Cover Story: (12) Ewan MacColl's Dirty Old Town. Dubliners, Pogues or the Ian Campbell Folk Group?

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It is hard to believe that 68 years have passed since Ewan MacColl wrote perhaps his second best known song, Dirty Old Town. MacColl composed compellingly on many subjects, from the challenges of modern society to travelling people and the anti-social ways of landowners to the everyday lives of trawlermen, tunnel labourers and apprentice fitters.

He was a demanding character; our folk club in Bishop Auckland had to drop plans to book him at sight of his list of conditions about nature and composition of the makeshift stage and audience discipline. Which of many versions of Dirty Old Town would have won his approval? Some readers may know the answer. Bill Taylor (that's him above) offers his own preferences for the Cover Story series, Bill's appearances on these pages illustrating that they are open to guest contributors ...

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Cover Story: (11) Christy Moore or Mary Coughlan. Ride On and horses for courses



First, a spot of housekeeping
for the Cover Story series.

As sharp observers will already have noticed, "or" replaces "vs" in the headline. I shall get round to changing the previous 10 posts in the series since the purpose of the exercise is much more to draw attention to different versions of songs than to play artists off against one another.


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Folk free: Herman's Hermits, Tom Courtenay and an ode to Mrs Brown's Daughter

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Does the fact that Sunderland supporters adapted the first big Herman's Hermit hit,  I'm Into Something Good, make it - and the band - part of the folk tradition? You're right, it does not.
Bill Taylor - I must be quick to shift the blame and that's him above - admitted this was an 'audacious/outrageous new submission'. It didn't stop him submitting it ... but stand by for a more interesting read than you thought possible on the subject of another of their hits, Mrs Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter, and its origins. And to illustrate why I am no good at pub quizzes, if asked who had the hit, I'd have got it completely wrong and replied Joe Brown and the Bruvvers. Well, there could be innocent explanations for him singing such praises of a girl also called Brown ...

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