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Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?

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Subject: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Acorn4
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 10:28 AM

Just been listening to the fascinating Radio 4 programmme on the Critics Group. One of the things that rather jumped out at me was that Ewan MacColl dismissed Bob Dylan as "the William MacGonagall of our age" (ie:doggerel poet). Whilst greatly admiring the classic MacColl legacy, he also came out with:-

"Joe Stalin was a mighty man and a mighty man was he
He led the Soviet people on the road to victory."

OK, Score is one-all so far!

But consider:-

Both had assumed names.
Both deeply respected and trawled their own folk traditions, using this in their own writing.
Both were singer/songwriters.
Both wrote protest songs.
Both wrote a number 1 chart hit, although "First Time Ever" didn't happen until 72.

They seem to have had a lot in common in the 1960s -was this just a generation thing, as BD was really following the EM philosophy of exploring your own tradition and using it - the major difference seems to be the 25 years separating their youth - EM would have been heading for the bus pass while Bob was a mere fresh faced youth.

The word "genius" is bandied about a lot, and has been applied to both - don't actually know what Bob made of Ewan?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: kendall
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 10:32 AM

I have the same opinion of Dylan that Paul Clayton had.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Acorn4
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 10:35 AM

ps: apologies if this has been done before - I did do a search of previous threads!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 10:36 AM

EM
"Kissed her once again at Wapping
After that there was no stopping."

BD
"Buckets of blood. Buckets of tears.
I've got buckets coming out of my ears."

Two all.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 10:42 AM

Maybe he realised that Dylan could neither play nor sing.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Acorn4
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 10:47 AM

But do we know whether MacGonagall could sing or not - just his writing was crap! I assume he was referring to BD as a writer by the comparison.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 11:07 AM

perhaps EWAN saw Dylan for what he was an aspiring pop star.
MacColl along with others helped to create the uk folk club scene, MacColl was committed to social change, Dylan was committed to looking after number one, yes he wrote some good songs[about 5], Dylsan [imo][used people such as Joan Baez to further his pop career


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Acorn4
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 11:17 AM

But he's also been considered as a nomination for a Nobel Prize for literacy which perhaps puts him on a bit higher plane than Barry Manilow.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Acorn4
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 11:18 AM

Sorry "Literature" not "Literacy"


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Will Fly
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 11:45 AM

I've never been a huge Dylan fan but, looking back over his work through the years, I would say that the voice of the young Dylan was actually quite striking - instantly recognisable - as were many of the songs. Whether you like them or not is a matter of taste. I would agree that he was an average guitar player, harmonica player and pianist.

As for cashing in on the talent of Joan Baez to further his career, the documentaries I've seen of the two of them in the early days appeared to demonstrate the opposite - that Baez clung to the rising star of Dylan at every opportunity to further her career. But, once again, that's my interpretation of the facts as I've seen them.

I can take or leave Dylan and, for different reasons, can take or leave MacColl. The programme on Radio 4 was certainly very interesting.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Amos
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 12:21 PM

DYlan and Baez were both opportunistic and had large egos. Comes with the territory, I suppose.

But Dylan has never been known for his likeability. That might be part of MacColl's reaction to him.

ANother aspect is that Dylan, like Guthrie before him, composes in a peculiarly American idiom, which lacks key qualities respected in the English tradition.


A


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: matt milton
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 12:29 PM

MacColl didn't like lots of things.

Frankly, if MacColl didn't like it, it was probably good.

That didn't stop him (MacColl) making quite a few good records.

And it certainly didn't stop Dylan making quite a few brilliant ones.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 12:41 PM

I suspect it was primarily, as Acorn4 suggested, a generational difference that caused MacColl to dislike Dylan and regard him as "the William MacGonagall of our age" (a hilariously inapt label on MacColl's part). Dylan has succeeded in gaining massive international respect and recognition fpr his work...MacGonagall succeeded in gaining much laughter (they were laughing at him, not with him) and avalanches of hurled fruits and vegetables at his live performances.

But there's no reason to disparage either Bob Dylan or Ewan MacColl. They both recorded excellent material, and I enjoy listening to both of them.

MacColl came from the old UK folk scene which had (and still has) its own very strong preferences and ideas about what "folk music" is...or should be. Dylan didn't fit that mold at all, so I'm not a bit surprised that MacColl didn't like Dylan's songs.

****

TheSnail - the actual lyrics in the verse you quote from are:

"Buckets of rain, buckets of tears
Got all them buckets comin' out of my ears
Buckets of moonbeams in my hand...
You got all the love, honey baby, I can stand"

Nothing wrong with those lyrics! They are perfectly acceptable metaphor for the joys and heartaches of romantic love, they roll off the tongue nicely, and they are fun to sing. The music in that one is pretty good too.

*****

As for being opportunistic (Dylan? Baez?)...who the hell isn't if they are seriously intent upon having a viable and successful career in music?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 12:47 PM

"Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?"

Perhaps something as simple as jealousy. After everyone has had their shot at Dylan, he has done more for music than MacColl ever did (from a North American perspective).

Dylan's finger picking in his earlier work was as rawly refined as finger picking gets. And his approach to blues was also good. I still see people nailing him for his voice. IMO, MacColl was not much of a vocalist--certainly not as much as HE thought he was. I found him to be quite 'put on' in some of his material, and maybe just a tad precious about his place in the music world and his affect on it.

None of it is news that musicians ride each other's coattails. You need proof, look at the crawling up each other's arses that happens on Facebook. Great songs from MacColl? Indeed. Some of his songs have stayed around for decades, and that speaks to the value of his writing. His Radio Ballads are brilliant works of art and meaning: protest at its best. But please don't try to turn him into a god-like writer or performer. He was a guy making a living, just like Dylan.

Dylan has been Dylan since the early 1960s. Many of his detractors are as good in their best moments as Dylan was in his worst. Perhaps people generally don't know what's good. They do know what they like, however. And looking back, more people liked Dylan than liked MacColl. IMO.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 12:50 PM

Sheesh. Yesterday I'd click five times to get a post to take. Today I'm getting two for one. Sorry.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 12:55 PM

While I was no great fan of Baez, the occasions I happen to bump into films of her early performances I am astounded by the excellence of her voice.

Dylan's voice was and remains extremely unpleasant, somewhat like a wasp in a kazoo, and it is far far too charitable to call his guitar playing or harmonica work as "average".

I don't much like much of MacColl's composed work, but he did do valuable research work and helped preserve much folk song. I love his politics - but hate the fact that he was a fake professional Scotsman. Still, at least he pretended to be something, unlike Dylan who merely pretended not to be what he was.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 12:59 PM

Nerve-wracking, isn't it? It's like having a gun that shoots sometimes when you pull the trigger...not necessarily when you want it to...

I'd sure hate to be in battle under those circumstances.

I think it's sheer envy or else utter incomprehension that causes most people to slag Dylan. God knows, they've got quite a bit to be envious about! ;-)


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 01:05 PM

"Got all them buckets comin' out of my ears"!?

Sorry, but it jars in an otherwise excellent song just as MacColl's Wapping/Stopping rhyme spoils Sweet Thames for me.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: bobad
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 01:07 PM

Sometimes I'm glad that I am totally ignorant of the technical aspects of music - that way I can appreciate whoever I like to listen to.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 01:08 PM

Several folks have made a career out of disparaging Bob Dylan. Bob never made claims to be a protest singer or a revolutionary, so those who feel he sold out his principles weren't listening in the first place. Dylan committed the unforgiveable sin of scoring enormous popular success and having his songs covered by everyone from Joan Baez to the Turtles. That success does nothing to diminish his craft in my opinion.

Songs like Blowin in the Wind, Don't Think Twice, All Along the Watchtower,Like a Rolling Stone, and countless others earned him the title of Spokesman for a Generation, but he laid no claim to it. The songs attained tremendous success because they were accessible and well written.

Is Dylan a poet? He has never said that, to my knowledge. And while many of his lines hold up to comparisons to Cummings and Eliott, there were clearly a lot of weak rhymes and tongue-in-cheek images.

No the only claim Dylan ever made for himself was that he was a songwriter. And in my opinion, he's not only right, he is one of the very best, no matter what Ewan MacColl says.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Acorn4
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 01:09 PM

The comment Ewan about not liking Dylan because he was steeped in the American tradition doesn't really hold water considering who his partner was.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: matt milton
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 01:10 PM

" I love his politics"

what, even his Stalinism and Maoist phases? What about his homophobia?

When I read the two MacColl biographies, I often thought it's a shame he hadn't been born a decade (or so) later. The boy done good in many ways: he had pretty much no schooling, but made radical and intuitive connections between politics and theatre, and then politics and song. But he was way too hampered by reactionary, authoritarian, top-down notions of class struggle.

That oh-so-literal pamphleteering is all there in his lyrics. But it has none of the back-to-basics sneer of punk: instead it's an ersatz lyricism that in many ways patronises its subjects.

Me, I think MacColl's art was at its best when it was at its most fusty and antiquarian. His Broadside Ballads are the kind of beautifully mildewed steamfolk that I'm sure Sedayne would dig (if he doesn't already). I like Ewan MacColl best when he sounds posh - it's, ironically when he sounds the least affected: he sounds a bit like Tom Baker as Dr Who.

(There's also the early MacColl, duetting with Isla Cameron, in which he doesn't overthink things: a rare instance of MacColl doing a lyricism that doesn't try to valorise The Working Man the way Soviet Propaganda films did)


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Acorn4
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 02:04 PM

Matt, your post tends to echo what I've said at the beginning about the "generation" thing. E Mac was a near contemporary of Woody Guthrie ( whom BD of coures originally modelled himself partly on)- during the thirties they were both doing the same thing of irritating and generally getting up the noses of the "establishment".

For EMac the folk singing/writing seemed to be a mid life career change having been basically involved in theatre when he was young.

If he'd have been a generation later, might he have gone in the same direction as Bob? Could he not recognise someone who had a lot in commmon with himself when he was younger?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,SirCoughsalot
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 02:20 PM

Because Dylan played rock and roll.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 02:29 PM

yep there's always that, Sircough


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 02:30 PM

because he saw him as a mediocre lyricist?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 02:39 PM

Pray tell !! Is there a 'Folk' law that says any of us MUST like anything ?? In MY opinion its a pointless question !


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 03:00 PM

Yep, Terry, Article 12 Section 9 says "..and no one shall criticize, or speak to the detriment of, the following: Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, or Cisco Houston." Therefore its still open season on Ewan and Bobby.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Folknacious
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 03:02 PM

In a similar vein, MacColl to Bert Jansch (possibly apocryphal): "Ah yes, my children have some of your records."

MacColl seemed to be a pompous, opinionated, self-obsessed and unpleasant man on the evidence of the programme - in that aspect he'd have fitted in very well on Mudcat. He wrote some good songs. His singing hasn't aged well. Now of historic interest only.

Whether Dylan wrote more good songs or had a more attractive voice is entirely down to personal taste. Arguably - from their relative fan bases - Dylan had much more charisma, unless you were part of the MacColl inner circle.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,SirCoughsalot
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 03:14 PM

Well, from what I hear, Bobby isn't exactly Mr. Congeniality either. He seems stuck up, most of the time. But I like his music. Ewan MacColl didn't like the Pogues either when they did Dirty Old Town. The joke was on him when his daughter joined them for Fairytale of New York.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,guest Jim Younger
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 03:49 PM

I don't get the "Dylan is a mediocre guitarist/harmonica player" bit at all. He's a damn fine flatpicker who is willing to take a chance out of first position - and as good a harmonica player (in his own way) as he needs to be ... which is pretty good to my ear.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 05:20 PM

That's right. And I might also mention that Rick Fielding, who is virtually a saint on this forum....and who was a great man, I might add...often said that he thought Dylan was a really fine guitar player and harmonica player and songwriter. I heard him say that. I saw him say it on this forum.

What was he then, just another deluded Bob Dylan fan?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: zozimus
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 05:42 PM

My understanding was that Dylan got up a lot of people's noses in the U.K Folk scene by recording their sessions and then using the melodies for the songs he wrote, of which there are numerous examples. Perhaps this is why MacColl did'nt like him. As regards Bob's singing voice, he can sing clearly and distinctly when he likes. Himself and the late Liam Clancy used have great crack where Bob would imitate Liam's voice and Liam would imitate Bob's. However, both had a great feel for what sells, and kept this to themselves.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 05:59 PM

that is hilarious from Folknacious, personally I think i would rather pass my time with Ewan, for all his faults, than Pooters like foLk nacious.
Maybe he just didnt like him, does he have to have had a reason, Imean I dont like the cyberspace folknacious, although in real life he might be as good company as Oscar Wilde, do i have to have a reason for liking cyberspace folknacious, does Ewan have to have a reason for disliking Dylan, if he disliked him


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,SirCoughsalot
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 06:19 PM

Does this really have to come to personal attacks?

Regarding Dylan's guitar/harmonica playing: They're a lot like his voice, I guess; they aren't for everybody. I mean, music's all subjective. Personally I like Dylan's guitar playing. Most of the time it's not fancy, but it does what it needs to do, and he can play some really good stuff. His first album is one of my favorites, and he plays some great blues on it. His harmonica playing, while I agree it is not technically perfect and sometimes is borderline off-key, is the reason I play the harmonica and I still like it. It's good enough for me. Heck, I even like his singing.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: tonyteach1
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 06:46 PM

In my youth in the 60s and 70s selling out ie actually making money out of writing and performing was regarded as not the done thing by certain sections of the UK folk world


Mr Dylan has made and probably continues to make a lot of money out of his songs - good luck to him I cannot stand his voice but thats my problem not his

He has remained a top performer for over 40 years some people choose not to like this


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 06:48 PM

His harmonica playing is a little bit on the sloppy side, but it's effective for what he does. His guitar picking is the same, but I would rather listen to the people he learned from.


Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: meself
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 07:19 PM

Of course, his harmonica-playing, like his singing, is SUPPOSED to be a little bit on the sloppy side.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: melodeonboy
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 07:28 PM

"I think it's sheer envy or else utter incomprehension that causes most people to slag Dylan. God knows, they've got quite a bit to be envious about! ;-) "

Really? I don't envy Dylan at all. I just find him boring and mediocre. His commercial success always seemed, to me, to be at odds with his unremarkable talents as a musician and a singer, and his rather average lyrics.

I think it's a case of "The Emperor's New Clothes"!

Spokesman for a generation? Yeh, right!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 07:30 PM

Dylan played harmonica exactly like Woody Guthrie. And Steve Earle plays like Dylan. And Jay Farrar plays like Steve, as does Colin Meloy of the Decembrists.It's a style that has more to do with guitar players honking on harps in neck holders than anything, and I happen to like it.
Here is Meloy playing Woody-style. Has a nice wild sound to it. It ain't James cotton, and it ain't for everyone, but I dig it.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Charlie Claude
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 07:31 PM

Its not supposed to be, I dont think he intentionaly tried to play the harmonica bad. And concerning the Question, lots of people dont like dylan.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,SirCougsalot
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 07:54 PM

Dylan most certainly did not play exactly like Woody Guthrie. You can listen to Woody Guthrie playing the harp, and listen to Dylan, and you can surely tell the difference. I agree with Mr. Claude.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 07:56 PM

GSS, I am speechless.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: meself
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 08:03 PM

I disagree with everybody. Dylan plays harp the way he wants to, to get the sound he wants. He's been playing guitar with harp in the rack for fifty or sixty years now; with very little effort, he could play as cleanly as you could wish - it's not that hard. He doesn't want a clean, polished sound. And I don't think he plays "bad" by any means. He plays in a manner that is consistent with and contributes to his overall sound, which is the whole point.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 12:54 AM

I'd agree with that. Anyway, if you listen to his whole catalogue, his harmonica playing varies a great deal. Sometimes it's wild and primitive, sometimes it's gloriously ornate, sometimes it's very clean, sometimes it's joyously bluesy, depends on the song and the occasion.

That goes for his voice too. Through his whole career you hear a lot of different vocal styles from Bob Dylan.

Melodeon Boy - I didn't say that everyone who doesn't like Dylan is envious. I said "I think it's sheer envy or else utter incomprehension that causes most people to slag Dylan."

There's an "or else" right in the middle of that statement. I do gather, yes, that you are not envious of Mr Dylan.

While I think there are some songwriters who are at times as good...or better lyricists than Bob Dylan...I sure don't think his lyrics are mediocre. I think they're exceptional in the case of a good half of his material. Mediocre in some of his songs? Yes. But in other songs he did things lyrically that were utterly revolutionary for the time in which he wrote them, that changed the whole scene in a lasting way, and people were blown away by those songs...specially in the years 1963-66.

Joan Baez has said of Bob Dylan that he wrote "the best songs", and that people either get what Dylan's saying...in which case his stuff goes "way deep" for them...or they don't get it, in which case it makes no impression at all on them.

Sounds to me like that's what you experience when you hear his songs. They don't connect for you. That doesn't mean they're mediocre, but you will probably always think they are, and there's not a thing anyone can do about that.

It's like me and Sinatra. While I do realize he was very good at what he did, I just can't relate to it. He radiates an attitude and a lifestyle that I can't identify with, therefore he simply doesn't move me at all. This doesn't mean Sinatra is mediocre. It just means he doesn't represent anything I can believe in.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 12:56 AM

(Oh, by the way...I think Bob Dylan really likes the way Sinatra sings. But I don't.)


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 01:32 AM

On Dylan's poetic merits ~ Might be worth drawing attention to this, perhaps unexpected, enthusiast, whom I knew slightly and used to discuss Dylan with when he was a fellow of my Cambridge college, Christ's, before he went to Boston:

--Sir Christopher Bruce Ricks, FBA (born 1933) is a British literary critic and scholar. He is the William M. and Sara B. Warren Professor of the Humanities at Boston University (U.S.) and Co-Director of the Editorial Institute at Boston University, and was Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford (England) from 2004 to 2009. He is the immediate past-president of the Association of Literary Scholars and Critics. He is known as a champion of Victorian poetry; an enthusiast of Bob Dylan, whose lyrics he has analysed at book-length... ~ wikipedia

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 03:18 AM

Forgive me but I find that there is an element of 'light the blue touch paper and run' about this kind of thread title.   I mean, frankly, who cares?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 03:30 AM

Well, obviously, Guest, all the people who have taken the trouble to post. So what a silly question!

~M~


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 03:36 AM

MacColl had made up his mind about Bob Dylan long before he ever plugged in an electric guitar as between 1963 and 65 there were a whole raft of articles and interviews where he continually dismissed Dylan. "A youth of mediocre talent", "his poetry is punk, re-hashed Ginsberg, terribly old hat", "he has muddied the pool where folk song is concerned" were among his descriptions of Dylan and in a memorable interview with Karl Dallas in Melody Maker around 1965 he launched a scathing attack on Dylan in particular and the American singer/songwriters in general (Paxton, Baez, Ochs etc) "Are they the voice of young America? Yes, and that's more the pity; they are not saying anything with which Lyndon Johnson could disagree" He went on to declare if they wanted to hear protest singers then they should listen to Aunt Molly Jackson.
Maybe it was because the works of the young Americans was reaching an audience far wider than the folk scene? I don't know.
What I did know was at the time, as an impressionable teenager, it put me in an awkward position as they were then, and remain so to this day, my two favourite songwriters


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 04:11 AM

I'm not sure it has anything to do with `music'.

I only heard the last 15-20 mins of the programme - and I don't know if Martin Carthy wrote the script for it - but I got the impression that the Critics Group ended up as a vehicle for criticising, with EM as chief critic, where it would become unacceptable behaviour to say `that was nice'. It is a fairly common control mechanism.

And I got the impression from the programme that several of the members of the Critics Group felt EM was the `first amongst equals' at handing out the criticism, while being none too happy about receiving any, which seems to be a reasonably common social structure, particularly with authoritarian socialist organisations. The connection was made to the fact that EM ended up living rather well in the stockbroker belt.

Under such circumstances I'd be surprised if EM ended up liking anybody's music, except perhaps that music from a very small sub-set of his inner circle. Someone like BD would be outside control and therefore `bad' by definition.

The programme showed EM as something of an authoritarian control freak who would even tell members of the group what subjects they should write songs about (and the line they should take). That sounds a bit like subversion of the roots of folk music. I can't imagine one plough boy, back in the day, saying to another plough boy "you must write a song about how terrible the farmer is by next Wednesday," (and with what sounded in the programme like the threat of a `black mark' against your name if you failed).


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Acorn4
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 05:28 AM

Interesting to note that Pete Seeger, Peggy's half brother was quite a fan of BD's lyrics - this is from the Wikipedia entry:-


"An early booster of Bob Dylan, Seeger, who was on the board of directors of the Newport Folk Festival, became upset over the extremely loud and distorted electric sound that Dylan, instigated by his manager Albert Grossman, also a Folk Festival board member, brought into the 1965 Festival during his performance of "Maggie's Farm". Tensions between Grossman and the other board members were running very high (at one point reportedly there was a scuffle and blows were briefly exchanged between Grossman and board member Alan Lomax). There are several versions of what happened during Dylan's performance and some claimed that Pete Seeger tried to disconnect the equipment. Seeger has been portrayed by Dylan's publicists as a folk "purist" who was one of the main opponents to Dylan's "going electric", but when asked in 2001 about how he recalled his "objections" to the electric style, he said:
I couldn't understand the words. I wanted to hear the words. It was a great song, "Maggie's Farm," and the sound was distorted. I ran over to the guy at the controls and shouted, "Fix the sound so you can hear the words." He hollered back, "This is the way they want it." I said "Damn it, if I had an axe, I'd cut the cable right now." But I was at fault. I was the MC, and I could have said to the part of the crowd that booed Bob, "you didn't boo Howlin' Wolf yesterday. He was electric!" Though I still prefer to hear Dylan acoustic, some of his electric songs are absolutely great. Electric music is the vernacular of the second half of the twentieth century, to use my father's old term. "


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: melodeonboy
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 07:14 AM

Thanks, Little Hawk. A very measured, clear and articulate response; and food for thought!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Baz Bowdidge
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 07:21 AM

Dylan joined the pantheon of successful Jewish songwriters and musicians (most of whom also changed their names):
Jewish Songwriters
Dylan toured extensively sought fame and achieved it. McColl preferred the parochial folky way.
To this day I hear more covers of 'To Make You Feel My Love' rather than McColl's 'First Time'.
Wasn't it a little bearded Scottish guy that shouted 'Judas!' when Dylan went electric? Dylan was heard to mumble 'Oh Ewan give us break'.
In the September 1965 issue of Sing Out!, singer Ewan MacColl wrote: "Our traditional songs and ballads are the creations of extraordinarily talented artists working inside disciplines formulated over time... 'But what of Bobby Dylan?' scream the outraged teenagers... Only a completely non-critical audience, nourished on the watery pap of pop music, could have fallen for such tenth-rate drivel."
Says it all about 'extraordinarily talented' McColl doesn't it?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: greg stephens
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 07:54 AM

Quite simple really: jealousy and ignorance. I have a couple of pix of Dylan singing in the Pindar of Wakefield with McColl and Bert Lloyd and co listening, in late 1962 or Jan 63. There are young sixties folkies there gazing enraptured at the juvenile Dylan, and so they should. They'd just had their first experience of Blowing in the Wind, live, acoustic and right in front of them. They were blown away. McColl, sadly for him, was too old and set in his Stalinist ways to have his ears open to what was happening in front of him, philosophically or musically. His loss.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Acorn4
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 08:00 AM

That reinforces the ""generation" thing I suggested originally, doesn't it?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Owen Woodson
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 08:03 AM

"Wasn't it a little bearded Scottish guy that shouted 'Judas!' when Dylan went electric? Dylan was heard to mumble 'Oh Ewan give us break'"

No. The incident happened at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester. Nobody knows who the heckler was and, having heard the tape that was made at the time, I certainly couldn't have identified a Scottish accent.
Dylan never mentioned Ewan. He shouted back, "I don't believe you". Then he turned to the band and say "Play it fucking loud".


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Marje
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 08:20 AM

One thing that I'd guess would annoy MacColl is the way Dylan (from what I've seen of him in documentaries) generally refuses to discuss his work in an analytical way, whereas MacColl did so obsessively. Dylan tends to favour throwaway, tongue-in-cheek remarks that seemed intended to deter further questions, and is reluctant to discuss his choice of materials, his style of musicianship and singing, or his lyric compostions in a serious way. I can see how this would really get up EM's nose.

It can't be just the American idiom that's the problem, as someone has pointed out, because of EM's personal and musical involvement with Peggy Seeger. A song like "Dirty Old Town" owes more to the US tradition than the British one.

And as for why we want to discuss this at all - well, you don't have to read it if you don't think it's worth discussing. Many of us find it interesting to know what two much-respected folk singers and songwriters thought of each other, especially as the work of both men owed a lot to both the American and the British traditions.

But when you consider the love songs that both have written in their less politically-driven moments - say, "The First Time" and "Show my Love for You", maybe they're not so far apart.

Oh, and Brian - I love the Wapping/Stopping rhyme - I know it's silly and a bit Les Barker, but it makes me smile every time.

Marjorie


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 08:52 AM

Oh, and Brian - I love the Wapping/Stopping rhyme

Maybe I've just got sensitised to it. It seems at odds with the rest of the song which is whimsical romantic, not comic.

As for Dylan's Buckets....


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 08:57 AM

Baz - I've never even heard of "To make you feel my love".


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Marje
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 09:09 AM

When I wrote "Show my love for you" I meant, of course, "Make you feel my love". Richard, I hadn't heard of it either until I heard it sung at a wedding, but it's been a big hit for pop singer Adele, who does a great job with it. You can hear/see it on YouTube, or (for a better version) see her live performance at the Albert Hall, which is still on iPlayer for a few days. It's in the second half of the show.

Marjorie


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Acorn4
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 09:54 AM

Make You Feel My Love


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 10:47 AM

Dave, did Ewan MacColl really say of Dylan "his poetry is punk", as you quoted?!

That's brilliant! Couldn't be more true! What a great piece of inadvertent prophetic critical analysis!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 11:03 AM

ubject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: greg stephens - PM
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 07:54 AM

Quite simple really: jealousy and ignorance. I have a couple of pix of Dylan singing in the Pindar of Wakefield with McColl and Bert Lloyd and co listening, in late 1962 or Jan 63. There are young sixties folkies there gazing enraptured at the juvenile Dylan, and so they should. They'd just had their first experience of Blowing in the Wind, live, acoustic and right in front of them. They were blown away. McColl, sadly for him, was too old and set in his Stalinist ways to have his ears open to what was happening in front of him, philosophically or musically. His loss
I believe M THE G M is in one of those photos


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Owen Woodson
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 11:06 AM

"his poetry is punk". I can't remember who it was that said it, but it certainly wasn't MacColl. I recall the individual, whoever it was, making the statement in a magazine interview (possibly Sing Out) about the year 1965. This though, plus the bit about his poetry being rehashed Ginsberg. However, this was said in defence of Dylan's songwriting skills, and it's hard to imagine MacColl ever saying anything in defence of Dylan.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 11:55 AM

"In the September 1965 issue of Sing Out!, singer Ewan MacColl wrote: "Our traditional songs and ballads are the creations of extraordinarily talented artists working inside disciplines formulated over time... 'But what of Bobby Dylan?' scream the outraged teenagers... Only a completely non-critical audience, nourished on the watery pap of pop music, could have fallen for such tenth-rate drivel.""

Do you know, I think that there may be a grain of truth in that. You see I've got this theory that significant proportion of the people who attended folk clubs in the 60s were steeped in pop music and were drawn to folk clubs because they were expecting something from the 'folkier' end of the pop spectrum i.e. something guitar-based which 'rocked'.
MacColl, though, was middle-aged by then, though at the height of his powers as a singer. Obviously commercial popular music, designed primarily for teenagers, didn't appeal much to him and he probably dismissed it and even despised it. Instead of giving the 'rocking folkies' what they wanted he gave them ballads and politics - and they hated him for it. And some of them still do!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 11:55 AM

Oh. My. God. Thank you for the link, Acorn, but that is truly truly truly horrible. I don't much like the MacColl love song, but that Dylan one is awful.

To be fair, I hate most love songs, but I can immediately think of two that knock the Dylan into a cocked hat - "Love Has no Pride" (Libby & Kaz) - and I'm no fan of new country either, but it is a great song - and "My Lady D'Arbanville" (Cat Stevens - most of whose other stuff I largely dislike too) - yes I know it is a song after parting, but it's still a great love song.

On the other hand, they're ALL better than "Angie" (Rolling Stones - and I do like a lot of Stones stuff).


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: greg stephens
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 11:59 AM

GSS says MtheGM is in one of the pix. Is that soi. Who is he? Itriguing.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 12:17 PM

MacColl certainly used that description of Dylan's poetry in the interview with Karl Dallas; it is repeated in Robert Sheldon's "No Direction Home" and possibly other biogarphies. "Rehashed Ginsberg" was also used as a put down and in no way a defence; I don't recall Ewan saying anything good about Dylan. Dylan, to his credit, never publicaly responded to MacColl's diatrabes about him.
I'm at work at present but I'll check out the actual passages later tonight.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 12:18 PM

if my memory serves me right,he is sitting towards the front, cross legged and looks a bit like ringo starr, slightly to left of centre, as one looks.
mind you had better show me the pic again, in case I may have placed him in wrong position


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: greg stephens
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 12:24 PM

is he in this picture?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 12:47 PM

Dick & Greg ~~ No, you are in the wrong pic altogether. I had left London by the time of Dylan's gigs. I think you are thinking of one that was pub'd in Ewan MacColl's autobiog Journeyman (1990), of a session by Ewan & Bert Lloyd at the Princess Louise c 1956-57; I remarked in my review for The Times that you don't often get a book to notice with your own 40 year old mugshot in it.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 12:54 PM

"Quite simple really: jealousy and ignorance."
Not in a thousand years Cap'n
MacColl and Dylan as performers and in objectives were chalk and cheese - they were coming from different directions and Dylan changed course in mid-stream anyway and totally abandoned the tradition in pursuit of the big bucks - and made no pretence of doing otherwise.
Whether you prefer one or t'other is a matter of taste - personally, as much as I agree with people's comments on some of MacColl's more ephemeral pieces, which were songs for the moment, not intended to outlive the events they covered, I believe songs like Freeborn Man, Shoals of Herring, Dirty Old Town, Joy of Living - and many, many more (even Sweet Thames) will, still be sung long after all here have joined the 'choir invisibule'.
I've never really understood why 'First Time Ever' surfces in these discussions - it certainly was never, or never considered to be - one of Ewan's best songs, by him or anybody else. Both he and Peggy were staggered and, I believe, slightly embarrassed when it 'made it big-time' though it did allow them to set up Blackthorn Records which, IMO gave us four of the best albums of traditional ballads ever.
Personally, I found Dylan's first few efforts mildly interesting, but they soon faded and his later stuff became jaded and poetically pretentious.
As a protest singer, Dylan will always be - for me anyway - the rising star who refused to join Seeger and the others on the Civil Rights Marches because he "couldn't afford the fare", until he was 'made an offer he couldn't refuse' by singer/actor Theodore Bikel - a free bus ticket South.   
"Wasn't it a little bearded Scottish guy that shouted 'Judas!'"
A similar incident was reported following Dylan's appearance at Newport - the offended party was said to have been Pete Seeger.
As a 'folk' performer Dylan was somewhat disregarded by MacColl and Lloyd, and other figures in the revival, their main concern being that he might get in the way of singers exploring their own traditions - Alan Lomax's idea originally - thankfully he didn't.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: ollaimh
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 12:57 PM

i think it's quite unfair to disparage dylan's guitar and harmonica playing. he is an excelent finger picker and a good electric lead player. his harmoinica style is often unique but among the best.

that being said i don't really like either all that much. if i judge by how often in put on their records its a tie, about once every two years.

i like few mccoll songs and think they will last. such as shoals of herring. i worked on a fish boat when i was young and he gets the feeling, even if he didn't ever do it hinself. however his folk beliefs were oure british empire inspired nonsense. those "revolutioaries" were unconscoius to their place as folk mediators. they got in the way of working class people and ethnic people who had real folk and set them selves up as the "leaders" that was disgusting. back in the seventies i was singing nova scotia and newfoundland folk songs, and some in gaelic and getting told it wasn't acceptable folk music by the mccoll cultists and many others. in scotland they often said it was country music. of course no one cared about or listened to gaels. they were beyond the fringe, inn fact the "n people" back then. now the better educated and less biased ethnomusicologists realize we were keeping the real traditional music alive. the bourgeoius folkies were like most bourgeoise. they appointed themselves the leaders. mccoll faked he was a gael with that fake name. its an insult and it's bigotry of the worst kind.   he did it because no one listened to or talked to gaels back then.

i think dylan saw all the fakery and went his own way. to his credit. he faked a name but at least he had a good reason. jews are widely persecuted . mccoll was born with a fine and respectable loewlander name but that wasn't good enough. he had to be "leader" of the gaels.

well our music was doing fine before his kind came and still is without them. and will go on without the bourgeuise folk"leaders".when they are forgotten gaels will be doing thier music and loved for it.

so i say mccoll was a thinnly disguised bigot whose revolutionary ideas were poorly thought out elitist bullshit. the revolutions brought about by those types all ended up discriminating against ethnic minorities because just like in the folk scene they out ideology befor human values and they put theor egos before music


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: greg stephens
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 01:05 PM

Jim Carroll: leaving aside any controversy about MacColl andf his opinions, isn't the picture I posted a few minutes ago a wonderful bit of history of those years? MacColl's expression is enigmatic. Listening intently, as were most people there, I suppose.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,grumpy
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 01:18 PM

It might be, Greg, if the link worked.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 01:22 PM

greg, would it be possible for you to identify the listeners in your photo for those of us who were unenlightened and still listening to the Beach Boys at that time?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Acorn4
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 01:57 PM

The link works fine from my laptop.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 01:59 PM

Jim Carroll I did not say this;"Quite simple really: jealousy and ignorance."
Not in a thousand years Cap'n


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 02:04 PM

JIM CARROLL, it was.
Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,999 - PM
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 12:47 PM

"Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?"

Perhaps something as simple as jealousy. After everyone has had their shot at Dylan, he has done more for music than MacColl ever did (from a North American perspective).

Dylan's finger picking in his earlier work was as rawly refined as finger picking gets. And his approach to blues was also good. I still see people nailing him for his voice. IMO, MacColl was not much of a vocalist--certainly not as much as HE thought he was. I found him to be quite 'put on' in some of his material, and maybe just a tad precious about his place in the music world and his affect on it.

None of it is news that musicians ride each other's coattails. You need proof, look at the crawling up each other's arses that happens on Facebook. Great songs from MacColl? Indeed. Some of his songs have stayed around for decades, and that speaks to the value of his writing. His Radio Ballads are brilliant works of art and meaning: protest at its best. But please don't try to turn him into a god-like writer or performer. He was a guy making a living, just like Dylan.

Dylan has been Dylan since the early 1960s. Many of his detractors are as good in their best moments as Dylan was in his worst. Perhaps people generally don't know what's good. They do know what they like, however. And looking back, more people liked Dylan than liked MacColl. IMO.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 02:57 PM

"isn't the picture I posted a few minutes ago a wonderful bit of history of those years?" Greg - Yes, it is, but nothing like the complete picture. I have seen it before, but I have also spoken to some of the people who were there at the time and got very mixed interpretations of how Dylan was received. I know Bert regarded the evening as an "interesting non-event", certainly when we asked him about it.
It would have been taken around the time when Martin Carthy claimed Dylan 'stole' Scarborough Fair from his singing; when Joe Heaney was being boo-ed off stage in Dublin, when we were still surrounded by the blandness of the 'folk boom' - the revival was very much in flux at the time and one of the few influential constants was The Singers Club, which continued to be the case right up to Ewan's death.
"he has done more for music than MacColl ever did"
Wow - never heard that one before Cap'n - you might as well claim the same of Elvis - MacColl and Dylan were out of totally different stables, making such comparisons somewhat silly; the only difference being MacColl persisted at what he was doing while Dylan.... well - work it out for yourself!
Now if the rest of us went around claiming "Perhaps people generally don't know what's good", we'd all end up as fully qualified member of The Folk Police - I really wouldn't go there if I were you.
Putting criticism down to "jealousy" is a sure path to what you graphically describe as "crawling up each other's arses" - wouldn't go there either!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 03:28 PM

Apart from Ewan, Bert and Bob Dylan, i don't know anyone else in the photo, but I know who took it - Brian Shuel - and it's his copyright!

i think Dylan just did a floor spot at the Singers' Club - is that correct Jim?

I think Jim gets it about right with regard to EM and BD (12.54 posting). I would guess that Ewan wanted folk song to be the medium and style with which to lead a political musical attack on capitalism ... and probably hadn't reckoned on that attack (such that it was) coming via pop music, which I believe he hated. Perhaps because pop music was firmly commercial and part of the capitalist system ... and I suppose he was proved correct when Dylan moved away from protest song to a more personal repertoire, and no doubt became a millionaire!

The Newport/Dylan/Seeger story has been through so many tellings, but I don't think Pete ever called out Judas. I tend to believe Joe Boyd's account in his book White Bicycles - Joe was one of the sound men. Pete did not try and cut the cable with an axe - he was trying to get the sound guys to turn down the volume and stop the distorted sound as he was keen for people, himself included, to hear the lyrics! I don't believe he was against electric instrumentation - after all, as I've just read very recently, Howlin' Wolf played an electric guitar on stage at Newport the previous day.

Pause while I google ...

Ah, in 2001, Pete said:
I couldn't understand the words. I wanted to hear the words. It was a great song, "Maggie's Farm," and the sound was distorted. I ran over to the guy at the controls and shouted, "Fix the sound so you can hear the words." He hollered back, "This is the way they want it." I said "Damn it, if I had an axe, I'd cut the cable right now." But I was at fault. I was the MC, and I could have said to the part of the crowd that booed Bob, "you didn't boo Howlin' Wolf yesterday. He was electric!" Though I still prefer to hear Dylan acoustic, some of his electric songs are absolutely great. Electric music is the vernacular of the second half of the twentieth century, to use my father's old term.

Derek


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 03:49 PM

JimCarroll, for f### sake read properly, that is not my post but guest 999


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 04:00 PM

From "No Direction Home" Robert Shelton pp296:-"To the purists led by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger success spelled compromise. In September 1965, in a Melody Maker interview, MacColl predicted "We are going to get lots of copies of Dylan – one foot in folk and one in pop….Dylan is to me the perfect symbol of the anti-artist in our society. He is against everything – the last resort of someone who doesn't really want to change the world….I think his poetry is punk. It's derivative and terribly old hat…..Dylan songs accept the world as it is"
As opposed to the seventies counter culture MacColl uses the word punk in it's, even then, old fashioned meaning of immature.
Interesting seeing the picture of Dylan at The Singer's Club as in his book "Class Act" Ben Harker suggests that on the night of his visit MacColl and Seeger were uptight at being upstaged in their own club.
And on the subject of pictures Mike, I got down my copy of "Journeyman" – I presume the top photograph of Ewan and Bert singing together; where are you?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 04:36 PM

This is a pretty interesting thread, actually.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 04:38 PM

Perhaps taste.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 05:16 PM

Dave ~ I am the young man, dark hair, white shirt, whom the perspective makes to seem to have his left ear almost against Bert's right elbow: see where I mean?

~M~


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Brian May
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 05:32 PM

When I saw the title of the thread, I immediately thought 'jealousy' as has been said above. I still reckon in his pomposity he objected to BD being RICH.

I never met Bob Dylan, but I did meet Ewan MacColl and I thought he was a miserable git quite frankly, his most redeeming quality was Peggy Seeger.

Bob Dylan's most redeeming feature is that everybody could do his songs better than he could - he probably cried all the way to the bank.

At the end of the day, it really doesn't matter does it?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 06:54 PM

Hells bells if there was ONE thing I could take off the Ewan MacColl LPs I have it would be that fricking out of time out of tune banjo!

I have no Dylan LPs. Not even for stuff to learn.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 12:27 AM

My condolences, Richard! ;-D I can arrange to send you a care package...

****

Brian May - While I agree that some people sing some of Dylan's songs better than Dylan does (and one could say that of Leonard Cohen and some of his songs too)...I think that Dylan has sung certain of his songs better than anyone else ever did...if you go back to when they were first recorded. The original versions are unbeatable.

For instance:

Blind Willie McTell
Like a Rolling Stone
Visions of Johanna
Ballad of a Thin Man

(just to mention 4 songs where I think Dylan's original version remains THE definitive version)

And the other useful point, which I think you did sort of acknowledge is: If Dylan had not written those songs, nobody would have gotten to cover them. So, thanks to Bob.

Ewan MacColl did some wonderful stuff. I have a record of him doing Robert Burns material. I love it.

But...I think he was a fairly typical tight-assed, snobby, pretentious folk purist of the type I've seen in action ever since I picked up a guitar. They are besotted with their own supposed musical purity and their imagined sublime superiority over EVERY other form of music other than what they call "folk music", which means only their narrow version of it. They sneer down their noses at practically everybody except a tiny little in-group of similar bastards who are playing the same exclusivity game they are. They treat young people and singer-songwriters like garbage, and they perform music as if they were museum curators wheeling out a sacred relic in a glass case.

They are pompous, tiresome, and vain. Most of them are fat, ruddy-faced, caustic men with beards. They infest certain little dimly lit clubs where they make it so unpleasant for anyone not in their in-group to go that they can be assured to have the place pretty much to themselves.

I've seen them ever since I, a person utterly in love with folk music at the tender age of 21, tried to go and play a few folksongs at some "folk" venues where these pretentious gits were ruling the roost. Yes, their contempt for youngsters like me who dared to play an original song....or a Dylan song... or a Neil Young song...or any song not from the UK and not written prior to 1900...was palpable.

A pox on their bloody houses, I say! They are not very likable chaps. May they be dragged from their sodding ivory towers, denied their daily ration of ale for at least a week, thrown into pits full of famished hedeghogs, and then made to walk naked through the streets of Soho to teach them a little humility and common brotherhood.

(wicked grin)


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 02:33 AM

I've seen that fantasy before LH. I don't know what you ate before you dreamed it, but I suspect it included cheese.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Acorn4
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 03:31 AM

"They treat young people and singer-songwriters like garbage."

But EM was a singer/songwriter.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 04:53 AM

"Hells bells if there was ONE thing I could take off the Ewan MacColl LPs I have it would be that fricking out of time out of tune banjo!"

Horses for courses, but it's the other way round for me. Peggy Seeger's arrangements and playing are what redeems the majority of MacColl's back catalogue in my book. The arrangements are unshowy, unpretentious, economic, while often being quite sophisticated. They're a good foil for the stridency (and, let's face it, often pompousness) of MacColl's delivery.

On a technical level, if you're referring to Peggy Seeger's banjo playing, then there's nothing out of time or out of tune about it on any of the MacColl/Seeger albums I've heard. (And I've heard pretty much all of them.)

Just as there was nothing out of time or out of tune about her playing when I saw her play the other week, at an age at which she'd be forgiven for the odd fluffed note or two.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: greg stephens
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 05:15 AM

Agree with Acorn4. Little Hawk: you are a bit off target. Ewan MacColl was by no means against song writers, one of the functions of the Critics Group was to criticise the songs the participants wrote. In practice he may have been against most songwriters, because he didn't like their songs. Which is a perfectly reasonable intellectual stance, though it will have limited his social life.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Brian May
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 08:08 AM

Little Hawk,

No real argument with that (and the Leonard Cohen reference - which is why razor blades were invented in my book).

I found Peggy Seeger charming and witty, Ewan just glowered - they were trying to unload me of a song I'd had a hand in writing.

As I've said earlier on Mudcat, I still owe her 4d (4 pence in old money as we horse-traded that she'd pay the postage).

Bob Dylan truly did some of his stuff well, often because nobody else covered it . . . ?

I really think tracks such as 'The Times They Are a'Changin'and 'Blowin' in the Wind' are as true now as when they were written.

They deserve to be sung some more. Ewan MacColl however, I'm surprised he could even breath - with his head up there . . .

Have fun all


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 08:12 AM

"(wicked grin)"
MacColl has been dead now for 22 years - he was cremated and his ashes scattered over the location of one of his favourite hill-walks
Perhaps you might catch his spirit, put it in a bottle and then subject it to what you have in mind during one of these corpse-kicking exercises.
Aotehr wicked grin
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 08:13 AM

Can some kind tooth-fairy combine these two bloody threads before we all go barmy
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Baz Bowdidge
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 08:58 AM

Bob Dylan's songs were and are legendary (2nd most covered artist), Ewan McColl's songs never were.
It is only those in the know and the folk music fraternity who could place McColl.
'The First Time...' is generally known as a song by Roberta Flack or as a girlfriend put it 'I love that love scene song in 'Play Misty For Me''.
Play misty for me - The first time ever I saw your face


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Acorn4
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 10:07 AM

"Can some kind tooth-fairy combine these two bloody threads before we all go barmy?"

LOL - I just thought that it would be a good idea to limit the focus a bit to try to avoid going over old territory, which seems to have worked a bit more than on the other thread, although both have been interesting to someone like me who wasn't involved at the time these things were going on.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 10:33 AM

I dunno if they didn't like each other. or why they they didn't like each other. Perhaps they didn't. perhaps they did. who knows.

What I do know is the fact that it is suspected they didn't like each other, has played merry hell with English folk music; English folk clubs; the English folkmusic movement. The perceived argument has ballooned out of all proportion.

All so unnecessary and divisive.

They were both pretty damn good. Listen to that first album and close your eyes and imagine a twenty year old Bob Dylan standing there in the corner playing for you. The readings of traditional material as good any you will hear anywhere.

I saw Ewan and Peggy lots of times. they were never less than impressive. if you weren't impressed by the creativity of the Radio Ballads and the power of his delivery - you must have been made of stone.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 12:07 PM

Arguments always balloon out of all proportion on Mudcat, Big Al. ;-D

Regarding the fat, bearded, ruddy-faced lot and their contempt for singer-songwriters...

Yes! Some of them were singer-songwriters themselves, EM included. In that case there was an exemption from the usual serving of contempt. In other words, if you were a member of the incestuous little in-group to which those fellows belonged then you could be a singer-songwriter and still be respected for it.

If you weren't, then watch out!

In the mid-60s the young Bob Dylan remarked to some reporter who had asked him if he was a folksinger: "When I hear the word 'folksinger' I think of a bunch of fat, old people sitting around in a circle playing guitars".

At the time he said it Dylan was a thin, intense young man with a very sharp tongue and no hesitation to use it. He was well accustomed to being an inconoclast and rattling people's cages. He was arrogant, sharp as a tack, and pretty damn hard on certain people who were around him.

Anyway...I know what he had in mind when he made that statement. Now all of us who were young then are old....most of us are fat...and we're sitting around in a circle playing guitar! ;-D Funny, ain't it?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Acorn4
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 12:19 PM

These days the fat old men tend to go for Martins, the intense young men for Takamines!!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Amos
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 12:55 PM

It is interesting, the sort of snobbism that greets Dylan. It strikes me that my earlier point about the disconnect between the British idiom and the American idiom, born out of very different histories and inevitably different icons resulting therefrom, is very much to the point. Dylan's adopted metier, following Guthrie, is very much a blend of the American threads and styles, the road-walker, day-worker, blues-infected cowboy-dreamer, Kerouacian wanderer, singing the song of Self writ large in big country. If you were not suckled on Carl Sandburg and SHorty Badger and Bessie Smith, you would be hard put to understand the flavors that made Dylan rich. And rich he was, I assert, regardless of the fact (which I think EM was also objecting to) that his was an elective identity, cultivated and pursued as a career, rather than an organic identity born in a wild heather patch or shepherd's watch somewhere.

The British traditional threads that culminated in EM's brilliance respect different virtues--musically different, lyrically rich but in different dimensions of meaning, and informed by a very different set of attitudes, grown in a different country with a different scale to it. What McColl was probably reacting to in his snippy way was this collision of worlds, and I suspect it made him feel uneasy, if not threatened.

A


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 01:19 PM

I think most of Dylan's work is great and I think most of MacColl's work is great. And I'm nearly 60, clean-shaven, not fat and I've got two Martins AND a Takamine.

I'm going for a lie down. Or a large scotch. Or both.

LOL.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 01:23 PM

"and we're sitting around in a circle playing guitar!"

That way one is assured a round of applause. (Drum roll, please.)


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 01:40 PM

That was an excellent and insightful post, Amos.

Pete - Aha! You're an exception. So am I. I'm 63, clean-shaven, not fat, and I have both Martin and Taylor guitars at present...mostly play the Martin HD-28.

I grew up on the North American folk tradition as presented by: The Weavers, Burl Ives, Peter Paul & Mary, Kingston Trio, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Gordon Lightfoot, Ian & Sylvia, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, and numerous others. Also listened to Donovan quite a bit. And Al Stewart. They were from the UK. Had one Ewan MacColl record I really liked. But most of the people who influenced me strongly were from either Canada or the USA.

Amos has described perfectly the rural American foundation that Bob Dylan's early period of work was based upon....wanderers, labourers, mountain people, cowboys, and intinerant Black blues musicians...all that rich tapestry of the old frontier and prewar America.

It was a very different zeitgeist from the one MacColl grew up with, and it embodied very different styles of manner and delivery. It's not that surprising that MacColl thought Dylan's rough-hewn Guthrie-inspired mannerisms were a load of rubbish...but the young Bob Dylan was absolutely in love with what Guthrie had done. He evoked that style in every way he could because he loved it and identified with it, and there's nothing wrong with that, is there?

As far as I can see, Dylan always played the type of music he most wanted to play because that fulfilled him at the time. It was a totally personal journey, not an attempt to be a leader of some sort. You cannot do better than play the music you love the most at the time, and that's what he did. That music kept changing because he kept changing. He was not content to remain in one single place for his entire life, but kept moving on to new things. That upset people. Well, I think he made the right decision. He was true to himself.

As for those who wish to remain exactly the same forever and ever...there's a place waiting for them in Madam Tussaud's Wax Museum. ;-D


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 01:45 PM

I'm not sure how anyone could criticise Peggy Seeger's banjo playing! I love that frailed banjo sound and it was Peggy's playing that first drew me to it. As far as I'm concerned she's still the greatest.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 02:53 PM

"In that case there was an exemption from the usual serving of contempt."
Do you have any actual examples of MacColl's "contempt" for singer/songwriters? I can offer 20 odd editions of 'The New City Songester' that Peggy amassed newly composed songs for, from Britain, Ireland, The States, Australia, Canada..., from friends and from strangers, (some of whom have posted on Mudcat) - songs which otherwise would never have seen the light of day.
I have to say I owe you my thanks - it's small-minded bile like yours that makes me realise just how lucky I was to have met MacColl and Seeger and been a beneficiary of their open handedness - while it is wee jobbies like your good self who would have driven me away from the music long ago.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 03:17 PM

"MacColl has been dead now for 22 years - he was cremated and his ashes scattered over the location of one of his favourite hill-walks
Perhaps you might catch his spirit, put it in a bottle and then subject it to what you have in mind during one of these corpse-kicking exercises"
Jim, please don't include me in this.
Although my posts, in response to the original question, are mainly made up of reports of the disregard in which Ewan held Bob Dylan I can only go back to my original offering and repeat that during MacColl's constant denigration of Dylan's work I was in an awkward position as I would then, and to this day, stand up to my neck in pig shit to listen to either of them (no disrespect to some of the folk clubs in which I have seen Ewan ;-) ).
His ashes, so I read, were scattered on Bleaklow, unfortunately not on Thorpe Cloud that he mentions in "Journeyman", since I was up there on Royal Wedding day last year. Mind I was listening to Bob Dylan on the i-pod at the time.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 03:22 PM

I have no idea if Ewan MacColl himself showed a general contempt toward singer-songwriters outside his immediate style of music, Jim. I wasn't speaking of him. I never met him. I was theorizing that he might have held such an attitude, but I can't say for sure, not having known the man.

I was speaking of a few little groups of UK-origin folkies who ran a handful of clubs in Toronto, Canada when I was a youngster, and describing the shitty attitude they had toward anyone who wasn't in their tight little in-group. They were approximately one generation older than me, so I'd say they were in MacColl's age group. Whether he shared their general snottiness, I can't say.

I like the traditional music of the British Isles and Ireland. I like it very much. I happily accompany people who play it. What I didn't like was the holier-than-thou attitude of people in those Toronto clubs I alluded to above who didn't seem to respect anything except the traditional music of the British Isles and Ireland. They were intolerant of any style or tradition but their own. They assumed a superiority over other styles and traditions. That strikes me as a mean and immature attitude based on either arrogance or deep insecurity or a sense of entitlement. One often sees such musical prejudice in adolescents, but people should be able to get over that sort of narrow insularity by the time they reached adulthood, I'd hope.

And why would anything "drive you away from the music?" I can't imagine anything that would dive me away from it.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 03:34 PM

Both Amos and Little Hawk seem to be on target for the crux of the artistic disagreement that gave rise to this thread. No need to denigrate MacColl or Dylan for any issues they had 45 years ago. Their work shares a place in the archives for those of us who love folk music, and the highest tribute we can pay the both of them is to play Dirty Old Town and Blowin in the Wind in the same session.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 03:36 PM

I don't see anything much in the Dylan I have from time to time been forced to listen to that recalls Guthrie's inspired political song. I do hear quite a bit of "oh it's not fair your mum and dad they fuck you up and the world will be better when I rule it".

Neither of course are folk song.

The sense of entitlement that LH abhors may well have been born out of the fact that English language folk song was born in the UK - and was part of the patrimony of those he found boring.

That's not to say that there can't be good contemporary songs. There are many. But I'd have thought it appropriate at least if going to a folk club to sing a folk song or two to establish one's bona fides, before doing something else - no matter how brilliant.

Going and raiding folk songs (EG Nottamun Town) to write an "original song" "Masters of War" using its tune surely deserved disapprobation.

Did not the Beatles go to Liverpool folk clubs and say "Here's a Leadbelly Song" before launching into an acoustic "Twist and Shout" (or whatever). If not maybe it's a myth they propagated themselves.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,SirCoughsalot
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 03:51 PM

Just think of how many genuine folk songs use the same melodies. It's just part of the folk process. As a friend of mine once said, "Folk music is all about recycling."


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 03:51 PM

I knew both MacColl and Dylan personally. When I let Dylan into the King and Queen club that night way back in 1962 he sang three songs which he didn't write in a pseudo Woody Guthrie style, complete with mouth organ and guitar. Nobody paid much attention except Martin Carthy who recognised Dylan from a a picture in Sing magazine. During the interval, at Dylan's request, we had a chat about folk music. He asked me if MacColl lived in a slum (I'm paraphrasing) and was surprised when I said he had a nice house in Beckinham .. I suspect Dylan was flying kites but he was obviously making a sly dig at MacColl.
So it would appear that Dylan had a preconceived perspective of MacColl before he sang in front of him and judging by what Bob sang that first night, MacColl would have been wrong in describing Dylan as McGonnalesque as there was nothing original about his first performance.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 04:10 PM

"English language folk song was born in the UK"

wot every form of it....? a difficult one to prove. Look at all the jewish, African, Asian input - everywhere that was red on the map - there were people speaking English and applying their own rhythms and nuances and some of them would have been songwriters and poets - not working from a base of English culture, other than the language.

Well okay Richard, as long as its you're last territorial claim. we'll appease you on this occasion. You're a nice person. But i don't think you could take that one to court.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 04:50 PM

Richard - ""oh it's not fair your mum and dad they fuck you up and the world will be better when I rule it".

What????? I have no idea how you get that from Dylan's songs, Richard. I see nothing anywhere in his work that suggests he had the slightest notion of ruling the word. He seems to have always seen himself as an independent individual seeking his own path...not a leader of others. He did protest various common forms of hypocrisy and conformity that we see all around us in society. Did you ever read the lyrics in the song "It's Allright, Ma...I'm Only Bleeding"? That song protests just about everything, and it's a brilliant piece of work. In fact, I'd say it stands alone. Nothing else really comes close to that one.

"part of the patrimony of those he found boring" It wasn't exactly that I found those guys in the Toronto UK-folk clubs boring so much as just plain arrogant, superior, and snide toward anyone not already in their clique. But that's a problem in a great many cliques, isn't it? It's a problem on this forum, for instance...at times.

Dylan was also inclined to be quite arrogant at times...and I gather that MacColl could be that way too. No wonder they rubbed each other the wrong way. ;-D

In any case, they both had a great deal to offer to the listener, in my opinion.

******

The process of "raiding folk songs" for a tune, a structure or a theme is as old as the music itself. It's been going on for hundreds, even thousands of years. Woody Guthrie was constantly stealing tunes from other songs. No one seems to mind. The American national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, for instance, was written by Francis Scott Keys to the tune of a popular British pub song of the time! Another major American anthem was written to the tune of "God Save the King". When you look through the history of folksongs, you find the same tunes recycled again and again with similar or totally different lyrics. So what? What was Dylan doing that thousands of others had not done before him...except this one thing: he succeeded professionally in a very big way while doing it.

That's why people object to him having done it...because he succeeded. If he'd remained relatively unknown and not made a lot of money, they wouldn't give a hoot about it. He'd just be another minor player in a very old tradition of reworking traditional songs.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: melodeonboy
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 05:35 PM

Reworking traditional songs is, as has been stated, part of the folk tradition. I think most people accept that. But was there not an issue regarding Dylan's claiming authorship for stuff that he took from others?

A question to ponder: Was part of the apparent animosity between the two due to MacColl seeing his music as a vocation (or even mission) whereas Dylan saw his as a career?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 06:07 PM

Well, it is a career, isn't it? And it's also a vocation. Whether it's a "mission" or not is something each player must decide for himself.

I think there were times in Dylan's career where he did feel he was on a mission. I think that was true for a period of time in his early "protest" period...2 to 3 years. He was strongly influenced by his girlfriend of the time, Suze Rotolo, who was a committed social activist and leftist. She encouraged him to write activist songs, and he responded to that. Later he divorced himself from it. He'd probably simply had enough of it at that point...and he was clearly growing uneasy with being made musical poster boy for the New Left.

Still later, in his Christian phase from about 1979 through 1982 he was most definitely on a mission to spread his new religious message. He later distanced himself from that too, having discovered that more than a few of the people in the church he had joined were not exactly living up to the shining ideals they espoused. Again...he'd had enough of it.

If Bob's earlier stuff bothered MacColl, I bet the religious stuff would have driven him screaming from the room... ;-D


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 06:22 PM

Al, why were those countries speaking English? They learned it from the English. Many English folk songs were preserved in the Appalachians - but they were English folk songs.

LH - "The Times they are a-changin'". To start with.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Acorn4
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 06:28 PM

I suppose EM's view of religion is an aspect that hasn't cropped up yet.
Early British socialism was very bound up with the nonconformist churches, Keir Hardie as just one example being profoundly religious. Marxism/Stalinism, with it's stress on atheism had little to do with English tradition and was, to all intents and purposes a foreign import.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 07:04 PM

"Dylan played harmonica exactly like Woody Guthrie."

Sorry, that's not right. Woody could really play the harmonica. I know, because I was a student of Woody's. He taught me to play cross harp. Dylan really doesn't play harmonica,
he just blows into it.

Most of the people who claim to know Woody really don't. He had a lot of imitators but unfortunately they imitated how he was when he was afflicted with Huntingtons.
I was fortunate to be one of his pickin' buddies before he succumbed. He could sing and play well. Topanga Canyon, 1952 or so. Before he took off with Aneke.

The deal with Dylan is that he never knew Woody early enough to hear how good he was.

Dylan became commercial quite early. Some of his songs are great, and others mediocre.
Of all of his songs, I like his love songs best. "Tomorrow is a Long Time" is lovely.
Never really thought much of "Blowin' in the Wind" because it seemed stereotypical and as if it were fashioned for the "protest" market. "Masters of War" seemed overblown to me. He got the tune from Jean Ritchie's "Nottingham Town" though there is nothing wrong with that.

Ewan would have objected to the over-popularity and cultish figure of Dylan which eclipsed a lot of the local traditional British music in his neck of the woods. Dylan, in his early days,
took on the dress of Woody with the cap and harmonica rack. Woody was a socialist.
Dylan seems very apolitical to me. The same with Jack Elliott, too.

I never believed that Dylan really was sincere in his early songs. "Like A Rolling Stone" was a very powerful pop song, however, that seemed more like who he was.

Steve Earle seems closest to Woody in terms of his writing, social and political outlook and his manner of performing, much more than Dylan.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Acorn4
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 07:16 PM

Dylan: Great Song, Pointless Harmonica


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 07:27 PM

yes they spoke English. But they didn't speak with an English rhythm or syntax. They wrote their own original songs in English - which are not from some English blueprint of folk music.

Okay the folk isolated in the Appalacian communities may have preserved our folksongs.

What about Yellow Bird in Jamaica, what about Keys to Highway in America, a belfast song like the Doffin Mistress?

Are these not folksongs with their own country of origin - written in English?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Greg B
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 10:14 PM

"Shoals of Herring?" Credited to MacColl? Hell, no. It was from Sam Larner, a real North-sea fisherman, not a poseur.

Who the hell cares whether Ewan, or Pete "approved" of Bobby Dylan?

Who the hell cares whether society approved of Ewan or Pete?

Why should someone who's been black-listed get to black-list someone else?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: 2581
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 10:22 PM

I find it amusing that anyone could belittle Dylan as a songwriter. You don't like his voice - fine. He ain't the greatest guitarist on the planet - fine. But he is without doubt the greatest songwriter of the past 50 years. His songs have been covered literally thousands of times. No one else is even close. I like Ewan MacColl's work, but he can't be mentioned in the same breath with Dylan as a songwriter.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 10:31 PM

Interesting.   I usually think of Mr.Bridge as a remarkably reliable negative indicator.   But on this one, much as it pains me to say it, he's nailed it:   LH must have eaten an amazing amount of cheese.

It's of note that those who defend Dylan seem to virtually always cite early songs.   I'd certainly agree that his earlier stuff was by far the best--just a guitar and sly bluesy remarks, on NYC, for instance. His very first album--obviously an attempt to claim Woody's mantle, is in fact delightful. And per Wiki, he himself does not like it. Turns out he only wrote 2 of the songs on it--but for my money they are the best ones. A sense of humor never hurts.   But he soon (about the time he went electric, or even before) slipped into the turgid, tortured, pretentious, amorphously protesting, often mean-spirited twaddle (hope I'm not too subtle)--- that many of us in the 60's loved.   I had a quote on my door for while to the effect that the 60's (protest) generation is probably the most overprivileged generation ever to mistake itself for revolutionaries. And Dylan was the poet laureate of this generation.

Have to admit I really loved Desolation Row--maybe because it was fun to memorize and sing just walking along. But neither it nor the rest of Dylan's output holds up.    "Thin Man"? "Rolling Stone". ? Just read the lyrics.   Dylan's voice was wonderfully appropriate for his songs.   But the songs themselves are amazingly feeble--which is apparent if anybody else sings them.

After Dylan moved on from his first role, his output did not improve.   I find the overwhelming majority of his "product" to be painfully naive and embarassingly dated.

Blowing in the Wind.   Fine, that was put to good use. But "how many times must the cannonballs fly?".   Bob will be pleased to know we've moved on from cannonballs to suicide bombers. So, you say, it's a figurative protest of war.   That does not help its realism quotient.

I can't think of one Dylan song which can hold a candle to the best of MacColl (e.g. Shoals of Herring or Freeborn Man.   Both have wonderfully soaring melodies and wonderfully evocative lyrics--both, interestingly, evoking a disappearing way of life.

We'll never know of course. But it would be interesting to see, in about 100 years, how many Dylan songs are sung by what we now call "folkies"--or anybody.   While it's clear that at least the above 2 MacColl songs will be firmly established as "folk" songs--for many they already are.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 10:35 PM

OK. If MacColl didn't write Shoals of Herring that's a serious problem for my pro-MacColl stance.   Should it perhaps be more along the lines of "plague on both your houses?"   It sure doesn't rescue Dylan from my characterizations of his work.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 10:54 PM

Hard to call this song weak, Ron.

Every Grain of Sand (words and music by Bob Dylan)

In the time of my confession,
in the hour of my deepest need
When the pool of tears beneath my feet
flood every newborn seed
There's a dyin' voice within me
reaching out somewhere,
Toiling in the danger and in
the morals of despair.

Don't have the inclination to
look back on any mistake,
Like Cain,
I now behold this chain of events
that I must break.
In the fury of the moment
I can see the Master's hand
In every leaf that trembles,
in every grain of sand.

Oh, the flowers of indulgence
and the weeds of yesteryear,
Like criminals,
they have choked the breath
of conscience and good cheer.
The sun beat down upon the steps
of time to light the way
To ease the pain of idleness
and the memory of decay.

I gaze into the doorway of
temptation's angry flame
And every time I pass that way
I always hear my name.
Then onward in my journey
I come to understand
That every hair is numbered
like every grain of sand.

I have gone from rags to riches
in the sorrow of the night
In the violence of a summer's dream,
in the chill of a wintry light,
In the bitter dance of loneliness
fading into space,
In the broken mirror of innocence
on each forgotten face.

I hear the ancient footsteps like
the motion of the sea
Sometimes I turn, there's someone there,
other times it's only me.
I am hanging in the balance
of the reality of man
Like every sparrow falling,
like every grain of sand.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 11:32 PM

Of course MacColl wrote Shoals Of Herring, based on info passed to him by Sam Larner about his early life in the herring fishing. Larner was indeed a fine carrier and singer of traditional songs: but Shoals Of Herring is not one of these. Larner's narrative, interpolated with MacColl's song growing out of it, originally formed part of the Radio Ballad, Singing The Fishing, first heard on BBC Home Service, precursor of Radio 4, on 16 August 1960, and subsequently published on Argo Records.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 11:39 PM

Re best of Dylan songs ~~ let's hear it again for The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll ~~ incomparable IMO. I recall similar enthusiasm expressed over lunch at Christ's College Cambridge by Professor Sir Christopher Ricks of Oxford, Cambridge and Boston Universities, author of an academic study of Dylan's lyrics ~~ see my post above regarding him, 4 jan 1.32 am.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: ollaimh
Date: 05 Jan 12 - 11:49 PM

amos discussed the "elected"identity of dylan that was so despised by mccoll.

well the long and the short of it was mccoll's identity did not grow from the heather. he aqdopted a highland scotts gael name. a name from a culture he had less part in than dylan had in the hobo railriding culture. dylan did actuallt ride the rails with rambling jack elliot for quite a while, even if he was a lower middle class jew from northern minnesota.

mccoll was engaging in the last stage of british inperialism. its called cultural appropriation. for him to have pretense to legitimacy just shows what total and comptete hypocrites his crowd were. when i was young there were anglos ready to teach me "irish" or "highland scottish" culture evrywhere. there are afew still around but when i encounter one at a folk sessiun i just sing a gaelic song and they stop lecturing.

they can own our culture and get rid of us. its bigotry and racism.

now as show biz i have no problem with mccoll. ebery one needs to make a living. whatever the schtick is as long as it works.

they both wrote great songs,dylan wrote a lot more and wasn't instrumentally challenged like mccoll.

the bottom line though was mccoll was appropriating a culture he knew nothing of and which he was no part of. in canada i used to go to folk circle that were his followers, even knew him well, same shit new locale. i got shown the door at the vancouver folk back in the seventies as i offered to sing a few nova scotia and newfoundland songs. their fearless leader and mccoll follower told me no country music here, we do folk music. when i peeked in the door a few hours later all the bourgeoise white folks were singing day oh day oh--the banana boat song by belefonte. but no east coast folk. when i went to the singers club i was lectured that we should sing the songs from our own culture when i sang the verses to chi me na mhorbheanna(dark island) in gaelic. the guy singing it in english had a pure oxbridge accent.

these early folk "purists" were engaged in the last stage of imperialism and were completely unconscious to theie real palce in the world. they had that entitlement attitude the anglos bring when they come to lead you.the folk movement came from the poltical left that mirrored the right wing early appropriation of folk.none of them were in any way traditional. and they marginalized the actual traditional musicicians, who were usually ethnically unacceptable.

dylan had no such pretensions. he was an artist looking for an audience--wherever it led him. and he was a skilled instrumentaslist as well as a good song writer. he wasn't my favourite songwriter but i sing two or three dylan songs, and only one mccoll--shoals of herring.dylan saw the hypocracy of the traditional pretensious folk people, that's why he went his own way. hewas nothing if not honest. there is nothing honest in most of the folk collecting tradition. i sugest people read douglas harkness' book "fake song" or mackay's book on helen creighten:"the quest of the folk".

frankly i will try folk get togethers but if i get any door slamming i just bug out now. there is a whole world of celtic and early music to play in. pretensoius traditional folkies usuaslly also make a virtue out of necessity by slagging anyone who can play an instrument with skill. they aqre instrumentally challenged and try to pretend thast thast's the real folk.   well i'm here to tell you the traditional musicians i have played with, celtic, portuguese and greek mostly(in big cities i have gone to greek and portuguese clubs as they invite me to play occasionally) in those worlds the musicianship is stupendious--absolutely the highest skilled miusicians you will ever meet. those old farts at the singers club could barely croak a tune. a gagle of basil fawlty's lecturing others because they can't perform well enough to hold an audience.

so get it straight. mccoll and his folk philosphy was cultural appropriation. the last stage of empire. he wass from the entitled people kindly ready to lead us poor ignorant savages in folk. even though they had lost their military political and economic tyrany, they can still lead others in tradition and show us the moral high ground--provided of course we follow obidiently and tug out forelocks


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 12:54 AM

---mccoll was appropriating a culture he knew nothing of and which he was no part of---
,.,.,.,.
Nonsense, ollaimh. It was the culture he was brought up to by both his traditional-singing parents, his father from Stirling, his mother from Auchterader. EwanMacColl/JimmyMiller had his faults; but lack of entitlement to regard himself culturally as having a thoroughly traditional Scots inheritance on both sides was no way one of them.

And I do wish people would stop using "purist" as a term of abuse. It says far more to the detriment of the users of the term, than about whose of us endeavouring to maintain reasonable standards of useful categorisation, whom they endeavour thus to disparage.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 01:05 AM

Right on, ollaimh. You have expressed it perfectly.

I find it laughable that people would characterize Dylan's songwriting as mediocre...but it just goes to show that tastes differ widely. If someone doesn't like a specific style that a singer employs, it's not likely you'll ever get them to change their mind about it...because they'll never be motivated to investigate it closely enough to bother changing their mind.

Also...for the umpteenth time...it IS possible to admire both Dylan's AND MacColl's work in music!!! I do. Seems like a far better use of one's time to appreciate both of them, than trying to prove that one of them is wonderful and the other one's an overrated asshole.


Richard Bridge - "The Times They Are A-Changin'" is a fine example of what Dylan so often does...he writes songs in what I call universal symbols. To say "how many times must the cannonballs fly" is a universal symbol for warfare throughout the ages. Who the hell cares if we use cruise missile and jets now instead of cannonballs? Songwriting is far more effective when using universal symbols than it is when it's dead literal, in my opinion. Poetry, likewise, is far more effective when using metaphor and universal symbolology than when being dead literal. Any idiot can write literally about something...but poets write in symbol and metaphor, and it's all the more powerful in that form.

He is in no way suggesting that HE should be the leader of anything in that song, he's simply describing a time of massive social change all around him when millions of young people were impelled to question the Vietnam War (and war in general), when they were impelled to question their governmental instutions and the conventional views their elders had passed on to them regarding just about everything.

That song touched perfectly on the tensions that were rising in young people at the time...that's why it had such a huge impact, specially when covered by Peter, Paul, and Mary. Good God, man, there was a revolution in social thought taking place! It transformed North America, it helped to end the Vietnam War, it helped to end segregation, it helped to bring social equality to women, Blacks, and Native Americans. Dylan's gift was that he articulated it so powerfully for others just as it was taking off.

I don't believe for a moment that he wrote that stuff just to ride on a trend or to make money. I think he wrote it because he couldn't help but write it. In fact, the songs really wrote themselves...he was the scribe.

He was also a person who would go way deep into something until he'd expressed it with full intensity and fully satisfied the need in him to express it...then he'd leave it and move on to the next thing. That bothered people. They wanted him to just stay in one particular mode forever, but that's not going to happen with someone like Bob Dylan.


The last verse in "Times They Are A-Changin'" is a masterpiece:

The line it is drawn,
The curse it is cast,
The slow one now will later be fast,
As the present now will later be past,
The order is rapidly fading,
And the first one now will later be last,
For the times they are a-changing!


Right fucking on! That is very good lyric writing, and as with so much of Dylan's material, it connects to various biblical references that go way back in our western culture. In that sense again, it's a song with universal symbology rather than narrow didactic literalism. (the latter was the main thing that constricted so much of Phil Ochs' songwriting and caused it not to age well with the passage of time...it was too literal, too specific, therefore had a much shorter shelf life than songs written in poetic metaphor)


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: meself
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 01:27 AM

"Great song, pointless harmonica" - Not sure what this is supposed to prove. There are perhaps three brief moments of harmonica in the song. They probably don't add a great deal, nor do they take away a great deal. So - what?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 01:46 AM

Well said, LH.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 02:03 AM

"Many English folk songs were preserved in the Appalachians - but they were English folk songs." Folksongs in a variety of English language may not necessarily be English folk songs. They could be for example Scottish?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 02:48 AM

little Hawk, as far as I am concerne dylan wrote only a handful of good songs, the times are a changing, blowing in the wind,masters of war, mr tambourine man, in my opinion Tom Paxton is a better SONG WRITER.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 04:24 AM

Dylan really doesn't play harmonica, he just blows into it.

Yes and no. What people tend to think of now when they hear the words 'Dylan' and 'harmonica' is the random-suck-and-blow technique featured on Like A Rolling Stone, which I don't think anyone had ever done before (or rather, I don't think anyone had ever thought they could get away with it before). But there's some quite precise melody playing on the earlier albums and some of the later ones - he can clearly play the thing properly when he wants to.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 04:32 AM

ollaimh, have you ever stopped to consider that it might be racist to constantly accuse "anglos" of being racist?

I've been associated with the British folk movement for over 40 years now and I can't think of a single example of anyone expressing anti-"gael"ic sentiments. I used to know a bloke once who seemed to desperately want to be Irish - because he very much admired certain Irish singers and musicians - but I don't think that he had any "anglo" "imperialistic" urges!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 04:34 AM

Ollaimh, You have confused two entirely different songs in your statement "when i sang the verses to chi me na mhorbheanna(dark island) in gaelic."


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 05:31 AM

LH said Also...for the umpteenth time...it IS possible to admire both Dylan's AND MacColl's work in music!!!

Which I'd echo. I suspect if I met either of them they wouldn't be my cup of tea - but that's neither here nor there. Both of them - as with anyone with a copious number of songs under thir belt - have written some stinkers, but just listen to McColl's 'The Father's Song' or Dylan's 'Stuck outside of Mobile' to hear two fantastic songwriters at work.

I also think comparing them is pointless - they are chalk and cheese.

And finally I totally disagree with this folky myth that Dylan's best work was on his early acoustic albums. For me, one of his golden periods was with albums like Desire and Blood on the Tracks. And, personally, I'm a huge fan of the Basement Tapes too, for that matter...


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Marje
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 05:31 AM

There's nothing wrong with using a traditional melody and putting new words to it. It's a time-honoured practice, and MacColl did it too, e.g. the tune for "Sweet Thames" is a dressed-up version of "The Recruited Collier".

Marje


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 05:33 AM

Anonymous guest above was me cookieless...


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 05:35 AM

... so long as it is admitted that the air has been 'recycled'. Took a long time to get Dominic to admit that The Patriot Game was to the tune of The Bold Grenadier/The Nightingales Sing: but he did eventually, in an exchange of letters I had with him in The Guardian, and probably elsewhere also.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Doc John
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 05:50 AM

To me it always sounds like Dylan got his singing and playing style from Jack Elliot who got his from Woody Guthrie when the latter was no longer at his best.
To me there's too much whinging doggeral in Dylan's material and none of the bitter humour you find in Woody Guthrie or Phil Ochs, a far better writer imho.
Witness: cannonballs banned...sleep in the sand...etc etc
A good example of WG's harmonic is his recording of Raincrow Bill with the master Sonny Terry


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 06:31 AM

For me, one of his golden periods was with albums like Desire and Blood on the Tracks.

I've got a lot of time for Street Legal, although it does teeter on the brink of "fat Elvis" and goes right over at least once.

And, personally, I'm a huge fan of the Basement Tapes too, for that matter...

Steady on. There's some wonderful stuff on there, but I'm not convinced it's possible to be a fan of the Basement Tapes as an album unless you're unhinged or Greil Marcus (but I repeat myself).


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 06:43 AM

Of course there is some dross on the Basement Tapes, but the gems amongst them are some of Bobby's best...

Street Legal was the first Dylan album I bought back when I was one of them pesky teenagers. Absolutely loved it. You're right about the ocassional forays into FatElvis Land though. Speaking as fan of some of Fat Elvis's output...


