The following message from Jack Warshaw, a member of the Critics Group, will be of interest to anyone interested in radio and the power of radio features to express how we feel about the world.
“In the early 1960s Ewan MacColl organised The Critics Group to help young folksingers improve their singing and performing. I joined in 1966. By 1969, at the height of the Vietnam War, the Group, like many folksingers were actively engaged in opposing the war. We sang at rallies, benefits and demonstrations, mostly to audiences who were already on side. It wasn’t enough. To reach to GI’s direct, they needed the medium of radio. Charles Parker, a member of the Group and producer of the award-winning Radio Ballad series with Ewan and Peggy Seeger took on this task. Real-life recordings were collected, scripts assembled and songs written. Four programmes intended for underground broadcast in Vietnam were made.
“Now, for the first time, the story of these programmes is being told by Australian Broadcasting Company producer Gary Bryson. Gary, a Scot, knew Charles Parker and found one of the forgotten programmes that I uploaded to my SoundCloud page. Gary called me and from there the idea of making a programme about Off Limits and the British anti-war movement grew. It’s finished, will be broadcasted in Australia on Wednesday, 6 April on ABC radio and as a podcast around that time too – click here for the podcast.
“It’s a uniquely important and moving insight into the passions and actions of this small band of artists and of millions around the world who were not prepared for their voices to be stifled and were often made to suffer for their acts of open defiance.
“If you want to hear the original Off Limits it’s here: