Traditional and contemporary folk from the British Isles


A radio-ballad about the psychology of pain by Ewan MacColl, Charles Parker & Peggy Seeger

Conceived as a documentary on the psychology of pain, The Body Blow focuses on five people partially or totally disabled by polio.

‘The rhythmic nuances of the interviewees were built into MacColl’s melodies; while the merciless impact of the debilitating illness breathed foreboding into the songs of The Body Blow – an examination of the ‘psychology of pain’. From these sprang some of MacColl’s most beautiful music.’ PETER RAPHIDES, TIME OUT

1  Introduction
2  What day did the world stop moving?
3  Do you recall how you climbed the Mountains?
4  Can’t breathe…
5  I often think back…
6  The world is a bed …
7  I wasn’t afraid while I was in the lung…
8  Well, first of all… appreciate the situation…
9  While there’s life, there’s hope…
10  It’s goodbye now…
11  Now I can do all the small things?
12  Stronger than pain is the human will to survive…
13  Closing announcement / The hidden foe…

Script, song lyrics and music: Ewan MacColl
Orchestration and musical direction: Peggy Seeger
Actuality recording: Charles Parker
Production: Charles Parker
Programme prepared with the help of The Polio Research Fund

Ewan MacColl, Peggy Seeger


Alf Edwards
English concertina, ocarina 
Alfie Khan flute, harmonica
 Brian Daly guitar 
Peggy Seeger guitar, 5-string banjo


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