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 06:45 AM

"Shoals of Herring?" Credited to MacColl? Hell, no. It was from Sam Larner, a real North-sea fisherman, not a poseur."
Utter bloody nonsense and proved to be so over and over again.
MacColl made "Shoals" from spoken actuality recorded from Sam Larner and another East Anglian fisherman, Ronnie Balls - the recordings of which are probably housed at The British Library and/or with the whole of the MacColl collection at Ruskin College - I have a copy of it.
There is no recording of Sam or anybody singing it, nor any written evidence of it ever having been sung before it appeared in Singing the Fishing
To me it has always sounded more like one of MacColl's typical 'Universal Man' compositions, than it does a traditional song - as do The Big Hewer, Kilroy, Shellback, Seven days of the Week.... et al.
There is a song entitled Shoals of Herring in John Howson's collection Songs Sung in Suffolk - no resemblence whatever - Howson writes "Not the well-known Ewan MacColl song which goes under this name, but an older, local song...."
Would be interested to know if there in any backing to this old chestnut - but have been waiting an awfully long time.
ollaimh
AGREE with what MtheGM said totally.
MacColl was singing songs he heard at home - which is far more than most singers on the scene can claim.
His mother sang - there'e an album of her doing so with Ewan (A Garland For Betsy), and I know from talking to some of Ewan''s contemporaries in Manchester that "his father William had a lot of strange Scots songs and ballads" (Eddie Frow - working-class historian in Salford).
This is an account of MacColl being 'discovered' by a BBC producer in the early thirties.
From 'Prospero and Ariel' D G Bridson (Gollantz 1971)
"MacColl had been out busking for pennies by the Manchester theatres and cinemas. The songs he sang were unusual, Scots songs, Gaelic songs he had learnt from his mother, border ballads and folk-songs. One night while queueing up for the three-and-sixpennies, Kenneth Adam had heard him singing outside the Manchester Paramount. He was suitably impressed. Not only did he give MacColl a handout; he also advised him to go and audi¬tion for Archie Harding at the BBC studios in Manchester's Piccadilly. This MacColl duly did. 'May Day in England' was being cast at the time, and though it had no part for a singer, it certainly had for a good, tough, angry Voice of the People. Ewan MacColl became the Voice, a role which he has continued to fill on stage, on the air, and on a couple of hundred L.P. discs ever since."
MacColl never pretended to be anything other than what he was - a Salfordian from a Scots family living in a Scots Enclave in Northern England.
Whether his accent was authentic is a matter of opinion - he neutralised it in order to, among other things, make the 137 Child ballads he breathed life into in order to make them as accessible as possible - always worked for me.
I always found his singing far more believable than that of the 'Walthamstow cowboys' who use strange mid-Atlantic accent and end up being neither fish nor fowl.
Little Hawk:
"I have no idea if Ewan MacColl himself showed a general contempt toward singer-songwriters outside his immediate style of music,"
Apologies if I have misunderstood your point - you came across as claiming that MacColl and The Critics spent their time attacking those who weren't singing to the mythical rule-book.
Not the case; the Critics spent no time whatever discussing what was happening on the singer/songwriter circuit - critically or otherwise. Sadly, the reverse is the case; Ewan, Peggy and the Critics Group were far more sinned againt than sinning in this respect (even twenty odd years after MacColl's demise).
Sorry for the knee-jerk reaction.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Baz Bowdidge
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 07:37 AM

Back to likes or dislikes.
Apologies if this pdf has been tagged before:
Click Here
Some paraphrased quotes:
'Dylan held McColl in high esteem (Melody Maker 23/5/6i4). He cited
McColl as one of the writers he most admired. In 1985 McColl's
daughter Kirsty wrote home to her father from Los Angeles 'I was
at a party with Bob Dylan. He's still one of your greatest fans
in spite of the fact you don't think muich of him'.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jeri
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 10:17 AM

999, I hear the third-from-last line in "Every Grain of Sand" as "Of a perfect, finished plan". Picky, I know.

What small-minded shriveled-heart cretin is it who can not say "I love the music I love" but has to say "the music you love is HORRIBLE!"

Sorry, but this sort of rant usually is barked out by insane, stupid people. It also is the major reason why I haven't felt inspired by music. It's not the music's fault, but it's hard to be around people who will be offended if I sing (or even praise) something they don't like. This is my problem, and believe me, it's a problem because I like both songwriters.

Fundamentally:
You may prefer one of them.
You may dislike one of them.
Both are/were masters of their craft.
Disagree if you like, but be aware that your attitude may actually turn people away--NOT because you don't like what they like but because you seem to believe their preferences are less valid than yours. If you treat music as a fundamentalist religion, this may work for you.
...whoever "you" may be.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: meself
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 10:41 AM

"none of the bitter humour"

Of all the criticisms of Dylan I've come across, this is the first time I've heard him accused of lacking "bitter humour".

"Always have respected her, for doin' what she did in gettin' free-ee-eee" Nope, no bitter humour there.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 10:54 AM

Given the various posts to this tread--and they do seem to run the gamut from antagonistically stupid to well-informed--I opine that MacColl really did like and admire Dylan. He was simply too addicted to the portrayal of his 'image' to say so in plain language.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 01:20 PM

I think there's a lot of bitter humour in Dylan's songs, both in the love songs and the social comment songs.

Regarding his influences, yes, he was very much influenced by Woody Guthrie's recordings...and Ramblin' Jack's material. Ramblin' Jack was a hell of a good player in his prime.

Dylan hit a real high point in the mid-70s as far as I'm concerned. His singing and playing and lyrical outuput had never been more effective. "Blood on the Tracks" just might be the best album he ever did. If not, it's one of the best 3 or 4 he ever did. "Desire" is also very strong, and I absolutely loved "Street Legal". "Infidels" could have been another album at that same level if he'd included 2 or 3 of the best songs he had at that time (1983?), but he inexplicably left some of the best ones (such as "Blind Willie McTell") off that album.

Good Soldier Schweik - Regarding your comments about Tom Paxton...I don't really know how to compare Tom Paxton to Bob Dylan, because I haven't heard enough of Paxton's songs to say. The few I have heard...yeah, they're very good.

As for Phil Ochs...another poster had spoken of his material as better than Dylan's...well, Ochs wrote a handful of VERY good songs. Most of his songs, though, I find kind of painful to listen to. I just don't think they're that good, because they're too literal and strident, in a way. His sincerity is unquestionable, however, and I respect that. I don't consider him anywhere near Dylan in a lyrical sense. Ochs himself considered Dylan to be the finest songwriter of the time and defended him against his harshest critics in the folk scene, even when Ochs and Dylan were not speaking to each other. That speaks very well for Phil Ochs.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 03:04 PM

Ewen MacColl just didn't like Dylan
One wanted sex, the other wasn't willin
It might have been Bob
Who whipped out his nob
Perhaps they did, and it wasn't fulfilin'


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: melodeonboy
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 04:52 PM

Ha, ha! Good one!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 06 Jan 12 - 06:05 PM

That's an interesting bit of speculation there, Big Al. ;-D Maybe you should write a tell-all book about it and make big bucks!

Yup, I can just imagine Ewan MacColl seething with unsatisfied lust whilst watching lean young Bob plow his way bravely through "Gates of Eden" at the Royal Albert Hall or some such venue...

Contact Griel Marcus at once!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 07 Jan 12 - 01:56 PM

The problem is that those who claim Dylan's very good songs are not really defining why they think that these are good. My contention is that a good songwriter in the folk tradition can write succinct and pithy ideas with few words. Dylan is far too wordy for my taste. I'll take Woody's writing any day. Ludlow Massacre,1913 Massacre and Pretty Boy Floyd are folk masterworks. I feel the same about Jean Ritchie who is not as well recognized for her "L and N Don't Stop Here Anymore" and "Black Waters".

Most of Dylan's work impresses me as being preachy and pseudo-profound. The songs cited above as his best work, well I don't agree that they stand up that well.

Dylan cut an image for his time as the rebellious youth taking his initial appearance from Woody Guthrie's stance as an active socialist. Dylan was not that and I think he was kind of an imitator. He took on Woody's "raggedy" image for a show business market and many young people of the time identified that as being "honest" and "real" which I don't think it was. Having known Woody prior to his disability, I can say that Woody was real and who he was and he played a damned good harmonica as well.

A lot of cultish enthusiasm for Dylan's work has more to do with his "attitude" and "image" than a realistic view of his work.

I don't sense a real sincerity in his earlier work as I do with Woody. Tom Paxton is
a brilliant satirist and cogent writer as is Tom Lehrer. I think the latter two fall into the tradition of Yip Harburg who was one of the greatest lyricists of all time in my opinion. "Brother, Can You Spare A Dime" is a classic well-written protest song.

I know that my point of view will be contentious in some people's opinion, but I sense a falseness and hollowness in Dylan's work. "Like A Rolling Stone" was an interesting song but not one I would enjoy singing. "Tomorrow is a Long Time" is more sensitive and in my opinion may be one of Dylan's best songs and one I have enjoyed singing in the past.

McColl was a scholar of folk music and understood its function in a social context as well as an artistic one. This might be dismissed as some as being "political" but in the early days, Dylan seemed like he cashed in on the "protest market" because it was in vogue. McColl approached folk music much differently and over a period of time developed an appreciation that I don't think Dylan has shown.

I don't care for the pretentiousness of many revival folk singers who trade on appearance and image rather than the quality of their performance. Woody was who he was, not trying to push an image for the show business market. Burl Ives was a trained singer who presented his songs very simply early on with a trained pleasant tenor and a rudimentary guitar accompaniment. His early output were tried and true folk songs that he grew up with (except for the songs of John Jacob Niles). Richard Dyer-Bennet never tried to be anything other than what he was, a classical singer who interpreted folk music with musical taste and expertise. Josh White was a unique guitarist and singer who fashioned his act for the night clubs but he was a tasteful musician who wouldn't be sloppy in his presentation and would be embarrassed to display a pretentious harmonica blowing and passing it off as good playing.

In summary, there is much about the "revival" folk which is pretentious and image driven. The contemporary singer-songwriter has much to learn from the old masters such as Harburg, Johnny Mercer, Ira Gershwin, Gus Kahn and others.
Paul Simon and Joni Mitchell (her earlier work) along with Kate Wolf show a craft and sincerity as well as sophistication in the technique of songwriting.

Pete Seeger's presentation has been of a consistent high musical quality (there are very few banjo players that can match his clean articulation and exciting sound) and his "Darling Corey" album for Folkways is a high standard for a revival folk album.
The same can be said for Peggy Seeger's "Songs of Courting and Complaint".

The commercial output of much rock and roll has made pretentiousness more
accessible.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 07 Jan 12 - 02:21 PM

As Utah Phillips used to say, "There is a big difference between 'How many roads must a man walk down, before he can sleep in the sand?', and 'Dump the bosses off your back!'.


Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 07 Jan 12 - 04:08 PM

Frank, I really find your opinions on this topic informative and incisive. I certainly agree with your comment that Steve Earle is far closer to being cut from the same cloth as Woody than BD is. And frankly, I prefer Steve Earle's songwriting to Bob's.
Part of my devotion to Bob comes from an obsession with the Byrds as my gateway into Folk/Traditional, and a love for their soaring versions of Dylan's songs.
Steve Earle is certainly of the activist strain that includes Phil Ochs, Pete and others. My guess is Ewan Macoll would probably have an even greater objection to Mr Earle's rock stylings than to Bob's, though.
Maybe it's the drums? :>)


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Acorn4
Date: 07 Jan 12 - 04:19 PM

I seem to remember that "Hard Rain's a Gonna Fall" was written with every line as a possible song title, because it was at the time of the Cuba crisis when we all thought we might be heading for Armageddon, meaning BD wouldn't be able to write all those songs, so there wouldn't appear to be any long term agenda on that one.

Perhaps the fear we all felt at that time of nuclear confrontation may have accounted for the nature of the some of the writing at the time.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 07 Jan 12 - 06:41 PM

It's a matter of personal taste, that's all.

I love how Bob Dylan writes lyrics, I find it totally satisfying, and that's my personal taste.

I'll add to that that I think the finest lyricist around nowadays is....

Mary-Chapin Carpenter

And she doesn't write at all the way Bob Dylan does. And I love both of them.

It's a matter of personal taste.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Jan 12 - 07:51 PM

no, not entirely little hawk, for a song to be good is not just a question of taste.
if a potential song writer goes to a song writing workshop, he will learn that there are certain highest common factors that occur in all well written songs.
Ewan MacColl was a trained playwright this imo would have been a help to his song writing,Ewan also understood stage craft[ possibly/probably through his involvement with the theatre.
MacColl undoutebdly analysed dylans songs.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: meself
Date: 07 Jan 12 - 09:16 PM

So - Dylan's songs don't pass the "song writing workshop" test? Oh, dear.

And MacColl "analysed dylans songs" - and? I suppose he too found they didn't pass the "song writing workshop" test? Well, that settles it, then.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 04:10 AM

"And MacColl "analysed dylans songs"
Did he really? - missed that one.
MacColl wrote a sartirical piece on Dylan under the name 'Speedwell' around 1965, before Dylan became a somewhat middle-of-the-road pop-star
Never came across a mention of him by MacColl after that - can someone point me in the right direction?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 04:41 AM

"he will learn that there are certain highest common factors that occur in all well written songs"

Frameworks for what has gone before surely! Rules are there to be pushed and broken to the limit or perhaps just ignored. Otherwise nothing would progress and everything would sound similar. If a song is good then it is good no matter how it is contructed.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 10:47 AM

Leaving aside the argument as to quality of BD, which we have all rehearsed at length ~~ must say I can't see much similarity between Tom Paxton and Tom Lehrer. I like them both; but would not regard them, even if both might be termed 'satirists' tout court, which IMO is arguable, as at all the same sort of satirist.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: meself
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 11:19 AM

But there is a certain similarity in their first, Christian, or given names.

--------------------

Jim: Perhaps GSS's post slipped past you - he wrote, "MacColl undoutebdly analysed dylans songs"; no suggestion that this was a public exercise.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 11:23 AM

"Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: meself - PM
Date: 07 Jan 12 - 09:16 PM

So - Dylan's songs don't pass the "song writing workshop" test? Oh, dear.

And MacColl "analysed dylans songs" - and? I suppose he too found they didn't pass the "song writing workshop" test? Well, that settles it," I did not say that.
Finally,MacColl may never have admitted that he listened to Dylans songs, but in the 1960s they were rather difficult to avoid listening too, and of course I was surmising, but as someone that has attempted and written songs[not that I am in MacColls class]I do analyse other peoples songs as I am sure most song writers including MacColl do and did


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 01:31 PM

Paxton and Lehrer were for the most part satirists. Their material was topical. They were also funny. Not true with Dylan.

Jim, I'm sure that McColl analyzed Dylan's songs, maybe not in print. As a devotee of traditional ballad forms, there would have had to been a comparison in his mind.
I know that Peggy would have made some.

The idea that rules are arbitrary obstructions in any art form is not understood. There are principles that are contained in good songs such as 1. specificity 2. economy of words 3. painting word pictures 4. a stanza that scans cohesively 5. a singable tune that is wedded to the lyric 6. an avoidance of cliche images 7. a relevance for the time you live in and oxymoronically all time. (There are more).

I have never attended a songwriting workshop that made much sense except maybe one.
Lehman Engel's BMI Musical Theater Workshop in L.A. Most workshops are conducted by songwriters who go along with the prevailing kinds of songs that they hear in clubs, radio, etc. Songs become vogue-ish.

I agree with LH in that songs are a matter of taste. Some are in bad taste. I could elaborate but I don't want to beat this subject to death.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 02:00 PM

I always thought Bob Dylan's sense of humour pretty good.

However both paxton and Dylan wrote some beautiful lyrical pieces.

I think this is crazy stuff. Its like when my dad used to say Picasso was rubbish - and all abstract painting was just people who couldn't draw.

If you don't get MacColl, paxton or Dylan - its your loss. And given the availability of these very successful artists work - I think you're being as cussed as my Dad was.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Baz Bowdidge
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 02:28 PM

Pete Seeger himself approved of the 'young fella' despite his reported derision of his later output.
Click Here
Perhaps being 'Anti-Dylan' was a family thing.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Joe_F
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 06:01 PM

Did he have a crib pasted on his guitar? He kept looking down.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 04:07 AM

"no suggestion that this was a public exercise. "
Then how would anybody know MacColl analysed Dylan's songs if he didn't discuss them. I can't find any reference to him having done so, other than the Speedwell article (1965); at the time many people in the revival (described by Edward Lee as 'The Old Guard') looked on Dylan as a diversion to their aim of persuading folk enthusiasts examining their own traditions rather than turning to the US, as they had in the past - a suggestion of Alan Lomax's in the early 50s.
Sorry - this is all a bit of a waste of time.
In the sixties everybody (for or against) was talking about Dylan - Dylan moved away from folk song and did something else - the songs being cited here are at least four decades old.
As far as I know, MacColl seldom commented on what was going on in the revival - except maybe in privare conversations - there; I'd be very grateful if aybody could point out any examples of him having done so and where I can get hold of them.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Baz Bowdidge
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 07:55 AM

>As far as I know, MacColl seldom commented on what was going on in the revival - except maybe in privare conversations - there; I'd be very grateful if aybody could point out any examples of him having done so and where I can get hold of them.
Jim Carroll<
I thought the whole dislike thing was legendary as if he ever did analyse CG style clearly in writing he summed up 'Bobby Dylan's' repetoire as 'watery pap'.
To me McColl comes across as a manifest of creative intelligence and narrow-mindedness and it must have been hard for him to see his beloved 'traditional roots' evolve and descend into watery pap of skiffle, folk-rock, East Coast, West Coast etc.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Baz Bowdidge
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 08:39 AM

>From: Joe_F - PM
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 06:01 PM
Did he have a crib pasted on his guitar? He kept looking down<

I thought that too Joe or could have been track sheet style floor gaffered.

Baz


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 09:54 AM

EM wrote a piece, I think for Sing Out!, which was re-published in a paperback on the Great American Folksong Revival (pardon me, but my brain is not working as well as it could this early). He clearly disses Dylan's writing. When I wake up, I will search for the book and post again later.


Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Baz Bowdidge
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 11:07 AM

Apparently it was 'watery pap' and 'tenth-rate drivel'.
McColl fitted my dad's and uncle's critical post-Victorian generation and location all 'stodgy' attitudes and in Beckenham!(my uncle's house was actually 300yds from McColl).
I always felt war-time austerity and living through it made them like that.
In fact in the 60's if there was anything new and a bit flash my dad would dismiss it as an 'American idea'.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 11:22 AM

Mark, a lot of the reported speech in these posts where MacColl disparages Dylan's work emanate from the original Sing Out article.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 12:43 PM

I get the distinct impression that more has been said about what Ewan said on Dylan than he ever actually said. I wonder whether it would please him that he are talking about this minor quibble all these years later.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,C. Ham
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 12:49 PM

"Paxton and Lehrer were for the most part satirists."

To say that, Frank, I suspect you haven't heard a lot of Tom Paxton's output. Yes, he has written many, many satirical songs, but they hardly make up the "most part" of his songwriting catalog. He's also written many deadly serious songs, personal songs, children's songs, etc.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 02:12 PM

baz, Ewan sang skiffle too?so why should he be think skiffle was watery pap. From what I can make out, he was not against skiffle, but believed that the traditional music of the british isles should be encouraged and promoted, he did point out to Lisa Turner when she sang an american song at the club he was involved in, that the club had a policy which was:singers should sing songs from their own tradition.
Ewan was only one of the several people who decided this policy.
was Tom Paley one of the organisers? nobody rails against Tom, I mean he is a lovely guy, but it seems EWAN takes all the flack.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Tootler
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 06:59 PM


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,scratch
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 08:00 PM

1. Because he was young.
2. because he was American.
3. Because he was Jewish.
4. Because he was jealous.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 11:23 PM

Well said! ;-D And with such brevity.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 04:06 AM

Guest scratch -
1 MacColl devoted a night a week for over six years to work with young singers - name one one other professional singer who did that!
2 He was married to an American, brother in law to Mike and Pete Seeger, son-in-law to Charles Seeger, performed regularly with Americans like Tom Paley, Jack Warshaw and Buff Rosenthall and a close friend of Alan Lomax who flew across from the States especially to take part in the symposium held on his 70th birthday.
3 He devoted too much of his working life to anti-racist causes to have been one himself
4 He had no reason to be jealous - he wasn't in the same field of work as Dylan - who pissed of to become a pop star anyway as soon as he'd milked the protest song market dry.
Next???
Don't suppose you've any examples of MacColl's dislike of Dylan either - won't hold my breath.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 07:32 AM

Agree with the overall post Jim but is it fair to say Dylan milked the protest song market then moved on? It was before my time but from documentaries etc I have seen it looked like while it may well indeed have been a bit of a bandwagon he was on - he jumped off it while there was still a body of people who wanted much more of the same from him. Couldn't part of his change just have been that he just wanted to play some of what was emerging and what we now call rock music?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 08:16 AM

dylan later jumped on theGod BANDWAGON, He was fairly good at having an eye for bandwagons to jump on, a sort of Michael Mainchance, perhaps EWAN had him sussed as a careerist protest singer than later a careerist later day gospel singer,god monger


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 08:30 AM

Alan
Dylan sang the songs yet distanced himself from the actual movement - see Civil Rights/Theodor Bikel story.
I wouldn't want to be dogmatic about it but I remember a description of Dylan by Joan Baez - must admit he came over as a user.
Anyway - all water under the bridge now
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 09:23 AM

I've just read the comment from 'Guestscratch' that one of the reasons why MacColl didn't like Dylan was because he (Dylan) was Jewish! Now that really is a low and loathsome blow!

I didn't know MacColl well but he was an important figure, among many of my peers and I, when I was a teenager and a young adult. I can assure you that there was never a hint of any racism in that milieu - in fact anti-racism was a powerful theme. There was certainly never a hint of anti-semitism, and any such prejudice would have been regarded with horror!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 09:31 AM

They used to say in NYC's Greenwich Village that Dylan could give opportunism a bad name.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Acorn4
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 10:25 AM

Yet when everything else was going heavy metal/progressive, Dylan made a country and western album.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 12:13 PM

It should be plainly clear to anyone who reads a number of excellent biographies of Bob Dylan that he was tremendously enthusiastic about playing music...and that his enthusiasm kept him moving rapidly through various styles of music until he had thoroughly gone into them and done everything he was curious about...then he usually moved on to something else.

This does not imply a grand scheme to make money, it implies a natural enthusiasm for the music.

His first strong interest was: the country music of Hank Williams. This was when he was a young teenager.

Next: Rock and roll by Buddy Holly, Little Richard, and others. His love for that music led to him forming and fronting some high school bands which played VERY LOUD rock music. Dylan played piano in some of those bands, Little Richard style, and he played electric guitar. One of those bands was called The Golden Chords.

Next: He became fascinated by acoustic folk & blues music, got rid of the electric guitar, and started listening to every old blues and folk record he could find, borrow...or steal! He devoured the old blues and folk ethos and started covering songs by everyone from Odetta to Woody Guthrie, with Guthrie being the biggest influence.

Nothing could be more obvious than that he did it because he loved their music and wanted to be like them. This had also been the case previously with his interest in Hank Williams, Buddy Holly, etc.

Isn't that why we all go into music when we're young? We LIKE it, that's why. And we want to do it ourselves.

So Dylan was still in the acoustic folk/blues idiom when his career really began, and he turned out to be very good at it, but more importantly, he turned out to have a gift for writing a lot of new songs, and songs which were admirably suited for the time.

He always dove into a new interest and immersed himself in it...usually for a period of about 3 years, I'd say, until he'd done it "to the nines", as the expression goes...meaning to the limit. And then...he would get restless for something new, and he'd move on.

For people to cast this as some sort of Machiavellian scheme on Dylan's part to make a ton of money reveals nothing about Bob Dylan, but reveals something about the deep cynicism and negativity and sheer nastiness of themselves in regards to reacting to another person's success.

To assert that he went "religious" in the late 70's as a marketing ploy is utterly asinine. His move to what seemed like a very dour Christian fundamentalism alienated and drove away probably 2/3 or more of his past loyal audience...and certainly did not attract enough new audience to make up for that. It really pissed off and puzzled a lot of his former fans.

Hell, the man always played only the music he wanted to play, period. He did exactly what he wanted to do at any given time. Sometimes it helped his career, sometimes it lost him a big chunk of his audience and hurt his career, but he did what he wanted to do, not what the public wanted him to do, and he had enough real talent to survive the backlash to the changes he made.

And that's why people got angry at him. He wasn't out to please them, he was out to do whatever fulfilled him and made him feel like playing music. As soon as he got bored with anything, he moved on.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Will Fly
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 12:21 PM

Thanks for that bit of common sense, LH. As someone who, over the years, has played everything from traditional tunes to blues, ragtime, '20s dance music, '50s rock'n roll, '60s funk & southern soul, jazz and more, that's exactly how some minds work. I've even made a modest income (at times) from doing this. It's a marvellous way of improving your musical knowledge and - though you might not think so - immersing yourself in a musical genre for two or three years at a time is intensely satisfying. Why, I've even played the odd Dylan song - many, many years ago.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Baz Bowdidge
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 12:53 PM

Was Dylan a one-man band? Of course not, from the start he had management (Hammond and Grossman) and the marketing force (Rock Machine) of Columbia Records (CBS now Sony) behind him.
He still has and touring worldwide at 70.
His relentless output culminated in creating the brilliant BD and The Band.
The Band were brilliant in their own right - 'The Last Waltz' is one of my favourite movies (clips on Youtube). A DVD I recommend.
If the answer to this thread was ever true McColl's dislike was decided in a fleeting moment in time compared to the 50 year career of billionaire Bob Dylan.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 01:48 PM

Bob Dylan the singer who was happy to sing Paul Metsers song Farewell to the gold, all the time he thought it was traditional, but immediately dropped it when he found it was another contemporary singer songwriters composition, yes Bob wrote four or five good songs, but he was a much bigger pillock [imo] than Ewan.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Acorn4
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 02:01 PM

GSS - you learn things all the time! - I didn't know that - we know Paul M quite well and never realised that Bob D covered it as well as Nic Jones. Will ask Paul next time we see him - good news is he's gigging again!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,grumpy
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 02:05 PM

'Four or five good songs'? You've no idea about Dylan, have you, GSS?

If you're wondering what I'm on about, get hold of a copy of 'Highway 61 Revisited', or 'Blonde on Blonde' or 'Blood on the Tracks'.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 02:18 PM

I'm puzzled. If MacColl didn't dislike Dylan, why are so many people so determined to prove that he was entirely justified in doing so?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Don Wise
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 03:11 PM

Who cares? Seems to me that the whole matter is merely a footnote of history to be turned over and over again by people with too much time on their hands and perhaps a few axes to grind.
I would suggest that,in the UK of the sixties, Dylan probably introduced more young people to folk music than Commissar MacColl and his coterie in 'The Smoke' did. Those of us in the 'provinces' didn't subscribe to Sing-Out or whatever. We happily gave out our pocket money for Dylans records,learnt the songs,discovered a local folk club where we could even play and slowly began a journey by which we eventually arrived, perhaps, at traditional music.
Furthermore one should perhaps look at the MacColl-Dylan thing in terms of the sixties in the UK. As Dylan perceptively noted, "The Times Were a'Changing", not only in music but also in the theatre, cinema, fashion, art, social attitudes etc.etc. A lot of 'established' people who had no doubt believed that when, from whatever direction, the revolution came they would obviously be asked to 'look after and guide' their particular field, found themselves being overtaken quickly on the inside. The general response to this was to slag off the supposedly 'untalented' etc.,etc., who were setting the pace and cocking a snook at accepted procedures, structures etc. In this sense,in so far as Commissar MacColl apparently slagged off BD he was doing no more than others of his generation were doing in their respective fields.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 03:35 PM

Actually, I don't give a toss i) if Ewan McColl didn't like Bob Dylan and ii) why Ewan McColl didn't like Bob Dylan. This thread does show that his Bobness still causes a hell of a lot of teeth grinding and clothes rending in some quarters.

Bearing this in mind you might not want to watch these wonderful live clips:

Bob Dylan - Simple Twist Of Fate (Live 1975)

Bob Dylan - Hurricane (Live 1975)


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 05:20 PM

L.H. I have learned to mistrust biographies over the years, having lived through the times and met some of the biographees personally.

The angry making thing which really in life is trivial is that Bob Dylan became associated as a representative of folk music, not that he wasn't an important pop star.

McColl was not a pop star and loved traditional music, working to encourage the collection and interest of it in Britain.

Another dubious point is that Dylan purported to write "protest" music without protesting against anything himself. He kept himself aloof.

I am not castigating Dylan for his success, he obviously has earned it, but don't like
the false representation he conveys. He is not Woody despite the early image that he lifted from Woody.

I don't really care what music Dylan wants to or doesn't want to play.

He is another media personality like Elvis, (who I have grown to like), or any other
pop star in the music biz firmament. There is nothing wrong with being a pop star as
long as you don't pass him/her off as a traditional folk singer or even "protest" singer.

There is so much BS in the music business. 75% of it is about the image conveyed.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 05:25 PM

'Four or five good songs'? You've no idea about Dylan, have you, GSS?"
yes I have, and so have you, we both have opinions, I think yours are crap,and you think mine are crap. well whats new, lets agree to disagree.
what is a fact is Dylan's dropping of Paul Metser's song, nohing like helping another songwriter, and then there is PaulClayton's song and DONT THINK TWICE


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 05:26 PM

As far as live performing goes, I think Bob Dylan was at his absolute peak in 1975 on the Rolling Thunder Revue tour. He was happy, energized, and inspired. He was also absolutely sure that Rubin Carter was an innocent man (after reading Carter's book which was written in prison), was outraged at his unjust imprisonment, and did a great deal to help Carter's cause and raise money and legal help for him. He also visited him in jail. That speaks well for Mr Dylan.

Joan Baez, who has always been committed to progressive social causes, has made comments about Dylan and the early protest songs. She says she doesn't buy the notion that he wrote them simply to cash in on a popular political phase. She thinks he wrote them out of genuine feeling for the issues they expressed. So do I. The fact that he wanted to move on from that phase after about 3 years does not in any way invalidate what went before, because he has moved on similarly from virtually every other phase he ever went through. He doesn't like standing still. And I can understand why.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Tootler
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 06:48 PM

I would suggest that,in the UK of the sixties, Dylan probably introduced more young people to folk music than Commissar MacColl and his coterie in 'The Smoke' did

True for me. Dylan, Peter, Paul and Mary & Tom Paxton were early influences plus the Spinners & Pentangle. It was through the latter two that I began to discover my own folk song heritage. I only discovered Ewan MacColl later, though I did come across some of his songs through the Spinners and the University Folk Club.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 04:19 AM

"I'm puzzled. If MacColl didn't dislike Dylan, why are so many people so determined to prove that he was entirely justified in doing so? "
I'm puzzled too - If MacColl did dislike Dylan - how did that dislike manifest itself? - nothing has been put up here as far as I can see.
MacColl wrote a short satirical article on Dylan for a Karl Dallas magazine 47 years ago, for which he has been accused of despising young people, anti-Americanism, anti Semitism, and jealousy.
Is it too much to ask for evidence for such accuastions? - suppose it is really!!!!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 05:14 AM

I hate to disagree with Jim, whose collecting I much admire, and whose defence of MacColl I also admire, though I don't always agree with what he says! .... but ... he wanted some evidence of macColl's attitude towards Dylan, so here's some:

In Kirsty MacColl: The One and Only: A Biography by Karen O'Brien, page 26:

Hamish macColl realls once answering the phone at home and being stunned to hear a voice he'd only ever heard singing some of the best-known songs of the sixties.

"It was Bob Dylan, wanting to speak to my dad. But my dad hated Bob Dylan, he hated the Beatles, so he answered the phone and spoke to him in this very snotty voice and basically told him to fuck off - although not in those exact words! he had a big chip on his shoulder. My dad would have been the best capitalist in the world; he would have out-Rupert Murdoch-ed Rupert Murdoch, because he was very competitive. he didn't like the fact that the Beatles were instantly famous when he'd worked at it all his life!"

In Ewan's mind, says Hamish, there were only three kinds of authentic music that were worthy of his approval: "Classical music, traditional folk music and jazz. That was it. Everything else was rubbish as far as he was concerned. That didn't sit too well with either me or Kirsty, because we were both quite into the charts and pop music."

That's the end of the quote. Now I realise that Hamish and Kirsty were the children of Ewan and Jean Newlove, and that Ewan left Jean for Peggy and that the 2 children therefore no doubt had a particular view about their part-time dad, but....

Derek


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,folknob
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 05:35 AM

Who really cares what that obnoxious self righteous prat thought?

Wasn't fit to lick Dylan's boots!!!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 06:04 AM

Congratulations, folknob, on one of the best-chosen poster-nicknames one has ever come across...


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 06:39 AM

Jim Carroll

I'm puzzled too - If MacColl did dislike Dylan - how did that dislike manifest itself? - nothing has been put up here as far as I can see.

A very good question, Jim, which Derek has already partially answered (having got up and put his trousers on I hope). I would also like to know. But it doesn't answer my question as to why a number of people, including you to some extent, feel that the appropriate response is to rubbish Dylan. I have no particular flag to fly for Dylan (although, like Don Wise and Tootler, he was my route into folk music in the sixties) but it's a tendency I have seen before; when somebody takes the name of the Blessed Ewan in vain, start laying into someone else. Some of the people who have come under attack in the past are people I know and admire. I don't want to be forced into an anti-MacColl position when I have nothing against the man. I would rather have a clear, objective discussion of the history of the history of the folk revival that I have had a small part in.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 06:45 AM

Sorry Derek - not the point of my argument - MacColl disliked Dylan's music, so did/do many others, including me.
Here Ewan appears to be accused of mounting a vendetta against Dylan - based on jealousy, anti-Americanism, anti-Semitism, dislike of young people....
I asked how Ewan's dislike manifested itself - I provided an example of an article written 47 years ago, you gave an example of his personal attitude expressed at home.
If that's it - what's the big deal - aren't we allowed to express an opinion on singers we don't reckon?
I've never claimed Ewan didn't dislike Dylan's music, I do say that his few public comments on it measure somewhat small against the vituprative hatred macColl was subjected to, both during his lifetime and even 20-odd years after his death:
"Who really cares what that obnoxious self righteous prat thought?
Wasn't fit to lick Dylan's boots!!!"
It seems that NECROPHOBIA STILL RULES - OK, wouldn't you say?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 07:55 AM

If McColl criticised Dylan for being 'derivative' and 'old hat', then I find that particularly hilarious, in view of his own output.

Where folk music is concerned, if it's not derivative then it's not 'authentic', and the older the 'hat', the better.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 08:47 AM

I assumed that the Guest post on Ewan's "despising young people, anti-Americanism, anti Semitism, and jealousy" was basically a joke, Jim, posted somewhat tongue in cheek, and I reacted accordingly to it. It sounded like it was humorously intended to me...although there might be more than a grain of truth in it (aside from the anti-Jewish part).

I say anti-Jewish, because I don't use the term anti-Semitism. Arabs and Palestinians are Semites too, after all, so I think it's a deeply misleading and patently dishonest term that should be consigned to the trash barrel of political history).


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Trevor Thomas
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 08:50 AM

Guest post above (7.55) was me.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 08:57 AM

"....start laying into someone else."
Is this anywhere near an accurate description of what happens in these arguments Brian?
I have been witnessing atacks on MacColl - both as an individual and as an artist - for the 50 years I have been listening to his singing.
Any arguments I have taken part in have usually centered on misrepresentation, deliberate or otherwise, of what he said and what he believed about folk music; attempts to contradict and correct these usually culminating in such predictable crassness as "takes the name of the Blessed Ewan in vain".
Here I have responded as best I can to the question in hand "Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?"; if I have not managed to match your level of cutting-edge debate, my apologies; we do what we can with what the good lord gave us.
Any opinion I have offered about Dylan's music, here or elsewhere, have been based on how I feel about him as a performer and nothing whatever about how I feel about MacColl; I don't belive I have ever sunk to the level that some of the postings on any of these threads - correct me if I have.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 09:02 AM

Sorry LH - cross posted
"basically a joke" - sorry, didn't strike me as such, but there again, I never did find Bernard Manning particularly funny
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Baz Bowdidge
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 09:21 AM

>for the 50 years I have been listening to his singing<
Ten minutes is enough for me Jim.
(worsened by that out-of-tune guitar)
Baz


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 10:01 AM

"Ten minutes is enough for me Jim."
Takes all kinds Baz - leaves me to wonder about the fact that The Singers Club was crammed to the gunn'ls every night MacColl and Seeger performed there, and if you were out of London, you stood in a queue to hear them - and Ewan's albumms are still being issued 20 odd years after he stopped making them.
Thought somebody had alread dealt with Peggy's musicianship - must have different ideas about 'tuning'
Perhaps you could point out exactly where her guitar, banjo, autoharp, dulcimer, citern, concertina... or whatever she turned her hand to, was out of tune - sounded fine to me in November, when we saw her.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 10:33 AM

nothing wrong here, in fact a wonderful version of the golden ball, baz if you can do better please demonstrate otherwise be quiethttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8ZFVD7qkRU


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 10:36 AM

the golden ball starts, 23 46, no out of tune guitar in fact her playing is tasteful


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 10:41 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Pxr_m4801Q&feature=related
ewan with his mother and peggy


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 12:15 PM

Jim - Who is Bernard Manning?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 12:22 PM

"Jim - Who is Bernard Manning? "
Sorry - thought you were one of us.
He's a foul-mouthed racist English comedian who bad-mouths everbody who isn't a white, Anglo-Saxon
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,grumpy
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 12:44 PM

Bernard Manning died in 2007, Jim.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 01:15 PM

Sounds like he was a thoroughly unpleasant chap, Jim. ;-D I wonder if he was related to Mrs Olive Whatnoll?

North America is polluted with a host of obnoxious and vulgar so-called "comedians", people who have built a lucrative career on spewing bad language and showing a total lack of respect for virtually everyone, so don't think that you in the UK must suffer this sort of abuse alone. Solidarity, I say! Let's join together in stamping out this creeping blight upon humanity.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: David C. Carter
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 02:40 PM

LH,Roy'Chubby'Brown is just as bad,if not worse.

They're both on Youtube.





Bob Dyluded


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 02:47 PM

Oh? Well, I guess I'll have to take a look at that. I'll have a stiff drink first, eh? ;-)

*****

A question for the Dylan critics here. What is the main underlying theme of the entire album "Blonde on Blonde"? Discuss at some length and give us your views.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 05:54 PM

Jim Carroll

"....start laying into someone else."
Is this anywhere near an accurate description of what happens in these arguments Brian?


Yes. (It's Bryan by the way.)

I have been witnessing atacks on MacColl - both as an individual and as an artist - for the 50 years I have been listening to his singing.

So why do people attack him? I'd be interested to find out. As I have said, I never met him or heard him perform but I know several people who did and I have to say that they are not entirely unstinting with their praise (I think that made sense). For instance, one chap I know said that he found him, to say the least, "difficult" but that to sit across a kitchen table from him while he sang was a wonderful experience.

Any arguments I have taken part in have usually centered on misrepresentation, deliberate or otherwise, of what he said and what he believed about folk music; attempts to contradict and correct these usually culminating in such predictable crassness as "takes the name of the Blessed Ewan in vain".

I'm sorry, but that's the way it comes over. His supporters seem to regard him with a sort of reverence; his detractors, as the Devil Incarnate. I'd like to know the truth. I suspect he may have aspects of both. I'd like to find out about the real man.

Here I have responded as best I can to the question in hand "Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?"

No you haven't. You have simply denied any evidence put before you. You brush aside Derek Schofield's comments and completely ignore what Frankie Armstrong said in the programme while placing heavy emphasis on the trolls "scratch" and "folknob" (probably the same person) because they provide easy targets. Nobody has supported what they say.

if I have not managed to match your level of cutting-edge debate, my apologies; we do what we can with what the good lord gave us.

Who's being snide now?

Any opinion I have offered about Dylan's music, here or elsewhere, have been based on how I feel about him as a performer and nothing whatever about how I feel about MacColl;

So what is it's relevance to this thread? How does what you think about Dylan have any bearing on what MacColl thought about him?

I don't belive I have ever sunk to the level that some of the postings on any of these threads - correct me if I have.

