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The Ballad of John Axon (Remastered)

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Album Review

The very first of the MacColl/Parker/Seeger radio ballads for the BBC, commemorating both a railwayman who died trying to stop his runaway train, and British railwaymen in general. The production itself more or less required them to invent their techniques on the fly — there was originally no intention of using the field recordings as they were, nor was there any particular intent of using folk ballad musical forms, and so down the line to the post-production phase, which saw Charles Parker coming up with entirely news ways of approaching the art of tape editing and creation audio montages. The later radio ballads would take a more formal approach, which allowed for an easier time in creating the programs, as well as improved flexibility in how they approached them (as with reducing the complexity of the structure, as happened with The Body Blow). The Ballad of John Axon is quite a bit more rough and ready than the later shows, but this is, fortunately, in keeping with the underlying subject — the guts and pain of the Iron Way, rather than the glory and romance of trains. This is a compelling, brilliant production, influential on both radio and television documentaries at least in terms of its application of actuality and montage. Not to be missed. ~ Steven E. McDonald, Rovi

Biography

Born: 25 January 1915 in Salford, England

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Ewan MacColl may well have been the most influential person in the British folk song revival. From his early manhood until his death in 1989, he remained passionately committed to folk, though not exclusively; he was also a poet, playwright, organizer, activist, songwriter, husband, and father. MacColl was born James Henry Miller in Salford, England in 1915. His father was a lowland man who spoke Scots English, his mother a highlander who spoke Gaelic. Both of his parents were singers. MacColl left...
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The Ballad of John Axon (Remastered), Ewan MacColl
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