“The Manchester Angel - Traditional English Songs” by Ewan MacColl with Peggy Seeger - album review

TJR says

Ewan MacColl's recording career began in 1950 with Topic Records, and his connection with the label was extended in 1966 with “The Manchester Angel”. As the sleeve notes told: “Those who think of Ewan MacColl mainly as a singer of Scots and topical pieces are in for a delightful surprise with this record of English - often deeply English - songs. Those who know MacColl's supreme versatility will find their admiration confirmed.

The very fine album opener “We Poor Labouring Men”, collected by Ewan from Queen Caroline Hughes (real name!) in a gypsy caravan in a layby on the A5, makes a good case for acknowledging such men as the beating heart and soul of the economy, beyond the skilled tradesmen. The piece has extra character as it features Peggy on the dulcimer.

More prominent on the LP is the presence of the concertina, such is the case with my next favourite track; Ewan had recorded “Bawbee Allan” (Roud 54 / Child 84) on “The English And Scottish Popular Ballads (The Child Ballads) Volume II” (Riverside Records RLP-12-623/624) back in 1956. He revisits the piece here as “Barbara Allan”. In his liner notes Ewan comments: “The widespread oral circulation of the ballad has resulted in many minor variations of plot and its tough-minded heroine has, with the passing of time, been transformed into a properly penitent young lady. The version given here was learned from Caroline Hughes in 1964.” It seems he did well in his audience with with Queenie.

The shallow nature of money-driven friendships themes the album's closer, “Homeward Bound”, of which Ewan writes: “This wry and down-to-earth appraisal of the sailor’s status ashore is, in its own way, a model of the English protest song. In the last days of sail it was used both as a shanty and as a forebitter.

Alas, the finer moments as described are too few on this largely unexciting set.

The Jukebox Rebel
18-Aug-2018


A1 [02:16] 7.1.png Ewan MacColl with Peggy Seeger - We Poor Labouring Men (Traditional) Folk
A2 [02:13] 5.9.png Ewan MacColl with Peggy Seeger - Georgie (Traditional) Folk
A3 [04:28] 6.9.png Ewan MacColl with Peggy Seeger - Barbara Allen [1966 version] (Traditional) Folk
A4 [02:33] 5.3.png Ewan MacColl with Peggy Seeger - Sheepcrook And Black Dog (Traditional) Folk
A5 [04:18] 5.4.png Ewan MacColl with Peggy Seeger - The Bramble Briar - Strwberry Town (Traditional) Folk
A6 [02:04] 4.6.png Ewan MacColl with Peggy Seeger - One Night As I Lay On My Bed (Traditional) Folk
A7 [04:19] 5.0.png Ewan MacColl with Peggy Seeger - The Grey Cock (Traditional) Folk
B1 [02:38] 5.2.png Ewan MacColl with Peggy Seeger - To The Begging I Will Go (Traditional) Folk
B2 [01:42] 5.1.png Ewan MacColl with Peggy Seeger - The Sheep Stealer - I Am A Brisk Land (Traditional) Folk
B3 [03:17] 5.5.png Ewan MacColl with Peggy Seeger - The Manchester Angel (Traditional) Folk
B4 [01:57] 5.2.png Ewan MacColl with Peggy Seeger - The Bold Richard (Traditional) Folk
B5 [02:00] 5.5.png Ewan MacColl with Peggy Seeger - The Press Gang (Traditional) Folk
B6 [02:49] 5.6.png Ewan MacColl with Peggy Seeger - Round Cape Horn (Traditional) Folk
B7 [02:14] 5.2.png Ewan MacColl with Peggy Seeger - Through Moorfields (Traditional) Folk
B8 [03:35] 6.2.png Ewan MacColl with Peggy Seeger - Homeward Bound (Traditional) Folk




care-to-share.png

if-so-thanks.png
© The Jukebox Rebel 2005-2019 All Rights Reserved