where they're forced to kill others, and some can't. I don't care. I don't care if he was putting on the Scots accent - he did it superbly. These repeated 'Attack MacColl' threads say more about the egos of those who use them to launch post mortem attacks than on MacColl.

This is a thread in uk.music.folk, and a post by Dick Gaughan which talks about his life a bit. If you scroll two down in that thread, there's another post by Gaughan quoting Peggy Seeger saying it was SHE who started the whole 'sing from your own tradition' thing, and why, and where (it was only ONE folk club).

I shouldn't complain about the toothless McColl attackers. All of the attacks lead to more truth coming out and do not one whit to diminish his legacy.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Charley Noble
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 09:32 AM

"Creep"!

Very nice Guest Musicman.

Get a life.

Charley Noble (not my real name)


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 09:35 AM

Jimmy Miller changed his name to Ewan MacColl because he was part of the ' Lallans ' movement and it was customary to change your name, another member was the poet Christopher Grieve changed who changed his name to Hugh McDiarmid , that is the fact of the name change.

eric


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,Bee
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 09:39 AM

Regarding accents of Scottish origin: can someone tell me how words written as 'tae', 'gae', etc. are actually pronounced? I grew up in Cape Breton, where the most pervasive rural accent up to the sixties was that of people less than a generation away from speaking Gaelic - quite a few still did (and do). Up until sometime in the seventies, when it became fashionable to say 'Scottish', any native would have called it a Scotch accent, and it was often thick indeed. But words like 'to' and 'go' weren't particularly accented. I realize an ocean divides, etc., but do enlighten me in regard to how these words should sound as spoken or sung when so spelled.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 09:47 AM

Tay and gay.

eric


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: stormalong
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 10:07 AM

Mid-Twentieth Century popular music in Britain was dominated by people aping American accents. A return to the vernacular (as advocated and practised by MacCol) was/is IMO certainly desirable. As with language revivals, a degree of conscious planning ("fakery" and "affectation" to some) was both inevitable and problematical.

This has certainly been my experience. I was born and brought up in the Westcountry but to a middle-class family. My maternal grandmother had a strong local accent as did my secondary school environment. This was the time (late 60s, early 70s) when I began singing traditional songs and it seemed natural to 'adopt' the local vernacular although my speaking voice at that time was undoubtedly 'posher' (less so now).

Since then I have lived in various parts of Southern England, including twenty years in 'neo-Cockney' inner-South London. For the past ten years I have lived in Kent and commute into London where many of my younger work colleagues 'up-speak' with the rising intonation of Australian/American soaps.

When I sing now I find it very 'comfortable' to slip back into the rolled Rs of my childhood environment. I have questioned the authenticity of this myself, but it does feel more 'natural' than any of the possible alternatives...

Richard


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,Coyote Breath (who stayed away too long)
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 10:10 AM

So what!?

To me the sound of a song includes every aspect of it's presentation: Tune, accent, slang, poetry, intonation, cadence, pitch, etc. etc. It is the whole package. I am sometimes uncomfortable, though, when I realize I am conversing with someone who has a strong regional accent and I am mimicing them. It is unconscious, really, and it is the result of having trained my "ear" to pick up as much audio information as possible because I can't read music.

I think that musicians, especially "folk" musicians, are natural mimics. I don't think it is disrespectful or phoney.

Mike Seeger works to present the music he performs as authentically as possible, is HE a phoney? Maybe he should just haul around his huge collection of recorded music and sit on stage and play songs through a amplifier. He could have a display of various musical instruments on stage and point to each one in turn as the songs were presented.

I'd rather watch and listen to him. It is less cumbersome.

If you're not a moonshiner, gambler, murderer, outlaw, drunkard, hog farmer, heartsick lover, coal miner, dying cowboy, soldier, union organizer, or prostitute, you dassent sing their songs?

When you work to become an entertainer, you must develope a complete "package". Dylan, Sting, Donovan, Muddy Waters, Sleepy John Estes, and the music world is full of creative invention at all levels. Are the "Boys" really "of the Lough"?

