ABSTRACT

To see how contemporary songs stand up to comparison with those of the recent past, it is useful to apply the criteria suggested in the foregoing chapters. By taking a look at the best of current work, it is also possible to investigate differences in situation, approach, style and theme between industrial workers and professional songwriters. I have chosen two active songwriters, one from industry and the other an 'exworking-class' full-time professional, for this comparison. The paradigmatic method - trying to demonstrate general tendencies with particular examples - is convenient and can be incisive but is not always free of problems, for the results stand or fall with the choice of examples. Jim Brown and Ewan MacColl are, I believe, 'typical' in Engels' and Brecht's sense of the word. I have chosen them, then, not to illustrate averages, but to give a yardstick for the future average by showing the best. Where I have considered it useful, I have also introduced other songwriters for comparison.