Song of a Road

The Song of a Road

by Ewan MacColl
     
 
Considered by Ewan MacColl to be the weakest of the eight radio ballads created for the BBC radio service, Song of a Road could be considered a failure only in respect of its apparent focus on the mechanics of road-building as applied to the construction of Britain's M1 motorway. MacColl, Charles Parker, and Peggy Seeger were initially hampered in their efforts

Overview

Considered by Ewan MacColl to be the weakest of the eight radio ballads created for the BBC radio service, Song of a Road could be considered a failure only in respect of its apparent focus on the mechanics of road-building as applied to the construction of Britain's M1 motorway. MacColl, Charles Parker, and Peggy Seeger were initially hampered in their efforts by a mixture of BBC executive demands that tempered the spirit of the team to begin with, and the initial oversight from the public relations office for the construction project -- as MacColl noted in his liner notes, this latter problem was solved in part by getting into the worst corners of the 57 miles of the initial project, convincing the PR representative that she did not need to be present. For all MacColl's conviction that they had softened their approach to the subject, he, Parker, and Seeger managed to include quite a bit of irony and tragic realism, both in the choice of interview clips and the often pointed lyrics -- a self-important chief engineer's puffed-up speech leads into a satirical song about consulting engineers; in another instance, interview clips about the life of a long-term road gang worker lead to a song from a mother to her child about his long- absent father. Despite its age (this radio ballad was produced in 1959), Song of a Road is still vitally fascinating -- more importantly, it bears repeated listening.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/13/1999
Label:
Topic Records
UPC:
0714822080224
catalogNumber:
802
Rank:
214246

Tracks

  1. Introduction
  2. We Usually Finish the Shift in the Pub...
  3. I Thionk It's the Soil
  4. We Are the Consulting Engineers
  5. We Were in a Great Rush When We Did This
  6. My Name Is.....
  7. During That Time, a Survey Has Been Made.....
  8. It Would Take Quite a Lot of Men to Do the Job of One of Those ...
  9. Come All You Gallant Drivers
  10. I'm a Roving Rambler...
  11. Deep and Straight and Low
  12. Sixty Tons of Steel
  13. What Made You Come into This Game?
  14. Just a Road
  15. Oh Well That's Just the Way It Is
  16. When the Muck Has All Been Shifted
  17. Bring up Your Black Squad
  18. Been on the Road So Long
  19. You Can Talk About Your Concrete
  20. The Motorway Is on the Final Lap
  21. We Needed a Way Cut Through the Land

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Ewan MacColl   Primary Artist,Vocals
Seamus Ennis   Vocals
Peggy Seeger   Banjo,Autoharp
Bruce Turner   Clarinet
Cyril Tawney   Vocals
Louis Killen   Vocals
Jim Bray   Bass
Alf Edwards   Concertina,Ocarina
A.L. Lloyd   Vocals
Isla Cameron   Vocals
John Chilton   Trumpet
Fitzroy Coleman   Guitar
Francis McPeake   Vocals,uillean pipes
John Armitage   Drums
Jimmy MacGregor   Vocals

Technical Credits

Ewan MacColl   Engineer,Script
Peggy Seeger   Orchestration,Documentation,Music Direction
Tony Engle   Producer
Charles Parker   Producer,Engineer,Script
Laurence Aston   Annotation

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