CB


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,erictheorange
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 10:50 AM

>> Jeri said
>>
>>It also seems that when a subject gets thoroughly exhausted
>>on Usenet, people who still want to keep going come to Mudcat
>>to start things all over again. Tiny, toothless Lilliputian
>>rats, trying to gum to death a huge, respected reptutation.
>>
>>These repeated 'Attack MacColl' threads say more about the
>>egos of those who use them to launch post mortem attacks

Jeri -
I have not posed this question before in any form anywhere.
I don't participate in Usenet.
I am not aware of this discussion in Usenet.
I do not have any agenda to push.
I was just asking a question - which is surely what this forum is for. I find your attack on me unwarranted, offensive and inexplicable.

I posted this question in good faith following on from the circumstances I described because I believe that to understand more about the man enables one to better put his actions and opinions in context.

With particular reference to the desertion issue, I don't really care except with regard to any relevance it might have in comparison with his stated beliefs - comparing his views to his actions.

In this case desertion of British troops might reasonably be considered to be beneficial to the Nazis - whose policy of "Germanization" would seem to be in direct conflict with any movement to preserve or promote indigenous folk traditions. The Nazi persecution of Communists and Trade Unionists would also seem to be in direct conflict with MacColls political beliefs.

In this context I think it is not unreasonable to question how his actions at the time can be reconcilled with all that he seemed to stand for later in his life.

It may be that it is not possible to reconcile these - people do strange things sometimes.


>> "eric the red" said
>>
>>Jimmy Miller changed his name to Ewan MacColl because he
>>was part of the ' Lallans ' movement and it was customary
>>to change your name.
>>that is the fact of the name change.

Thankyou! A simple answer to a simple question.


>> Jim Carroll wrote
>>
>>He picked up his accent from his parents - his mother had
>>a broad Scots accent until the day she died; also he was
>>surrounded by Scots people throughout his childhood and
>>early youth.
>>While he had a Salford speaking accent, according to his
>>contemporaries the one he used for singing was that he
>>got from his mother Betsy and other members of his family

Thankyou Jim - that answers that question.


>>"Les in Chorlton" said
>>
>>eric, what a cunning disguise!

I don't understand what you're saying. Please explain.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 11:55 AM

I just challenged my wife's memory of Ewan - she saw his gigs as often as I did. She said 'educated Manchester' - so he wasn't a scally, he were never 'mad for it'.

Jim - our mid Atalantic accents are not phoney. Thats where we live. We don't live amongst 17th century shepherds, or 19th century fisherfolk. We live in an island facing the Atlantic and for at least the last 130 years we have been listening to American music hall singers, recording artists, an for the last 76 years we have been watching the talking films they produce.

Just because someone's nasty about Ewan, theres no need to scratch our eyes out.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Folkiedave
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 12:04 PM

Jim - our mid Atalantic accents are not phoney

Well let me tell thee lad there int many in Sheffield. Has tha´never heard them Arctic Bears (or is it Monkeys?)

And Billy Mills who used to sing a solo or two at the carols was the only bloke I ever heard who could make three syllables out of "eye".

Dave Eyre


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Scrump
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 12:24 PM

Oh ah, we duz after tawk proper moaster time mind like, or dey furriners dey coussn't unnerstan wass we'm azayin' zee.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Grab
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 12:46 PM

I wonder why nobody ever challenges the phony mid-Atlantic accent which is used by many singers, folk and pop, on the scene today.

Oh yes they do... :-)

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 01:04 PM

who started this. does it matter whether maccoll spoke with a chinese accent, he was an excellent songwriter. he speaks to us through his songs.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 01:22 PM

Without a shadow of a doubt, I would say that Ewan MacColl is the greatest talent produced by the English folk music revival! And, that's enough for me!


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 01:33 PM

Sorry Guest "eric the orange" I thought you might be eric the red in disguise.

I trust that neither of you will take offense as none was intended.

Perhaps a short taste of that Les Barker poem about the erics would help.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,Ard Mhacha.
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 01:59 PM

It dosen`t matter a damm what accent he used, the man wrote great songs,
and stuff the nit-pickers.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 02:01 PM

It's interesting that people seem to be able to sing in a variety of accents, much more effectively than they can speak in different accents. I heard a beautiful torch singer doing U.S. vocal "standards" in a swanky hotel in Warsaw last year, and I was sure she was from the U.S.
Nope, Warsaw native, she said, in heavily accented English.

I can't say MacColl is a favorite of mine. I have always thought of his accent as somewhat of an affectation, and it bothers me. That, and I think if he lived next door to me, he'd be a really fussy neighbor, somebody you could never relax and have a beer with. Maybe I'm wrong.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 02:03 PM

This is nonsensical grounds upon which to criticise him.

