Peggy Seeger & Ewan MacColl – Freeborn Man (1983)

AmigaFrontCover1Some not-so-old favourites by Ewan MacColl with the exception of “The Ballad of Springhill, ” which is chiefly the work of Peggy Seeger

For most of the nearly thirty years that Peggy and I have been singing together we have kept detailed programme lists. They fill twelve large notebooks and are an invaluable aid in planning the repertoire for a tour. Because of them we are able to visit a concert-hall or dub again and again, each time with a programme of new songs — or rather, with songs that are probably new to that particular audience.

It is these unfamiliar songs which lend the elements of surprise and freshness to a performance. But there is another equally important element which the new songs cannot provide: familiarity. Almost everyone who goes to a concert enjoys the stimulus that comes from listening to a new song but at the same time almost everyone finds comfort in listening to the old favourites.


The singer, then, must not only sing but compose programmes in which the familiar and the unfamiliar are held in balance. The people who have come to listen collaborate with the singer by requesting this or that song … and that brings us to the reason for issuing this album.

The titles listed above represent some of the most frequently requested songs in our joint repertoire. All of them have appeared on disc at some time or another but, for the most pan, are no longer available. A number of Peggy’s most popular songs are still available and consequently are not included here. The result is an album weighted rather heavily in my favour and consisting mostly of songs made up in the course of creating those BBC documentaries called “radio ballads, ” These songs were based on taped interviews with herring-fishermen, railwaymen, coal-miners, road-builders, boxers, and others and, several of them have already entered the traditional repertoire. (Ewan MacColl)

Biographical Note
Ewan MacColl is a Scot who considers himself primarily a playwright. He was one of the co-founders of Theatre Workshop and was their resident dramatist for eight years. He has worked in radio, television and film. Peggy Seeger, an American, joined him in 1956 and together they are considered one of the lop folksinging teams in the English-speaking world. Their records — nearly 160 LP’s — include connoisseur ballad-collections, women’s albums, children’s discs and specialised collections of songs Their sons Calum (20) and Neill (24), who play with them on this disc, occasionally accompany them onstage. (taken from the original liner – notes)

What a great family album … everybody who loves traditional folk songs … should listen to this album.

My album is a rare Amiga Records pressing … Amiga was the recorcd company of the German Democratic Republic, released in 1989 !


Dill Katz (bass)
Calum MacColl (zither, guitar, whistle, appalachian dulcimer, background vocals))
Ewan MacColl (vocals)
Neill MacColl (guitar, mandolin, background vocals)
Peggy Seeger (guitar, banjo, autoharp, concertina, vocals)
Chris Taylor (harmonica)
Ian Telfer (fiddle)
Bruce Turner (clarinet)
background vocals:
Calum MacColl – Hamish Mac’Coll – Kirsty


01. North Sea Holes 2.38
02. The Shoals Of Herring 3.53
03. The Lag’s Song 2.49
04. Come, Me Little Son 3.50
05. Moving-On Song 3.18
06. Sweet Thames, Flow Softly 4.57
07. I’m a Rambler (The Manchester Rambler) 4.34
08. Freeborn Man
09. The Driver’s Song
10. The Ballad of Springhill
11. Thirty-Foot Trailer
12. Down the Lane
13. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
14. The Big Hewer
15. The Battle is Done With
16. Dirty Old Town

All songs are Traditionals




Ewan MacColl & Peggy Seeger