No, you haven't, but several people have and you've added your thrupence worth. My original post wasn't particularly aimed at you. On the other hand, you can be pretty vicious when it suits you. Alex Campbell had his problems. The only time I saw him he announced during the second half "You may think I'm inebriated. I'm not. I'm as pissed as a fart in a bottle." and he was. Be that as it may and passing over the motives and emotions that we will probably never know, he made an extraordinarily generous act in marrying Peggy Seeger. If it were not for that, she would have been sent back to the USA or possibly rendered stateless and the whole history of the Critics Group and the revival might have been very different. Despite that, you seem to have nothing but contempt for the man. Look to your own prejudices.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 06:00 PM

"You may think I'm inebriated. I'm not. I'm as pissed as a fart in a bottle."


LOL!!!!!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Joe_F
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 06:33 PM

Calling his marrying Peggy Seeger a "generous" act strikes me as an ungenerous (not to say ungallant) remark. It is also at variance with the sequence of events depicted in this article.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 06:49 PM

Sorry, Joe, but you've lost me. My only implication was that, for helping out in this way, Alex Campbell deserved more respect than he appeared to be getting.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 03:50 AM

Bryan (sorry, I know that's the spelling - memory lapse)
No - it certainly isn't a fair description of what happens in pro-anti MacColl arguments - not in my experience anyway. Every one I have witnessed or been involved in has bogged down in personality; I can not recall one single argument which has extended beyond the 'legend of Jimmy Miller' stage.
"So why do people attack him? "
Why did John Brune attempt to sabotage the most influential Radio Ballads - 'The Travelling People' by attempting to include recordings of fake traditional singers (as described by Sheila Stewart in a Living Tradition interview?)
Why has it been consistently claimed that MacColl didn't write Shoals of Herring or Freeborn Man, but stole them from traditional singers and copyrighted them?
Why was it suggested that The Radio Ballads were the creations of Charles Parker and Ewan and Peggy merely wrote the songs (while at the same time claiming that until Parker prsented MacColl to the public he was an unknown and insignificant singer)?
Why is it virtually impossible to get a discussion going on MacColl's work and ideas without getting totally sidetracked by personal attacks, as has happened on this forum over and over again?
You tell me.
"No you haven't."
Yes I have - we can go on with this forever.
I responded to Derek's posting by pointing out that the only evidence of MacColl's opinion of Dylan that has been produced here is the existance of a satirical article written around 1965 (no quotes from it) and a reported private telephone conversation - that isn't "brushing it aside" - that is stating it as it is.
MacColl was one of many at the time who didn't like Dylan's performance (I seem to remember reading Pete Seeger wasn't bowled over by him at Newport). Certainly in my experience MacColl at no time criticised Dylan in public, nor wrote derogatory things of him following the 48 year old one - if that is not true, show me where he did.
You "completely ignore what Frankie Armstrong said in the programme"
I was not around at the time of the break-up of the acting group, so I have no way of commenting on what happened there; my interpretation of MacColl's work on singing comes from my two years membership of the Critics Group and the period following virtually up to his death in 1989.
When I moved to London in 1969 to join the group Ewan and Peggy were generous enough to share their home with me for around a month while I found work and a home of my own - long conversations with Ewan when he should have been working and I should have been jobseeking.
After the break-up of the group, Ewan volunteered his assistance with the London Singers Workshop - another opportunity to see him work up close.
Pat and I interviewed him in detail over a period of six months on his work and ideas as a singer.
We got together recordings of his seminars and what little he wrote for our Singers Workshop archive.
In preparation for my talk at his 70th birthday seminar I interviewd ex members of the group, including Ewan and Peggy on the work they had done and it's successes and failures.
After sixteen years effort I eventually obtained a copy of the 300 hours of recordings of the group meetings, which I have listened to and partially indexed and digitised.
It is all this I have based my opinions of MacColl's work on.
Personally, I don't give a toss whether people share my opinion of MacColl as a singer, and I'm sure the reverse is the case.
I do believe that, for all it's flaws, some valuable work was done by the group that might be of use to others - that is my sole interest in MacColl and his work, and has been for a very long time.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 04:07 AM

Let me just say that, while Ewan had his faults [he could be unjust and unreasonable, as in his treatment of my friend John Brunner which I have related before, which even shocked the generally easy-going and impartial Eric Winter {see the 'What Did You Do In The War Ewan?' thread}], I regard his contribution to and influence on the Folk Revival, and the folk scene as a whole, to have been overwhelmingly beneficial. I also regard him as an incomparably gifted performer, although I have found that his style and delivery tend not to appeal so much to my younger acquaintance.

In sum, tho, FWIW I most definitely tend to Jim's side in this argument.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 04:14 AM

"So what is it's relevance to this thread?"
I'm doing this seperately so it doesn't get buried in the above ramblings.
I was never a big fan of Campbell as a singer - that's about it as far as that side of things go.
I was somewhat taken aback when I heard him taking up time in a discussion on the future of the revival by complaining about young singers being paid the same fees as he was (dating the remarks, this would have included new singers such as Carthy and The Watersons) - not directly relevant to this.
I am fully aware of Campbell's generosity towards Peggy - it was me who pointed it out in my quote from 'Class Act'
The only real gripe I have with Alex Campbell's attitude,which I believe touches on every discussion about MacColl, was his persistant "near enough for folk" comment which I heard every time I saw him perform in public.
Even here, I'm prepared to accept, as has been argued, that it was a joke, but it is a philosophy which I believe has been taken seriously by others and has come to dominate certain sections of the revival to its detriment - open up threads such as "Are standards necessary" if you dispute this.
I have no strong opinions of Campbell one way or the other beyond this influence, which runs totally counter to my own feelings on the singing of folk songs.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 07:05 AM

I agree with MGM.
"Hamish macColl realls once answering the phone at home and being stunned to hear a voice he'd only ever heard singing some of the best-known songs of the sixties.

"It was Bob Dylan, wanting to speak to my dad. But my dad hated Bob Dylan, he hated the Beatles, so he answered the phone and spoke to him in this very snotty voice and basically told him to fuck off - although not in those exact words! he had a big chip on his shoulder. My dad would have been the best capitalist in the world; he would have out-Rupert Murdoch-ed Rupert Murdoch, because he was very competitive. he didn't like the fact that the Beatles were instantly famous when he'd worked at it all his life!"
The above statement tells me more about Hamish, why would Ewan make a good capatalist, being competitive does not automatically go hand in hand with capitalism, one can be competitive, but still see the flaws of a system, and prefer a different system, under a commune system, there is no reason why artists and musicans can not be competitive.
Hamish clearly does not understand what communism is about.
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, stateless and revolutionary socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 08:35 AM

Two points from Jim's most recent postings.
1. I am a bit confused about the difference between the acting group (and presumably the singing group) in the Critics. I know the Critics were involved with Festival of Fools and I know that the split with EM and PS occurred after a performance of the Festival, so how was there a difference and who was in which group, and were any of them in both?
2. what Jim and Pat have done in interviewing Ewan and going through the tapes of meetings is very important ... and deserves to be written up and published (on the net if no-one else will publish it). It would be vital in providing the alternative view on the group, and to understanding an important era in the folk revival. I don't know of any other more committed or enthusiastic supporters of Ewan.
Derek


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 09:35 AM

Derek - after the 1971 Festival of Fools Ewan announced that he was going to concentrate on forming an agit prop theatre group, using song, music, dance, acting... etc.
He invited those who wished to participate to do so, but those who wanted to continue working on singing to become members of Singers Workshop, a group that had been set up earlier by Sandra Kerr to assist newer singers; Terry Yarnell was to act as advisor for this.
Some of us, me included, opted for the singing workshop (Pat spent some time with the acting group, but eventually joined the singers.)
Six months into 1972 we were invited to see 4 short plays produced by members of the AG at the Union Tavern - convincing me, at least that they had made tremendous headway; I still remember particularly Lorca's 'The Love of Don Perlimplín and Belisa in the Garden'.
Apart from this, there was no communication between the two groups as far as I know, until we went to see the next Festival of Fools - it was after this that the acting group broke up acrimoniously - still have no details of why.
More later,
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 10:24 AM

Thanks Jim ... just re-read pages 212-7 in Harker's Class Act ... which has reminded me of the splitting of the singers and actors and how and why this happened. Harker fails to really mention what happened to the singers, only what happened with the actors. Perhaps these pages contain some of the errors you've noted!
Derek


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Baz Bowdidge
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 11:15 AM

>Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, stateless and revolutionary socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production<

Leading to demagogue control of the masses so they conform to that ideology and sing from the same hymn sheet.
Quite appropriate don't you think?

Baz


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 12:51 PM

no... that is state capitalism or fascism, it is arguable whether there has yet been a true comuunist regime,
what occurred in the soviet union was not, nor what was practised in china by mao, one was stalinism the other maoism, neither was communism, although that is what they tried to tell us it was.
so not appropriate at all


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 01:10 PM

Correct. True Communism has not happened yet anywhere that I know of, except perhaps in small groups for a brief period of time. It hasn't happened at a governmental or national level. What has occurred is, as GSS says, fascism and/or state capitalism masquerading as communism.

Are you saying, GSS, that MacColl was a fully committed believer in true communism? I'm asking that quite sincerely. I don't know all that much about his political beliefs.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Baz Bowdidge
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 01:10 PM

So in that case 'communism' wasn't McColl's ideology 'although that is what he tried to tell us it was'.
Baz


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 02:33 PM

"A fully committed believer in true communism? "
I agree with GSS last statement.
Inspired by being born and brought up in Fredrich Engles' (Condition of the Working Class in Englang) Salford, politically, MacColl was of his time. He, along with a large slice of the left in Britain (including some of my family), believed that they could change the world for the better by aboloshing the class system. They looked on Russia as the first Workers State and Stalin as the guardian of that state (the cult of personality had crept in by then and Stalin was a role model). They dismissed the reports of purges and gulags a "propaganda".
It was during this period (1950) MacColl wrote The Ballad of Stalin, (which was released by 'Stalinist' Topic Records and reprinted by 'Stalinist' Eric Winter's 'Stalinist' magazine 'Sing).
I can still (just) remember the gloom that decended on our house when Stalin's death was announced in 1953. I can also remember the trauma when some of Kruschev's speech to the 20th Congress of the Soviet Union in 1956 began to trickle out, exposing Stalin's crimes.   
After that, (according to Peggy) MacColl grew ashamed of TBoS and never sang it again.
Following the full exposure of what was happening in the Soviet Union MacColl's political efforts were aimed mainly at causes - CND, anti-Apartheid, Trades Unions, Anti-Vietnam - the Chile, Greek and Argentinian juntas, anti racism, anti Thatcherism (gawd bless 'im - Peggy once said that her greatest sadness was that Ewan died when Thatcherism was at its height).
Jim Carroll
PS Suggesting that true communists shouldn't live in nice houses and drive expensive cars is on par with suggesting that all Christians should "Sell what thou hast and give it to the poor"


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 02:45 PM

Ewan's political views can of course be no surprise considering his upbringing. An early memory, from when he was 9, poignantly related in Journeyman, was of his father Will, on the day of Lenin's death, sitting before the fire weeping inconsolably for hours. He remained faithful to this environment, but did not, as did some, attempt to defend retrospectively the iniquities of Stalinism when they became known.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 05:45 PM

I too grew up in a household with a mother who was naturally sympathetic to leftist ideals and causes...and to underdogs. That sort of thing establishes a basic foundation of political belief in a child's thinking which generally lasts for a lifetime.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 06:23 PM

Okay. Things are slowin' down here. I am going to propose a radical new theory! Listen closely...

My theory is that Ewan MacColl disliked Dylan primarily because of MacColl's deep disapproval of Dylan's choices in men's clothing and fashion accessories!

When MacColl first encountered Dylan he was offended by the worn denim work clothes, the scruffy hat, and the famous leather "barf" jacket that Dylan wore. He felt that Dylan had not earned the right to wear scruffy work clothing like that and that he should also have had the jacket drycleaned! (Joan Baez agreed with MacColl on the latter point.)

Dylan defiantly continued to wear his humble street garb, showing no sensitivity to the pain it was causing Ewan MacColl.

Next, Dylan acquired an ugly little red Swiss mountaineer's cap (a hat which is now in my personal collection of 60's memorabilia). That hat was so incredibly ugly that even Bob really didn't like it much, and he left it at the Village Corner Coffeehouse in Toronto one night whilst attending an Ian and Sylvia show...or it might have been Lightfoot...anyway, he left it there. The owner, Mike Cavendish, gave me that hat a few years back. I'd wear it at gigs, but it's too ugly. And it doesn't fit. So I keep it on the bookshelf.

Anyway, MacColl was so incensed over Bob wearing that hat that he went berserk and busted up a bunch of furniture at the pub one night.

Dylan didn't care.

Later there was the famous motorcycle shirt and the polka dot shirt and the sunglasses!

MacColl was incensed. He demanded an explanation.

Dylan gave him none.

Then there were the "mod" suits, frilly sleeves, cuff links (from Joan Baez), the 35 foot scarf, and other foppish gear that Dylan wore in '65 and '66. And the hair!!! Those upset MacColl so much that he didn't drink for a week! He threatened to go on a hunger strike. He vowed to take "serious action" over it.

Dylan didn't care.

And it just got worse after that.

I submit that the above differences of opinion over what constitutes proper male attire for performers in the folk genre was THE single significant source of all serious acrimony between Bob Dylan and Ewan MacColl.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Joe_F
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 06:25 PM

Snail: I am very sorry. I badly misread your posting. I thought, grotesquely, that you were referring to *MacColl's* marriage to Peggy Seeger instead of Campbell's, when in fact you were referring to Campbell's. None of us is getting any younger.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Songwronger
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 06:28 PM

Didn't Bill Monroe (bluegrass) call Dylan a "punk" once? Something like that. I think Dylan wanted to do a project with him and Monroe called him a punk.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 06:36 PM

Sounds like something Monroe might have done. Dylan respected him. Too bad it didn't go both ways.

Then too, Monroe might have been upset by the ugly little red hat or the frilly sleeves and cuff links! Just think...if Joan Baez had not thought to buy that pair of cuff links for Bob, it might have altered the course of musical history.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 06:12 AM

"Peggy once said that her greatest sadness was that Ewan died when Thatcherism was at its height ..."

Unfortunately, Jim, Thatcherism never went away - we're still living with it, and feeling its effects, now! Thatcher's most enduring legacy was the entrenchment of the stupid, pernicious ideology of 'free market' capitalism.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 08:31 AM

Jim Carroll

"So why do people attack him? "
Why...
Why...
Why...
Why...
You tell me.


I don't know Jim, but I'd like to. Poking around some old threads, I have found a clue though. In 2009 you said -

"I agree entirely that Ewan could be bloody unreasonable at times.
I observed it on several occasions, though I have to say I never experienced it personally. Occasionally his pig-headed single-mindedness got the better of him; he certainly didn't like being wrong, but I discovered if you stuck to your guns and put your arguments well he quite often took your points on board (though he was reluctant to admit that you were right!)"


So, basically, he pissed some people off. He told people they were wrong but was unwilling to be told he was wrong. He put people's backs up. Is it all that surprising that some might respond to his unreasonableness by being unreasonable themselves. By his attitude he made enemies.

You end that post with - "None of this altered in any way his (IMO) genius."

Fine. The two qualities are not incompatible in the same individual; they may be inextricably linked. (Isaac Newton was a thoroughly nasty piece of work.)

I responded to Derek's posting by pointing out that the only evidence of MacColl's opinion of Dylan that has been produced here is the existance of a satirical article written around 1965 (no quotes from it)

Yes, it would be nice to get a look at that but I can't really afford to get up to Ruskin College at the moment. Anybody have a copy?

and a reported private telephone conversation

Reported by his son. Are you saying Hamish MacColl was lying about his father?

There also seems to be an issue of Sing Out! where he expresses his opinion fairly strongly judging by the quotes. (Somewhere up this thread.) Again, anybody have a copy?

You "completely ignore what Frankie Armstrong said in the programme"
I was not around at the time of the break-up of the acting group
,

Eh? In a programme about the Critics Group broadcast last week (which you have now listened to), Frankie Armstrong said "He was, at that point, very definitely badmouthing Bob Dylan, saying he was the McGonagall of his age." Do you have any comment on that?

I do believe that, for all it's flaws, some valuable work was done by the group that might be of use to others - that is my sole interest in MacColl and his work, and has been for a very long time.

Really? You seem to be selling him a bit short. Surely there was more to the man than that. Aren't we allowed to know about the whole man?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 08:37 AM

Jim Carroll

I have no strong opinions of Campbell one way or the other beyond this influence

Gulp! really?

So you accept that his "near enough for folk" was meant as a joke (possibly too often repeated) and you take exception to something he said 48 years ago. You seem to have different criteria for judging Campbell than you allow others for judging MacColl.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 08:38 AM

Joe_F. No problem. You did have me a bit puzzled. The internet can be a barrier to communication (especially on Mudcat).


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 08:47 AM

Little Hawk wrote:-
"My theory is that Ewan MacColl disliked Dylan primarily because of MacColl's deep disapproval of Dylan's choices in men's clothing and fashion accessories!


.... and continues with much that is of interest about Dylan's sartorial style and the effect that this may have had on MacColl's opinion of him. Little Hawk covers shirts, jackets, sunglasses, denim, cap, "mod" suits, frilly sleeves, cuff links (from Joan Baez), the 35 foot scarf, and other foppish gear....
However, Little Hawk does not mention anything about the way in which Dylan covered his legs. Hopefully, this is not because he has nothing to say on the subject but because he his saving his important insights on this matter to post in a parallel thread.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 09:50 AM

My description of MacColl then, and my opinion of him now was of a creative, generous and talented human being with human failings.
I have never denied those failings, but neither have I allowed them to cloud my judgement of his creativity or his generosity - to me and to those to whom he gave an evening a week for six years.
I have no objection to an all round discussion of MacColl, warts and all- I do object to discussions where the warts become the focus of discussion to the exclusion of all else.
Can't help noticing that you put in my "whys" but did not include, or answer the questions I asked - so hear they are again.
Why did John Brune attempt to sabotage the most influential Radio Ballads - 'The Travelling People' by attempting to include recordings of fake traditional singers (as described by Sheila Stewart in a Living Tradition interview?)
Why has it been consistently claimed that MacColl didn't write Shoals of Herring or Freeborn Man, but stole them from traditional singers and copyrighted them?
Why was it suggested that The Radio Ballads were the creations of Charles Parker and Ewan and Peggy merely wrote the songs (while at the same time claiming that until Parker prsented MacColl to the public he was an unknown and insignificant singer)?
Why is it virtually impossible to get a discussion going on MacColl's work and ideas without getting totally sidetracked by personal attacks, as has happened on this forum over and over again?
If MacColl had behaved like this towards any other fellow artist, you might have a point - he didn't - yet you appear to find such behaviour acceptable, or certainly not worthy of comment, let alone criticism.
If he 'badmouthed' Dylan, he didn't do it when I was there, and he certainly didn't do it in public (or if he did, nobody has been able to point out where or when). If he did it within the confines of the Critics Group, I haven't come across it on the recordings, but - what if he did?
There are a number of threads going at present, all containing extreme exampes of MacColl being "badmouthed" publicly - "Do you have any comment on that?"
"Aren't we allowed to know about the whole man?"
Woudn't chance be a fine thing!!
Yes, of course we are, and we would be able to if we didn't have to scramble over this mountain of garbage each time his name is mentioned.
"Are you saying Hamish MacColl was lying about his father?"
Don't you dare distort what I said - I did not claim Hamish was lying; I do not doubt for one minute that MacColl said what he was reported to have said - nothing more than that.
Nor did I say I accepted Campbell's "joke" - I said I am prepared to accept it - I might have added "if somebody provides the argument to convince me" - but had I done so, that would have deprived you of an opportunity to score points. I qualified what I said by pointing out the effect I believe Campbell's (and others) "joke" (or otherwise) has had on the revival in geneal - as I said - go and open up the "do standards matter" and similar threads.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 10:52 AM

"Little Hawk does not mention anything about the way in which Dylan covered his legs"

Interesting point, Vic! Yes, Dylan's legs were usually covered when he performed in public. (Various females did get to see his legs uncovered, I would assume, but that's a private matter.) At any rate, I am unsure how MacColl would have reacted to Dylan's usual leg coverings in his folk performances. I would theorize, however, that the baggy jeans Dylan sometimes wore in the early days would have irritated MacColl considerably, and that the fancy suit pants that Dylan was seen in in '65 and '66 would have outraged MacColl's socialist sensibilities.

It's also possible that Dylan had a set of Swiss lederhosen which went with the ugly little red hat that I spoke of before...but if so, he never wore them to any folk club...

I hope that helps.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: David C. Carter
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 11:39 AM

Those were authentic,hand knitted I suppose.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 01:25 PM

The "lederhosen"? No, they'd be made out of leather, decorated with fancy colors.

If Dylan had worn a kilt, MacColl would probably have objected to him posing as something he was not... ;-D


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 02:00 PM

Vic Smith wrote:
Little Hawk wrote:-
"My theory is that Ewan MacColl disliked Dylan primarily because of MacColl's deep disapproval of Dylan's choices in men's clothing and fashion accessories!

.... and continues with much that is of interest about Dylan's sartorial style and the effect that this may have had on MacColl's opinion of him. Little Hawk covers shirts, jackets, sunglasses, denim, cap, "mod" suits, frilly sleeves, cuff links (from Joan Baez), the 35 foot scarf, and other foppish gear....


And the penny dropped! The scales have fallen from my eyes! BD is a timelord! (The '35 foot scarf' is the real clincher.)

This explains so many things...


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 02:06 PM

Ewan attacked my nationalism because I was wearing a McLean tartan tie. He pointed at it and said I should be writng love songs rather than Scottish National songs . I just replied " my name IS McLean, Mr Mller".


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 03:35 PM

Lonesome EJ , if you are talking about the Byrds, then I agree that they were a great musical group. They actually made Dylan's songs sound good.

I don't know how Ewan would have thought about Steve Earle. Ewan died before Steve Earle became more notable.

As for Tom Paxton, I never meant to imply that satire was his only forte. "Ramblin' Boy",
"Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound" and others are fine songs serious of course but his output of humorous songs is reminiscent to me of Mr. Lehrer, which is praise indeed.

Actually, I know Tom personally and admire him greatly for his output and as a person.
I like it that he is genuinely socially conscious in his writing as well as knowledgeable
about his craft.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Jan 12 - 12:52 PM

Jim Carroll

I have no objection to an all round discussion of MacColl, warts and all- I do object to discussions where the warts become the focus of discussion to the exclusion of all else..

I quite agree but I'm puzzled by you repeted denial, despite all the evidence, that MacColl was hostile to Dylan and equally puzzled by why you have felt it necessary to attack Dylan right from you first post to this thread.

Can't help noticing that you put in my "Whys" but did not include, or answer the questions I asked - so hear they are again.

No point in wasting space on something that was already there on the thread. I didn't answer the questions, but I did respond. It starts at "I don't know" in my post. How could I possibly know what went through the mind of John Brune? I'd never heard of him before he cropped up on MacColl threads. Likewise for your other "Whys". Ask the people involved and when you find out, could you let me know? As I tried to indicate, the common factor in all these is MacColl himself so perhaps that is where you need to look for an answer.

If he 'badmouthed' Dylan, he didn't do it when I was there,

No "If" about it Jim, Frankie Armstrong said "He was, at that point, very definitely badmouthing Bob Dylan". Hamish MacColl says "It was Bob Dylan, wanting to speak to my dad. But my dad hated Bob Dylan, he hated the Beatles"

and he certainly didn't do it in public (or if he did, nobody has been able to point out where or when).

Numerous references have been made in this thread to interviews and articles in Melody Maker and Sing Out!. Try Googling on "watery pap of pop music".

If he did it within the confines of the Critics Group, I haven't come across it on the recordings, but - what if he did?
There are a number of threads going at present, all containing extreme examples of MacColl being "badmouthed" publicly - "Do you have any comment on that?"


Ewan MacColl and Bob Dylan were, in their different ways, major figures in what, under a variety of definitions, is called "folk" music or, at least, its revival and popularisation. In the early sixties, their worlds overlapped for a while. How they interacted and what they thought of each other is of interest to those of us who developed their musical tastes in that period. Anybody is entitled to their opinion. I am not criticising MacColl for disliking Dylan. If I knew his reasons, I might even agree with him. What MacColl thought of Dylan is interesting. What folknob thought of MacColl is not.

"Aren't we allowed to know about the whole man?"
Wouldn't chance be a fine thing!!


Indeed it would, but declaring certain areas off limits isn't the way to do it.

"Are you saying Hamish MacColl was lying about his father?"
Don't you dare distort what I said -


I didn't distort anything; I asked a question.

I did not claim Hamish was lying; I do not doubt for one minute that MacColl said what he was reported to have said - nothing more than that.

So why do you declare his evidence as inadmissible?

Nor did I say I accepted Campbell's "joke" - I said I am prepared to accept it - I might have added "if somebody provides the argument to convince me" - but had I done so, that would have deprived you of an opportunity to score points.

Do you want to take part in an adult, intelligent debate or not, Jim?

I qualified what I said by pointing out the effect I believe Campbell's (and others) "joke" (or otherwise) has had on the revival in geneal - as I said - go and open up the "do standards matter" and similar threads.

You have remarkable faith in the power of a rather feeble joke. I've always been inclined to think he was satirising those who already thought that way. Did he play out of tune, by the way?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Jan 12 - 01:32 PM

Did he play out of tune, by the way?"
not on the occasion, i saw him, however he was very amusing.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 15 Jan 12 - 01:37 PM

I think we can infer that McColl found pop music to be a form of musical imperialism, although he may never have stated this publicly.

Pop music, whether Dylan or the Beatles is a form of musical marketing and their popularity tends to eclipse other forms of music on a mass public level. This is true with pop music in general. To declare any form of pop music as traditional folk music is specious.

That doesn't make it bad, it just makes it different.

Ewan may have declared himself a communist with a small c which is quite different than the Stalin model in the Soviet Union. I have heard him admire Castro in Cuba and from what I know of Cuba, things are not terrible there which makes the US policy toward Cuba somewhat ridiculous.

Having known Peggy for many years and Ewan casually as a result, I can see why in his way of thinking that Dylan would represent in his mind a misrepresentation of what traditional folk music is.

I see Dylan as a pop star and there is nothing wrong with this provided he doesn't become representative of traditional folk music or folk singers.

I see Dylan and the Beatles as a form of music cult and as a result, a non-objective critical appraisal of their output is considered by some to be sacrilegious.

I don't think this is true for traditional folk music because some of it is very good and some not so. Here, it is necessary to define terms. Good in what way? Etc.

To say that Ewan appreciated Dylan in his role as a folk singer doesn't make sense.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Bert
Date: 15 Jan 12 - 03:07 PM

Stringsinger, You are right about Tom Paxton. He is a great entertainer and songwriter, but he will go down in history as one of the kindest men who ever lived.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Jan 12 - 04:11 PM

Bryan
I am finding discussion with you as wholesome as I always did
You continue to object to criticism of Dylan and Campbell, while at the same time, allowing deliberate and vicious attacks on another artist - including the attampted sabotage of a major work, through on the nod - can I assume that you would be happy to see guests at your club treatedin the same manner - where do I get my ticket!!!!
All this seems to be indicative of the values you bring to the music I have devoted much of my life to - if it's all the same with you, I prefer those Maccoll brought.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 15 Jan 12 - 06:01 PM

I should know better and I really have got more important things to do with my time, but...

Jim Carroll

I am finding discussion with you as wholesome as I always did

Glad to hear it.

You continue to object to criticism of Dylan and Campbell,

Never done anything of the sort. I am sure that they are both worthy of criticism but also worthy of praise, Just like MacColl in fact.

while at the same time, allowing deliberate and vicious attacks on another artist

Sorry Jim but I don't have the power to allow or forbid attacks of any sort on anybody. I can only observe and comment.

- including the attampted sabotage of a major work, through on the nod

Took me a while to work out what you were on about there. I presume you were talking about the John Brune incident with 'The Travelling People'. I know nothing about this incident. I was thirteen at the time. I have never previously heard of John Brune. I have not read Sheila Stewart's Living Tradition interview. I do not "allow" it nor condone it nor condemn it. I know nothing about it and I have no power to change it. What would you have me do?

- can I assume that you would be happy to see guests at your club treatedin the same manner - where do I get my ticket!!!!

You are welcome to our club anytime. Valmai offered to pay for a workshop place for you just a few days ago. I promise you will get a floorspot; we don't demand proof of ability in advance. On the other hand, if you behave as you have as you have on Mudcat (castigating our guests for performing something which doesn't fit your definition of folk music, railing at a nervous and/or elderly floor singer for using a prompt sheet), then you will be asked to leave. I will repay your entry price out of my own pocket so as not to penalise the guest. Fortunately, nothing like that has ever happened; it is a very friendly and sociable environment.

All this seems to be indicative of the values you bring to the music I have devoted much of my life to

There you go. If you can't address the issues I have raised, resort to personal attack. (Am I allowed to object to attacks on me?) I know you have devoted much of your life to the music. I admire you for it. Otherwise I wouldn't have wasted my time debating with you. My values in folk music revolve around two words, "folk" and "music". "Folk" is a sort of folksie word for people. Lets not debate what "music" means. I devote quite a lot of time and effort to the idea of folk and music, folk enjoying music, folk performing music. I am quite happy with my values thank you.

- if it's all the same with you, I prefer those Maccoll brought.

Curious, because, as far as I can make out, MacColl shared my values about helping to bring people and music together. In what way do we differ other than my lack of comparable talent?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 15 Jan 12 - 06:06 PM

To say that Dylan is "a pop singer" is like trying to fit the Great Lakes inside a small bottle. Dylan is many kinds of singer. He has sung many kinds of songs...folk, blues, traditional, country, rock n' roll, ballads, topical songs, protest songs, humorous songs, cowboy songs, talking blues, just plain rock, what was termed "folk-rock" by some, and other songs that simply don't fit within any of those labels. He has gone way beyond being definable as one specific "kind of" singer, let alone "a pop singer".

This was not the case with MacColl, who chose, I think, to specialize in a particular folk-based style of music....and that's fine. I have no problem with someone doing that.

But Dylan didn't do that. He moved from style to style quite rapidly, usually not for any other reason than that he had a very powerful enthusiasm to do so at the time, and it appeared feasible to do so, given the general situation around him. He has often returned to styles he did in some past phase, indicating his affection for them, while also moving into brand new possibilities all the time, indicating his hunger for a new way of expressing himself. I think he ought to be complimented for that sort of adventurous versatility, not criticized for it.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 15 Jan 12 - 06:46 PM

"Pop music, whether Dylan or the Beatles is a form of musical marketing and their popularity tends to eclipse other forms of music on a mass public level. This is true with pop music in general."

I agree with that, Stringsinger. And the marketing has been very successful! The other night I switched on the TV and caught the beginning of a chat show on which a well known pop singer was a guest. She was greeted with wild adulation (the studio audience actually stood and applauded when she appeared). The thing is I can't think of a single one of her songs (although I admit, I haven't being paying much attention). This person appears to be famous for being famous. Perhaps we've strayed into some nightmarish dystopia in which this person hasn't actually ever sung a note - but really is famous for being famous (noooo!!!!)

Although I CAN remember some of Dylan's songs, I still tend to think of him as something of a slickly marketed package (uuuummm! ... that doesn't sound right - but let it pass ...). These days Dylan has, like the singer mentioned above, been elevated into the position of some sort of deity ... and I can't help thinking: "does he really deserve such an elevated status?"

On the other hand MacColl didn't (as far as I know) rely on marketing and he and Peggy S. were frequently guests in local folk clubs, as well as concert venues, and you didn't have to pay 'an-arm-and-a-leg' to hear them perform. In addition, especially if the venue was a folkclub, you could go up and have a chat (I did this on a couple of occasions and Ewan was always extremely polite and took pains to answer my questions).

He and Peggy also had amazing repertoires and I learned so much from them as well as enjoying their music very much. Whatever else Ewan was, he wasn't any sort of 'slickly marketed package'!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 15 Jan 12 - 10:51 PM

Dylan wasn't a slickly marketed package in the early days when he first played little coffeehouses in Greenwich Village. He was a very hardworking young man who learned a tremendous amount of traditional blues and folk material from a tremendous variety of sources. He played music constantly, played everywhere he possibly could, often for no pay, and soon was writing songs constantly. It was the songs he wrote which made his early reputation and which made his career. The "slick marketing" came later, under the tutelage of Albert Grossman, but the early groundwork that made it all possible in the first place was done by the young Bob Dylan himself. His talent got him where he is.

Now, regarding these "pop singers" who are marketed so effectively and whose audiences go nuts when they walk out on a stage...yeah...we're all familiar with the phenomenon. It's kind of the opposite situation to a small folk club.

The fact is, though, that most of those people are darned good at what they do. They wouldn't have got as far as they did if they weren't.

"Do they really deserve such an elevated status?"

In one sense...no. They're not gods, after all. In another sense, though, they do usually deserve some respect for how well they've mastered their craft.

Celine Dionne comes to mind. She's definitely a pop singer, and one who's been brilliantly marketed, and her audience goes nuts when she walks out on the stage. Well, I was never the least bit interested in Celine Dionne...but I accidentally saw some video of her in live concerts a couple of weeks ago....and boy, is she good at what she does! She puts on a great show. She has a lot of help to do it. But without her, it wouldn't be happening, and she is one heck of a fine singer and performer who has worked hard to get where she is.

So I have to respect that, even if she is in a general style of mainstream radio music that I normally pay little or no attention to.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Jan 12 - 03:36 AM

"I really have got more important things to do with my time"
Me to Bryan.
I am slightly curious as to what possible reason you might offer for the John Brune incident, which could have ruined a programme which was part of bringing about massive changes for the better to the lives of Travelling people of Britain and which introduced many thousands of us to the realities of their lifestyle; but on second thoughts, remembering what I've got from previous discussions with you - let's not bother eh!
Jim Carrol


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 16 Jan 12 - 04:20 AM

I suppose, LH, that ever since childhood I've tended towards an anti-fashion stance, and I can't help noticing when the 'emperor is naked'. By the time that Bob Dylan impinged on my consciousness he was already a fashionable figure and that demon in my head that is repelled by fashionability rejected him. This is not some sort of boast, by the way, I'm just explaining how my brain is wired; it's possible that I missed out by rejecting Dylan out of hand (?)

On the other hand MacColl's music 'hit me like a train' at a very impressionable age. And I suppose that part of his appeal (to my personal brain wiring) was that I discovered him for myself and no-one told me that I 'ought-to-like-him-because-he-was-famous-and-fashionable'. I realise that this stance was not as entirely rational as I would perhaps like to think - but that's how it was for me.

It also has to be said, by the way, that I don't regret my enthusiasm for MacColl's music (and philosophy) for one second - because I gained so much from it.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 16 Jan 12 - 07:17 AM

Beautiful explanation, Shimrod! I understand you perfectly. You could have been describing my own childhood and subsequent development in your post, except that the timing for me was a little different, that's all.

I also tended towards a strong anti-fashion stance pretty much from the beginning, and I did reject a lot of things "out of hand" simply because they were hugely popular, and I preferred to discover things on my own rather than "go with the crowd".

My parents were living a rather unconventional lifestyle in certain respects. One of those respects was the music they purchased...they bought folk music from about 1955 on...and classical music...and European ethnic music of various sorts. They paid little attention to country music, pop music, rock 'n roll, rock music...that is, what mostly constituted mainstream radio music.

So I ended up listening to and discovering for myself all kinds of folksingers and other stuff that most kids my age weren't listening to...they were listening to Elvis, Buddy Holly, and later the Beatles, Stones, Monkees, etc...that was the popular mainstream in the small town schools I went to. Hardly anyone I knew liked Dylan or listened to the other folksingers such as Baez, Judy Collins, Ian & Sylvia, etc. They listened to the big rock bands...all composed of 3 or 4 slender young men playing LOUD music. (Dylan did that when he was in high school, but he'd moved on to acoustic folk & blues music by the time he began to record anything.)

I was aware of Ewan MacColl through one vinyl record my parents had bought when I was maybe 10 or 12 years old...it's called "Songs of Robert Burns"...I still have it and I love it! But I didn't look further into Ewan's material than that one album.

I was also somewhat aware of Dylan by indirect association...that is, we bought all of Joan Baez' albums, and she sang a large number of his songs. I loved the songs themselves, liked them better than anything else she did, something in both the words and the melodies spoke to me very powerfully. As for Dylan himself, though, I only heard him on very rare occasions, and his odd-sounding vocal put me off. I thought that folksingers had to have "pretty", very pure-sounding voices, and I wasn't going to listen unless they did.

So much for that. ;-D I had literally only ONE friend all through high school who liked Bob Dylan...my friend Larry...and he loved Dylan, but I wasn't ready to listen to someone with a voice like that.

I didn't deliberately listen to Dylan with any real attention until 1969! I was pretty much unaware of his fame. You have to realize how far outside the commercial mainstream I was to not know about it...but I didn't listen to commercial radio (only listened to Canada's CBC which didn't seem to be playing very many Dylan songs), and I hadn't been watching television either. I'd been going to record stores, buying records by folksingers, and listening to them on the stereo. That was it.

Hell, MacColl was more "mainstream" in my private little world than Dylan was! ;-D

Then I moved to Toronto, the big city, started taking guitar lessons from this amazing guy who'd been a draft resistor in the states and a campus demonstration organizer. He'd had to leave the USA with the FBI on his tail, set up in Toronto as a guitar teacher, and I became one of his students. He was a brilliant man, he knew about all kinds of stuff I was hungry to know about, and I profoundly respected his opinion on anything.

I told him about all the folk stuff I'd been listening to and liked. He said, "You should try listening to Bob Dylan." I said, "Oh, yeah, I know about him, but he's got such a weird voice." He said, "You have to develop a taste for his voice...like developing a taste for beer or coffee...but listen to the words and see if you get it."

He suggested that I buy the album "Highway 61 Revisited" and listen to it "at least 3 times" before making any judgement of it.

I respected Matthew more than anyone else on Earth at that point, so I went right out and bought the album. Took it home. Put it on the record player. And was blown away.

Just like you said about MacColl: Dylan's "music 'hit me like a train' at a very impressionable age. And I suppose that part of his appeal (to my personal brain wiring) was that I discovered him for myself (with Matthew's help) and no-one told me that I 'ought-to-like-him-because-he-was-famous-and-fashionable'"

Matthew told me that I would probably like him because he was brilliant. Matthew was brilliant himself. No question about that. He was a person who thought outside the box. So did Dylan. So did I. I'd been doing so ever since I could remember.

Nothing else I ever encountered in my life struck as powerful and perfect a chord with my own nature as Bob Dylan's words and his way of delivering them when I finally got around to giving him serious consideration. You could call it "love at first listen" or something like that. ;-D

I'd had little or no idea that he was so famous and fashionable. But after I did listen to him with some serious attention, I knew why.

*****

Kinda like that with Celine Dion the other day too... ;-D I knew she was hugely famous all these years, didn't care, paid no attention, saw her picture on magazines and shrugged, had no idea why she would be that popular.

But when I saw the video of her doing her stage performances a couple of weeks ago, I saw right away why she would be that successful. Oh yeah...she's damn good at performing all right. She's a real pro.

