This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
The title ‘Set into Song’ comes from an ‘Landmarks’ radio ballad series on Midlands
introductory phrase “Set into Song by Ewan radio, and of life after Parker’s sacking, taking
MacColl” spoken by a cut-glass BBC voice, in community theatre, and the Grey Cock
markedly different from the tones of the Folk Club, and of MacColl & Seeger ‘s career
everyday folk whose stories were the cloth until 1989, the year of Ewan’s death. (Charles
from which the programmes were cut. Peter Parker died one year later). The chapter
The Living Tradition magazine
Cox gives the three creators, MacColl, Seeger, ‘Different Therefore Equal’ deals with Peggy’s
and Parker, a chapter of biography each, subsequent career up until the present day. is published every 2 months.
drawing attention to their widely differing The last chapter ‘’A New Generation’ deals
backgrounds which on the face of it would most generously with John Tams 2006 ballad
Subscribing is the best way
make their chances of fruitful collaboration series.
to make sure that you get a
highly unlikely. The fiercely political, self-
taught intellectual Ewan MacColl had a Peter Cox’s admiration for the superb artistry
regular copy of this magazine
background in radical theatre before he turned of MacColl and Seeger and the technical
with the advantage of
his attention to folk song. Peggy Seeger, brilliance of Charles Parker shines throughout
talented instrumentalist and singer, then in the book and his love of the programmes too. getting it “hot off the press”.
her early twenties had led a life steeped in But he is not afraid to give us a ‘warts and all’
music, folk and classical, with a folklorist background story where necessary therefore
Subscriptions are of 12 issues
and a composer for parents, and musical making an already fascinating report even
(2 years).
siblings including brother Mike, half-brother more so. I’m pleased to announce that Topic
Pete, and various sisters continually playing Records have made the CDs of the Radio
or listening to music. Charles Parker, BBC Ballads available again, and that this book UK Subscriptions are £36
producer, was a committed Christian, an ex- may be had direct from the website www.
submarine commander, Royalist and political at the discount price of £15,
Europe £42/60Euros
Conservative. A mixed bunch, but as Peter Cox with signature if required.
Rest of the World £48
shows their combined talents went to create
radio of a type never heard before. Roy Harris
After these biographies Cox gives each
programme a chapter of it’s own with the story
of how it was made. Readers may feel as I did
after the descriptions of the trials involved in
getting this done that it’s amazing they made
it to air at all. The BBC may well have been
pleased when ‘Singing the Fishing’ gained
Maypoles to Mistletoe
the 1960 Italia Prize, the radio equivalent
(The Book of the Show)
of the ‘Oscar’, but they can hardly be said
to have been supportive of the programme
Educational Printing Services ISBN
makers. There was disapproval and downright
Post Code:
obstruction from members of ‘the brass’
almost all the way. Parker was a genius with
Danni Wyndham-Read came up with the
tape, razor blade, and chinagraph, able to
title about forty years ago when Martyn first Tel No:
splice the merest fragments of tape into a
sketched out his concept for a show of songs,
telling sound picture but the description of
dances and readings that encompassed the
his fight to get recording machines, and the
seasons of the year. Once the show was
Is this a: New Subscription q
lengths he had to go to get enough studio
established, a fabulous Trailer LP (LER2092)
Re-Subscription q Gift Subscription q
time are beyond belief at times. His work was
was made featuring the singing of Arkie’s
To give a subscription to a friend as a
gaining plaudits from outside the BBC, whilst
Toast (who contributed wonderful newly-written
gift, fill the recipients name and address
he was constantly criticised and hindered by
songs) Geoff and Pennie Harris (whose duo-
the in-house mandarins. He was finally sacked
singing was exceptional and truly inspirational)
above and enter the givers name here.
from the Corporation in 1972 after a move
and, of course, Martyn, whose performance
Gift From
sideways into television, which he hated, being
then, as now, manages to create a bubble
a radio man through and through. He did
which encloses his voice, the song and the
have supporters among the creative folk at the
listener to the exclusion of all else. Live I enclose cheque for ______________
Beeb. The names of men like Phillip Donellan
performances of the show take place year on
and D.G. Bridson, crop up frequently with their
year, especially just before Christmas, resulting
or please debit my Visa/Mastercard/
approval and understanding of what he was
in the satisfactory situation where a show
American Express/Switch
about seasonal traditions becomes a seasonal
tradition in itself. The 1998 cast produced
BBC politics weren’t the only thing to muddy
an excellent CD (Country Branch CBCD091
the waters. Cox reports on Parker’s ferocious
– readily available, unlike the Trailer album),
__________ Exp: __________________
temper, and of clashes between him and the
with much more instrumental music thanks to
other two partners. MacColl’s annoyance at
the absorption of squeezer supreme Iris Bishop
Security Code (The last 3 digits
Parker’s supposed hogging of the credit for the
whose influence on the project is obviously
of number on back of card)
shows are well documented, and the mixture
considerable. So to 2008 – about time for a
of reviews which had a fair share of put-downs
book, I would’ve thought…and hey presto!
as well as plaudits. Cox knows all this because
of his exhaustive research. He spoke at length
The Book of The Show is A4 size and spiral

If possible please pay sterling cheques, or
to everybody concerned with the making,
bound to lie flat as you pump your bellows,
postal orders, IMOs payable to The Living
studio staff, musicians, singers, engineers,
strum your strings or stretch your vocal chords
they all had plenty to say. Familiar names like
with a pint-pot in each hand. It contains
Tradition. Send your application to:
Bert Lloyd, Louis Killen, Ian Campbell, Dave
words, guitar chords and music to 35 of the
The Living Tradition,
Swarbrick, and Frankie Armstrong crop up,
songs used in the shows, many of which
P.O. Box 1026, Kilmarnock,
as do other lesser-known participants in this
are on the first two albums. There is an
Ayrshire, Scotland KA2 0LG.
wonderful series.
attached CD with more songs several dance
tel: 01563-571220
tunes and a taste of Jim Farr’s remarkable
A couple of later chapters tell of the
spoken word pieces. The idea behind the
fax: 01563-544855
e: 80
Sponsored by BIrnam CD The Living Tradition - Page 1
Issue80.indd 51 14/7/08 14:54:56
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