Saturday, August 26, 2023

Ewan McColl and Peggy Seeger interview (1978)

An interview with folk singers Ewan McColl and Peggy Seeger from 1978, published in the socialist  newspaper Militant (28/7/1978) after the couple had played at a Militant Folk Night at Wallasey Labour Club.  The interview includes  McColl's reflections on the mass trespass movement of the 1930s:

'The earliest songs I wrote were for factory newspapers, from 1928 onwards. At one time I was writing satirical political songs for five different newspapers. Only some were folk songs, but by the time I wrote "The Manchester Rambler' in 1933 it naturally slipped into that style. I wrote four songs for the Mass Trespass that we organised over Kinder Scout [in 1932]. One was for the Ramblers rights Movement, which was affiliated to the British Workers Sports Federation- but that's history now. the only one that survived was the "The Manchester Rambler' Another one started:(sings)

"We are young workers in search of healthy sport, We leave Manchester each weekend for a hike, Oh 'the best moorlands in Derbyshire are closed, to us, we ramble anywhere we like. For the mass trespass is the onlv way there is to gain access to mountains once again".

It's a very crude song as you can hear- but expressed our feelings. Nearly all the open areas were closed off. There were more than 3 million unemployed, and nearly half a million were young workers or had come straight from school at 14 on to the dole... A big hiking movement developed out of the young unemployed and from this all the best of the young militants came'