What a joy to come once again across Loudon Wainwright III's daughters Martha - her mum was the excellent but, sadly, departed Kate McGarrigle - and Lucy, whose mother is Suzzy Roche, one of the Irish-American Roche sisters whose music gave me such pleasure decades ago.
I may have seen one or both of them as kids playing in a park in Hounslow 30+ years ago when dad was appearing at a small festival beneath an oppressive stream of one-every-13-seconds planes landing at Heathrow.
The joy was all to do with the discovery of their version of Long Lankin, a darkly enchanting ballad of murder and retribution I have always associated with Steeleye Span. It is the subject of the fourth article in the new Salut! Live series, Cover Story, a brief look at differing versions of same songs.
The Wainwright women add the verses that provide important detail (well important to me, since I covered crime and court cases a lot as a reporter) to the story of absent head of household, vulnerable wife and baby, false and complicit nurse and vile killer. And those harmonies! In a context other than gruesome murder, I might have say they are to die for.
Steeleye Span, meanwhile, captured the sheer blood-curdling drama of the song in their own, English folk-rock way, Maddy Prior's soaring vocals and the band at their best with driving, dynamic instrumentation and arrangement.
Among many admiring comments at YouTube, I have never forgotten this, from one Anna Nunn:
This song is one of the most beautiful I have heard in a while, her voice is so different and eerie. I orginally came here thanks to a book i recently read based on the song - Long Lankin ~ Lindsey Barraclough - i probably wouldn't of heard the song otherwise (I'm 15!) Now i just can't stop visiting the song, its always in my head.
But am I any longer so sure no one could ever do the song more justice than Maddy and the lads? I am not ...