The artistic content of what she does (the words of the songs) isn't of any real importance to me...so it's not the same thing as someone like Bob Dylan, it doesn't demand my interest in any way...but I DO understand why she has become very successful in her field of music, and I'd say she deserves that success.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 16 Jan 12 - 09:43 AM

Thanks for the autobiographical account, LH. It's always interesting to find out about how someone else sees the world. I'm also glad that I was able to explain myself and didn't manage to upset a Dylan fan such as yourself.

Who knows, perhaps you (and Matthew) will persuade me to go back and listen to Dylan again.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 16 Jan 12 - 11:25 AM

You never know. ;-) I'd be happy to listen to anything Ewan MacColl ever recorded, and I don't particularly mind that he once wrote a song praising Josef Stalin...I understand the time and the set of circumstances he was coming from when he wrote it. Views of Stalin changed radically among leftists after Kruschev revealed much of the cruelty of Stalin's regime.

*****

What got to me about Bob Dylan was, first of all...

The words! He had a way of using words that said exactly what I was feeling and hit on what I cared about.

The visceral intensity. His way of delivering those words had such a bite to it. It came from very deep, and it held nothing back (in the sense of the emotion).

His universality. Instead of being very specific, as so many songwriters are, he spoke in symbols, archetypes, and mystery. That allows the listener to go to many different places while listening to the words and to fit the song powerfully to his own inner thoughts. Joan Baez has said that he's very good at being "vague" and that at the same time he's very "good with words". The vagueness allows space for things to enter...and that's what makes it so interesting. It's like the silence all around a given sound...without the silence, the sound cannot stand out and be heard. Therefore the silence is vital.

His love of the tradition. Dylan's music is just saturated through and through with a treasure trove of traditional music, rural and urban blues, all that music of the common people over the last few centuries. He went so deeply into all that when he was really young and impressionable that it's become permanently melded into his subconscious or something, and it creeps through all over the place in the new stuff he writes. It's always there, stepping out of the shadows.

The sheer joy and exuberance of some of the music he's written. There's an energy there that just shimmers and leaps, and it lifts me up when I hear it.

And that's only the beginning. I guess it'll be with me till I die.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 16 Jan 12 - 01:10 PM

"He suggested that I buy the album "Highway 61 Revisited" and listen to it "at least 3 times" before making any judgement of it."

I've got a 16 year old who until recently was just into bands like Slipknot etc. He wouldn't contemplate listening to the old stuff I am in to if I suggested it. However recently I've noticed he's taken to playing some of my CDs and even keeping them in his room. Especially Dylan and early Van Morrison. Hardly fashionable for a 16 year old in 2012 :-) He started liking Dylan simply through hearing Ballad Of A Thin Man. He asked what it was so I gave him the album (ie Highway 61 Revisted) to listen to which he played over and over then came back looking for more and I gave him Blonde On Blonde. Since then he's discovered more on Youtube etc. He's not into all Dylan but loves the mid 60s rock albums.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 16 Jan 12 - 02:39 PM

Oh Jim, you got off to such a good start and spoiled it at the end. You are right of course; as the last few days have shown, getting you to take part in an intelligent discussion can be like pulling teeth. If, Heaven forfend, I was at all cynical, I might think you were changing the subject just to avoid answering the points I have raised about the MacColl/Dylan debate.

I am a little reluctant to pass an opinion on the John Brune incident. I can only speculate. I know very little about it and, judging by past experience, if I get it "wrong" in your estimation you are likely to call me lots of rude names. You have piqued my interest though so I've done a little research.

The living Tradition interview with Sheila Stewart that you mentioned is available here http://www.folkmusic.net/htmfiles/inart599.htm and a very interesting read it is for more than just the Brune incident.

There is a brief death announcement for Brune on Mustrad http://www.mustrad.org.uk/news22.htm which says -

John Brun (Brune) dies:
John Brun died a few days ago in south London. I don't know enough about him to write an obituary, but I don't think his death should go un-noted in MT. He came to England as a teenage refugee from Austria just before the war, and discovered English traditional song for himself when he was was working on the land. He later became acqainted with Minty, Levy and Jasper Smith and recorded an interview with Jasper. He was on close personal terms with Davy Stewart and his family when they were living in south London, and it was he who introduced the Stewarts of Blairgowrie to Ewan MacColl.
He had recently published a volume of his memoirs for private circulation, containing accounts of his political work on behalf of the Traveller community, with various song texts and references to people like Joe Heaney. He deserves an obituary by someone more qualified than me.

Reg Hall - 18.4.01


The subject has already been given a thorough thrashing on Mudcat here - thread.cfm?threadid=103839. In that thread, you say "As far as I'm concerned Brune was a vicious prick who summed up much of the vicious prickism surrounding MacColl.". Brune was still alive and, I would estimate, in his late seventies when you said that. I haven't followed up all the links, but Brune seems to have been involved in setting up the Gypsy Council a few years later.

So what do I think the reasons for the incident might be? It seems highly unlikely that Brune had any intention to do any harm to the Traveller community. He was an Austrian Jew who had fled the Nazis as a teenager. It seems more than probable that he was sympathetic to oppressed minorities and his work with the Travellers seems to confirm that. The tale as told in the Sheila Stewart article talks of MacColl telling him he should be singing songs from the Austrian Jewish tradition. Other evidence suggests that he may have been a bit of a prankster and, feeling a bit hacked off with MacColl, decided to play a practical joke on him without thinking through the consequences. He was not to know that MacColl would ask Sheila Stewart to sing the songs. He probably hoped that his own recordings would be used. You say that his action "could have ruined a programme which was part of bringing about massive changes for the better to the lives of Travelling people". The reason it didn't is because he blew the whistle on himself. He, perhaps waking up to what he was doing, prevented the fake songs going out.

His behaviour was clearly irresponsible but "vicious prick"? I don't think so.

Now, about what MacColl thought (and said) about Dylan...


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Jan 12 - 02:59 PM

You have the facts of the John Brune affair, ot if you haven't, it's freely available on the Living Tradition website in the Sheila Stewart interview. If you can't pass an opinion on it I really can't be arsed with somebody who obviously is prepared to accept somebody sabotaging the work of others, but also somebody who has no problem doing to to the detriment of a persecuted community.
As both of us said "I really have got more important things to do with my time"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 16 Jan 12 - 03:09 PM

Dylan's 1965 rendition of "Ballad of a Thin Man" is intense, unique, and unforgettable. That song takes no prisoners, to use an old expression. No one else has (so far as I know) attempted to cover it, because no one else could even come close to Bob's original recorded version of it.

The singer I most admire lately, for both her singing AND her songwriting AND her live performing ability AND her deadpan sense of humour onstage, is Lynn Miles, a veteran Canadian folk musician who has done 8 studio albums since the late 80's. She doesn't sound anything like Bob Dylan, and she's an incredible singer and songwriter, but she lists among her favorite 10 albums of all time, two of Bob Dylan's...

Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited

Bob Dylan - Blood On The Tracks

She also lists these other 8 albums:

The Band - Music from Big Pink

Tracy Chapman - Tracy Chapman

Woody Guthrie - This Land IS Your Land

The Louvin Brothers - When I Stop Dreaming

Joni Mitchell - Blue

Joni Mitchell - Hejira

Jimmie Rodgers - The Very Best of Jimmie Rodgers

Neil Young - Harvest


Lynn Miles knows something good when she hears it.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 16 Jan 12 - 03:13 PM

Jim, do I take it you didn't actually read my post?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,C. Ham
Date: 16 Jan 12 - 04:38 PM

Reading through this thread, I was reminded of an essay on Mike Regenstreif's Folk Roots/Folk Branches blog from last May. Nothing to do with MacColl, just about Dylan.

Mike Regenstreif: Bob Dylan at 70


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: ollaimh
Date: 16 Jan 12 - 05:00 PM

m the gm doesn't get it that lowlanders are not gaels. lowlanders are part of anglo saxon culture. gaels are not. neither of ewans parants nor any of his ancestors spoke gaelic nor weere part of gaelic culture. back in the sixties and seventies when folk cred was deemed so inportant by anglos many made up these fake claims to highland/gaelic roots. i found it in the uk asnd canada. americans are not so obsessed with faking their roots. they jst like to play good songs.

the whole traditional and purist movement grew first out of european nationalism, where folk music was seen as a strength to the national identity and hence to militarism. then the left got into it and began to see volkisch kulture as part of building working c;ass adgenda. both were using identities to furthere their selfish interests and cared not a whit for the people producing the music.

ewan and every body here is welcome to share gaelic culture. but it is imperialism to claim to lead it. we got lottsa leaders. they are people who work at playing with virtusio ability or learn to sing inn gaelic with beauty. gaelic culture doesn't often set up ideologies and political structures to lead at least in folk music. if you are great you lead.

many mnay mediocre anglo musicians try to over come their tanlent freedom and instrumental challebges by being purists and leading by ideology. it's cultural appropriation. the last stage of imperialism. it ussed to be so easy to ostracize the minority cultures but nowadays you can get music from everywhere and its obvious who is the culture producer and who are the blowhards.

i repeat ewan wasn't a gael, his parents were not gaels. lowlanders are not gaels. if yopu use a fake gaelic name well you asked for it.my last name is french. i'm a quarter acadien. we spoke little french untill i went to school. but with grahdparents who were maclaughlanns, macmurry's and maciain's we di speak gaelic in the house. that's being a highlander!   almost no one ewan every knew was gaelic speaking. stirling is not the jighlands and miller isn,\t a highland name. however mccoll is.

again ewan mccoll is welcome to join and participate in our culture. i have chinese arab and african american friends who have learned gaelic or highland dancing and the music. they are welcome. but they never expect to lead--unless they get so good we go to them to learn. which some i know of have. i don't care what your background if you approach other cultures with respect and diligence. however if you are just claiming some idiotic folk cred and learning little or nothing of gaelic culture then you are part of the imperialist world view.

LOWLANDERS ARE NOT HIGHLANDERS/GAELS


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Jan 12 - 05:11 PM

"i repeat ewan wasn't a gael, his parents were not gaels"
I think you will find that his mother was not a lowlander., his mother was from auchterarder perthshire, that not the lowlands.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 16 Jan 12 - 06:21 PM

"lowlanders are not gaels. lowlanders are part of anglo saxon culture. gaels are not. neither of ewans parants nor any of his ancestors spoke gaelic nor weere part of gaelic culture"

This is complete nonsense though. The so called Highland Line (ie in the cultural sense) was an artificial boundary based on one point of time where Gaelic culture predominated north and west of it and not to the south and east of it. So arguably Auchterarder would be on the Lowland part of the so called peripheries when the term was coined but so what. Most Lowlanders will have some Highland ancestry. Have you seen the number of MacDonalds, Campbells etc in even the Borders phone book! And beside that at one time Gaelic was also spoken reasonably widely throughout most of the Lowlands. How on earth could you possibly know that none of his ancestors spoke Gaelic? It is an absurd statement which is pretty unlikely to be true. People can be proud of all aspects of their Scottish heritage. Why have you such a problem with that?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 16 Jan 12 - 06:47 PM

I never heard Ewan MacColl attempt to sing any songs in Scots or Irish Gaelic. Neither did I hear him claim to be a "leader of Gaelic culture". It's only you who is obsessed with this, ollaimh.

I also feel that obsessively labelling people as "anglos" or "gaels" (or 'hispanics' or 'canucks' or whatever) and putting them in opposition to each other, because of historical injustices, is a bit creepy, unhealthy and unecessary. I don't know anyone in the UK folk world who is an "imperialist" - and Ewan MacColl certainly wasn't one.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Jan 12 - 03:05 PM

Bryan
Yes I did read your post – it came across as a mealy-mouthed excuse for behaviour that, for whatever reason you choose to present, was artistically and ethically inexcusable – the deliberate interfering with a performer's work as an act of spiteful revenge-taking.
It was also socially extremely reactionary and lacking in any trace of humanity. 'The Travelling People' played a major part in getting the 1969 Caravan and Camping Act onto the statute books, making it obligatory for all local councils to provide half-decent stopping places for Travellers, with running water and sanitation. Apart from anything else, it was the first articulate access Travellers ever got to the media to put their own case - all this was put at risk. Whatever excuse was given for the squalid stunt, it was not acceptable on any level – you suggest it might have been.
Yes – Brune did blow the whistle on himself, when it was too late to correct the problems his behaviour had caused. It did not wreck the programme, as it could easily have done, but it was the cause of Sheila Stewart being withdrawn.
I am aware of Brune's work with Travellers – it seems, on this occasion, his blind hatred of McColl took precedence –nothing new there!
Personally, I didn't find the suggestion that Brune should have sung songs from his own native tradition at all offensive.
Among my first records when I became interested in folk songs were Topic e.p.s of Paul Robeson and others singing in Chinese, Yiddish, Polish and Russian, you name it, he did it (Robeson even threw in an Irish rebel song – Kevin Barry), and other such oddities. I used to have an LP of Robin Hall and Jimmy McGregor (A-roving) singing in Greek, Bantu, German, Spanish....
Prior to this, MacColl, Lloyd and others were singing in pseudo-Americanese, as were loads of others "Cowboys galloping across the plains of Walthamstow" as somebody described it at the time.
MacColl and Seeger became leading supporter of Lomax's suggestion that we should explore our own traditions in languages and accents we were familiar with, often deliberately distorted to their "making it a rule". As Peggy pointed out in her letter to The Living Tradition, it was a practice adhered to by them at The Singers Club; the residents did it and the guests were booked on the basis that this is what they did. That they might have advocated it as practice elsewhere is fair enough. Looking at the treasure trove of British and Irish songs that the revival managed to turn up, I'm pleased that their arguments prevailed.
A great deal of effort has been expended here trying to prove that McColl didn't like Dylan (very few actual examples of exactly what his criticisms were) - as I asked earlier – so what if he didn't like his singing, lots of others felt the same way? There is no evidence whatever of what he said, when and to whom, or that he or anybody ever made a fetish, or even a regular practice of it.
Frankie said what she said without providing examples; I'm not doubting her word, but I never heard Dylan's name mentioned by Ewan or anybody in the Group – he'd long departed the folk scene for fresh pasures by then and no longer featured in folk things, certainly anything we were involved in.
Why did MacColl dislike Dylan – perhaps he though he was a rotten singer who wrote indifferent songs. If he did compare him to McGonagall? – I don't know, but others didn't find the comparison particularly odious; Nigel Denver wrote:
"In Don't Think Twice, It's All Right, sometimes it's comical how you get your lines to rhyme, it reminds me of McGonagall the 'poet' at times:"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 17 Jan 12 - 03:29 PM

If people have lived more than one life they can have soul connections to a great many cultures they were not born into in this life. If so, they will feel strongly drawn to various cultures they were not born into in this life, they'll feel a kinship with those cultures, and that may lead to them taking great interest in music or something else from a culture not presently their own by birth.

Therefore, all this nagging about which group someone was born into...as if that was the only determinant of what they should think and feel....seems silly to me.

I take it that the possibility of people having lived other lives than this present one has never occurred to most of the people arguing here? Or that you would just dismiss such an idea out of hand? If so, your dismissal of it is a strictly faith-based conclusion that carries no real weight at all since it's not based on anything real, but merely indicates allegiance to a very conventional form of thought which you acquired from others and have never even thought to question.

MacColl may have been drawn to Scots culture out of any number of different motivations...and one of them might be his own subconscious soul memory of having been a Scot, not in this life, but in another. And if so, there's no way on earth that any of you can prove it, disprove it, confirm it or deny it, because you simply don't know.

Admitting you don't know is the first step to becoming a reasonable human being as opposed to being a typical walking example of a conventional faith-based mental rigidity...which is what I find most people, in fact, are. They already have their minds all made up about almost everything. They are not about to admit they don't know.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 17 Jan 12 - 03:43 PM

And I'm not saying that I know either. I don't. I'm just saying that there are a great many possibilities as to why Ewan MacColl was so drawn to the traditions of Highland culture....aside from strictly negative assertions that he was a "cultural imperialist".

We may all have been a great many things in the past that we do not outwardly appear to be now....and I mean "the past" going back for tens or even hundreds of thousands of years.

And I said "may"...because I don't know for sure. Nor do you.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 03:58 AM

"why Ewan MacColl was so drawn to the traditions of Highland culture....
"Description of Hogmanay in Salford from MacColl's childhood in Salford.
Jim Carroll

"Then my Auntie Mag would arrive, sometimes accompanied by her husband, Tammy Logan, and my cousins John and Willie. Immediately there was a change of tempo, a new mood. Maggie wasn't one for serious conversa¬tion about the merits of this or that union leader or, indeed, of political topics in general. Parties and booze-ups were her natural element and parties, as far as she was concerned, meant plenty of laughter, booze and singing.
'Gie us a sang, Will,' she would say.
'You sing, Maggie,' my father would answer.
'Ay, I will when I've had a few.'
'What'll I sing then?'
'Onything as lang as it's lively.'
'Ay, come on, Will,' his mates would urge.
'Quiet, quiet everyone,' my aunt would say, ignoring the fact that she was the only one making a noise. 'Order please!'
And my father would begin:

If it wasn't quite a mile it was three-quarters of a mile,
When a man's old safety bicycle broke down,
He twisted all his wires and he punctured all his tyres,
And he fell upon the roadside like a clo-o-o-wn.

'For God's sake, man!' Maggie expostulated. 'No' that kind o' a song. Gie us a proper song.'
'He's makin' a fool oot o' ye, Mag,' my mother explained.
'He'd better no',' said Maggie, but the gleam in her eye softened when she heard the opening notes of Robert Tannahill's philosophical drinking song:

This life is a journey we a' hae tae gang,
And care is the burden we carry alang
Though heavy be oor burden and poverty oor lot,
We'll be happy a' thegither ower a wee drappie o't.

Halfway through the verse my mother came and sat next to my father and sang the song right through with him. The chorus sounded beautiful with eve¬ryone singing at the top of their voices and one or two singing harmonies:

Ower a wee drappie o't, ower a wee drappie o't,
We'll be happy a' thegither ower a wee drappie o't.

'For God's sake,' Maggie said, 'ye'd think this was a wake.' And she'd sing:

Awa' ye wee daft article,
Ye arenae worth a particle,
For common sense it tak's to mak' a man;
Ye're no' the size o' tuppence
And your income's only thruppence,
Ye mebbe think you'll get a wife
But ye'l no' get Mary-Anne.

This would be a signal for anyone who could hold a tune to contribute a song or a snatch of a song to the proceedings. Then suddenly somebody would call for quiet and everyone would sit there listening for the sound of the bells from the Pendleton church ringing the new year in. My mother would grab me and I'd find myself standing holding hands with her and my father and everyone would be singing 'Auld Lang Syne'.
I'd be packed off to bed again after that. If the weather was cold then I'd probably find a coarse linen bag in my bed filled with bran and heated in the oven. Or if there was no bran in the house there would be a loose shelf taken from the oven and wrapped in a blanket. And I would lie there listening to the singing and the excited rise-and-fall of voices and sometimes I would creep out of bed and down the stairs and sit listening on the bottom step while my parents sang duets like 'The Beggar Laddie' and 'Huntingtower' and 'The Spinning Wheel' and my Auntie Mag would sing 'The Cruel Mother' and Jock Sinclair would recite 'Holy Willie's Prayer' and Jock Muirhead would sing 'Jamie Foyers'. Then someone on their way out to the toilet in the backyard would catch sight of me on the stairs and I would be whisked off to bed again and would fall asleep with the songs still ringing in my ears.
Journeyman. pp 20 and 21


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: David C. Carter
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 04:52 AM

On the Original Sountrack of "I'm Not There",Track 5 has
Ballad Of A Thin Man-Stephen Malkmus & The Million Dollar Bashers.

It didn't do anything for me.But I guess anyone would be hard put to match Dylan's own Version.

D


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 05:05 AM

Thanks to all for defending me against Ollaimh's absurd accusation that I 'didn't get it'. Not that my withers were particularly wrung. Denunciation by Ollaimh, as said by combative UK Labour politician Dennis Healey on being criticized by the mild mannered Tory minister Geoffrey Howe in the UK House of Commons in June 1978, was rather like being savaged by a dead sheep.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 05:08 AM

This has been covered in another thread but it's worth saying again in this context. Robert Tannahill did not write a "Wee Drappie O't" as MacColl said. So strongly do people believe in what he said that you will find this misinformation all over the web.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 05:48 AM

"Robert Tannahill did not write a "Wee Drappie O't" as MacColl said."
I think we managed to trace the probable author of 'Drappie' from a hand written note in our set of 'Vagabond Songs of Scotland' once owned by Will Walker.
MacColl's error has, as you say, been taken up by many, but the fact that his family believed it back in the 1930s is indicative that it has been around for some time
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 06:14 AM

Yes, Jim, Ewan's family obviously believed it but by the time he wrote his Journeyman article (1988?) I would have thought his research into folk song would have shown him otherwise. Like you, no doubt, I don't take anyone's word as gospel and I have found some celebrated source singers to be very unreliable   ..... trawling through the tapes in the School of Scottish Studies in Edinburgh is a real eye opener!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 06:24 AM

..... trawling through the tapes in the School of Scottish Studies in Edinburgh is a real eye opener!

Like, for example, the famed Scottish traditional singer who sang My Pittenwean Jo for a SoSS collector. When asked where she had learned it from, she asserted "Fae ma granny."

The recently deceased John Watt, who wrote the song, told me that his delight that the song had been passed off as traditional outweighed his annoyance that the song had not been properly accredited.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 07:23 AM

It amazes me me some of you guys have time to sing and play music when you write so much about these long ago arguments.

it wouldn't do if we all agreed about stuff. then we'd all agree about everything. and that sounds a bit sinister.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 08:06 AM

Jim
Don't know about you, but even with the advantage of having an accidentally acquired handwritten reference from Walker, I had great difficulty in tracing who I now believe to be the author of the song - god bless the internet - which MacColl did not have access to.
I find it interesting that MacColl's mistake has been taken up by others who have not researched the facts of the matter.
It has always struck me that folk song scholarship has, certainly up to comparatively recently, been a somewhat hit-and-miss affair outside the field of dedicated research - and even there, there are huge gaps in our knowledge due to misconceptions (don't get me started on why nobody ever bothered asking our field singers their opinions on their songs).
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 08:13 AM

Yes, Jim, the Internet is a fantastic tool for research although in the case of AWDO the error rang bells with me immediately as I have everything that Tannahill wrote and knew this wasn't one of his. It is not even in his style but we've gone through all of this a while ago.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 08:14 AM

I must say - I do think you miss out Jim.. Dylan was quite wonderful. Just play that first album and imagine a twenty year old in the corner of your room singing and playing like that.

And Alex Campbell with his cowboy boots and big Gibson guitar. He got forgetful when he was old and sometimes sung the same song twice, but he seemed so exotic to us living on housing estates in the midlands. Tales about meeting Big Bill Broonzy. And he did sing folksongs. He was one of us.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Baz Bowdidge
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 08:31 AM

>it wouldn't do if we all agreed about stuff. then we'd all agree about everything. and that sounds a bit sinister<

Truly agreeable sameness is one aspect of MacColl's beloved 'communism' isn't it?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 09:46 AM

Hello Jim. deluightful to hear from you again. In my post (which you do now appear to have read although there was no evidence of it in your immediate response) you may recall that I said "I am a little reluctant to pass an opinion on the John Brune incident. I can only speculate. I know very little about it and, judging by past experience, if I get it "wrong" in your estimation you are likely to call me lots of rude names." Whatever could have made me think that?

I won't waste much time on this but there are some things I can't resist.

Jim Carroll

Whatever excuse was given for the squalid stunt, it was not acceptable on any level – you suggest it might have been.

No I don't.

Yes – Brune did blow the whistle on himself, when it was too late to correct the problems his behaviour had caused.

Demonstrably false. The problems were corrected and the programme went out.

it was the cause of Sheila Stewart being withdrawn.

In part. As I said,he wasn't to know that MacColl would ask Sheila Stewart to sing the songs which does seem a fairly strange thing to do. Why didn't he get her to sing something from her own family tradition?

Personally, I didn't find the suggestion that Brune should have sung songs from his own native tradition at all offensive.

No but then you aren't John Brune. You haven't had to flee you homeland to escape persecution. Perhaps he resented being told "You are an Austrian Jew. You should be singing your own songs not OURS."

I think I will treasure for a long time the image of Ewan MacColl trying to tell Paul Robeson that he should have sung songs from his own native tradition.

A great deal of effort has been expended here trying to prove that McColl didn't like Dylan

Not me. I'm just trying to find out the facts.

(very few actual examples of exactly what his criticisms were) - as I asked earlier – so what if he didn't like his singing, lots of others felt the same way? There is no evidence whatever of what he said, when and to whom, or that he or anybody ever made a fetish, or even a regular practice of it.

I know. Frustrating isn't it. What's more frustrating for me is that you, as one of the witnesses of the time, seem determined to put up barriers against finding out any more. That can only arouse suspicion that there is something to hide.

What do we have? We know that MacColl wrote a satirical article about Dylan called "Jack Speedwell". It would be nice to get hold of that. If he wasn't interested in Dylan, why did he bother to write it? Did he write similar satires of other performers?

This quote from him in the September 1965 issue of Sing Out!, "Our traditional songs and ballads are the creations of extraordinarily talented artists working inside disciplines formulated over time... 'But what of Bobby Dylan?' scream the outraged teenagers... Only a completely non-critical audience, nourished on the watery pap of pop music, could have fallen for such tenth-rate drivel." crops up all over the place. Sadly I can't find the original article but I'm working on it.

We have Frankie Armstrong's statement on the radio programme of which you say -

Frankie said what she said without providing examples; I'm not doubting her word

Make up your mind Jim. Either accept what she said or don't. Maybe I'll ask her next time I see her. I could ask Sandra Kerr about it all sometime if I get the chance.

Then there's the published testomony of his son Hamish which you seem determined to ignore.

Why did MacColl dislike Dylan – perhaps he though he was a rotten singer who wrote indifferent songs.

If you never heard him mention Dylan, how do you know that's what he thought?

I cut this one out and kept it till last.

I am aware of Brune's work with Travellers – it seems, on this occasion, his blind hatred of McColl took precedence –nothing new there!

I cant help feeling that your loathing of John Brune stems not from any damage he did to the Travellers (actually none at all) but from the fact that he made MacColl look a bit of a fool and that is unforgivable. But "his blind hatred of McColl took precedence –nothing new there!". That raises a question. Why did MacColl arouse such "blind hatred"? Why was he surrounded by "vicious prickism"? Why was he subjected to "vituprative hatred"? I'd really like to know.

I really am spending too much time on this.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 09:49 AM

"Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Baz Bowdidge - PM
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 08:31 AM

>it wouldn't do if we all agreed about stuff. then we'd all agree about everything. and that sounds a bit sinister<

Truly agreeable sameness is one aspect of MacColl's beloved 'communism' isn't it?"
here we go again, you have already had it explained to you what the definition of communism is, and you persist with your misconceptions.
I agree Animal Farm and 1984 are interesting books, but they do not define communism, they define Facism and state capitalism


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 09:56 AM

"I must say - I do think you miss out Jim.."
Al,
Because I knew so many people who loved Dylan back in the 60s I really tried hard with him - even bought 'Freewheelin', but like so many of the plants I've put in our garden here on the Atlantic Coast - he 'didn't take'.
Same with The Beatles, who ended up driving me away from my native Liverpool - in those days, if you didn't like them or football (rather watch paint dry than spend time with either of them), there was nothing else to keep me there - still get the same when I visit my sisters and my plane touches down at John Lennon airport.
"Truly agreeable sameness is one aspect...."
Have you ever been in the same room as a CP member and a Trotskyist/Anarchist/Maoist/Fabian/Pabloist/Syndicalist......?
Sameness my arseum.
On the other hand, try taking the tube into The City of London at 8.30am any weekday morning, or strolling round one of the estates of 'Little Boxes' in any satelite town in Britain - now that's 'sameness with a capital S'.
Betjeman has always had my vote:

"Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough!
It isn't fit for humans now,
There isn't grass to graze a cow."

Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 10:09 AM

Bryan
You remain the mealy mouthed apologist of unaccebtable behaviour you always were - you are not the only one expending far to much on this squalid one-to-one
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 10:15 AM

Jim, just a straightforward question requiring a short straightforward answer; When was the last time you travelled on a tube train into The City of London at 8.30 a.m. on a weekday morning?Were you surprised to see the same people on the same train at the same time because they had a job to get to or come home from?

Just curious.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 10:31 AM

Can't you see, Jim, that by resorting to insults (which Bryan has not done as far as I can read) that you are allowing the bottom to fall out of your arguments.

It is as if you cannot find suitable retorts to Bryan's points. You are perfectly right to say "you are not the only one expending far to(o) much on this squalid one-to-one" and call a halt to it, but the preceding insult - even if you are angry - can only weaken your case.

There does come a time in threads where two are arguing from entrenched positions when it would be better for the good of the board for those participants to turn to the use of PMs


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 10:46 AM

There is nothing else quite like listening to a group of UK folkies wrangle over the minutiae of some folk music controversy whilst hurling little personal barbs at one another over their opponents' perceived character flaws and other shortcomings. It's like watching a small woodpecker attempt to fell a mighty oak.

But what I find disturbing is that no one has gone further into the question of Dylan's clothing causing mental distress to Ewan MacColl. What about those leather "Beatle boots" that Dylan and so many other were wearing by around 1965?

Verrrrry upsetting!

As for Communism making "everyone the same"...no...that's what state capitalism and fascism do, as demonstrated in Animal Farm, 1984, Brave New World, Soviet Russia, Mao's China, and Pol Pot's Cambodia. They called themselves Communists. They were Fascists imagining themselves to be communists.

The one place I've been which I think does come reasonably close to real communism is Cuba...and I absolutely loved Cuba...and people there are not "all the same". I found a great deal of individualism and open-minded thought in Cuba, along with a lot of shared community spirit.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Baz Bowdidge
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 10:52 AM

Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Good Soldier Schweik - PM
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 09:49 AM

"Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Baz Bowdidge - PM
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 08:31 AM

>it wouldn't do if we all agreed about stuff. then we'd all agree about everything. and that sounds a bit sinister<

Truly agreeable sameness is one aspect of MacColl's beloved 'communism' isn't it?"
here we go again, you have already had it explained to you what the definition of communism is, and you persist with your misconceptions.
I agree Animal Farm and 1984 are interesting books, but they do not define communism, they define Facism and state capitalism

There YOU go again. I post two words and off you go.
I don't need to be patronised.
Would 'consenting equality' suit you best?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 11:00 AM

From a literary POV I would hesitate to say the Orwell was writing about Communism, Fascism or Dictatorships. IMO he was addressing totalitarianism with both 1984 and Animal Farm.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 11:07 AM

"But what I find disturbing is that no one has gone further into the question of Dylan's clothing causing mental distress to Ewan MacColl."

LOL, LH, give it time.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 11:10 AM

Little Hawk returns to something that is clearly important to him when he writes:-
"But what I find disturbing is that no one has gone further into the question of Dylan's clothing causing mental distress to Ewan MacColl."


The only reason that I feel that this vital issue has not been taken up is that this thread is not the correct place for it. What Little Hawk needs to do is to start a new thread entitled something like Dylan's Apparel and its effect on MacColl. We have already has a throroughly interesting and stimulating thread entitled Ewan MacColl's Trousers - indeed it has been called a "high-level discussion" and showing "scintillating intellect" on this forum. I'm sure that if Little Hawk were to start a thread with a title such as the one that I have suggested, he would soon find that the posts were characterised by intelligent and well researched contributions and that it would be largely insult-free.

And I agree entirely with what Little Hawk says about Cuba.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 11:13 AM

"Can't you see, Jim, that by resorting to insults "
You right of course Vic - am finding this all a little too distasteful for my palate.
Feckin' about with performers' work may be what people do at Bryan's club; it would never have been tolerated at any club I've ever been associated with whether we liked or disliked them as performers or individuals - our feet wouldn't have touched at either the Singers or the Critics Group - but as the man said, life would be very boring if we were all the same.
It was, as far as I'm concerned, a shitty thing to do - even the "interesting Charles Parker thought so at the time - at least the damage done was limited to having to exclude one of Britain's finest traditional singers from the programme - but a small price to pay for a laugh eh?
"When was the last time you travelled on a tube train into The City"
A long time ago Hoot - but I did so regularly for periods of about three months at a stretch when working as a maintenance and installation electricion in City pubs - I think it was the uniformity of my fellow passengers that struck me more than anything - things might well be very different now - probably are.
My point was a jokey one- but that is the image that remains with me.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Will Fly
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 11:23 AM

Feckin' about with performers' work may be what people do at Bryan's club

Not in any way, Jim. As you would know if you'd ever been there.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Owen Woodson
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 11:44 AM

FWIW. I once did a detailed study of 1984 and I came to the conclusion that it's not about Communism or Stalinism, although both figure largely in the model of society which Orwell builds. Neither is it about fascism or totalitarianism, although the model encompasses these also.

Rather, it is an attempt to explain something which Robert Michels called The Iron Law of Oligarchy. IE the tendency of organisations to move from democracy to authoritarianism or totalitarianism, and the consequent tendency for power elites to replace the original goals of the organisation with their own desire to retain power; with all the fact bending and mind washing of the populace which that implies. According to Michels and, I suspect, Orwell, oligarchism is a universal tendency to be found in all societies at all times.

I'm not sure how far I'd go along with Michels' statement that "whoever says organisation says oligarchy". Among other reservations I have is the fact that he based his research on the German Social Democratic Party. At that time the GSDP was a semi-clandestine organisation operating in a near police state, and it depended on close tight knit discipline for its very survival; not the best circumstances in which to breed openness and democracy.

In any event, it's important to remember not to take 1984 too literally - although its warning should most certainly be taken seriously.

In short it is a nightmaristic fable which deliberately goes way over the top in order to spell out the dangers.

Now, back to the vexed question of Bob Dylan's trousers.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 11:57 AM

great name for a band

The Mealy Mouthed Apologists

And who was the first person to notice that apologists had mealy mouths? And which meal....breakfast, oatmeal?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 01:06 PM

"Not in any way, Jim. As you would know if you'd ever been there. "
Then why if Bryan defending it here?
Messing round with what others are doing is, at the very least unethical, in this case it goes beyond that with what 'The Travelling People' was and what it managed to achieved - appears to be fine with Bryan, or at least, not worth his commenting on.
At the very least it forced a hard pressed production team working to a deadline have to re-do part of the programme a few days before it was due to be broadcast.
MacColl is accused often enough of having told people what to do yet it's fine for Bryan to say "why didn't he get her to sing something from her own family tradition?" which sounds very much like somebody telling the producers of the programme what they should be doing
Double standards or what?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 02:12 PM

I can put up with you insulting me, Jim, (although it would help if your attacks bore some resemblance to something I'd actually said) but with your "Feckin' about with performers' work may be what people do at Bryan's club;" you have insulted a team of hard working people you have never met and the reputation of a well respected folk club. Erstwhile members of the Critics Group seem perfectly happy to take bookings with us. A full apology as soon as you like.

Keep it up. You dig yourself a little deeper with every post. Since you say you take your values from Ewan MacColl you're not exactly doing his reputation a lot of good either.

(I really would recommend people to have a look at the Sheila Stewart interview in Living Tradition http://www.folkmusic.net/htmfiles/inart599.htm. There's some interesting stuff about MacColl in there.)


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 02:50 PM

is this it:
Back in the 1960s I heard a tale about an Austrian Jew, John Brune, a friend of travellers who liked to sing their songs. When he was performing in Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger's Singers' Club in London and was in full traveller flow, Ewan had interrupted him demanding that, in future, he sing Austrian Jewish songs - it being the club's policy at the time that people sing only songs from the land or ideally the region of their birth. John, the story went, recorded himself singing a traveller song falsetto and sent it to Ewan, who then went out on a wild goose chase to look for this remarkable unknown traveller woman. I never knew the truth of the story, and was completely taken aback when Sheila began to explain why her voice never appeared on the Radio Ballad, 'The Travelling People'.

"Ewan MacColl had got a bee in his bonnet that there was one particular song that I had to learn, because he wanted me to open the programme and finish the programme. So he sent this wee Austrian man John Brune to teach me a song that had seemingly been collected from a Maggie Johnson down in England, but I had to sing it in an Irish style. And I said, 'Well I'm sorry John, but I cannae waste time, I'm at berrypicking, I need the money, I've got kids to raise.' 'That's quite all right.' he says, so he came out to the berryfields with me and he walked up and down the berryfields with me, teaching me this song, how to sing it. Then John went back, and two days before the programme was due to go out, he phoned Ewan MacColl and said, 'Ha ha, there never was a Maggie Johnson, it was me that made the song.' So Ewan panicked. The whole programme was made by this time so he had to miss me out and put in Joe Heaney (singing another song)!"


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 02:55 PM

I'd go with that, Owen.

###########################################

http://www.longessays.com/

That link is for anyone who's run out of words saying the same thing over and over.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 03:16 PM

Jim, you traveled on the London Tube "a long time ago and I think it was the uniformity of the people that struck me". What made you so different to all these other people? Judging by the flavour of many of your postings I would guess that it was because none of them were wearing blinkers.

The tube carries a huge cross section of society, nationalities, colours and creeds, business people, trades people etc. If you think that they are all uniform then then I cannot trust your assurances or judgment of people no matter how well you thought you knew them.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 03:20 PM

"Keep it up. You dig yourself a little deeper with every post."
You've just passed off the stunt we are discussing as harmless and still refuse to condemn such behaviour - why should my suggesting it might be what happens at your club as insulting - is is it only harmless when it is done to MacColl, Seeger and Parker? - Careful - your double standards are showing again?? - you really can't have it both ways.
I don't believe for one minute that it would happen at your club, but then again, up to now I wouldn't thought anybody would attempt to write off such behaviour as harmless - life is full of surprises, isn't it.
While we're discussing insults, you have spent a great deal of time, effort (not to mention creative writing in distorting my arguments) trying to prove I am a liar, a hypocrite and/or stupid; you have to forgive me for finding this more than a little insulting.
By the way - I can state catergotrcally that MacColl never "interrupted him (or anybody) demanding that, in future, he sing Austrian Jewish songs" (or any othe kind)
Peggy told it as it was at the Singers in her letter to The Living Tradition: it was a policy for The Singers Club residents alone.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 03:32 PM

Bryan,
First of all, could I sympathise with you and share your disquiet that the excellent club that you are involved with has had its reputation undermined in this way? Indeed, I feel partly responsible in that it was my complaint about Jim's insulting description of you that was followed by this unfair, untrue and uncalled for comment.

Then could I thank you very much for that link to Sheila's interview in Living Tradition? I thought that I had every copy of that magazine, but I certainly had not read that before. My memory was particularly stirred by the paragraph which reads:-

There is no such praise for 'Doomsday in the Afternoon', the "big book" about the Stewarts that Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger brought out in 1986, after 25 years in the compiling. "This horrible book! They got a lot of things wrong. They never let us go through it, we never knew that it was to be out and it caused a hell of a stink among travelling people, because he put in things that we never even said to them. We wouldnae go against wor own folk, because our life was secret, but my mother got the blame of it from the travellers."


