Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger perform The Driver's Song and talk about the place of music in their lives.

British singer songwriter and activist Ewan MacColl and his wife American folksinger and musician Peggy Seeger are guests on 'First House.

Ewan MacColl tells the story behind  'The Driver's Song’, about a man from County Clare called Jack Hamilton recorded during the building of the M1 motorway.

Jack was sitting in one of the largest earth moving machine’s ever seen. The machine had been shipped in from the Arizona desert to assist with the building of the motorway. It did not work out too well as the following day it got stuck in a bog and had to be fished out with the assistance of a train.

Come all ye' gallant drivers
where ever you may be
whether you drive a euclit or 54-RV
keep your hands upon the leafers
cut and fill a steady load
and take it nice and steady boys
diggin' up the road

Ewan MacColl talks about his commitment to the left and the social messages in his songs. He grew up in relative poverty in Lancashire to Scottish parents. By the age of 14, he was involved in marches and demonstrations. He ran a group called ‘The Red Megaphones’ who would engage in impromptu performances. He was of the belief that art and music had the power to achieve social change.

Peggy Seeger has a very different upbringing with musician middle class parents and a comfortable life. It was only when she met Ewan MacColl that she understood the meaning behind the traditional songs she was performing.

This episode of ‘First House’ was broadcast on 3 November 1975. The presenter is Tom McGurk.