Was he pretending to be chinese?

No. He knew his roots and was able to understand their importance as the foundation of his personal history and subsequently learned a lot about himself and was therefore able to impart a lot about humanity.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 02:13 PM

Good call lox, I think you have said it all but that won't stop some sad bastard going on about his trousers!


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 02:13 PM

Ewan MacColl introduced me to the great ballad repertoire of England and Scotland - for that I will be eternally in his debt!


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 02:26 PM

Ewan's accent was always on the correct syllable---although not always on the "right" one. Listen to his singing of "Shoals Of Herring" on the Prestige album devoted to Alf Edwards' concertina playing. It's the only vocal cut on the LP. To hear what I'm saying: There is a one-syllable word in there that he sings absolutely perfectly---but it contains three actual notes! I think it's quite amazing.

So there !!

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 02:36 PM

Brian Peters,
Yes, MacColl's BBC voice was an actort's take on it - personally, I couldn't stand it.
Glad you liked the Song Carriers. Many of the source recordings, apart from a few of MacColl's and Seeger's own, are from the BBC project and are part of the Peter Kennedy empire whicht is being debated elsewhere.
Weelittledrummer.
By Mid-Atlantic I am of course referring to the strange stab at the American accent that many of our singers, pop and folk, favour. I supose I have got used to it being used in pop and jazz, but somehow it never rings true to me in traditional song.
Joe Offer,
Yes, you are wrong, he was extremely entertaining company, though he was occasionally out of his depth with people who were not interested in traditional music, literature, politics or theatre. basically he was very shy.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Wolfgang
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 03:06 PM

I'm extremely glad that I heard him singing a few years before his death in a Londond club.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,erictheorange
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 03:07 PM

>>"Les in Chorlton" wrote
>>Sorry Guest "eric the orange" I thought you might be eric
>>the red in disguise.
>>I trust that neither of you will take offense as none was intended.

Ah I see. Nope different people. No offence taken, I just had the feeling I'd joined halfway through a conversation.


>>"Captain Birdseye" wrote
>>who started this. does it matter whether maccoll spoke
>>with a chinese accent, he was an excellent songwriter.
>>he speaks to us through his songs.

I started this. I wanted to ask a couple of questions and possibly get some answers, which I did thanks to some other posters. It matters to me because I was interested in knowing the answers. Is that OK with you Captain Birdseye or do I have to explain myself and get your permission before I post next time?

He might speak to you through his songs but he doesn't have that effect on me, possibly because I hark from a more recent generation than you? Definitely an excellent songwriter though I prefer his songs when covered by other performers.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Greg B
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 03:21 PM

Accents are funny things, and they're an amalgam of what we've
heard through our lives.

I don't think one's accent is necessarily that of one's childhood.

I'm thinking about Steve Cauthen, the American jockey from Kentucky
who moved to England in his twenties. Before he'd been there a
decade, he sounded British.

My uncle, who grew up in Southern California but worked in the
oil business all his career, sounds like a Texan.

Though I'm from the same place, I inherited my grandparents' Lancashire
ambivalence with regard to 'put' and 'putt'.

After more than a decade in New Jersey, I found that some of the
local accent (not just dialect) had begun to rub off. (You actually
used to be able to tell where in New Jersey someone grew up
by their accent, but not so much any more as people drive
around from place to place. Bug's Bunny is from Jersey City,
one of the few American accents with a glottal stop.)

Accecnts may as easily be absorbed as they are affected. There
is probably some social adaptation in that process, such as
the case of my uncle with the drawl.

What may have sounded 'phony' to one commentator may have in
fact just been bits and pieces that are unconciously assimilated.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,Bee
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 04:02 PM

Joe Offer, singing and speaking seem to involve different bits of the brain: I've known several stutterers who sang like birds, but couldn't get a three word sentence out intelligibly.

I've known people to pick up accents, lose them, and keep them for life. I'd bet ability to hear well is involved. I grew up near a tone deaf London war widow who never lost her accent, and whose church singing was painful to hear.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 04:04 PM

GregB,

You have unearthed a point that is very relevant to me.

I am Irish, being born of Irish parents in Ireland and being brought up by them in a culturally Irish home with all the "normalities" of being in an Irish household ... In Hong Kong!