I need to explain that from the mid 1960s onwards, I used to organise tours of south-east England for various traditional performers - to the relatively few folk clubs that were interested in hearing the authentic tradition, mainly this was for Scots travellers and mainly The Stewarts as well as Lizzie Higgins. The tours used to fall into a pattern of clubs and performers sometimes used to arrive in Lewes having been at The Singers' Club the night before. The Stewarts sometimes used to arrive in a stew (sorry!) about staying in Beckenham with Ewan & Peggy though my memory says that it was usually Peggy that was in the bad with Belle.
One time the Stewarts arrived at our house not long after the publication of Till Doomsday in the Afternoon and I had obtained and read a copy as soon as it was published. I had noticed quite a number of mistakes in the book, mainly in the transcription of the song words, One that I remember is in Geordie Weir (page 247) where the first line of the chorus is given as:-
So I wish I was back in Smerendale Rye

when it was pretty obvious to me that the line was sung as:-
So I wish I was back aince mair* in Dalry,

* aince mair = once more.

I wanted to take these mistakes up with Belle - but I didn't get a chance! She came into our house with both guns blazing about the 'bluddy awfa' book and how it was full of lies and how it was ruining the Stewarts' reputation amongst their own people and that I was never to book them into that damned club again. I remember thinking at the time that Belle often blew hot and cold about the folklorists that she encountered (Hamish Henderson amongst them) and that another time I might be hearing good things about MacColl from her. Whether the Stewarts actually did go back to the Singers' Club and to stay at Beckenham on another tour after that I cannot remember, but I'm fairly sure that they must have been back there after the publication as the Singers Club continued until 1991.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 03:50 PM

however she does say, how much she liked Ewan


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 04:20 PM

Jim Carroll

I don't believe for one minute that it would happen at your club

A step in the right direction but a long way from the full apology I need. As I said, you can insult me all you like but on this occasion, you have insulted my friends who are not involved or even aware of this discussion and attacked the reputation of the club that they and I work hard to run. Many on Mudcat know of us and how we work. The more you insult us, the more foolish you make yourself look. I have no intention of taking part in any further discussion until I get a proper apology.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 04:48 PM

"A step in the right direction but a long way from the full apology I need"
It would be a step in the right direction on your part if you explained why statements you have made are not insulting when applied to MacColl, but are when suggested for your club.
An apology for the persistant distortion of my arguments would be welcome also.
Your final decision coincides with my own perfectly
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 05:03 PM

Owen Woodson, I believe you are absolutely correct in your comments about Oligarchism.

"oligarchism is a universal tendency to be found in all societies at all times"

Right on. What led to the development of perverse forms of Fascism, Stalinism, Maoism, the Roman Catholic Church, the Spanish Inquisition, Naziism, the Roman Empire in its decline, and indeed all other oppressive systems was....the growth of a self-aggrandizing oligarchy who started running things strictly for their own benefit and for the perpetuation and enlargement of their privilege and power.

Our present society is groaning under a corrupt corporate/banking/military Oligarchy...what Eisenhower referred to as the "military-industrial complex" (he didn't mention the banks). If we end up under a totalitarian system, it will be that Oligarchy which sets it up...and it won't matter a damn what they call it. They'll probably call it "freedom" or "the free market". (Ha Ha)

****

Bruce - I looked up that link you provided, and it generated the following article on Dylan's clothing:

It has recently come to my attention that not enough people understand how great an effect Bob Dylan's clothing has had on our lives. Each day we wake up and likely have one or more of Bob Dylan's clothing styles lying at the foot of our beds. It is wonderful to be able to wake up and smile each morning because of this.

Social & Cultural Factors

Bob Dylan's clothing has played a large role in American Culture. Many people can often be seen taking part in activities associated with Bob Dylan's clothing. This is partly because people of most ages can be involved and families are brought together by this. Generally a person who displays their dislike for Bob Dylan's clothing may be considered an outcast.

Economic Factors

It is not common practice to associate economics with Bob Dylan's clothing. Generally, Bob Dylan's clothing would be thought to have no effect on our economic situation, but there are in fact some notable effects. The sales industry associated with Bob Dylan's clothing is actually a 2.3 billion dollar a year industry and growing each year. The industry employs nearly 150,000 people in the United States alone. It would be safe to say that Bob Dylan's clothing plays an important role in American economics and shouldn't be taken for granted.

Environmental Factors

After a three month long research project, I've been able to conclude that Bob Dylan's clothing doesn't negatively effect the environment at all. Bob Dylan's clothing did not seem to result in waste products and couldn't be found in forests, jungles, rivers, lakes, oceans, etc... In fact, Bob Dylan's clothing has probably produced some positive effects on the world of Nature.

Political Factors

Oh does Bob Dylan's clothing ever influence politics! Last year 5 candidates running for some sort of position used Bob Dylan's clothing as the primary topic of their campaign. A person might think Bob Dylan's clothing would be a bad topic to lead a campaign with, but in fact with the social and environmental impact it has, this topic was able to gain a great number of followers. These 5 candidates went 4 for 5 on winning their positions.

Conclusion

Bob Dylan's clothing seems to be a much more important subject than most give it credit for. Next time you see or think of Bob Dylan's clothing, think about what you just read and realize what is really going on. It is likely you under valued Bob Dylan's clothing before, but will now start to give it the credit it deserves.

Footnotes

Bob Dylan's clothing researched in wikipedia. Bob Dylan's clothing @ dictionary.com


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 05:10 PM

I am unaware of making any such statements. I am unaware of distorting anything you have said. You have insulted my friends and the club we run. When I have received your apology we can dicuss the other issues.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 04:16 AM

"I am unaware of making any such statements."
No you're not Brian - you described Brune's stunt as harmless -
I'm gone
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 05:57 AM

What a pity. Just when I thought we were moving towards a sort of understanding.

A couple of points just for the record -

I did not descibe Brune's stunt as harmless. The word I used was "irresponsible". Not sure how Jim confused the two.

Jim has still not apologised for insulting the whole committee of the Lewes Saturday Folk Club and attacking the reputation of the club in his efforts to get at me.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 05:59 AM

Nor will he, from my experience.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,raymond greenoaken
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 06:25 AM

>One that I remember is in Geordie Weir (page 247) where the first line of the chorus is given as:-
So I wish I was back in Smerendale Rye

when it was pretty obvious to me that the line was sung as:-
So I wish I was back aince mair* in Dalry,<

Superb! If I ever sing Geordie Weir I shall be sure to sing it as in Smerendale Rye.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 06:46 AM

"Till doomsday in the afternoon", MacColl and Seegers's book about the Stewarts of Blairgowrie, is available here.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Jan 12 - 03:04 PM

I apologise for re-opening this thread; this should have gone off on Thursday but I have been away since then and have just returned.
Of course Brian Creer is right - I do owe the organisers of his club an apology for my inexcusable remark.
It was a knee-jerk reaction on my part to what I believe to be the condoning by trivialising unexceptable behaviour towards a group of people who have given many of us a great deal of pleasure and encouragement from folk music - in my case, most of a lifetime's worth.
This in no way excuses my suggestion that the other organisers of Bryan's Lewes Club share his views and would in any way condone the behaviour we have been discussing so heatedly.
My sincerest apologies for my remark.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 20 Jan 12 - 05:31 PM

I am happy to have been wrong this time.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 04:10 AM

is everybody feeling alright?

Keith, you're not usually wrong about anything....

Jim, we're talking about one of these degenerate English folk clubs where people are allowed to play music that has not been vetted by the 1954 committee.....

And still the world turns!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 04:47 AM

"Keith, you're not usually wrong about anything...."
Don't think he does irony Al
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: ollaimh
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 11:43 AM

just to be clear. mac mc or m' in front of a name is a prenom that comes from a language other than english. IT'S GAELIC!!

people with that in their names are usually descended from gaelc. in our own language we called ourselves gaels. anglos from the scottish lowlands and england have called us highlanders for a long time. that's part of the cultural genocide against the gaels. it is a name designed to ignore ethnic linguistic and racial differences, hence denying the existance of a whole people and justifying thier ethnic cleansing from the highlands and islands of scotland.

circa 1745 gaels made up more than fourty per cent of the scottish population. now they are less than five per cent. the famine, the clearances and the forced immigration eliminated them from the land that the anglos wanted. after much surffering and a death rate well over fifty percent we did well in canada. however if you want to participate in gaelic culture you are welcome to come and learn.

what ewan maccoll did was come and take leadership. as a good stalinist he continued the cultural genocide. as stalinists did almost every were they were in power. look at nicaraugua, cuba and chine for communists genocide against aborigional people.

gaels were one of the aborigional people of the celtic isles, and were destroyed by the military capitalist and supported in this by stalinists.

i do not wish to ignore or denigrate the much worse genocide against africans in the slave trade and especially against the aborigionals of north america. british imperialism in the form of militray capitalism was tested on geals, and welsh then perfected on natives of north america==who got it much much worse.

maccoll was a racist hypocrite.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: ollaimh
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 11:48 AM

geat song writer =racist hypocrite


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: ollaimh
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 11:52 AM

bob dylan, great songwriter and great huitarist and harmonica player and a life long follower of peace justice and equality.

honest decent guy

i know who i'd rather have around


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 12:55 PM

maccoll was a racist hypocrite.

Well, I am no apologist for MacColl, though I did meet the man on occasions, but speaking as a Scot with a good knowledge of Scots history, I find that for ollaimh to draw this inference from his post of 21 Jan 12 - 11:43 AM almost beggars belief.

In fact, by the time that we get to the statement that gaels were one of the aborigional people of the celtic isles, and were destroyed by the military capitalist and supported in this by stalinists. it verges on the comical. Please could ollaimh provide some evidence of the role played by supporters of Josef Stalin in the destruction of Scots Gaeldom? I don't think that it coud have been during the Highland Clearances.

what ewan maccoll did was come and take leadership. as a good stalinist he continued the cultural genocide. as stalinists did almost every were they were in power. Really? Leadership of what? Which political power was MacColl exercising, exactly?

Wonderful stuff, ollaimh. This thread has been lacking in humour and I am really thankful to you for providing some light relief!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 02:13 PM

I would say that Ollaimh was extremely well balanced with a chip on each shoulder.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 02:36 PM

Olliamh wrote:-
"bob dylan, great songwriter and great huitarist and harmonica player and a life long follower of peace justice and equality."

At http://www.famenetworth.com/2010/06/bob-dylan-net-worth.html it says:-
"Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter and musician, known for such hit songs as Blowin' in the Wind and Hurricane, his net worth is $80 Million."


C'mon, Bob, you are known for your "equality". I'm not worth one-thousandth of what you are. How about slipping a million dollars my way? You wouldn't miss it!

And I've always admired your huitar-playing.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 02:48 PM

"honest decent guy"
Who changed his name from Zimmerman to Dylan - swiping his pseaudenom from a WELSH poet/playwrite
Oh dear - there's always one!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 07:01 PM

I'm sure that I read an interview with Bob Dylan once in which he said that he didn't understand Gaelic. I think that it was published in some, now defunct, folk music mag somewhere around 1965 ... but perhaps I mis-remembered it and it's just another example of my extreme cultural paranoia.

Ruiradh McShimrod

PSSSSTTT!!! Has anyone seen a posse of Stalinist Redcoats? I think they're after me. Keep your voice down!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 09:01 PM

A change of name is very common in the performing arts, Jim. Why persecute Bob Dylan over changing his? In any case, it seems that he chose the surname "Dillon" first (while still living in Minnesota), because he liked the sound of it, and he got the idea from Matt Dillon, the sherrif in the popular series "Gunsmoke". He later decided that it would look cooler to spell it "Dylan" instead, and I think he made a good choice there. So the link with Dylan Thomas was, if anything, an afterthought.

In any case, one doesn't swipe a surname. There is no copyright on surnames. One adopts a new surname if one so desires, and I see no reason why people can't legally change their names if they want to. It's their business....no one else's.

olliamh - Cultural genocide of the original Cuban inhabitants occurred a loooong time ago...during the early colonization of Cuba by the Spanish Empire. It was not orchestrated by Communists, and Cuba has NEVER been under a Stalinist system....Stalinism having been thoroughly discredited by the Russians themselves some time prior to Castro's successful revolution. I've been in Cuba in recent years, and I have never witnessed a society with a greater and more natural sense of racial and cultural equality. They put most of the rest of the world to shame in that sense. It's the only place I've ever been where I had the very clear sense that Black people were seen as completely equal in every way to other people...nobody even focused on them being "Black". It was Castro's revolution that brought about that change in attitude. Before Castro there was deep racial inequality in Cuba, gross exploitation of poor people, rampant crime, casinos, Mafia, whorehouses...a playground for rich American crooks and businessmen. Castro was the best thing that ever happened to that island.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: catspaw49
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 11:22 PM

Hawk, lemmee ask you...........Do you think that MacColl in sorta' stealing the name for his dick (Timmy Toad) from Bill Shatner was more or less wrong than the Dylan thing?


Spaw


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 04:14 AM

"A change of name is very common in the performing arts, Jim."
Where did I 'persecute' anybody for changing their name - I pointed out to somebody who claims as evidence for MacColl's 'racism' is that he changed his name to something with a 'Mac' in it, that Dylan did exactly the same - something that tends to be forgotten in these arguments. A writer on the folk scene who at one time persistently made the point about MacColl's name-change, first appeared on the scene as 'Fred' but changed it to Karl (Dallas) - so what?
I did read that Dylan changed his name because of his respect for the poet - if that's not the case, I stand corrected - but it makes no difference whatever to the basic argument.
As I've just pointed out to someone who kindly made the point to me in a PM, if I had any objection whatever to people changing their names I would never have sat though Frances Ethel Gumm's magnificent performance in 'Judgement At Nuremberg' the number of times I have - and as for listening to that John Pandrich's singing.....!!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 04:42 AM

And then there was Eric Blair = George Orwell. No-one ever went on and on and on about that because he may have written an article stating that he didn't particularly like George Formby in a magazine article in 1934!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 04:53 AM

"people with that in their names are usually descended from gaelc" Your surname only shows one line of the many strands of your ancestry. Someone with no Mac in their name can potentially have far more Gaelic speaking ancestors than someone with a Mac in their name. So ignoring the latest daft rant let me ask you again. How can you possibly know that none of MacColl's ancestors spoke Gaelic or had any connection to Highlander culture? It is such an absurd statement to make. His family came from the Stirlingshire and Perthsire areas which themselves had been Gaelic speaking at one time. Unless his near ancestors had been brought in from elsewhere and had not intermarried with any locals at all then he is almost bound to have Gaelic ancestry. Likewise what makes him anti-Gaelic? Can you actually point to anything concrete at all to suggest he was? He was immersed in Lowland Scots culture but that doesn't mean you are anti-Gaelic. Again that is an absurd suggestion. I don't know but I'm supposing that MacColl was heavily influenced by the Scots Renaissance and in particular its leading exponent a Borderer called Chris Grieve who used the Gaelic sounding name Hugh MacDiarmid. Are you suggesting the writer of The Golden Wine In The Gaeltacht was anti-Gaelic for taking a Gaelic pseudonym too? He may have been a Scots speaker and written in literary Scots but he was also a strong supporter of Scotland's other traditional language.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 05:52 AM

Re Karl Dallas's change of name from Fred Dallas ~~

His name was,in full, Karl Frederick Dallas [or possibly Frederick Karl ~ forget which ~ no matter], named thus by his parents in honour of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. He told me this himself once, long since, at the time he made the change for journalistic professional reasons, reckoning Karl to be a more memorable or noticeable name than Fred. At least, I think he told me so himself; tho it is just possible that it was his lovely first wife Betty who told me. All so long ago ...

FWIW

~M~


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 06:22 AM

Don't know how accurate this description of MacColl's 'discovery' in the 1930s (apart from the obvious inaccuracy of describing his father as a Glaswegian).
"Ewan MacColl was himself a victim of the Depression. The son of an unemployed Glasgow steelworker, who had moved to Salford in search of work during the twenties, he had suffered every privation and humiliation that poverty could contrive for him from the age of ten. His memories of his early years are still bitter—like his recollection of how to kill aimless time in a world where there was nothing else to do: "You go in the Public Library. And the old men are there standing against the pipes to get warm, all the newspaper parts are occupied, and you pick a book up. I can remember then that you got the smell of the unemployed, a kind of sour or bitter-sweet smell, mixed in with the smell of old books, dust, leather and the rest of it. So now if I pick up, say, a Dostoievsky—immediately with the first page, there's that smell of poverty in 1931."
MacColl had been out busking for pennies by the Manchester theatres and cinemas. The songs he sang were unusual, Scots songs, Gaelic songs he had learnt from his mother, border ballads and folk-songs One night while queueing up for the three-and-sixpennies, Kenneth Adam had heard him singing outside the Manchester Paramount. He was suitably impressed. Not only did he give MacColl a handout; he also advised him to go and audition for Archie Harding at the BBC studios in Manchester's Piccadilly."
PROSPERO AND ARIEL (The rise and fall of radio, a personal recollection – D G Bridson 1971)

I never heard MacColl sing in Gaelic in public, though he did so several times in Critics Group meetings as an illustration of style.
According to a conversation I had with Salford historian Eddie Frow, his father, William Miller had "lots of old Scots songs and ballads", though I suspect many of these were fragments or incomplete, later expanded by Ewan for public performance.
I seem to remember he and Joan Littlewood did some collecting (for the BBC??) in the Highlands; it was there he got his 'Chairlie Plenderleith' stories, (and 'The Wellington Boot' about the Highlander who leaves home one morning to get his boot repaired and is away for several years, having undergone many adventures).
MacColl never claimed a Gaelic background.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 06:37 AM

Sorry - cross posted.
I knew that Mike - again my point was the irrelevancy of 'name change'.
Karl responded topointing out his use of various names thus:
"....not a few of your readers might wonder who the hell I am, whether I call myself Karl (my first name, after Marx, which Ewan MacColl always used in addressing me), Fred (my second, after Engels, which I used as a communist activist, to avoid confusing readers of my newspaper reporting), or indeed Frank Davies, the name under which I first leapt into print as a schoolboy contributor to Challenge, the Young Communist League paper in the late Forties."
Living Tradition letters no 37.
My point has always been that the question of name-change is totally irrelevant expept when it comes in handy as yet another stone to throw at Ewan MacColl/Jimmy Miller - as illusrated perfectly by ollaimh
Jim (sometimes known as Jimmy, and here in Ireland often confused with my wife's name and called 'Pat') Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 07:29 AM

I went to see a concert by the Carolina Chocolate Drops when they did their first British tour two or three years ago. They were superb. Most of their material came from the Medicine Show hokum tradition of the songs and tunes that both black and white performers played in these shows, but they varied their repertoire and included a couple of unaccompanied ballads from the Child canon that had been sung in the southern states black tradition - bloody good they were too.

Then Rhiannon Giddens sung a song in Gaelic which she did not say much about. I was gob-smacked. At the interval, I made a beeline for a Gaelic-speaking fiddle-playing friend of mine who was in the audience. What was her Gaelic pronunciation and accent like, I wanted to know. "Pretty damned good!" was Stephen's somewhat startled reply.

At the end of the concert Rhiannon was on merchandise and I managed to ask her how that song had come to the Carolinas. Apparently there was a cluster of plantations that were owned and worked by Gaelic speaking families so, of course, the slaves learned that language and absorbed that culture. After liberation the slave families clung to Gaelic for a while and early song collectors collected some Gaelic songs and stories from the black population.

This sounded so unlikely to me that I came home and did an internet search and found that there were masses of examples of Gaelic-speaking amongst blacks in the southern USA. My favourite reference came from http://www.ogmios.org/ogmios_files/303.htm where it mentions my favourite be-bop trumpeter:-
The Irish and Scots-Gaelic word bunkum (buanchumadh) is derived by all Anglo-American dictionaries from a shaggy-dog tale. As the story goes, during the 16th American Congress, a long-winded congressman from Buncombe County, North Carolina, spoke endlessly on a particular bill, while other members impatiently waited to vote. From then on, as the etymological bunkum goes, to talk "bunkum" meant to speak as endlessly as that long-forgotten politician from Buncombe County. (See: Bartlett, American Dictionary.)
Ironically the old congressman from Buncombe County may have been speaking Gaelic buanchumadh (pron. buan'cumah, a long made-up story) after all. North Carolina had an historic Scots-Gaelic and Irish-speaking population up until the beginning of the 20th century. The jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie's family were African-American Gaelic speakers from North Carolina and Alabama. So Buncombe County may have been the origin of bunkum as buanchumadh, (pron. buan-cumah, "a shaggy dog tale") after all.
"Under an enormous image of (Dizzy) Gillespie beamed on to a wall at Sprague (Hall), Yale music professor Willie Ruff salutes his old friend and explains to the audience how this musical journey began. "Dizzy used to tell me tales of how the blacks near his home in Alabama and in the Carolinas had once spoken exclusively in Scots Gaelic. He spoke of his love for Scotland....." (The Scotsman newspaper, Sept. 25, 2005.

So the Gaels were amongst the oppressors as well as the oppressed.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Baz Bowdidge
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 07:57 AM

Many Jewish songwriters and entertainers changed their names to avoid prejudice whereas Jimmy Miller changed his name to create prejudice.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 07:58 AM

Vic
"So the Gaels were amongst the oppressors as well as the oppressed."
For cultural 'oppression', you should try tip-toeing your way (very carefully) through Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann's attitude to English language singing in Ireland.
Traveller John Reilly (the man who gave the world 'The Maid and the Palmer' after its centuries-long absence from the traditional repertoire, was discovered destitute, squatting in a derelict house in Boyle and his cause was taken up by Tom Munnelly and others, who tried to get him bookings to raise some money to help him.
CCE refused to participate on the grounds that he "wasn't Sean Nos".
Reilly died of malnutrition shortly after.
Jm Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 08:39 AM

Jim Carroll wrote:-
"Traveller John Reilly (the man who gave the world 'The Maid and the Palmer' "


The story that Jim tells is part of the whole sad story of John Reilly's life given on the comprehensive sleeve notes on the long deleted Topic album The Bonny Green Tree 12T359 (1978). It is among the top treasures in my huge collection of recordings. That song that Jim mentions - it is called The Well Below The Valley on the album - went on to become really widely sung on the folk scene, especially after it had been recorded by Planxty.
However, the best track of the many gems on that album for me is Lord Baker, John's name for "Lord Bateman", is the very best of all the recorded versions of that ballad.

Lord Baker was a very rich man:-
"You have houses and you have living,
And all Northumber belongs to thee."

For some reason this put me in mind of another very rich man, Kenneth Baker, who was the Tory Lord Chancellor around the years when I was listening to this album all the time.
Kenneth Baker ended up as Baron Baker of Dorking which I always thought made him sound like a pantomime character.

I wonder if Baron Baker of Dorking was, like Bob Dylan, interested in equality?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 09:04 AM

"So the Gaels were amongst the oppressors as well as the oppressed."

Surely history tells us that every ethnic group has the potential to be both?

"Many Jewish songwriters and entertainers changed their names to avoid prejudice whereas Jimmy Miller changed his name to create prejudice."

Unless you want me, and others, to dismiss this as a completely fatuous and stupid remark, BB, perhaps you should explain what you mean by it.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 10:17 AM

Little Hawk wrote:-
"A change of name is very common in the performing arts"


Indeed, a change of name has been forced on many performers in the UK if they want to get their all important Equity card from the trade union that caters for "singers, actors, designers, stage managers, stunt performers and variety artists amongst a wide range of performers." You can read this at their website at http://www.equity.org.uk/about-us/join-us/how-can-i-join/your-professional-name/ where it also explains why they restrict members' use of names to "avoid duplication of names amongst our members".

I believe that is why Jo Fraser had to change her performing name to Jo Freya.

Still, at least it would eliminate all those, "Which Ian Anderson/Rod Stradling/Chris Bartram are you talking about?" conversations that you get.

Aren't there two dance callers - both called Vic Smith - that get booked at English folk festivals?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 10:38 AM

Catspaw49 - Your insight on this general subject is, of course, brilliant as always, illuminating to the discussion, spectacular in its subtlety, and vast in its degree of comprehension....but the really odd thing is that it draws no critical reactions from anyone on the thread, not even from the most paranoid, defensive, and combative of our UK residents. That suggests to me either that you have been elevated to the status of a living saint on this forum...or...that no one gives a shit.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Owen Woodson
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 10:48 AM

Vic,

There was a considerable influx of Gaelic speaking Highland Scots to North Carolina in the eighteenth century and the whole thing is documented in The Highland Scots of North Carolina by Duane Meyer, a one time history professor at Missouri University. It's so long since I read the book that I'm not even going to try to discuss it. Certainly, I don't recall Meyer saying anything about slave owners teaching their slaves to speak Gaelic. However, if they spoke it themselves, I suppose it's only natural that they'd make sure their slaves spoke Gaelic also.

And yes, the Scots/Gaels/highlanders/Celts were/are as capable of oppressing their fellow human beings as anyone else. I doubt you need me of all people to remind you of the highland clearances.

Just a thought. If Dizzy Gillespie owed something to Gaelic speaking slaves, could it be that Bunk (Buanch) Johnson had a similar lineage? Maybe there's something in this idea about jazz being Celtic after all.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Baz Bowdidge
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 10:54 AM

>Many Jewish songwriters and entertainers changed their names to avoid prejudice whereas Jimmy Miller changed his name to create prejudice."

Unless you want me, and others, to dismiss this as a completely fatuous and stupid remark, BB, perhaps you should explain what you mean by it.<

Neither 'fatuous' nor 'stupid' as Jimmy Miller wanted 'you and others' to PREJUDGE him as a true Scot which if he used his real name would have suggested otherwise.
Incidentally he married twice as Miller.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 11:15 AM

No, BB, you haven't succeeded in redeeming yourself. You've just engaged in a pointless and petty tirade which achieves nothing.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Baz Bowdidge
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 11:48 AM

Why would I want to succeed in redeeming myself when my point was quite clear?
'Tirade'? You must be thinking of someone else on this forum.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 12:07 PM

"And yes, the Scots/Gaels/highlanders/Celts were/are as capable of oppressing their fellow human beings as anyone else."

And linguistically we have to remember that Scotland (prior to standard English being officially imposed by an anglocentric Scottish elite in the late 19thC) hadn't always been Scots and Gaelic speaking. In the mid first millenium Gaelic was only spoken by a small percentage of the people of Scotland in Argyle and the southern Hebrides and the Anglian forerunner of Scots was only spoken in the extreme south by Northumbrian Angles. The bulk of people in Scotland at that time would have been P-Celtic speakers. The imposition of Gaelic and Scots on these peoples caused the complete demise of the their own languages. Not to mention the later Norn of the Northern Isles and Hebrides etc. Both Gaelic and Scots had been expansionist languages themselves.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 01:24 PM

Jim Carroll

I apologise for re-opening this thread; this should have gone off on Thursday but I have been away since then and have just returned.
Of course Brian Creer is right - I do owe the organisers of his club an apology for my inexcusable remark.
It was a knee-jerk reaction on my part to what I believe to be the condoning by trivialising unexceptable behaviour towards a group of people who have given many of us a great deal of pleasure and encouragement from folk music - in my case, most of a lifetime's worth.
This in no way excuses my suggestion that the other organisers of Bryan's Lewes Club share his views and would in any way condone the behaviour we have been discussing so heatedly.
My sincerest apologies for my remark.
Jim Carroll


Thank you, Jim. As one of the organisers of the Lewes Saturday Folk Club I would like to thank you for that much needed apology. We do indeed share the same views when it comes to showing the utmost respect for our guests, our floor singers and our audiences and of course, the music.

It's a pity that you managed to combine apologising with being gratuitously offensive in one post but, since I am in an excellent mood following on from the superb day of song we had yesterday at The Royal Oak, Barcombe ((I gather that today's ballad session went well as well), I shall try and overlook that and simply ask why you believe that my description of Brune's actions as being irresponsible is " trivialising unexceptable behaviour". Actually, having re-read the interview with Sheila Stewart, I realise I misunderstood part of it and would now upgrade my judgement of his behaviour towards her as reprehensible. Equally, I think MacColl's treatment of her leaves a lot to be desired.

P.S. Never describe the LSFC as the Lewes Club. Vic gets very annoyed.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 02:11 PM

I was just working up to having a quick burst of self gratifying pedantry but Allan Conn has pre-empted me.

It is debatable whether the Gaels were aboriginal inhabitants of the British Isles. "Celtic" culture arose in what is now southern Germany in the first half of the first millenium BC, by which time the British Isles had already been occupied by human beings for several thousand years. Callanish and Stonehenge were already old. What happened to the pre-Celtic occupants is not recorded but I doubt if it was pleasant.

Be that as it may, the Gaels were certainly not the aboriginal inhabitants of Scotland. The Scots invaded Scotland from Ireland in the late 6th and early 7th centuries AD previously occupied by (probably amongst others) the Picts who were, as Allan says, from the P-Celtic language group* ie. Britons. They were subsumed and their language lost by th e10th century. At its height, the Kingdom of Northumbria extended up the eastern half of the lowlands to the Forth and the British Kingdom of Strathclyde took up the western half as far as the Clyde.

Haven't probed deeply but as far as I cam make out, Mc and Mac, meaning "son of" didn't emerge till the 12th century.

*Celtic is a language classification not a race.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 02:30 PM

"Why would I want to succeed in redeeming myself when my point was quite clear?
'Tirade'? You must be thinking of someone else on this forum."

OK, I suppose I need to spell it out:

Bob Dylan, George Orwell, Hugh McDiarmid, Elton John, Bill Wyman, Johnny Handle, Sting, Bono (and as far as I know, 'Baz Bowdidge'!) etc., etc., etc. all changed their names and no-one (as far as I know) fatuously accused them of "prejudice".

So you didn't like Ewan MacColl - get over it and stop pointlessly and mindlessly belabouring his corpse!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 06:53 PM

"Haven't probed deeply but as far as I cam make out, Mc and Mac, meaning "son of" didn't emerge till the 12th century."

And they were patronyms not surnames. The general use of surnames itself was imported from outwith Gaelic speaking Scotland. It isn't always obvious if a family name comes from Gaelic either. Some like my own (ie Connochie) have the Mac dropped. Others took Lowland sounding names on. And like I say that is only the one line anyway. My name is from the Gaelic but I can trace my paternal line back to the 18thC and all the female spouses had names more associated with the Borders. It's quite possible for someone with an Italian name or whatever to have many Gaelic speaking ancestors. It seems that poor old Jimmy Miller stands accused of the terrible crimes of his parents comng from the wrong towns, speaking the wrong language and having the wrong surnames! Unless the other poster can actually come up with any proof that MacColl was anti-Gaelic. I've not seen the slightest hint of it myself :-)


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 07:06 PM

mac mc or m' in front of a name is a prenom that comes from a language other than english. IT'S GAELIC!!

Judas Maccabeus? Lou Macari?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 03:51 AM

The Snail, MacBeth, son of Bedha, son of Finlay (various spellings) reigned in the mid 11th century.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 04:03 AM

"trivialising unexceptable behaviour."
I have said all I intend to say on this - I suggest that, unless you wish to continue to make this a one-to-one on this thread we take it elsewhere, otherwise let people decide for themselves on the basis of what has already been written - I very much doubt if either of us is likely to change our minds.
As far as the Stewart's book is concerned, I'm afraid I find all this somewhat Kafka-esque
I have read the book with great pleasure twice, and when the controversy surfaced I re-read the authors' notes searching for the offending commentary - and failed to find it; I wonder if anybody can enlighten me?
The few references that touch on personal matters and may have given offence are accompanied by transcriptions of speech from members of the family - is it being suggested that the authors forged these transcritions - or that the conversations were recorded surreptitiously - what??
I am not disputing that offence was taken, but I am totally in the dark as to what that offence was, and as far as I can make out from the lack of information, so is everybody else not directly concerned.
I certainly do not believe it was either intended or manufactured - why should the authors set out to deliberately offend a family who, as has often been said by both sides, had total respect for each other? As far as I know they remained friends right up to MacColl's death in 1988.
I do know from personal experience that making public, information you have been given as collector can be a minefield. Our first efforts in doing this was spoken commentary from Clare singer Tom Lenihan, who described to a friend whose recordings of speech we used for the album, how a local dancing master would "hit the pupils' legs hard with his walking stick if they got a step wrong".
We were gently corrected by a family member of the D.M. for including this (it might have been more serious if the family member had not been a friend).
We have recorded hours of information from Travellers that we will never use publicly because we have been asked not to - including the best Traveller-made song we have ever come across.
I am somewhat uncomfortable debating this on an open forum - it has always been our practice not to drag traditional singers into public arguments - it really isn't what they signed up for when they generously gave us their songs, stories and information. One bitter experience by a vengeful reviewer who was quite happy to take his spite out on our singers some years ago has reinforced this opinion.
I am only pointing this out to explain why my input into this topic will be limited.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 05:29 AM

Jim Carroll:-
"I am not disputing that offence was taken, but I am totally in the dark as to what that offence was, and as far as I can make out from the lack of information, so is everybody else not directly concerned.
I certainly do not believe it was either intended or manufactured - why should the authors set out to deliberately offend a family who, as has often been said by both sides, had total respect for each other? As far as I know they remained friends right up to MacColl's death in 1988."


You speak about protecting the sensibilities of members of the traveller community on a public forum - admirable - but you again raise the matter of why the Stewarts were offended by Till Doomsday In The Afternoon on a public forum which seems somewhat inconsistent.

Jim, you must know that the only person who can answer your question is Sheila Stewart - the only surviving member of the generations of her family that were interviewed for the book. Sheila uses email frequently - I am in contact with her and we exchange news and messages. Surely, if you were genuinely interested in this information. you would seek it from her directly which would seem to be the best way of doing so to me and the way you appear to do when you say I am somewhat uncomfortable debating this on an open forum - it has always been our practice not to drag traditional singers into public arguments.

You should feel uncomfortable - this is not the right place for such statements as you have made. PM me asking for Sheila's email address if you really want to know the answers to your confusion.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 06:30 AM

Jim seems to have moved on to insulting bigger fish than me so I'll leave him to it.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 06:34 AM

Jim McLean

The Snail, MacBeth, son of Bedha, son of Finlay (various spellings) reigned in the mid 11th century.

You are quite right, Jim. That occurred to me in the early hours of the morning. Sloppy research on my part, I do apologise. I think the general drift was right though.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 06:48 AM

"MacBeth, son of Bedha, son of Finlay" You are right in that Mac was used but not as a surname. Surnames weren't used until later. Macbeth MacFinlay (anglicised) was the son of Finlay. The personal first name Macbeth as I understand it did not mean 'son of Bedha' and was in fact not even really a patronym but was a first name meaning something like 'son of the church' or 'holy person'


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 07:43 AM

"but you again raise the matter of why the Stewarts were offended..."
No Brian, you raised it, I responded to your doing so.
"Actually, having re-read the interview with Sheila Stewart, I realise I misunderstood part of it and would now upgrade my judgement of his behaviour towards her as reprehensible. Equally, I think MacColl's treatment of her leaves a lot to be desired."
Given your objection to MacColl and SEEGER'S (you seem to be selective in your lying the blame) behaviour to the Stewarts, I thought you might be able to enlighten me on why their behaviour was "reprehensible" and "leaving much to be desired" - apparently you can't.
"Jim seems to have moved on to insulting bigger fish than me"
Now you are really scraping the bottom of the barrel; I said that having read the book twice and searched deliberately for the examples of offence, I have failed to find them.
I made a point of saying "I am not disputing that offence was taken, but I am totally in the dark as to what that offence was,"
Have you actually read the book?
Please climb out of your gutter for a few minutes.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 08:09 AM

Oh Dear! Oh dear! here we go again....

Jim Carroll:-
"but you again raise the matter of why the Stewarts were offended..."
No Brian, you raised it, I responded to your doing so.


Actually, it was not Bryan (please, once again, note the spelling


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 08:19 AM

Whoops - I'll try again

Oh Dear! Oh dear! here we go again....

Jim Carroll:-
"but you again raise the matter of why the Stewarts were offended..."
No Brian, you raised it, I responded to your doing so.


Actually, it was not Bryan (please, once again, note the spelling) but Vic Smith who posted that comment.

Jim Carroll (to Bryan Creer) 20 Jan 12 - 03:04 PM :-
"My sincerest apologies for my remark."

Jim Carroll (presumably to Bryan Creer - it is not totally clear) 23 Jan 12 - 07:43 AM
"Please climb out of your gutter for a few minutes."


Is it just me, or is this thread taking a totally surreal quality?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 08:45 AM

Jim Carroll

"but you again raise the matter of why the Stewarts were offended..."
No Brian, you raised it, I responded to your doing so.


You have a long record of attacking me for things I haven't said but I think you have surpassed yourself this time.

"Actually, having re-read the interview with Sheila Stewart, I realise I misunderstood part of it and would now upgrade my judgement of his behaviour towards her as reprehensible. Equally, I think MacColl's treatment of her leaves a lot to be desired."
Given your objection to MacColl and SEEGER'S (you seem to be selective in your lying the blame) behaviour to the Stewarts, I thought you might be able to enlighten me on why their behaviour was "reprehensible" and "leaving much to be desired" - apparently you can't.


I know nothing about Peggy Seeger's behaviour towards the Stewarts so I'm not in a position to comment on it. It was John Brune's behaviour towards Sheila Stewart that I described as "reprehensible" not MacColl's (or Seeger's). In the full knowledge that I will receive a torrent of abuse in return, I will explain why I described MacColl's (but not Seeger's) behaviour to Sheila Stewart as "leaving much to be desired".

In the interview, Sheila Stewart says -

"Ewan MacColl had got a bee in his bonnet that there was one particular song that I had to learn, because he wanted me to open the programme and finish the programme. So he sent this wee Austrian man John Brune to teach me a song that had seemingly been collected from a Maggie Johnson down in England, but I had to sing it in an Irish style. And I said, 'Well I'm sorry John, but I cannae waste time, I'm at berrypicking, I need the money, I've got kids to raise.' 'That's quite all right.' he says, so he came out to the berryfields with me and he walked up and down the berryfields with me, teaching me this song, how to sing it.",/i>

Having re-re-read that passage, it is unclear whether it was MacColl or Brune who went up to berryfields to teach her the song. Be that as it may, it was clearly MacColl's decision that she should sing it and it's pretty clear that she didn't particularly want to. One of MacColl's famous policies was that people should only sing songs from their own native tradition but here he is insisting that she sing a song she didn't know from someone she had never heard of in an Irish style for godness sake. Even if Maggie Johnson had been real and the song genuine, I can't see the justification for that.

There is another example of MacColl's attitude further on in the interview -

Once, a long time ago, at the end of a festival, she was cajoled on to the stage to sing Hank Williams' Jambalaya. "I got the first verse and the first chorus out; everybody was a' jiving and dancing, then the door flew open and this man come up. 'STOP!' he said. And of course everybody stopped. 'I am gonnae get in touch with Ewan MacColl,' he says, 'to tell Ewan l that the Stewarts of Blair have gone pop!' My face was like a beetroot. I put the mike down and come off stage. Three days later, I got a tape through the post fae Ewan. 'I think you need taking down a little bit Sheila. I've just had a letter and a 'phone call from this man, saying that you've gone pop.' And he sent me two songs, must have been forty, fifty verses each, 'don't ever, ever let me hear that you've been singing other than your ballads.' He played hell with me for doin' it, so I've never ever done it again - never ever tried to sing with music again."

