“Hot Blast” by Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1978Album Chart of the Decade: 1970s

TJR says

The husband-and-wife duo continue with their fine 1970s form, with musical accompaniment from their sons Neil and Calum MacColl, as well as Bruce Turner. The liner notes set the stall out: “All but one of the songs on this album were written between September 1977 and February 1978. For the most part they deal with political matters, and for those credulous souls who believe that political songs are part of a world-wide communist conspiracy we would point out that the practice of writing and singing political songs is one of our oldest traditions, dating back (at least) to the Norman conquest. We hope that the songs on this album will be useful weapons in the arsenal of those who are engaged in "the international conspiracy" against the brutal exploitation of the working-class, against the senseless waste of human and natural resources and against the perniciuous disease of racism.

The harrowing “Emily”, sung a capella by Peggy, is a first-half highlight, based on the real-life experience of a woman who spent eighteen months in a battered wives' refuge in South London, desperate to be rehoused by the reluctant council. “He's got just two ways to settle a quarrel; one is his left, the other his right

Cut-Price Hero” points a finger at the prominent ones who would rant and scare-monger; the petty tyrants and junior Hitlers. The "Reverend" Ian Paisley gets a well-deserved mention in the liner notes.

The epic “White Wind”, clocking in at over 18 minutes, closes the LP magnificently. Ewan's inspirational songs of the black man's struggle in South Africa had been adopted by the African National Congress in the 1960s and they approached him to write more. Speaking of this, Ewan explained his dilemma: “it was impossible—for me, at any rate—to do justice to what was happening in a single song. I determined to write a group of songs, but to relate them to each other. So, I made a little study, as best I could in the short time at my disposal, and talked to lots of Africans, and wrote these five pieces, each using a different style—a style, not an African style, but a style that was suggestive, inspired, touched off by listening to different African—music from different parts of Africa.” It'd be fair to say, he did them proud, he did them justice, holding individuals and corporations to account for the atrocious events. In the finale, there are two ways to look at Soweto: “Soweto: a word for murder, Soweto means fascist terror, Soweto: a word for death, Tanks opposing naked flesh. Soweto! Soweto! Soweto: a word for courage, Soweto means will to fight, Soweto means end oppression, Soweto: it spells UNITE!

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [04:09] 6.2.png Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl - Blast Against Blackguards (Ewan MacColl, Peggy Seeger) Folk
A2 [03:35] 6.3.png Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl - The Tenant Farmer (Ewan MacColl, Peggy Seeger) Folk
A3 [05:01] 5.9.png Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl - The Pay-Up Song (Ewan MacColl, Peggy Seeger) Big Band / Jive / Swing
A4 [05:38] 7.0.png Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl - Emily (Peggy Seeger) Folk
A5 [03:15] 7.2.png Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl - Cut-Price Hero [1978 version] (Ewan MacColl) Folk
A6 [03:05] 6.6.png Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl - You And I (Ewan MacColl, Peggy Seeger) Folk
A7 [04:13] 6.8.png Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl - Legal Illegal (Ewan MacColl, Peggy Seeger) Folk
B1 [05:27] 6.5.png Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl - The Invader (Peggy Seeger) Folk
B2 [02:23] 4.7.png Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl - The Father’s Song (Ewan MacColl) Folk
B3 [18:37] 9.2.png Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl - White Wind (Ewan MacColl) Folk

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