My family left Ireland to live in the seychelles for 2 years when I was a baby, where I spent the first two and a half years of my life.

We returned to Dublin for a year before heading off to Hong Kong, where I celebrated my 4th birthday and every subsequent birthday right up to my 17th.

I attended school there along with pupils of 35 - 40 different nationalities, but developed a very British colonial manner of speech as that was the character of the school (a very english comprehensive).

I am lucky to have been blessed with subtle hearing and as a consequence I am able to mimic fairly accurately most of the accents that I have the pleasure of hearing.

I can also mimic in accurate detail regional differences in Irish accents, be they belfast, donegal, dublin (north and south), cork, kerry, etc. etc. (not to mention English and a little scottish)

I find my accent changes naturally depending on who I talk to. I now live in Leicester in the UK and the same is true of the way I respond to the various different accents I encounter here.

Lately, I heard through the grapevine that a friend of mine had asked two Irish lads in Leicester if they knew me, what with me being Irish and everything. They acknowledged that they did, but stated that I wasn't really Irish but was more English as I had an English accent.

I intend to ask tem one day exactly what they think I'm supposed to be - chinese?.

When I was at school I was defined by my classmates as Irish in no uncertain terms, nor for that matter in necessarily pleasant terms (if you get my gist).

Who I am comes from my roots and they are a crucial part of my identity. My roots are not a matter of ancient history, but are in the conversation I had around the breakfast and dinner tables in my home throughout the entirety of my formative years.

Of course understanding who I am involves also understanding who my parents were - Thud - I am embedded in ireland, Irish history, culture, music etc.

I intend to ask them whether they view Oscar Wilde as having been Irish or not - something I am sure they will have no hesitation in confirming. This despite hm being as "english" as they come in his manners.

If Ewen McColl grew up in a Scottish home then that is all I need to hear. His soul, like oscar wildes and (dare I put myself in their company ... oh go on ...) mine, is born of his roots. He can neither escape them nor can he be denied them.

And for the record, when I sing Christy Moore songs I sound like Christy Moore - and the same goes for Luke Kelly etc etc. They just don't sound right otherwise.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 07:11 PM

Jim Carroll wrote:
"Yes, MacColl's BBC voice was an actort's take on it - personally, I couldn't stand it.
Glad you liked the Song Carriers. Many of the source recordings, apart from a few of MacColl's and Seeger's own, are from the BBC project and are part of the Peter Kennedy empire whicht is being debated elsewhere."

Thank you for your response, Jim. Your posts on Mudcat are rays of light in their articulacy, no-nonsense factual content, and lack of personal vituperation. And I had a feeling the Song Carriers recordings might be tied up with the Kennedy collection.

I never heard Ewan MacColl sing live (I find his recordings very impressive, if sometimes austere and theatrical) but have been swayed in the past by the partial view of him as autocrat and didact. Song Carriers shows him to be a supreme enthusiast as well as a great intellect. Respect!

PS Is it possible to be simultaneously austere and theatrical? Before someone else pointed it out.......


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Charley Noble
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 09:01 PM

Brian et al-

We are dealing with a complex person, with many dimensions. I, for one, am glad that he took the time to walk this earth among us. I did hear Ewan and Peggy sing once together at the Ark in Ann Arbor, Michigan, back in the 1970's. I was delighted with what they sang and found them very responsive to the questions I had about the Unity Theatre in the late 1930's and early 1940's.

For some reason I wasn't concerned with determining what accent Ewan was singing in. I did note that he was wearing wide-cord corduroy trousers.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Effsee
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 09:18 PM

"wearing wide-cord corduroy trousers."...are you sure they weren't just normal as opposed to needlecord? It's a very important distinction you know! Tells a lot about a person.


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Sep 06 - 03:55 AM

Thanks for that Brian
A few of us are working on recordings of MacColl talking about his ideas on traditional singing which we hope to pass on to anybody interested, when completed. We hope it will lay some of the ghosts
Now - off on holiday.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 30 Sep 06 - 03:59 AM

Needlecord is very hard to spot on films of that vintage.... they just look like striped trousers.

Besides, it was't particularly fashionable until the late 1970's, when wide cord just smacked of rural pursuits and bailer twine gaiters.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Ewan MacColl's accent
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 30 Sep 06 - 04:06 AM

Cravats


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