I'm currently doing some research into the life of the tenor gospel singer William MacEwan (also spelled McEwan) from Glasgow. He was referred to as 'the world's first great gospel singer on record', issuing over 40 old 78rpms during his career. His first recording session was for the Columbia record company in London in November 1911, so exactly 100 years ago next month - this was the session which included my grandfather's favourite hymn, 'My Ain Countrie'.
I have a lot of information about McEwan's musical career, and of hymn books he published, but very little about his personal life - for example I've got conflicting birth dates (1870, 1872 or 1877) and death dates (1943 or 1949) for him, and no conclusive information if he was born in Bridegton in Glasgow or just outside the city. He certainly lived in Bridgeton in later life, but I have also seen a 1922 document with his address given as 90 Mevia Street, Glasgow (but can't find any other record of a street of that name ever having existed at all). I also have a reference to him dying and being buried in Los Angeles (in 1949) So this post is just to see if anyone out there knows much about him and would be interested in helping.
I will post what musical information I have in November. Maybe someone out there knows of a fuller biography? A man of his calibre and influence deserves to be remembered in the year of his centenary.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Posted by Mark Thompson at Wednesday, October 12, 2011