Ian Parr writes: This script was intended to be performed by Sam (and indeed was) with one or two other musicians with live and recorded music at events mostly in the South West of England. In this form it has the appearance of an anthology, or rather collected works, with recorded examples. The original was much more of an interactive performance for folk song clubs and such like.
We think the merits of this paper go beyond the modest, though in retrospect successfully achieved, objectives Sam seems to have set himself.
We have maintained almost all the script with the exception of small typographic corrections and in some cases additional brief (very brief) notes and headings or titles to the songs. Sam’s notes such as “play these on the piano” have been retained for their reference to the original intent of the presentation.
Where a particular song or version of a song has not been cited we’ve provided a link to something we feel fits the case in point. In a couple of instances where Sam used vocal accompaniment for his example we’ve located a suitable song from the often, conflicting, YouTube choices. Performances are not always as good as we might have wished. But access to material from the internet is not always easy.
What you have here, what Sam has provided for anyone wanting an informative but musically varied (it does end with Hans Eisler’s “Song of the United Front”) presentation, is an enlightened summary of Ewan MacColl’s song writing work, with, we think, interesting and varied examples.
All the recordings have been referenced from YouTube. That in itself is testimony to Ewan MacColl’s omnipresence in popular culture. And the availability made by the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC., USA of recordings from its archive is here acknowledged also.
We hope you enjoy this assembly as much as we have in reviewing it.