What in heaven's name made him think he had the right to talk to her like that? (I wonder who "this man" was.)

"Jim seems to have moved on to insulting bigger fish than me"
Now you are really scraping the bottom of the barrel; I said that having read the book twice and searched deliberately for the examples of offence, I have failed to find them.
I made a point of saying "I am not disputing that offence was taken, but I am totally in the dark as to what that offence was,"
Have you actually read the book?


No, I haven't read it but I have read what Sheila Stewart said about "This horrible book!". The Stewarts were clearly outraged. You clearly don't realise how offensive you are being by making light of their feelings.

Please climb out of your gutter for a few minutes

A while ago, I asked if you really wanted to take part in an intelligent adult discussion. Clearly not.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 08:51 AM

@%$£*&@! Forgot to Preview. Sorry for repeating a long post but this one is more intelligible.

Jim Carroll

"but you again raise the matter of why the Stewarts were offended..."
No Brian, you raised it, I responded to your doing so.


You have a long record of attacking me for things I haven't said but I think you have surpassed yourself this time.

"Actually, having re-read the interview with Sheila Stewart, I realise I misunderstood part of it and would now upgrade my judgement of his behaviour towards her as reprehensible. Equally, I think MacColl's treatment of her leaves a lot to be desired."
Given your objection to MacColl and SEEGER'S (you seem to be selective in your lying the blame) behaviour to the Stewarts, I thought you might be able to enlighten me on why their behaviour was "reprehensible" and "leaving much to be desired" - apparently you can't.


I know nothing about Peggy Seeger's behaviour towards the Stewarts so I'm not in a position to comment on it. It was John Brune's behaviour towards Sheila Stewart that I described as "reprehensible" not MacColl's (or Seeger's). In the full knowledge that I will receive a torrent of abuse in return, I will explain why I described MacColl's (but not Seeger's) behaviour to Sheila Stewart as "leaving much to be desired".

In the interview, Sheila Stewart says -

"Ewan MacColl had got a bee in his bonnet that there was one particular song that I had to learn, because he wanted me to open the programme and finish the programme. So he sent this wee Austrian man John Brune to teach me a song that had seemingly been collected from a Maggie Johnson down in England, but I had to sing it in an Irish style. And I said, 'Well I'm sorry John, but I cannae waste time, I'm at berrypicking, I need the money, I've got kids to raise.' 'That's quite all right.' he says, so he came out to the berryfields with me and he walked up and down the berryfields with me, teaching me this song, how to sing it."

Having re-re-read that passage, it is unclear whether it was MacColl or Brune who went up to the berryfields to teach her the song. Be that as it may, it was clearly MacColl's decision that she should sing it and it's pretty clear that she didn't particularly want to. One of MacColl's famous policies was that people should only sing songs from their own native tradition but here he is insisting that she sing a song she didn't know from someone she had never heard of in an Irish style for goodness sake. Even if Maggie Johnson had been real and the song genuine, I can't see the justification for that.

There is another example of MacColl's attitude further on in the interview -

Once, a long time ago, at the end of a festival, she was cajoled on to the stage to sing Hank Williams' Jambalaya. "I got the first verse and the first chorus out; everybody was a' jiving and dancing, then the door flew open and this man come up. 'STOP!' he said. And of course everybody stopped. 'I am gonnae get in touch with Ewan MacColl,' he says, 'to tell Ewan l that the Stewarts of Blair have gone pop!' My face was like a beetroot. I put the mike down and come off stage. Three days later, I got a tape through the post fae Ewan. 'I think you need taking down a little bit Sheila. I've just had a letter and a 'phone call from this man, saying that you've gone pop.' And he sent me two songs, must have been forty, fifty verses each, 'don't ever, ever let me hear that you've been singing other than your ballads.' He played hell with me for doin' it, so I've never ever done it again - never ever tried to sing with music again."

What in heaven's name made him think he had the right to talk to her like that? (I wonder who "this man" was.)

"Jim seems to have moved on to insulting bigger fish than me"
Now you are really scraping the bottom of the barrel; I said that having read the book twice and searched deliberately for the examples of offence, I have failed to find them.
I made a point of saying "I am not disputing that offence was taken, but I am totally in the dark as to what that offence was,"
Have you actually read the book?


No, I haven't read it but I have read what Sheila Stewart said about "This horrible book!". The Stewarts were clearly outraged. You clearly don't realise how offensive you are being by making light of their feelings.

Please climb out of your gutter for a few minutes

A while ago, I asked if you really wanted to take part in an intelligent, adult discussion. Clearly not.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 09:05 AM

Sorry - this is getting convoluted; and most of the misunderstanding is mine.
My response was to "I think MacColl's treatment of her leaves a lot to be desired." which I assumed referred to the book, and I mistakenly misread it as coming from Bryan; that is not the case, my apologies.
There has never been any suggestion whatever that Sheila was reluctant to sing the songs; they were to open and close the radio ballad as examples of Traveller made songs. Had Brune's fakes gone in as such it would have undermined the credibility of the whole programme - this is why I feel it an important issue.
As far as the offence given, I have never trivialised it, nor have I attempted to deny it - I simply do not know what it is - I am insulting nobody.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 10:04 AM

Having re-re-re-read that section, I realise that it WAS Brune who went up to the berryfields to teach Sheila Stewart the song so I reinstate my judgement of him to "reprehensible". In her account, she sounds considerably less than enthusiastic about learning the song.

Had Brune's fakes gone in as such it would have undermined the credibility of the whole programme - this is why I feel it an important issue.

But they didn't because Brune himself prevented them from doing so. Judge the man (and he has much to be judged for) for his whole actions not just selected parts. As I said from the start, I don't think he intended any harm to the Traveller Community. His target was MacColl and he thoughtlessly used Sheila Stewart to that end for which he is much to blame.

As far as the offence given, I have never trivialised it, nor have I attempted to deny it - I simply do not know what it is - I am insulting nobody.

Then find out. You could start by reading what Sheila Stewart said in the interview and then, as Vic suggested, contacting her yourself before issuing airy "I don't see the problem" comments. Sheila Stewart says there is a problem therefore, there is a problem. To suggest otherwise is an insult to her and her family.

I notice you have not commented on my evidence for why I think MacColl's behaviour towards SS left much to be desired. (Who was "this man"?)


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 11:14 AM

The Scots travellers were some of the finest singers of Country & Western songs that I have ever heard in these islands. Around 1972 I remember that Sheila Stewart was at our table at the Kirklands Hotel in Kinross at one late late session during a TMSA festival. It must have been sometime after 2am and through a haze of alcohol I can remember that Aly Bain, Tom Anderson and Peerie Willie Johnson playing some Eddie Lang/Stephan Grappelli/Django-style jazz and people were enjoying it but blethering away over it. Aly Bain then announced, "Ye'll hae tae listen now. I gonna' call up oor wee lassie vocalist." Up struggles Jane Turriff on her crutches and with the trio accompanying her she sings a selection of Jimmy Rodgers songs - complete with really excellent yodelling. Sheila noticed how much I was enjoying it and said, "A' the travellers love Country & Western, Vic. It's what we sing maist efter oor ain sangs."

Next morning, Jane Turriff was in a concert singing her ballads in a way that sent shivers down my spine. She was only one of the great singers who could sing both styles without compromising the other.

Another time, during a Blairgowrie Festival, Tina and I were at a ceilidh at the Stewarts house in Rattray which had all their freens which included many of the great Scots traveller singers, Whytes, Stewarts, Higginses, McPhees etc. Amongst the large crowd there were a handful of young folk enthusiasts. Shuggie (Hugh) Higgins latched on to Tina and I knowing the sort of people we were and said, "I've got just the sang that you two would enjoy; and with a twinkle in his eye he launched into:-
South of the Border.
Down Mexico Way.....

He was looking at us all the time he was singing to gauge our reaction. He finished the song and then said, "Now, what do you think of that?" As far as I remember, I said something to the effect that my mum has a recording of Frank Sinatra singing that song, but that I preferred his way with it. Whatever I said, it must have be the right sort of response, because he then said something like, "Well, here's something that you will enjoy" and sang a stunning version of The False Knight On the Road. I remember thing that though I had my cassette recorder with me that it would have been inappropriate to get it out at that point.

The travellers were cute. They knew what they had; they knew what was important but it didn't stop then enjoying and indulging in other aspects of popular culture. And certainly, time after time, I felt myself being tested out to see what my reaction would be, just as I was in the example that I have given.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Vic Smith
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 12:16 PM

Jim wrote:-
"My response was to "I think MacColl's treatment of her leaves a lot to be desired." which I assumed referred to the book, and I mistakenly misread it as coming from Bryan"


But, Jim, that comment did come from Bryan (22 Jan 12 - 01:24 PM)

Please read comments carefully before responding without attributing things that Bryan did say when he didn't and what he didn't say when he did.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: TheSnail
Date: 23 Jan 12 - 12:32 PM

But, Jim, that comment did come from Bryan

But did not refer to the book. I think Jim needs to cut down on the knee-jerk reactions.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 09:07 AM

With MacColl's set of preconceptions, there is no possible way he could have found Dylan even half listenable.

I myself enjoy and am inspired by Dylan as one of the most vital songsters of the 20th century. But his early days, as represented by his presence after coming to NY and what we hear of it on his 1st album, he had everything to make the folk world hate him. There was little sign then that he was not a poseur, bad imitator, destroyer of perfectly good songs, etc.

He was first recorded before he was ready. He had to grow up and become seasoned in public and some of the results were less than good. In the year or so thereafter his difference continued to be just too drastic. He got a lot of rejection—just like anyone who changes things too sweepingly.

The greatness began emerging with the second album, which began to show he wasn't just hacking around. And it took some people a long time to see it. For example, in my book Paul Clayton and the Folk Revival I quote the late, great Sandy Paton who bridled at seeing Paul carrying Dylan's guitar to a gig, saying flatly that Dylan was not fit to carry Paul's guitar.

My own conversion to a Dylan fan happened, oddly enough, not before, but ~when~ he went electric. What went before had some really good songs ... but IMHHHO he only came into his own as a world-class performer when he had the electric backing and could work with it—one of his great less-noticed talents has been his restless creativity in welding a group of disparate musicians into a dazzling lever for innovation. And IMHHHO not until then were his creative talents fully developed.

Okay, fine, take a crack at me ... but you needed to be there as everything was changing to feel how powerful the resentment against Dylan was, Jan 1961-mid-1963, in the honest hearts of a number of musicians and audiences.

And I say this as an enthusiastic fan who loves the broad range of his life's work.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 09:31 AM

As to specifically why MacColl didn't like Dylan, put yourself in his shoes. He revered above all the great world of British balladry and song lore. He preferred singing unaccompanied much of the time.

The following is just an interpretation based on best guess. I did not know MacColl but I heard most of his traditional song recordings, solo and with A.L. Lloyd and others. This is how I think he must have been stricken, as many traditionalists were, by the Brave New World of folk rock represented by Dylan's rise.

The pure note of the old way of singing closed his mind to many kinds of innovation. Certainly he was far from ready to enjoy folk-rock as it thrashed through its growing pains. The style was too foreign, the instrument playing crude to his ears, he who at most favored the kinds of sensitive accompaniment—song always coming first, sound second—that Peggy Seeger could provide.

He seems to have been somewhat more liberal when dealing with song compositions, and he had an appreciation for what that sort of folk-based accompaniment can do. It has always surprised me that he wrote "The First Time Ever," which was so unlike his style. But even that departure, and others like "Dirty Old Town," were quiet and reflective. At most he could be strident in a good cause. But an innovation in sound was likely to turn him off.

I think people today who were born into a rock world, with all its assumptions about the variety of sound possible, and who haven't passed through that change, can have no idea what a catastrophic overturn it was. It is an imaginative feat to put yourself in a world without rock—without Dylan in fact, he was that revolutionary—that had no conception of what was coming.

It was like war, folks. And, as usual after a war, things settle down in the new orientation, and people coming later wonder what all the fuss was about.

I wish I could express it better, but there it is. Between the worlds of Ewan MacColl and Bob Dylan was a spread of light-years in comprehension. When the rest of us crossed that gulf, McColl's profoundly and admirably retro musical tastes, along with those of many others (just think of all the pop bandleaders!) were simply left behind.

In fairness, MacColl could and did change. I heard MacColl, Peggy Seeger and their son in concert late in his life, and with his son's driving guitar accompaniment MacColl, on some songs, appeared to be making an accommodation with the big new sound. Whether he was comfortable with it, or merely felt it necessary if he was to engage a contemporary audience, I don't know. In his own way he was an innovator; but no two people differ so clashingly as a couple of innovators in disparate styles.

Perhaps Peggy would have some useful insight on this.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 09:45 AM

Excellent couple of posts, Bob.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Don Wise
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 10:05 AM

To widen Bob's comments......Those of us who grew up in the UK in the 1960s probably remember the initial reaction of our parents to Dylan,The Beatles,The Rolling Stones et al.('call that music!?','Turn that infernal row off!' etc.etc.) In that sense, MacColl was a product of his generation. What really takes the biscuit though is the shere unadulterated arrogance in his remarks in the Melody Maker interview, at least in the remarks Robert Shelton quotes in his book. A trip to The British Library or The Public Records Office (for example) ought to reveal the interview (assuming that newspapers,periodicals etc were/are obliged to supply copies to such institutions).
       Come to think of it, MacColl must have been close to a coronary with the treatments Fairport,Steeleye,Lindisfarne,5 Hand Reel, etc.,etc.......gave to traditional numbers.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 10:18 AM

That was an absolutely great set of posts, Bob Coltman, the best explanation of what happened that I've heard yet. My initial reaction to Dylan's sound was very negative....and that was because I was a folk purist...wedded to the old sound, just like a lot of the other people in the folk audience who rejected the young Bob Dylan. He sounded too extreme to me...not like "folk music".

But I barely listened to him at all or even thought about him at that time...1961 to 1968, approximately.

I was listening, though, to all the other rising young folk stars such as Joan Baez, Peter/Paul/Mary, Simon & Garfunkel, Judy Collins, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Ian & Sylvia, Leonard Cohen (a bit later), Joni Mitchell (again, a bit later), all of them people who, unbeknownst to me, admired Dylan's work and were certainly influenced by it. (I don't know if Paul Simon admired Dylan...he made fun of him in one song...but I can't help thinking he was influenced by Dylan).

I also, funnily enough, liked the Dylan songs that Joan Baez had recorded better than anything else she was singing...and I was aware that Dylan had written those songs, so I decided that although I didn't want to hear him sing them, he was a really great songwriter. To that extent, I accepted him.

So here I was, this folk purist, hated the way Dylan sounded, but was very impressed by his songwriting. And I basically ignored his music until 1969....at which time I suddenly "got it"! (mainly because the one person in the world whose opinion I most respected at the time advised me to buy "Highway 61 Revisited" and actually listen to it all the way through at least 3 times.)

I listened to it once and was totally converted into a huge Dylan fan, and I agree with you that he "came into his own as a world-class performer when he had the electric backing and could work with it". That resulted in 3 incredible albums in '65 and '66 that will stand forever.

I also think, though, that his earlier acoustic work from the 2nd album on was often stunningly good and that it changed everything in modern folk music from that point on. He wrote the songs nobody else had written...and that (by his own testimony) is why he wrote them...because he simply couldn't find cover songs or trad songs that said what he personally wanted to say. He opened the door to everything that followed, not only in folk music, but in rock music too.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 12:37 PM

Come to think of it, MacColl must have been close to a coronary with the treatments Fairport,Steeleye,Lindisfarne,5 Hand Reel, etc.,etc.......gave to traditional numbers."
and rightly so, most of the time they were a waste of time,Steeleye [imo]were the best of a bad bunch,probably due to Martins influence,folk and rock[imo] just does not gel, it would be interesting to get some of Martins quotes and earlier opinions on Steeleye.
in fairness to Steeleye, I have heard many folk rock bands since, and they have all been pale imitations, that in comparison have faded into insignificance.
in my opinion, to make folk rock work the musicians need to have absorbed and been steeped in both folk and rock, very few musicians come into that category.
the same goes for musicians trying to blend folk and jazz, to be successful the musicians need to be steeped in both kinds of music, not many are


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 01:14 PM

"I think people today who were born into a rock world, with all its assumptions about the variety of sound possible, and who haven't passed through that change, can have no idea what a catastrophic overturn it was. It is an imaginative feat to put yourself in a world without rock—"

Yes, rock has become a dominant form which nearly eclipses all others within the 'popular' musical genres. I suspect that for many people, of the last few generations, who don't have specialised musical tastes, if it 'doesn't rock' it 'doesn't compute'.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 01:48 PM

I was initially utterly contemptuous of all rock music in all its popular forms, and I wouldn't listen to it. That was when I was a folk purist...between about 1960 and 1968. It was also, basically, when I was a teenager. I probably would have agreed wholeheartedly with MacColl's view of Dylan at that time.

In 1969 that all changed. In a process that took literally one DAY I came to totally appreciate Dylan's electric music, unite it firmly to my already existing love of traditional folk forms, and after that I loved both folk music AND good rock music (by "good", I mean with lyrics that are worth listening to). There's been quite a bit of good rock music by now, although how much of it gets on the radio? Well, a bit of it...amongst a sea of dross.

Is it a good thing to be narrow? I don't think so. That's why they call it "narrow-minded" when you are. I dropped my narrow-minded outer style-based folkie prejudices in 1969 and I increased my appreciation of popular music tenfold from that point on. Who do I thank for that? Bob Dylan. And the respected friend and teacher who advised me to listen carefully to him.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 02:12 PM

I always find myself ruefully amused, LH, to be told that people who don't particularly like rock music are "narrow-minded"! Surely rock is a limited, highly stylised form that has been heavily promoted over the last few decades. Personally, I think that people who are fixated on the rock form, and ignore most other musical genres, are the truly narrow-minded ones!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Will Fly
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 02:43 PM

Surely rock is a limited, highly stylised form that has been heavily promoted over the last few decades.

Oh well, here we go: define "rock". No easier than defining "folk", is my guess.

No music is a "waste of time". Whether you like it or not is just personal taste. If it has validity for someone, it's not wasting their time. I like bits of Bob Dylan, Steeleye Span, Fairport Convention, Martin Carthy, Lindisfarne, Davy Graham, Bert Jansch, Dave Swarbrick, Anne Briggs, June Tabor, Cream, the McPeake Family... blah, blah, blah...


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 03:10 PM

I am not suggesting that "people who don't particularly like rock music are "narrow-minded", Shimrod. You misinterpret me. I don't expect everyone to like rock music any more than I expect everyone to like opera...or jazz...or folk music.

I was suggesting that people who have become deep enthusiasts of ONE particular style of music AND who automatically look down their patrician noses at virtually EVERY other style of music are narrow-minded.

I'm not suggesting you are such a person, so you need not take it personally.

I'm just explaining what I meant by the word "narrow-minded".

What I "always find myself ruefully amused by", Shimrod...is my own self as a younger person, utterly sure of his own tastes, who was a folk purist to the core, and who despised virtually all other forms of popular music, looked down his nose with disgust at any person or group who played rock music, country music, pop music, bluegrass or ANYTHING at all that I didn't rate as "folk music". I was inexperienced, narrow-minded, arrogant....and very young. I eventually grew up some. I started to appreicate music in many different genres...not all of them...but many.

My argument, Shimrod, is not some kind of attack on you or someone else here on this forum. It's my reaction and reflection upon my own youth, the youth that I left behind when I became a bit less narrow-minded. The only real enemy I will ever have in this life, Shimrod, is the negative voice inside ME. For about 10 years of my life it shut my ears to a whole bunch of very good music and fooled me into thinking I was more "special" than some other people because of that. That was a lie, but I didn't know it at the time.

Maybe that's why Dylan replied to the young man in England in 1966 who yelled at him "Judas!" (for playing electric music).....Dylan replied to him "I don't believe you. You're a liar!" He was right. That kid was a liar, but he just didn't know it at the time.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 03:28 PM

little hawk,you are suggesting that people who didnt like rock were narrow.
ISAID I DIDNT LIKE FOLK ROCK, that is not the same as saying i do not like rock, even if i didnt like rock that would not make me narrow, neither did i say i only liked folk.
if you like Dylan that is great,but dont expect everyone else to do so. as a matter of fact I like some of his songs but not others, Ithink he has written some good songs and also some crap, same as EWAN.
I would be more inclined to singing Ewans songs though probably mean more to me as a singer, you probably feel that way about Dylan, DOES THAT MAKE EITHER OF US NARROW. NO


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 03:28 PM

"folk and rock [imo] just does not gel"

Try this: Shelagh McDonald: The Dowie Dens of Yarrow

Enjoy!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Acorn4
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 04:01 PM

I think the Oyster Band have probably consistently done the folk/rock thing the best, though I appreciate that many will not like their approach.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 06:22 PM

No, GSS I am NOT suggesting that people who "didnt like rock" were narrow. Not liking rock would merely be a matter of personal taste. Nor am I suggesting anything personal whatsoever about you in this or any other comment. Reread my previous post a lot slooooooower this time, think about what I actually said in it, and you may this time get what I was actually saying. It's all there in the previous post.

And it's summed up in this one short statement:

"I was suggesting that people who have become deep enthusiasts of (any) ONE particular style of music AND who automatically (therefore) look down their patrician (or otherwise) noses at virtually EVERY other style of music are narrow-minded."

I obviously wasn't saying that about YOU. Or Shimrod. I was saying it about myself at the age of, say, 16 years old. I was a musical snob who thought nothing was any "good" except folk music, and it had to be folk music that was sung a certain way too...Bob Dylan sure didn't sing it that way. I was verrrry particular.

I've seen a lot of 16-year-olds with that kind of snobby attitude about the music they liked. I've seen a few older people with it too. It's understandble in a 16-year-old.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 06:34 PM

LH, I never take offence at anything that you write. Although, occasionally, I may not agree with some of your views or opinions, you are obviously a thoughtful and sensitive person and I have only respect for you.

I believe strongly that we should all be able to engage in vigorous debate, on this forum, without giving each other offence.

Having said that though, it does sometimes bring out my 'competitive' side and, well, nobody's perfect!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 08:01 PM

Dylan was arch capitolist chameleon folk music market server and

Ewan MacColl was an arch communist

read his autobiography- the worst day of his life was the day the soviet union fell

part of the communist take over of folk music him and seeger

dylan just wanted the money and re tooled himself to suit


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 09:25 PM

wish someone would retool me


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 Jan 12 - 12:37 AM

"Ewan MacColl was an arch communist
read his autobiography- the worst day of his life was the day the soviet union fell"
.,,.
A chip off the old block, his father Will, indeed. One of the most moving moments in the whole of Ewan's autobiography Journeyman is the account of Will Miller, on the day that Lenin died, sitting in front of the fire for hours, weeping uncontrollably.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Don Wise
Date: 25 Jan 12 - 04:55 AM

@ Little Hawk:

as Bob Dylan put it,"I was so much older then,I'm younger than that now".


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,pauperback
Date: 28 Jul 16 - 04:37 PM

Baz Bowdidge Date: 22 Jan 12 - 10:54 AM


Not the brother of Judith Miller?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Jul 16 - 08:03 PM

Dylan imo is pretentious,on occasions he wrote enigmatic songs that allowed others to read whatever message they liked.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: toadfrog
Date: 16 Apr 17 - 02:54 PM

Aside from political differences--
However talented, Dylan had no feeling for traditional songs, which McColl and Seeger did. McColl believed that the spirit of the songs he sang could be preserved. Dylan may have thought he understood that spirit. But he didn't.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 16 Apr 17 - 07:31 PM

read his autobiography- the worst day of his life was the day the soviet union fell

He died on 22 October 1989.

The USSR fell on 25 December 1991.

(I have no idea if Conrad is still alive. I don't suppose it makes much difference to the chances of a fact getting through into his skull).


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Gallus Moll
Date: 16 Apr 17 - 07:56 PM

I've not read through all of these posts, so don' t know what has been said before- but toadfrog -- I have to disagree!
Certainly some early Dylan songs were based on Scottish traditional / folk material!
And I know that Jean Redpath shared a flat 'way back when with a number of musicians, Bob Dylan was either one of them or session-ed with them - and Jean would have been singing Scottish ballads and the like! So it does not surprise me that something might have rubbed off onto him-----
I have certainly heard Scots . traditional (undertones? overtones? ) in some early Dylan songs -- -


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: meself
Date: 16 Apr 17 - 08:51 PM

Saying that Dylan "had no feeling for traditional songs" is simply stating an opinion. We are free to agree or disagree. ("Yes, he did." "No, he didn't." "He did." "He didn't." "Did." "Didn't.").

Maybe we could take one of those polls that they do nowadays on TV news programs: Our question: Do you think Dylan had no feeling for traditional song? x% of respondents say 'yes', y% say 'no'.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Thompson
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 02:31 AM

It's understandable why someone whose political heart is in the solidarity of working class people would find Bob Dylan's "only a working man" image while Dylan is a true capitalist somewhat like the scraping of fingernails on a blackboard?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 06:17 AM

anyone who thinks Dylan had no feeling for traditional song - either knows absolutely fuck all about traditional song, or absolutely fuck all about Dylan's work.

the word 'tradition' comes from the Latin 'traditio' - I hand on...

The work of Dylan and his versions of traditional song and attempts to inject modern resonances into traditional song forms is responsible for inspiring most of the elder statesmen of the English folk revival.

attempts to trash an important artist's reputation reeks of the profitless factionalism of an earlier age. Dylan's legacy speaks for itself to anyone of intelligence or awareness of how the folk music movement in England has developed.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 06:25 AM

"Ewan MacColl was an arch communist" - yes a lunatic British communist, nutty as a fruitcake just like Corbyn and his bunch. Now I work with a North Vietnamese lady who is of course communist, very normal, and one of the nicest ladies you would ever care to meet, totally free of the preposterous hang ups associated with British lefties and worse!!!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 06:34 AM

The trouble is, Al, that this kind of discussion always ends up in polarisation. Your opening remarks are typical. It seems to always depend on whether one is a Dylan aficionado or not. The comment about the elder statesmen of the folk revival reeks of hyperbole to me. If that overwhelming influence is present, I don't see abundant signs of it all over the place hitting me between the eyes. The man himself regards himself as a rock singer. Can't deny he had influence on some people. But to suggest (not saying you are suggesting...) that he's some kind of pivotal or seminal figure in the folk music revival is pushing it way too far.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 07:12 AM

"anyone who thinks Dylan had no feeling for traditional song - either knows absolutely fuck all about traditional song,"
If he did Al, it didn't appear in his own songs or his interpretation of traditional ones.
Dylan's nod to the tradition was a relatively brief one - his history is mainly as a pop singer - he followed his career - when folk took a dive in the charts, he went elsewhere, nowt wrong with that
MacColl regarded Dylan as a threat to what his generation of folk singers had worked for - the opening up and dissemination of what they regarded as 'the songs of the people', particularly in respect to the national and regional repertoires
When Lomax came to Britain in the fifties, everybody was trying to sound like Woodie Guthrie, including Ewan and Bert Lloyd
Lomax argued that the native repertoire was dying because it was being ignored - MacColl and Lloyd listened and devoted their lives to our native traditions..... then along came Bobby
"The word 'tradition' comes from the Latin 'tradition' - I hand on..."
Wherever the word originated, when it is applied to song or music, it is fairly specific - I might hand on my old socks to a younger brother, but it doesn't make them traditional socks.
Don't know about you, but Bozo's predictably hysterical outburst convinces me I've chosen the right side
Hope his Vietnamese lady has been immunised against rabies!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 08:00 AM

Dylan's nod to the tradition was a relatively brief one - his history is mainly as a pop singer - he followed his career - when folk took a dive in the charts, he went elsewhere, nowt wrong with that

A kind of backwards Eddi Reader - when her pop career fizzled out she figured the folk scene might make an appropriate retirement home.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 08:49 AM

I think Masters of war is a good song, the tune is also taken from the tradition [was it taken from Jean Ritchies family tradtion?]. Bob dylans dream is a crap song[ imo] but he took the tune from the tradition again[ croppy boy/ lord franklin]
I understand why MacColl did what he thought was right, and it meant that the british reperttoire was strengthened, however I see no fault in singing Guthries songs, preferably in ones own accent, but better that they are sung than not sung at all.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 09:03 AM

From the one time I met McColl and having known several who knew him. People were very reverent towards him, and I feel many scared of him. He really seemed to hate all 'American Folk' Though of course he married American Folkie Peggy Seeger. But he also upset many top artists i.e once told Ireland's greatest Singer Luke Kelly that he couldn't sing. McColl actually had a very below average voice! But most I've met saw him as a very big headed disagreeable but talented man


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 09:06 AM

Jim i would refer you to his first album. His renditions of the traditional songs of his own country are exceptional.
In the thing about amplified buskers, I said five minutes ago. That Dylan along with Pete Seeger used traditional forms to articulate our feelings of helplessness in the Cold War period. To say that an artist has not understood a song form - when they can rewrite Nottanum Town as masters of War - recorded by dozens of artists like Nina Simone. This clever stuff and we could do with a few more people misunderstanding traditional forms.

Just for that I would rate him as an important artist. i am not an aficianado of Dylan, and I appreciate the correctness of what you say Jim - it was a relatively short time in his career. but then so was Picasso's blue period.

For   my money he lost his way when he jacked in folk music. He was original and very influential, and the folk music bit was his most creative period.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 09:37 AM

The UK Folk scene needs MacColl right now. I know I have been critical of him in the past, but it needs someone who is prepared to give their time to help others. The only song writers[ imo] who compare, who have a comparable dossier of well writeen songs are Rosselson , and to alesser extent Lowe
MacColl probably saw through Dylan, and possibly saw that commercialism was his Future drectioin , personally I think RayDavies was a better writer than Dylan, in the commercial genre


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 10:02 AM

Same nonsense, different day. Same people saying the same things. Who in Gods name reopened this repetitive rubbish.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 10:32 AM

"Who in Gods name reopened this repetitive rubbish."
Who in God's mae is interfering with free discussion, anonymous Guest
If you have nothing to say, say nothing
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 10:37 AM

I am not interfering with free discussion, I am objecting to pages and pages of people saying the same things over and over again..As for having nothing to say, you would be a blessing if you would take your own advice.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jeri
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 11:12 AM

People are generally not that bright and will reply to anything to which they have a script in their heads. And, no judgement about intelligence, Jim does like saying the same things over and over, with varying combinations of werdz.

Also, it's the internet, and this thread is searchable, so you get new folks who've never been in here before. You can probably search Google for threads where you can express your hatred for Dylan, and POW - this one comes up.

The problem you can do something about here is NOT getting other people to be less obnoxious, but to learn to ignore the stuff you don't like. You clicked on this thread for some reason, and then you came back to it.

Big ol' rhetorical "why"!?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 11:13 AM

Well say something different or say nothing - who do you think you are to dictate whet can be discussed?
Who started no make anonymous non-members adjudicators?
As far as I am concerned, MacColl was the major moving force in the folk revival and it's about time we discussed that fact without the garbage shoveled out by a bunch of necrophobes - the man'r been dead for over half a century
Is that different enough for you?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 11:30 AM

well said,Jim.
I cannot think of many who gave up their time for nothing, to try and help others, MacColl and Seeger may have made mistakes,who doesnt make mistakes,but they were committed.
IMO people like them[With their faults] are needed more than ever in 2017.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Jackaroodave
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 11:53 AM

Dylan and MacColl seem to be drawing on two overlapping but otherwise quite different traditions. Dylan's included commercial recordings of old-timey, jug band and hokum, urban and rural blues. (Dave van Ronk did an album called "In the Tradition" which mainly comprised early jazz songs.) Dylan's tradition probably had more in common with R. Crumb's and the Grateful Dead's than with MacColl's, so it's moot to compare them as interpreters of their respective traditions as if they were trying to do the same thing.

Exposure to this world was very liberating for lyricists. It was full of colorful metaphor, allusion, very specific references to God knows what, all tremendously evocative and equally cryptic. Performer after performer has testified to the influence of Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music, which is just full of this kind of stuff.

For better or worse, it gave the songwriters permission to trust the associations in their unconscious, and when they came through, it was overpowering: "All Along the Watchtower," "Hard Rain," "Every Grain of Sand," or "Chimes of Freedom," for example, seem to me precise recreations of this simultaneously hyper-specific and ominously cryptic lyricism. And of course these performers came of age when sinister weirdness was thick in the air--along with other substances.

(It's also relevant that many strands in this tradition had very different approaches to originality, authenticity, "borrowing," and getting paid for selling recordings--or sheet music.)

Many traditional ballads in the forms they reached Dylan's contemporaries had the same mysterious but vividly evocative images and stories, partly, I suppose, because their original audiences already understood the background, partly because of the omissions and accumulated mondegreens that shaped their eventual form.

Even aside from the difference in their traditions, it seems to me almost inevitable that MacColl--and Dylan's early traditionalist followers--would abominate the actual hallmarks of Dylan's creativity. MacColl, I gather, was a traditionalist who sought to preserve, rescue, and restore historic forms; Dylan was a modernist (like Joyce) who sought to highlight them, exploit them, stretch them, and create his own very different work in part out of them.

All this, of course, is old hat, but I think it is relevant to some of the disagreements in this thread. They don't strike me as just matters of opinion, but rather expressions of two different and valuable approaches to "the tradition" that stem from the differences in our formative experiences of it.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 12:09 PM

"I cannot think of many who gave up their time for nothing, to try and help others,"

............. well, every single folk club organiser I ever met.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jackaroodave
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 12:24 PM

Sorry, forgot to log in.

Bill


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 12:33 PM

Jim;You saying nothing different, you have said the same bloody thing over and over. I am not an ajudicator of any sort, I am simply suggesting that there is no need to saw sawdust. As for being an anonymous non member. I am allowed to be so under the rules of this forum. I have good reason for that. As for Ewan McColl, yes, he wrote a few good songs, yes he had influence. But we have discussed him to death.
Bob Dylan was simply a much greater influence..I don't think any amount of bafflegab will alter that.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 12:57 PM

Dylan certainly influenced more people.

However Mac Coll was tremendous. He would always talk and discuss with you - try writing to Dylan.

He was so generous with his talent - trailing round England to tiny folk clubs even as an elderly man with a heart condition. He gave England something that Americans can only dream about - folk clubs ad hoc, all over the place, forming and re-forming.

Places where massive mature talents rub shoulders with greenhorns, totally unpatronising.

Americans on mudcat always say we wish we had a folk club. And you say - just form one, like we do. And there's a glum silence. LIke they think the local nutter will turn up with an AK47.

MacColl was amongst the first one to form a folk club. And when he'd shown us how it was done - he donated his enormous talent.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 01:57 PM

"Jim;You saying nothing different, "
Which is a step up from your saying nothing
" I am simply suggesting that there is no need to saw sawdust"
We've never actually discussed MacColl's work and ideas in any depth
I knew for twenty years and worked with him in depth for a great deal of that time.
I continue to work on recordings of his talks and classes, as well as masses of unreleased material privately recorded, in veiw to passing it on to somene who will make use of it without having to scramble up the garbage mountain erected by such spiteful attitudes as yours.
If you are interested, you are welcome to be part of that, if not, get out of the way and make room for sombody who is.
We have seen the tip of a largee iceberg of what he had to offer
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 03:19 PM

MacColl, I gather, was a traditionalist who sought to preserve, rescue, and restore historic forms; Dylan was a modernist (like Joyce) who sought to highlight them, exploit them, stretch them, and create his own very different work in part out of them.

The Radio Ballads and MacColl's theatre work don't have any precedent in folk tradition, so you're talking about two different kinds of modernism, rather than modernism and not. MacColl's came mostly out of Brecht, who Dylan never seemed to relate to, maybe with the exception of "Hattie Carroll".

There was quite a bunch of modernist song and poetry that Dylan did pick up on; I wouldn't have thought Joyce was significant. The mid-century mostly-British surrealist school was more accessibly usable.

Either of them could have recycled Prévert, but I don't think either bothered looking outside material easily accessible in English.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 05:02 PM

Hattie Carroll was a good subject, but an example of poor songwriting imo.
      look at the way it is written:to me it is reminscent of mcGonagle
William Zanzinger killed poor Hattie Carroll
With a cane that he twirled around his diamond ring finger
At a Baltimore hotel society gathering
And the cops were called in and his weapon took from him
As they rode him in custody down to the station
And booked William Zanzinger for first-degree murder
But you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears
Take the rag away from your face
Now ain't the time for your tears
William Zanzinger, who at twenty-four years
Owns a tobacco farm of six hundred acres
With rich wealthy parents who provide and protect him
And high office relations in the politics of Maryland
Reacted to his deed with a shrug of his shoulders
And swear words and sneering, and his tongue it was snarling
In a matter of minutes, on bail was out walking
But you who philosophize disgrace and criticize fears
Take the rag away from your face
Now ain't the time for your tears
Hattie Carroll was a maid in the kitchen
She was fifty-one years old and gave birth to ten children
Who carried the dishes and took out the garbage
And never sat once at the head of the table
And didn't even talk to the people at the table
Who just cleaned up all the food from the table
And emptied the ashtrays on a whole other level
Got killed by a blow, lay slain by a cane
That sailed through the air and came down through the room
Doomed and determined to destroy all the gentle
And she never done nothing to William Zanzinger
And you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears
Take the rag away from your face
Now ain't the time for your tears
In the courtroom of honor, the judge pounded his gavel
To show that all's equal and that the courts are on the level
And that the strings in the books ain't pulled and persuaded
And that even the nobles get properly handled
Once that the cops have chased after and caught 'em
And that the ladder of law has no top and no bottom
Stared at the person who killed for no reason
Who just happened to be feelin' that way without warnin'
And he spoke through his cloak, most deep and distinguished
And handed out strongly, for penalty and repentance
William Zanzinger with a six-month sentence
Oh, but you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears
Bury the rag deep in your face
For now's the time for your tears
Songwriters: B. Dylan


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 05:05 PM

Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,guest - PM
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 12:09 PM

"I cannot think of many who gave up their time for nothing, to try and help others,"

............. well, every single folk club organiser I ever met.
yes, but none of them would be doing it,if it had not been for MacColl and Lloyd and their buddies, gtting the ball rolling.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 05:15 PM

contrast to Hattie Carroll, this song by leon Rosselson, a good subject but this time well written
If the sons of company directors,
And the judges' private daughters,
Had to got to school in a slum school,
Dumped by some joker in a damp back alley,
Had to herd into classrooms cramped with worry,
With a view onto slag heaps and stagnant pools,
Had to file through corridors grey with age,
And play in a crack-pot concrete cage.

Buttons would be pressed,
Rules would be broken.
Strings would be pulled
And magic words spoken.
Invisible fingers would mould
Palaces of gold.

If prime ministers and advertising executives,
Royal personages and bank managers' wives
Had to live out their lives in dark rooms,
Blinded by smoke and the foul air of sewers.
Rot on the walls and rats in the cellars,
In rows of dumb houses like mouldering tombs.
Had to bring up their children and watch them grow
In a wasteland of dead streets where nothing will grow.

Buttons would be pressed,
Rules would be broken.
Strings would be pulled
And magic words spoken.
Invisible fingers would mould
Palaces of gold.

