Joy of Living

Discussion in 'Rarities and New Songs' started by Rena, Oct 31, 2015.

  1. Rena

    Rena Admin Staff Member

    A new Ewan MacColl tribute album has been released yesterday Oct 30.

    David had the honour of contributing the title track. I strongly advise you to go and get the album and listen to this straight away. What David did with the song simply took my breath away. I only have one word to describe David's version:


  2. nevermind

    nevermind Well-Known Grayhead

    I second this, Rena! David's contribution is beautiful and after listening to a few more songs this whole album is a must have :)))

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2015
    Rena likes this.
  3. nevermind

    nevermind Well-Known Grayhead

    Here a nice review

    5 stars (out of 5)

    By Donald Teplyske

    Twenty-six years after his passing and upon the centenary of his birth, Ewan MacColl remains a challenging figure. Equal—and often polarizing—parts folklorist, singer, actor, activist, and hypocrite, MacColl had tremendous influence on the revitalization of the traditional British folk scene.

    However one comes to Ewan MacColl’s music, once there it is a challenging visit. A fine vocalist, he wrote of historical and cultural elements far from North American experience. Therefore, his songs can be perplexing when one doesn’t have the context to comprehend references and language use. No mistaking, “Dirty Old Town,” “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” “The Joy of Living,” and “The Shoals of Herring” are incredible songs.

    I come to MacColl the usual way, via his children: she who requires no introduction—Kirsty MacColl—and—he of the long-ago, almost one-hit wonder, the Roaring Boys (“Every Second of the Day”)—Neill MacColl. When following Kirsty MacColl via British import singles and Smash Hits and NME articles, mentions of her folksinging father were three-a-penny. Even with the Pogues recording one of his songs, I never really paid mind to Ewan MacColl until much later when I found myself mired in perplexed astonishment of folk music’s magic.

    Joy of Living: A Tribute to Ewan MacColl is freshly released in North America via Compass Records. A double album produced by brothers Calum and Neill MacColl, it features both the most recognizable names from the modern British folk scene, as well as those whose vintage is considerably more senior. The set has much to offer.

    The album is a wonderful blend of nu-folk and auld-school sounds, both traditional and contemporary. Despite disparate elements, the sound is consistent across the discs, across the years of experience, in no small part a result of the MacColl brothers playing on almost every track. On a range of instruments—guitars, mandolin, dulcimer, banjo, piano, and more—the siblings are the fundamental foundation of the recording.

    For those who don’t follow the British folk scene terribly closely, many of the artists paying tribute to MacColl here will be unfamiliar. For those who have more than a passing affection for English, Irish, Welsh, and Scots folk music, Joy of Living is a bit of a treasure trove.

    The richly-voiced Damien Dempsey kicks things off with the moving “Schooldays Over,” a powerful song of heading into the mines. Members of Bombay Bicycle Club—Jack Steadman and Jamie MacColl (Kirsty’s son)—contribute a stunning arrangement of “The Young Birds,” a MacColl composition about a plane accident that cut close—the children killed were schoolmates of his first son Hamish.

    Martin Simpson’s interpretation of “The Father’s Song” is a might devastating; to have had such guidance! Seth Lakeman reaches deep to find the essence of “The Shoals of Herring,” while timeless vocalists including **** Gaughan, Martin Carthy, Christy Moore, and Billy Bragg deliver stunning performances of less-familiar MacColl compositions.

    Paul Brady’s “Freeborn Man,” thematically linked with Eliza Carthy’s “Thirty-Foot Trailer” (about the end of the Romany traveller lifestyle within the UK,) Karine Polwart’s “The Terror Time,” and Norma Waterson’s “Moving On Song” (additional travellers’ tales) explore an unfamiliar element of British society. All the more powerful for it, too.

    The Unthanks’ “Cannily, Cannily” is a positively stunning lullaby that I understand naught. The only (slightly) disappointing track is Steve Earle’s rendition of “Dirty Old Town,” in which he sings in a voice of affectation; the performance is quite fine, but one wishes it sounded a bit more like, well, Steve Earle, long-ago Texan and resident New Yorker.

    Frequent Neill MacColl collaborators Kathryn Williams (“Alone”) and David Gray (“The Joy of Living”) close this remarkable journey is the most elegant of fashion—gentle and accepting.

