Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Singing the Fishing

Fishing, as it was in the days before logbooks, licenses and the Landing Obligation - the best kind of programme making from by the BBC capturing life in Britain through music and the spoken word.

Taken from the album Ewan MacColl, Peggy Seeger & Charles Parker 'Singing The Fishing’ 1966 on Argo Records. Written by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger. First transmitted on August 16th 1960 for the BBC Home Service, this compelling recording of radio-ballads (the third of eight recorded between 1958-1964) proved so popular that the BBC were inundated with letters of praise and requests for repeat airings. 

Six parts of the series became available on LP via Argo Records between 1965-1970, until the brilliant Topic Records released all eight parts on CD direct from the original masters between 1999 & 2008. The radio-ballads were described by Ewan MacColl & Peggy Seeger as 'the work of a team of singers (inc A.L. Lloyd, Ian Campbell, Isla Cameron, John Faulkner & Joe Heaney), songwriters (MacColl & Seeger), technicians (Charles Parker), instrumentalists (including Dave Swarbrick & Alf Edwards) and others who were consciously attempting to apply the techniques of folk creation to one part of the mass media...radio’. 

This part is in essence a trilogy, and tells of the three generations in the lifetime of British fishermen in the early 1900's, sail, steam and diesel. The BBC eventually got rid of radio-ballads and their unit dedicated to it shortly after these recordings were made, even going as far as to sack Charles Parker (producer of these recordings) in 1972, however over 5000 hours of recordings made by Parker are now available on the internet. MacColl & Seeger's history speaks for itself and their contribution to British folk is only strengthened by this excellent collection. 

These recordings have been put up for the enjoyment and education of others unable to hear them at the time. Any requests for them to be taken down from youtube will result in their immediate removal. All rights to the owners.