I'm not suggesting any sort of plot,
Everyone knows, there's not,
But you unborn millions might like to be warned
That if you don't want to be buried alive by slagheaps,
Pitfalls and damp walls and rat traps and dead streets,
Arrange to be democratically born
The son of a company director
Or a judge's private daughter.

Buttons will be pressed,
Rules will be broken.
Strings will be pulled
And magic words spoken.
Invisible fingers will mould
Palaces of gold.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 06:18 PM

its two different views of writing . American and English.

Strangely it was an ex-pat living in America who first pointed out the differences to me - Raymond Chandler. not a songweiter 0 but the same truths obtain.

Chandler realised to het published in detective novels like RGe Black Mask. He had to pare down his writing style. As Chandler put it - you have to stop drawing attention to the language , and tell the story.

In this case Dylan tells his story using language that a ten year old could understand, and it moves along to a jaunting waltz time. What Hemingway calls simple declarative sentences

Rosselsons piece could almost be a soliloquy from one of Shakespeare's more verbose heroes - Richard II for example bewailing his fate. MacColl was a great admirer of Shakespeare - think of the wide and wasteful ocean nicked from Henry V.

Neither approach is 'wrong'. It's allowed.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jackaroodave
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 06:22 PM

Jack, thank you for informing me about MacColl's Brechtian work. In this thread, the contrast between the two was painted so vividly that their possible partaking of different flavors of modernism would never have occurred to me. I didn't mean to suggest that Joyce was an influence on Dylan, just that they both ruthlessly used and reshaped traditional forms for their own ends.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Apr 17 - 09:20 PM

"Jack, thank you for informing me about MacColl's Brechtian work."
Anybody who joined the Critics Group was presented with a number of voice exercises to assist with a number of singing exercises to assist with pitch, small and larrge intervals.... etc
My particular favourite was Brecht's 'Lament for the Death of a Comrade'
I still us it and it still brings a lump to the throat
The Singers Cub introduced themed 'Feature Evenings' into their Prgramme
One of the favourites, was the 'Crime and Criminals' theme, and one of the high points was a section which started with 'The Cruel Mother' ballad, then MacColl's adaptation of Brecht's 'Marie Farrar', finishing with the Children's version of the opening ballad, ' Weela, Weela Wila'
It invariably brought the house down.
MacColl's efforts at poetry are not widely known, but he wrote a magnificent epic piece on the Vietnam War, very much in the Brechtian style, for one of the Festival of Fools shows in the mid-sixties.
MacColl admired Brecht greatly and often quoted him, but occasionally commented (with a mixture of pride and wry resentment) that The Berliner Ensemble in East Berlin owed him a small fortune for the performance of his plays, which were a feature of their repertoire until their demise (long after MacColl's death)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Apr 17 - 12:18 AM

I know at the time of my maximum interest in MacColl, it seemed very difficult to get hold of his published literary and dramatic work.
Scary how time passes - I realise now that was about forty years ago.
Has that changed at all Jim?

I remember writing to his publisher somewhere in Scotland. People wrote letters in those days! I got no reply.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Apr 17 - 03:58 AM

"Has that changed at all Jim?"
Manchester University Press published 6 of his plays in 1986, edited by Ewan and Howard Goorney, under the title, 'Agit Prop to Theatre Workshop' - it cost me £2.95 (hardback) at the time but that was remarkably cheap
I'm appalled to find that the copies available on Amazon cost up to £244
A new copy of the Dover paperback edition will cost £264
Makes me wonder how much our books are worth today - it would have sickened Ewan
Apart from that, we have an early bound copy of Uranium 235 (with Isla Cameron's name on the flyleaf) - we used to have two, but gave the other on to ex-Critic, Jim O'Connor, who was producing plays for an am-dram company in London
There's an enjoyable book entitled Theatre Workshop, by Howard Goorney, don't know if that's still available
Ewan's Last Play, 'The Shipmaster' written in 1980 was produced at The Library Theatre in Manchester - we didn't get to see it, but our late friend, Terry Whelan, did - he enjoyed it.
It is often claimed that The Critics Group broke up acrimoniously - one of the pieces of misinformation to add to the pile
In fact, the Group broke up voluntarily in a friendly manner so Ewan could move on to develop a Theatre Company with Critics who were interested in doing so
That Group chose and began to rehearse plays under Ewan's guidance - we saw four short ones put on at The Union Tavern (Singer's Club venue) - very impressive - though I can only recall the Lorca one.
The Theatre Group lasted a year and broke up abruptly and very unpleasantly - pity.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 18 Apr 17 - 04:01 AM

"I cannot think of many who gave up their time for nothing, to try and help others,"

............. well, every single folk club organiser I ever met.

yes, but none of them would be doing it,if it had not been for MacColl and Lloyd and their buddies, gtting the ball rolling.

A statement [ the reply ] which is impossible to verify and therefore totally meaningless.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Apr 17 - 04:45 AM

that's a non sequitur...

just because you can't verify something , it doesn't mean a proposition is meaningless.

in fact - we used to learn by rote Avogadro's Hypothesis. the whole idea of a hypothesis is that you are advancing an argument that you can't totally verify.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Apr 17 - 04:46 AM

"well, every single folk club organiser I ever met."
Running clubs is not helping individual membrs develop
In fact, very few ran workshops to help develop new singers - the Critics Group was the first
It is often forgotten by the MacCollophobes, that Ewan and Peggy put their home, their library and recordings, their skills and their knowledge at the disposal of less skilled and experienced singers who were prepared to accept help and put in the work, on a weekly basis for nearly ten years - all while MacColl's loudest knockers were getting on with their own careers.
Who "got the ball rolling" is indisputable and whether it would have happened is one of t=he great unknowns.
The BBC did much to introduce Britain to its heritage, but lost interest after a few programmes.
It took a handful of dedicated people to take the initiative - MacColl and Lloyd headed that 'little band of brothers" and both were still at at until their deaths - no selling out to fame and fortune, no losing sight of the music and its importance, no trying to please all of the people all of the time - just sheer dedication
Would there were a few more around to replace them
Nowadays, it has become a dangerous thing to even raise the question 'what is folk-song' without getting stamped into the ground by folk police accusing you of being "folk police"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Apr 17 - 10:20 AM

you're a bit of a stamper yourself ,Jim...


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Apr 17 - 10:41 AM

"Bob Dylan was simply a much greater influence."
Arguable, MacColl was a bigger influence on Luke Kelly, Luke Kelly and the Dubliners , Influenced and stil influence irish music today


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Apr 17 - 11:12 AM

"Arguable, MacColl was a bigger influence on Luke Kelly, Luke Kelly and the Dubliners"
Far from it
Ewan warned Luke about stripping out his voice back in the early sixties and nobody could possibly suggest that Luke took anything from Ewan's singing.
Interestingly, they remained friends to the end, falling out only when Ewan objected to Luke's attempts to copyright traditional songs he had learned in the English revival (from MacColl, among others)
I was present at The Singers Club when the Dubliners turned up at the end of the evening
Ewan and Luke greeted each other like long-lost lovers
"you're a bit of a stamper yourself ,Jim.."
Not really Al - I picked up Ewan's love for traditional song as 'The Voice of the People', which give it a significance far beyond putting bums on seats to entertain
I write about it, and lecture on it so I feel it necessary to stress that significance.
Charles Parker coined the phrase 'The tyranny of the nice guy" and went to great lengths to describe the damage it has done to the music that is our voice - another thing that stuck with me.
Charlie was full of such sayings; I particularly like, "a well-sung love song is a fist in the face of the establishment"
Brrrrrr - still gives me a tingle
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: akenaton
Date: 18 Apr 17 - 06:14 PM

It's quite simple really the old socialist folkies thought Dylan was the Messiah and he turned out to be just a very naughty boy.

They felt let down that their ideology had not been personified in a hugely popular celebrity.....He took their toys away. :0(


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Apr 17 - 08:02 AM

Dylan was never the darling of the old socialists - his milk and water politics never caught on with them.
When Dylan was asked to take part in the Civil Rights protests in the South, he refused, giving the excuse that he couldn't afford the fare
He was eventually shamed into showing his hace by actor/singer, Theodor Bilkel, who presented him with a ticket.
Dylan became very much accepted by the 'revolution without commitment", 'flowers in your hair' mob.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Apr 17 - 09:20 AM

The Bob Dylan / Theo Bikel has been told by you dozens of times, I am sure. I can find no reference to it anywhere. What is the source for this information?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Apr 17 - 09:30 AM

Google "dylan bikel ticket" and you'll find it. Including a listing on a collectibles site for Bikel's own copy of Dylan's first album... unplayed, whatever statement that makes.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Apr 17 - 09:47 AM

Thank you.. I have now read two versions of this story, neither of which jibes with Jims telling of it. What I have read says that Bikel approached Albert Grossman and suggested that Dylan go to Mississippi. Grossman replied that Dylan could not afford it so Bikel wrote a cheque to cover Dylans costs. So it seems that Dylan never actually refused to go, it was Bikel and Grossman who arranged it without telling Dylan the source of the money. Am I correct in this ?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Apr 17 - 10:25 AM

totally ridiculous to grub through the minutiae of one's life to rationalise your reasons for disliking someone.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Apr 17 - 11:23 AM

" I am sure. I can find no reference to it anywhere."
There was an interesting article in the Irish Times on it some years ago - I thought I'd saved it.
"So it seems that Dylan never actually refused to go,"
His manager did it on his behalf, but he had been approached personally by Pete Seeger and others to join them and he made the same excuse.
"totally ridiculous to grub through the minutiae of one's life "
I'm not doing that Al
I neither like nor dislike Dylan - though I tried very hard to like his music when some of my mates extolled his virtues
I gave up after a couple of goes.
I was actually responding to Ake's claim about the old socialists and why I believe it to be inaccurate
The sixties was a time when the music industry believed there to be some profit to be gained out of protest - as long as it didn't frighten the horses.
THe answer turned out to be 'Blowin' in the Wind' - mention "freedom", and you had a hit on your hands
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Apr 17 - 12:54 PM

THe answer turned out to be 'Blowin' in the Wind' - mention "freedom", and you had a hit on your hands.
yes, another example is Donovans "colours""freedom is a word i dont often use" but when i did i got a hit.
Donovan is in my opinion a more likeable character, but its the same old ding dong


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Apr 17 - 02:26 PM

well i don't think the prs were counting down in Alabama when the civil rights were using Dylan, Seeger and Carawan's anthems to sustain them.

it wasn't all about money. similarly when the kids in Soweto were chanting Pink Floyd's WE don't Need NO EDucation.

I admire MacColl and the work you have done for trad. song. But when the people use your music - it becomes rheir music. if you're lucky - some money comes your way - but its not why all of us are writing songs.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Mathew
Date: 19 Apr 17 - 10:47 PM

Jim Carroll,

As someone who admires Maccoll and read his autobiography, I have always wanted to attend one of his singing workshops/sessions.

Are these perhaps what you have personal recordings of? If possible, would you be able to share? The vocal techniques/exorcises sound incredibly interesting and valuable.


I would be more than grateful if you would share.

Cheers mate.

Mathew


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 02:57 AM

Nice one Al. When people use your music it certainly does become theirs. Over the years I've introduced songs from The Radio Ballads to new audiences by turning them towards different genres to that they were written in. Rock, mainly. Whether the old curmudgeon would have approved is another matter...

I suppose in the '60s with Wilson in government and universal suffrage, UK "folk" songwriters didn't see "freedom" in the same aspirational sense as those involved in the US civil rights movement. Dylan's prose was more abstract to UK listeners whilst those listening to MacColl could identify with more of his songs.

But to compare? I doubt I'd compare baroque with opera or compare Ballads with instrumental songs but judging by the thread title, some people obviously do. The thread degenerates into comparing based on your own tastes which can be silly. It also becomes a platform for Jim Carroll to dismiss anything to do with MacColl that he didn't know about. A regular feature on Mudcat.

(A bit of an aside; I was once asked to arrange a local operatics group performing light opera. As well as a medley of Gilbert and Sullivan, Benjamin Britten etc, I included MacColl & Seeger's "Cabin Boy" (from Singing The Fishing.). Musically within the same genre.)


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 03:39 AM

Mathew
Yes - I have masses of recordings of Ewan's classes - too many to get organised, truth be told.
If you let me have an e-mail address I am happy to pass some on via Dropbox.
As you're a non-member, best ask Joe Offer - he has been kind enough to help before.
Pat and I did two, hour-long obituary programmes on Ewan a couple of years ago which featured Ewan in teaching mode - it gives some idea of how he did things - happy to send copies of those to whoever wants them
There were several offshoots of The Critics Group down the years; I ran one in Manchester in the sixties before I moved to London, there was a long running one in Birmingham which eventually evolved into Banner Theatre, several dotted around England and Scotland....
When the Critics broke up, London Singers Workshop evolved and ran for fifteen years
These workshops are easy to set up and extremely effective - it only takes half-a dozen (or less) like-minded people who are prepared to work on each others singing in an analytical and friendly way
Let me know
Best
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 04:05 AM

Born in 1949 - I wasn't going to folk clubs in the 1950's.

the first folk music, as folk, was aware of was probly stuff on the mainstream radio - the kingston trio singing Tom Dooley.

the first folksong that registered as relevant to me was Seeger's Where have all the flowers gone? A short bike ride from our town Boston, in LIncolnshire took you past THor missiles loaded with an H bomb presumably pointed at Moscow.

having said that - the schools radio (which Ewan must have had some input with) taught us many UK folksongs from when we were very small.

i wonder if they had accompanied the singing together material with guitar instead of piano - would we have made the connection, and prevented the internecine traddy/contemporary warfare that has dogged so much of the folk music revival.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Mathew
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 05:42 AM

Thank you very much Jim,

mathewrferrari@gmail.com   (


(My public email so I don't mind giving it out here)


I really appreciate this, is there anything I need to do with dropbox aside from enabling it with my email?

I used to be a member but it has been so long that I forget the information.

Maybe I should rectify that soon.

Again, thanks a million mate, I think this is so cool.


Mathew Ferrari


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Mathew
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 06:29 AM

I just find it so interesting to hear candid sounds of one of my idols from someone who knew him personally.

I may be having a bit of a fan boy moment, but I cannot wait to listen to these recordings.



I could help you organize them, if you'd like, depending on how you want it to be organized


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 08:04 AM

I was playing folk songs in 1958, age 7, mainly american folk songs, we were taught english folk songs at primary school, o no john nightingale early one morning boney was a warrior, i dont think schools radio was anmything to do with Ewan. I seem to remember tubby the tuba was one, that doesnt sound like ewans style.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 09:09 AM

Neither can I find any evidence that Pete Seeger or anyone else approached Dylan about going to Mississippi or that he ever refused to go. This seems to cast aspersions on Dylans character without there being a shred of evidence. So an I an curious about this story which is often repeated here.What is the actual source?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 09:56 AM

I definitely remember Ewan 's name being in the Singing Together book for some reason or other.

he was always present. When I first used to buy Oak publications books of folksongs - some of his songs were always in there.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 10:14 AM

"This seems to cast aspersions on Dylans character without there being a shred of evidence."
I've had to get used to that sort of thing in the arguments I have had about MacColl down the years, comes with the territory, I'm afraid
It seems those who are still hppy to dance on MacColl's grave are not as happy when it happens to their particular flavours of the month.
I first came across the story in the Irish Times and it was confirmed in a brief conversation I had with Pete Seeger the only we met him while we were recording choruses for Ewan's 'White Wind' South African piece
Not prepared to go any further than that - sorry
And people wonder why I bother with stories about MacColl
Ah well!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 11:08 AM

I have no argument about McColl. My question was about the veracity of your ever changing Dylan story.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 11:58 AM

With at least four people who could have directly reported the story, it's surprising it hasn't diverged more.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 12:08 PM

"I have no argument about McColl. My question was about the veracity of your ever changing Dylan story."
I've never changed it - if I have, where?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jackaroodave
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 01:30 PM

Look, a miniscule number of people who supported the civil rights movement actually went to Mississippi. Bob Dylan was one of them.

The vast majority did not. I was one of them and so, I am pretty sure, are most of the posters here who ragged on him.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 02:03 PM

imo,The sooner guest postings are banned on this forum the better


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 02:40 PM

Dylan made his name as a 'protest singer' and did quite well out of it.
Going to Mississippi would have been a small thank you for a launched career
I saw the remarkable Baldwin documentary last week which told how Bobby Kennedy was invited to walk into the all-white school in Louisiana with the brave black girl, Ruby Bridges
He declined
What a difference it would have made if a few more personalities had put their money where their mouths were
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jackaroodave
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 02:59 PM

But he DID go, Jim.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 03:06 PM

"But he DID go, Jim."
Reluctantly, it would appear
It really isn't that important now - just an indication of how shallow his commitment to the people he sang about was.
It is also how shallow the whole of the sixties was - it took Paris to shake it out of its lethargy
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Stanron
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 03:36 PM

So he wasn't guilty but the accusation was a good one.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Mathew
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 07:09 PM

Jim, please let me know about those recordings.

Sandman, you're a silly sod


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Apr 17 - 07:59 PM

Mathew
I sent you an e-mail
reply so I know I have our address right
Jim


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: ollaimh
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 12:48 AM

i am not a dylan fan. however he was a great very good song writer who didn't do anything hypocritical just promoted himself. that's show biz.

on the other hand mccoll
s adoption of a fake gaelic name, the name of one of the last of the great gaelic bards in the ancient tradition, was cultural appropriation amounting to racism. so i should call my self william shakespeare. if dylan had done that people would have howled but mccoll's appropriation shows the total distain for gaels amongst our british friends. they committed genocide so they continue with cultural genocide. mccoll was a decent song writer but a garden variety brit racist.

i went to his singers club once as a teenager on the europe tour. some hard faced super serious guy was singing dark island in english. back in nova scotia we sang the verses in english but the chorus in gaelic. so i was excited, they were singing a song i knew! (first one) then they got to the chorus and i was the only one singing "oh chi , chi me na morbheanna" etc. they all stopped and stared at me. i stopped . the hard faced guy came over and said we sing the songs of our own country. i said that's a song from my country. he said no it's not. i was young and didn't understand their complicated theories of hate for gaels. i just thought well he must know something i don't know ans shut up and left.

    anglos think if their hate is complicated enough then it's ok, trump didn't jump from the head of zeus full grown, he's a the fulillment of anglo culture. (as is richard bridges and his hate)

however what he knew was just hate.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 02:28 AM

"however what he knew was just hate."
Which just about sums up your posting Ollie
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 03:00 AM

ollaimh, is ' Bob Dylan ' not a fake name then ?

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 04:03 AM

Ollie's post was exactly what I needed as an example of the totally irrational attitude to MacColl and his work
A vitriolic outpouring of abuse from someone who has obviously never met him or spoken to him and saw he one "as a teenager".
An outpouring of hate from someone accusing MacColl of "hate", from an anonymous individual using a faake name castigating MacColl for using a fake name - you couldn't make it up
I couldn't have got a better example if I had faked it myself
Many thanks Ollie - give my love to Stan
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 04:15 AM

some hard faced super serious guy was singing dark island in english. back in nova scotia we sang the verses in english but the chorus in gaelic. so i was excited, they were singing a song i knew! (first one) then they got to the chorus and i was the only one singing "oh chi , chi me na morbheanna"

So you were singing the chorus of a completely different song.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: akenaton
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 08:12 AM

The Dark Island is a "pop" song anyway, written for a TV series of the same name.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 08:31 AM

It's a load of invented crap anyway
If a member of the Singers Club had behaved like that to a visitor, he'd have been heaved out on his ear
Another of those urban legends
Don't know where Ollie is from, but how the **** did his "hard faced guy" know where he came from
Jeeze - if you're going to invent stories you need a bit more imagination than that
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 08:46 AM

And so it goes.

Jim Carroll defending MacColl whilst adding Bobby Kennedy to the list of people he slurs. Someone getting songs mixed up whilst pointing out Dylan isn't right wing enough for him and more than one on here calling others liars without foundation on the basis it makes their waffle look flaky.   Heresay regarding both protagonists in the thread title from all of us and what do you get?

I've never met Dylan, a few concerts are the nearest I've got. I know a few people who knew him many years ago and to be honest, even their first hand knowledge isn't enough for me to think I know something about this complicated genius.

I met MacColl a number of times though, booked them twice and interviewed them for radio twice. I'm no expert on him, just as nobody else is, but I can agree with those who mention he was a grumpy old sod who tried laying down arbitrary rules about what is at the end of the day just entertainment. I hadn't been born in 1954 never mind took minutes of a committee convened to get excited about putting rules around artistic creation...

MacColl's view on Dylan? About as relevant as my rants about celery and greyhound cruelty. Both genuine but at the end of the day, facts about my views, not debating points.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 10:24 AM

Jim, you appear to have changed your story, you said that Bikel approached Dylan and offered him a ticket. But Bikel did not approach Dylan, he approached Dylans r Manager, Albert Grossman, to whom he gave money to cover Dylans fare to Mississippi. So you now seem to accept that Bikel did not speak to Dylan on this subject. That is how your narrative has changed.
Sandman, my many years of coming to this forum leads me to observe that people seem only to wish to ban Guests who disagree with them. That is certainly true below the line.
Many people have good reason for remaining Guests and should not be barred from music discussion because they may disagree with other posters.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 11:11 AM

Many people have good reason for remaining Guests

Mainly, and in your case, because they think they'd never live it down if their friends knew they indulged in such trivial nitpicking.

Hint: your friends know you're a pettifogging twat already.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 12:23 PM

It is not trivial nitpicking to ask that people verify accusations. I have heard this Dylan story many times, I was curious as the source. Simple as that. It is pompous asses like you Jack who make people want to be anonymous.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: robomatic
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 05:12 PM

An earlier posting in this thread:

"Dylan joined the pantheon of successful Jewish songwriters and musicians (most of whom also changed their names):"

I would put it, (if it must be put at all), that Dylan joined the pantheon of successful songwriters who were of Jewish origin.
There's a bit of separatism and more than a bit of condescension in how many of the 'trad' crowd view those of certain ethnic origins.

For the record, Ewen MacColl was born James Henry Miller.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 05:44 PM

It was Ewan, actually, not "Ewen." If he was a grumpy old sod, then equally it could be said that Dylan is an exceptionally ignorant old sod. As if it matters. Which it doesn't. Grumpy old sods are often grumpy because they have to deal with twats. The greatest man who ever lived, Ludwig van Beethoven, was the grumpiest old sod in eternity. He offended his friends, alienated his fellow musicians and accused all and sundry of cheating him out of his money. Who cares. Just listen to the sonata in A flat, Op. 110. That'll shut you up.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jackaroodave
Date: 21 Apr 17 - 08:38 PM

As an ignorant old sod and a newbie here, I was very pleased that this thread from 2012 had been revived. I had heard of MacColl, but I think I thought he and Ed McCurdy were the same person. Not only did I read this thread through, but I looked at a number of other lengthy MacColl threads, and I feel I have a sense of him as an undeniable force and a greater awareness of what I have yet to learn. I'm grateful to both Jim Carroll and those who differed with him for a fascinating portrait of a complex, gifted, and dedicated contributor who wasn't always easy to get along with. (Not unlike the other figure in this thread.)

However, after a few minutes into these threads, the answer to the question it posed was staggeringly obvious: Dylan seemed put on earth expressly to push every one of MacColl"s buttons: one was a Stalinist, the other an individualist anarchist (or capitalist swine if you prefer); one spent an enormous amount of energy raising and enforcing standards, the other in disrupting them. Their attitudes towards tradition were antithetical, to the extent that some of MacColl's followers don't admit any legitimacy in Dylan's use of tradition at all. And of course, in breaking the rules and setting standards at defiance, Dylan was successful beyond ANYONE's dreams during the Great Folk Music Scare. MacColl must have felt at times, "There is no Materialist Dialectic."

So, when we get yet another post informing us that Ewan MacColl was born Jimmy Miller, It seems to me we're well into the rinse-and-repeat cycle. I'd love to see a thread on MacColl's theater work. I wouldn't mind if it replaced this one.

Maybe it's not my place to suggest it, but I sincerely believe there are better ways to see MacColl clearly than by refraction through the prism of his dislike for Dylan.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Jar Jar Banks
Date: 22 Apr 17 - 01:35 AM

Yeah but what did you do for the civil rights movement ollaimh ?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Apr 17 - 04:19 AM

This is the last time I have any intention of responding to this level of discussion - it is, as it always has done acted as a diversion away from the contribution MacColl made to Folk song
It's like dismissing Einstein's theory of relativity because he picked his nose - true or not - trivia.
Let's get the easy, hoary old chestnut out of the way first
"For the record, Ewen MacColl was born James Henry Miller." (Ewan - for the record)
For the record - Bob Dylan was was born Robert Zimmermann - do you people continually bring up that fact as a criticism of his work as an artist and will you be doing so a quarter of a century after his death?
What on earth is the relevance of this piece of trivia?
The reason MacColl changed his name is easy enough to work out, if it interests anybody enough.
He was first and foremost an actor and a playwright - go count the number of actors, singers, writers who changed their names from Archie Leech, or Ethel Gumm, or Doris Kapplehoff, or, more or to the point, from James Leslie Mitchell or Christopher Murray Grieve (the artists who influenced MacColl
Ewan had an added reason of altering his name as he was attempting to steer clear of the authorities (including MI5) in order to set u a working class agit-prop theatre.
"Stalinist"
Ewan had been a Stalinist, as had been a large section of the left and middle-left movement at a time in our history when Stalin was flavour of the month to millions of people and believed him to be the leader of the world's first Workers State.
Around the time of my birth, it might be said that the British statesmen of the day were 'Stalinists' because of the part Russia was playing in the war - I've yet to hear anybody refer to Winnie Churchill as a Stalinist"
Over the period I knew and worked with Ewan. I never got the slightest impression that he still held those views -
On the contrary, Ewan was first and foremost a humanist (with a small "h") who believed 'ordinary people were getting a shitty deal out of life and were nor recognised for either their achievements or their massive potential - a view I have always held as did my family before me.
Ewan's social songs (such as those he wrote for the Radio Ballads) reflect Ewan's humanism and his respect for working people perfectly
His political songs did not advocate the setting up of gulags or holding show trials (that was and still is a feature of contemporary politics such as the House Un-American Activity Courts of Joe McCarthy and later, Guantanamo (though the latter has even done away with the trials).
His political songs were observations on how he saw what was happening in the world at the time, the best of the philosophical ones probably being 'Song of Choice' and 'Seven Days of the Week'.
MacColl's 'feigned' Scottishness'
He was born into a Scots family, fairly recently come out of Scotland.
When I moved to London, I lived with Ewan, Peggy and Ewan's mother, Betsy for a short period.
At mealtimes, to listen to Ewan and Betsy talk was sometimes like sitting at a meal with an Urdu family - in those days I wasn't as familiar with the Scots dialect and vernacular as I am now.
Scots was MacColl family's form of communication.
Ewan adored the ballads and thought them important enough to keep them alive (he breathed fresh life into sometimes multiple versions 175 of the Child ballads in his career as a singer)
In order to make them accessible to as many people as possible, he adopted the old theatre trick of neutralising the accent he was familiar with at home.
It most certainly worked with me - I am still hooked on the ballads after half a century of listening to and singing them, thanks to his influence.         
Ewan's earlier influence of Scots songs came from home too
I know from discussions with some of his early contempories, historian, Eddie Frow being the main one, that both his parents sang at home, particularly his father William, who "had hundreds of bits and pieces of queer old songs and ballads he would bust into whenever he'd had a few drinks".
This is a description of Ewans first being discovered singing for pennies in a cinema queue in the 1930s:
"Ewan MacColl was himself a victim of the Depression. The son of an unemployed Glasgow steelworker, who had moved to Salford in search of work during the twenties, he had suffered every privation and humiliation that poverty could contrive for him from the age of ten. His memories of his early years are still bitter—like his recollection of how to kill aimless time in a world where there was nothing else to do: "You go in the Public Library. And the old men are there standing against the pipes to get warm, all the newspaper parts are occupied, and you pick a book up. I can remember then that you got the smell of the unemployed, a kind of sour or bitter-sweet smell, mixed in with the smell of old books, dust, leather and the rest of it. So now if I pick up, say, a Dostoevsky—immediately with the first page, there's that smell of poverty in 1931."
MacColl had been out busking for pennies by the Manchester theatres and cinemas. The songs he sang were unusual, Scots songs, Gaelic songs he had learnt from his mother, border ballads and folk-songs. One night while queueing up for the three-and-sixpennies, Kenneth Adam had heard him singing outside the Manchester Paramount. He was suitably impressed. Not only did he give MacColl a handout; he also advised him to go and audition for Archie Harding at the BBC studios in Manchester's Piccadilly.
PROSPERO AND ARIEL (The rise and fall of radio, a personal recollection – D G Bridson 1971)"
I really can't be arsed to take this too much further
I don't care who likes or dislikes Ewan's or Dylan's singing - that is a matter of personal taste and has no place here
I personally believe Dylan to have been a user in his scramble to the top - that is the impression I got from reading what Joan Baez had to say about him, but h doesn't interest me enough beyond his effect on our understanding of our own traditional songs
I did not "change my story" about Dylan's Civil Rights attitude - I really don't care enough to make the effort on something so unimportant, though I am amused that people who are quite happy to denigrate one artist long after he is dead, leap on their chairs with their skirts above their knees when their own pop idol is criticised.
MacColl cared enough about traditional songs and about people to take his work as a singer far beyond entertainment and putting bums on seats and that got up the noses of a lot of people who saw it as a career that could be as viable as anything turned out my the music industry, and were prepared to compromise it in order to get there.
He wasn't a "grumpy old sod", Steve, at least not in my experience, but I'd be happy to compare our experiences over a pint - not here.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Apr 17 - 04:59 AM

so that bastard Einstein was picking his nose all the time...


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Apr 17 - 06:02 AM

That's the theory Al
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,pauperback ^
Date: 22 Apr 17 - 09:06 AM

Disingenuous.
Everyone knows,
Deep down inside,
Why they don't like,
A jew with a welch name!


Bob Dillion, who knew! 


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 22 Apr 17 - 07:52 PM

Hey, Jim, I didn't say he was a grumpy old sod, just a what-if-anyway - you knew him and I didn't and I never believe the naysayers, you should know that about me by now! 😉


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 22 Apr 17 - 07:55 PM

And that offer of a pint (or ten) is very enticing. You pay for the first eight, and, don't worry, I'll get the rest...!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: toadfrog
Date: 22 Apr 17 - 08:24 PM

Meself:
I guess the question whether Dylan understood, or bothered to try to understand, the traditions he used and pretended to be a part of, is a "matter of opinion," as you say.

But the question was, why did Ewan McColl not like Dylan. And McColl definitely felt that Dylan abused folk material which McColl valued. Even I heard him say so several times, and many of those who actually knew McColl heard it many more times than that. And Pete Seeger agreed, at least to the extent he cut Dylan's cable with an axe. So that is a legitimate answer to the question, why McColl did not like Dylan. It was because Dylan abused traditional material. And maybe that is also a sufficient answer.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jackaroodave
Date: 22 Apr 17 - 09:53 PM

According to Bob Spitz"s biography of Dylan, here , Seeger never cut a cable. He threatened to cut The Butterfield Blues Band's cable, not Dylan's, and the person who persuaded him not to was . . . .Theo Bikel!

Spitz is obviously relying on a detailed eyewitness report, and equally obviously, everyone involved--Al Grossman and Peter Yarrow, vs George Wein and Pete Seeger, with Bikel tipping the balance--was an interested party. Bikel allegedly said, "Pete, those kids out there, they're us 20 years ago." I would guess that Bikel is the source of the very circumstantial account, because he comes out lookihg the best.

Also, what we can agree is true is that MacColl disliked Dylan because he thought he abused the tradition, not that Dylan in fact did so. I wrote before of Dylan's ruthlessly using his tradition, overlapping with, but different from MacColl's, for his own ends, but I think that is paying it true homage. It's what artists do.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: michaelr
Date: 22 Apr 17 - 10:11 PM

Dylan was barely in his twenties at the time. Does anyone really think it's fair to judge him by a mature standard? He heard songs he liked and felt inspired. Not a hanging offense.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Apr 17 - 02:30 AM

"Not a hanging offense."
Of course it isn't Michael, and if Dylan had come under the sustained, lifelong attacks that MacColl has had aimed at him, and still is, it would be equally outrageous.
Arguments like these have the inevitable consequences of forcing people to take sides in a war that really should not be being fought.
Dylan and MacColl were two different people with different objectives, yet one is constantly being set against the other - you may just as well compare the work of the National Concert Orchestra with that of T Rex.
I only get involved in these sometimes extremely nasty and very personal debates because I believe that a mass of very important work on an even more important subject is being wasted,
MacColl's argument from day one was that Folk Song was 'The Voice of the People - he equally argued that the ballads where "the highwater of the tradition and, at because of what they were, they were every bit as important as Shakespeare, or Dickens, as aspects of our culture.
It seems a fair enough argument to at least listen to what he had to say rather than throw stones at it
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Apr 17 - 02:58 AM

Missed a bit
"I didn't say he was a grumpy old sod,"
Didn't think you did Steve, - it was an opportunity to reiterate a point which comes up far too often.
"And that offer of a pint (or ten) is very enticing."
And still stands, though I very much doubt if a Sassenach could survive more than three decently pulled pints, after the mixture of milk and piss that is passed off as Guinness in the U.K. - makes me gag to recall that I once drank the stuff shudderrrrrr!!!
A story
An Irishman walks into an English bar and asks for a pint of Guinness - he takes a mouthful, leans over the bar, pours the pint down the sink and says "piss", and walks out.
The following night he does the same - and the following night.
On the fourth night, before he can order the landlord say, "Piss off".
"O.k.", says your man, "pull me a pint of lager instead".
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 23 Apr 17 - 05:10 AM

I'll not drink that thickened concoction of burnt malt, unfermentables and low levels of hops, Jim. Give me a well-brewed pint or six of cask-conditioned bitter any day. Guinness is Dylan, Jail Ale is MacColl. Oi, I may be a sassenach but my mum is a born-and-bred Irish Salfordian!


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Apr 17 - 06:08 AM

I knew a feller from Salford once
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 23 Apr 17 - 06:10 AM

It's a dirty old town...


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Apr 17 - 06:54 AM

MacColl called it 'The Athens of the North'
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 23 Apr 17 - 08:01 AM

That was probably after six pints of Boddies, Jim. 😊


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: GUEST,Some bloke
Date: 24 Apr 17 - 03:49 AM

Still reeling over the revelation about Einstein. What a bastard! I'll never feel the same about stuffing cats in boxes and blaming others for it.

T Rex were far more cosmic than any orchestra, even when playing Holst...


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Apr 17 - 03:52 AM

"T Rex were far more cosmic"
Different, therefore equal, as Peggy Seeger sings
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Iains
Date: 24 Apr 17 - 05:13 AM

Jim
the mixture of milk and piss that is passed off as Guinness in the U.K

FYI

https://food-hacks.wonderhowto.com/news/why-guinness-tastes-better-ireland-more-surprising-guinness-facts-0160783/


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Apr 17 - 06:08 AM

Thanks for that Ians
Nice to know the message is finally getting through
Even in Ireland, the quality of a pint was variable until the Brewery took the matter in hand, educated many of the publicans and carried out regular maintenance checks.
I worked in London pubs for seven years as a maintenance and repair electrician and became a keen observer of the Capital's drinking habits
I re-wired the Kings Head in Fulham and watched an elderly Irishman cone in for his pint every afternoon - the publican was also an elderly Irishman who invariably served at the bar
One afternoon he came in while the publican was busy down the bar and the customer was greeted by a young barmaid who asked him what he wanted.
He replied, "I'll have a pint of Guinness (pointing to the publican) and I'll have him serving me"
The speed of the pouring and the temperature seem to be the secret – an art form.
Even the Guinness Brewery in Park Royal, North London, could only manage a passable pint –
The best one ever in London was served at ' The Sense of Ireland' a music and culture festival where they imported it direct.
Best pint in Dublin was at The Guinness Hop Store adjacent to the Brewery where we shared a pint with Ireland's President, Mary Robinson at the opening of the Irish Traditional Music Archive (well - she was there anyway)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 24 Apr 17 - 06:27 AM

I remember the first time I went to Dublin - being a Joyce freak, the first place I made for was Davy Byrne's. I was all wired up expecting Irish Guinness (and if possible a gorgonzola sandwich like Leopold Bloom). And I've got to admit - it was a bit anticlimactic...

As Molly Bloom said....yes! yes! yes! yes! ....no not really.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: meself
Date: 24 Apr 17 - 09:42 AM

The barmaid asked, of course, what the gent would HAVE - and he replied, "I'll have ... and I'll have ...." And, yes, I WAS there, as a matter of fact; that was me in the corner, pretending to be lost in contemplation of the head of my Guinness.

By the way, speaking of heads, I like the idea of re-wiring the King's head. Sounds kind of futuristic. And a little more humane than just chopping it off.


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Will Fly
Date: 24 Apr 17 - 09:56 AM

Now, tell me if I'm mistaken, but is Guinness destined for the UK now only brewed in Ireland? I lived not far from the Park Royal brewery in Hanger Lane, many years ago, and often caught the smell of the malting on the way to work (Piccadilly Line).

I know that Park Royal brewery has been demolished - so, presumably, the Guinness we drink here is the same as that drunk in Ireland. Or are there parallel brewings for the different countries?


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: robomatic
Date: 24 Apr 17 - 11:25 AM

My introduction to Dylan was when I induced a mate of mine to go Winter camping with me. We'd hike in before a predicted snowstorm, tent up, then trek out amidst the fresh snow. On the way in we encountered a freezing stream that we had to cross. It was iced over, but the ice was not thick enough to support our weight.
My companion insisted on sending a pre-hike postcard to his missus written as though it was his last communication - ever.
And all the way in he kept repeating the lines from ISIS:

"The wind it was howling, the snow was outrageous
We chopped through the night and we chopped through the dawn
When he died I was hoping it was not contagious
But I made up my mind I had to go on."


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Subject: RE: Why didn't MacColl like Dylan?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Apr 17 - 12:30 PM

"Now, tell me if I'm mistaken, but is Guinness destined for the UK now only brewed in Ireland? "
I'm not sure Will
I haven't had a pint in England for many years, but the last time I did it was awful.
I'm told it isn't as good as here by aficionados, but the same people are just as likely to tell me that Clare Guinness is not as good as Dublin's
Will let you know in a couple of weeks when I visit Liverpool.
"Joyce freak"
Never got on with Joyce- those who tell you he was a good writer are just as likely to tell you the Welsh can sing!
I attended a talk given by one of our senators a few years ago, David Norris - on Finnegan's Wake
I got into a friendly argument with him in the car park when I told him I found the book utterly impenetrable
Mind you, I constantly rowed with my dear late friend, Tom Munnelly over his love of Wagner
Takes all kinds....!
"I like the idea of re-wiring the King's head."
Never thought of that - I can think of several members of the monarchy it might be an improvement on!!
It used to be one of the best music pubs in West London
Every morning, throughout the months I worked there the guvn'or would open the too to me with a milk bottle full of home-made Poitín which he would offer to me as a start to the day.
Jim Carroll


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