Dirty Old Town

This is the second track in the series, and whilst not really a historical discovery, it certainly fits and given the recent 100th anniversary of Ewan MacColl’s birthday in Broughton, Salford. Just down the hill from Kersal Moor where the Chartists had gathered almost 100 years earlier, Ewan’s birthplace was just around the corner from where some of the band studied, and John Gill (E2’s original bass player) taught at Salford College, just by the Irwell river featured in those early pictures.

Indeed, this part of Salford has a long history of producing creatives and when we lived there I remember John Cooper Clark and Mark E Smith being regulars in the local pubs, such as The Star, now a community owned pub on the edge of Kersal Dale.

This song in fact takes us just a little way from where the chartists gathered, to the gasworks which was just the other side of the A6, to what is now the M602. The Canal referred to is the Manchester to Bury and Bolton Canal which runs up through Salford. In fact, the rumour has it that Salford Council, embarrassed by the perceived negativity of Dirty Old Town, forced Ewan MacColl to change the line from `Smelled the spring on the Salford wind’ to `Smelled the spring on the smoky wind’. (SeeĀ www.salfordstar.com/article.asp?id=2587) for more info.

Anyway, we hope that you enjoy our take on this absolute classic song from Salford, Manchester.


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