Cover Story: (37) Heart Like a Wheel. Mary Black, the McGarrigles or Linda Ronstadt
Songs you cannot get out of your head: from Linda Thompson and Sandy Denny to Dolores O'Riordan, Nic Jones and Kate Rusby

Hard Times/Complainte pour Ste-Catherine: a Kate and Anna McGarrigle feast

Author: Colin Randall

What a find. Bill Taylor, responding to my Cover Story piece on Anna McGarrigle's Heart Like a Wheel and its versions by the McGarrigle sisters, Mary Black and Linda Ronstadt - posted a comment with a link to a quite spellbinding rendition of Hard Times Come Again No More, Stephen Foster's song from the US Civil War.

"Brings me out in goosebumps every time I hear it," wrote Bill, mentioning also the contribution of Rufus Wainwright, the son of Anna's sister Kate.

He might have gone on.

Not just the wonderful McGarrigles and son/nephew but as grand a live ensemble of singers as you are likely to find: Mary Black, Capercaillie's Karen Matheson and Emmylou Harris.

Led by Kate's accordion introduction, everyone plays a part and in spite of the 90 "thumbs down" (out of nearly a million views) at YouTube - the place is inhabited by trolls, but each to his or her taste - this is music, goosebumps and all, at its most elevated.

Re-acquaintance with the McGarrigles prompted something I should perhaps do more often, dip into all that work I did for The Daily Telegraph as a sideline to being a news reporter. Look here, from 2005, at a piece that I think survives the passage of time, an interview with both sisters though predominantly Kate.

The full article originally appeared here but even though it was my interview and had never previously appeared at Salut! Live, I am advised that republishing old content harms my hopes of a boost from "news aggregator" services.

Painful to think that we spoke only a few months before her long, ultimately losing battle with cancer began (she died in eight years ago this month, aged just 63).


**** And as a closing treat, I offer the song that brought the McGarrigles to my attention in the 1970s and remains my favourite morsel from their repertoire:

* Dane Lanken on Kate (obituary published at the sisters' site) Brainy, well-read, full of obscure information, forever theorising in politics, mythology, science, mathematics, literature, history, human relations. Ambitious, determined, opinionated. Impetuous, adventuresome. Lovely, lively, sweet, quick-witted, charming, beautiful. A delight and a challenge to her family and friends. Outrageous at times, but anything was more fun when Kate was along.

Mcgarrigles - 1
Difficult to locate albums that contain both songs but there may be one out there. Check the Salut! Live Amazon link for their French Record and navigate from there.


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