Kate and Anna McGarrigle – just the one album from these Canadian sisters; Dancer With Bruised Knees (1977). This was their second album and their breakthrough record; it received rave reviews and I, like many others, bought it. And I sort-of liked it – a mix of Cajun and Bluegrass and more modern folky songs – the girls singing high harmonies with banjo and piano and fiddle accompaniment. On reflection I don’t really like it that much, interesting – but not much else. Kate married Loudon Wainwright (see W) and begat Rufus and Martha (see W also), all singer songwriters. She divorced him before this album however.
McGuiness Flint – a band from the early Seventies which spawned Gallagher and Lyle(see G), one of my fave artists. The title being the surname of the other two members of the band. A great little group who broke on the scene in 1970 with their self-titled album. And what a brilliant debut it was, every song was fabulous – in fact, some of Gallagher and Lyle’s best compositions – the hit single ‘When I’m Dead And Gone’ of course, but also (hard to choose) ‘Heritage’ and ‘International’. But instant fame also spelled disaster; the band were forced to tour to promote the record, and Gallagher and Lyle wanted to write the songs for their next album, which the record company were demanding. They did record and release Happy Birthday Ruby Baby a few months later in early ’71. And despite poor sales it is actually a better album. I could only find the songs on CD on a much later release The Capitol Years, which was their first 2 records on one CD. By the records release however Gallagher and Lyle had decided to leave and start up as a duo….(the rest is History – see G). The songs on Roll on are just lovely, lyrical and sometimes rocking and a great production too. My favourites are ‘Conversation’, ‘Klondike’ and ‘Sparrow’. A great pity as I am sure with the later Gallagher and Lyle songs the band could have been massive. As it was the remaining three members limped on and released a handful of albums to diminishing sales and disbanded a few years later. Oh well. I have also just seen a 2013 release of McGuinness Flint In Sessions at the BBC. I have downloaded it as the actual CD is unavailable….to be continued
Malcom McLaren – a strange one. He, almost singlehandedly, kick-started the punk genre – first in his shop SEX with Vivienne Westwood, and then as manager of The Sex Pistols. He seemed to be a bit of a visionary and saw before anyone else what was coming next. In 1983 he released his first album Duck Rock. He speaks over a background created from Central and south American and South African beats, orchestrated by the team who became The Art Of Noise (see A); Trevor Horn and Ann Dudley mostly, and field recordings of a New York Hip Hop Radio DJ. The album Duck Rock is great, full of rhythm and great beats. Best tracks are the two hit singes ‘Buffalo Gals’ and ‘Double Dutch’ – but I also like ‘Jive My Baby’ – and the whole album really. Malcolm was always a restless soul, constantly looking for the next new thing, sometimes he hit the spot and sometimes he failed – but with his next album Fans, in my mind he made a mini masterpiece. It was a mix of Opera (mostly Madame Butterfly) and hip-hop. At this point in time (1984) hip hop was almost unheard of, a real underground scene from America. Of course, the album was years ahead of its time; the Opera buffs were horrified and the rock crowd bemused at best. But I loved it. Best track are hard to choose, but I love ‘Madame Butterfly’, ‘Lauretta’ and ‘Carmen’. A great listen. In fact, I used to be used to be obsessed by the 12” version of Butterfly, which I played at high volume. One day my then girlfriend Louise, ripped it off the player and threw it across the room….hahaha. My next of his was a less successful attempt at mixing Waltz and Disco; 1989’s Waltz Darling. He chose Bootsy Collins for the disco stuff, which seems a bit disjointed when the classical comes in. Still an enjoyable listen, best are ‘Deep in Vogue’ and ‘Something’s Jumping In my Shirt’. My final McLaren album is the sumptuous Paris (1997). Soaked in jazz, this album oozes the Paris of the Fifties and Sixties; you can almost smell the Gaulois cigarettes. He namechecks Miles Davis and Satie, and remarkably he persuaded Catherine Deneuve and Francois Hardy to sing on this homage to his favourite city. I could do without his own spoken vocals but a beautiful album nevertheless. Best are ‘Paris Paris’ and ‘Revenge Of The Flowers’. But the album simply rolls along beautifully, immersing one in an insane vision of a Paris that maybe only exists in our imagination. I love it. Malcolm died too young a few years ago of cancer.