    Running at more than 80 minutes, Joy of Living: A Tribute to Ewan MacColl is quite the brilliant introduction to and celebration of the agitator, visionary, and artist born James Miller. The highlights are many, the low-points mere quibbles. If only all folk music sounded this true, honest, and vibrant.​
  4. Marcel

    Marcel Administrator Staff Member

    Quick tip: if anyone is looking (iTunes/Spotify) for David's tune on Joy of Living: A Tribute to Ewan Maccoll.. Somehow the tracks are screwed up and David's track is the track before the one it should have been..
    So.. Alone by Kathryn Williams is actually David Gray..

    nevermind and Rena like this.
  5. carmel59

    carmel59 Well-Known Grayhead

    RosalieEP likes this.
  6. nevermind

    nevermind Well-Known Grayhead

    Disturbing! Lol!

    Just kidding, MarceI! I like Kathryn's cover as well!

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2015
  7. Marcel

    Marcel Administrator Staff Member

    That video does not play for me on YouTube, deleted maybe ?
  8. Rena

    Rena Admin Staff Member

    Btw as far as I know the MacColl who is a member of the Bombay Bicycle Club is actually Neill MacColl's son and not his sister Kirsty's. (I am referring to the article quoted above ).
    nevermind likes this.
  9. carmel59

    carmel59 Well-Known Grayhead

    played for me again.......
  10. carmel59

    carmel59 Well-Known Grayhead

    Farewell you northern hills, you mountains all goodbye
    Moorland and stony ridges, crags and peaks goodbye
    Glyder Fach farewell, Cul Beag, Scafell, cloud-bearing
    Sun warmed rock and the cold of Bleaklow's frozen sea
    The snow and the wind and the rain of hills and
    Days in the sun and the tempered wind and the air like
    And you drink and you drink till you're drunk
    On the joy of living

    Farewell to you my love, my time is almost done
    Lie in my arms once more until the darkness comes
    You filled all my days, held the night at bay, dearest
    Years pass by and they're gone with the speed of birds
    in flight
    Our life like the verse of a song heard in the
    Give me your hand then love and join your voice with
    We'll sing of the hurt and pain
    And the joy of living

    Farewell to you my chicks, soon you must fly alone
    Flesh of my flesh, my future life, bone of my bone
    May your wings be strong, may your days be long, safe
    be your journey
    Each of you bears inside of you the gift of love
    May it bring you light and warmth and the pleasure of
    Eagerly savour each new day and the taste of its mouth
    Never lose sight of the thrill
    And the joy of living

    Take me to some high place of heather, rock and ling
    Scatter my dust and ashes, feed me to the wind
    So that I will be part of all you see, the air you are
    I'll be part of the curlew's cry and the soaring hawk
    The blue milkwort and the sundew hung with diamonds
    I'll be riding the gentle wind that blows through your
    Reminding you how we shared
    In the joy of living

    Mountain references: Glyder Fach is in Snowdonia, North
    Wales; Cul Beag and Suilven are in Wester Ross in
    Scotland; Scafell in the English Lake District;
    Bleaklow in the Derbyshire Peak District (near Kinder).

    Ling is a variety of heather, milkwort and sundew also
    grow on such mountainous areas.

    MacColl said about the song in a book of poetry (1989):
    The last time I climbed Suilven, or to be more precise,
    failed to climb it, was in my seventy-second year. I
    was with my wife and fourteen-year-old daughter Kitty.
    "You go ahead," I told them, "I'll meet you at the
    top." But 'the flesh is bruckle, the fiend is slee',
    and I hadn't gone more than half the distance when my
    legs refused to carry me further. My body had given me
    plenty of warnings over the last seven or eight years
    but this was the final notice. My mountain days were
    over. I sat down on a rock feeling utterly desolate.
    The feeling lasted for several days and then my grief
    and feeling of loss gave way to nostalgia and I wrote
    The Joy of Living. In an odd kind of way it helped me
    to come to terms with my old age. (Ewan MacColl in
    Bell, Poetry 104)
    Rena likes this.
  11. carmel59

    carmel59 Well-Known Grayhead

    I've listened to this song multiple times now, it is so beautifully sung. I hope this album get nominated for a Grammy!!!
  12. RosalieEP

    RosalieEP Well-Known Grayhead

    This is gorgeous!! Love it!
  13. Stuart Ronayne

    Stuart Ronayne Member Grayhead

    Such a great song ....almost feels like it was written for David :)
    carmel59, Rena and RosalieEP like this.

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