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The Travelling People 1964

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In The Beginning
Ewan MacColl 1915 - 1989
Peggy Seeger 1935 -
Charles Parker 1919-1980
The Original Ballads
The Ballad of John Axon 1957
Song of a Road 1958
Singing the Fishing 1959
The Big Hewer 1960
The Body Blow 1961
On the Edge 1962
The Fight Game 1963
The Travelling People 1964
The New Radio Ballads
John Tams
The Song Of Steel
The Enemy That Lives Within
The Horn of the Hunter
Swings and Roundabouts
Thirty Years of Conflict
Ballad of the Big Ships

About Britain's nomadic peoples

The last of the radio ballads that Ewan MacColl, Peggy Seeger, and Charles Parker devised, The Travelling People is also the most accomplished, both in form and content. An examination of the Romany people in Britain, it serves mostly as a condemnation of attitudes toward them and their nomadic lifestyle -- which, as reflected in many of the soundbites, were not complimentary. People simply didn't want them around, calling them "tinkers" and things much worse, as "I Mean, We're Fed Up With Gypsies Living in Our Area" highlights, with the incident of a woman about to give birth being moved on by the police. The attitudes were reflected in other ways too, like the boy who spent several years in the same grade without being taught to read or write, because, the teacher explained, "he's the best message boy I've ever had." But this does more than simply look at the negatives. It examines the life of the gypsies, the way they'd settle in the winter time, or how traveling was part of their nature. MacColl's songs are among the finest he wrote for the radio ballad series, and the accompaniment is richer and fuller than before, and the singers -- people like Belle Stewart, Joe Heaney, and Jane Stewart -- serve the material brilliantly. They become integrated into a whole program -- which is what each of the radio ballads was, of course -- that's intelligently fashioned to bring out a whole picture, one which is sympathetic to the travelers, but also allows for opposing views. The listener comes away educated, and also humbled by the quiet pride of these people. It's nothing less than a remarkable achievement.

The Travelling People 1969[click for larger image]
Argo Records DA 133 1969 [Mono Recording]
back cover [click for larger image]
Argo Records DA 133 1969 [Mono Recording]

The Travelling People 1964
Topic Records TSCD 808 [CD release]

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