Music again and M is for Kirsty MacColl

Saturday 25th May

Sorry to bore you folks but the alphabet waits for no man, and rolls over us all right the way to Z.

I am actually drivng to France on Friday, so I hope you got yesterday’s blog.  The first thing to say about Kirsty is that she died in a tragic speedboat accident quite a few years ago, and only recorded about five albums, and was definitely at the top of her game when we lost her.  Her (estranged) father was a folk-singing purist Ewan MacColl who Kirsty hardly knew.  Gifted with the voice of an angel with an incredible range and subtlety who could sing first takes and be perfectly in key through the whole song, she was also a brilliant songwriter.  Her songs almost always had a twist of humour or self-effacing mockery – ‘There’s a Guy Works Down The Chip-Shop Thinks He’s Elvis’ and ‘Don’t Play The Cowboy With Me Sunny Jim’ were two early favourites.  She also had the good sense to know a good song by someone else and how to sing it better than the original – her versions of ‘A New England’ and ‘Days’ have never been sung better.

She may be best remembered for her Christmas single with the Pogues ‘Fairytale in New York’, and she never actually recorded it with them.  Her husband Steve Lillywhite was producing the song and it was getting nowhere, so he sent Kirsty a copy and suggested she oversing the girls parts.  Again she did it brilliantly, and they overdubbed her voice, though she did sing it with them a few times live after it became a hit.

Kirsty MacColl