Monday, August 21, 2006

Shelagh McDonald "Album" (UK Folk-Rock 1970)

Joni Mitchell meets early Fairport Convention? Judee Sill jamming with the Pentangle? The first album by Scotland's Shelagh McDonald has that sort of cross-cultural appeal. It's not easy to remember what different paths folk-rock had taken in the U.S. and the U.K. until one listens to this album and how skillfully it combines intimate, confessional songwriting with a traditionally bent musical inclination. McDonald's voice is a clear, lovely soprano with some of Joni Mitchell's phrasing but none of her more piercing affectations and a bit of Sandy Denny's richness and warmth. The arrangements are mostly in the low-key and largely acoustic style, with drums on most of the songs but a handful of solo piano and voice tracks. (The oddest arrangement choice has to be the buzzing noise in the last half of a swell cover of Gerry Rafferty's "Look Over the Hill and Faraway" that sounds like a young Thurston Moore is sitting in.) There's a slight jazzy tinge to some of the songs, akin to the Pentangle's experiments in folk-jazz fusion, as on the spirited "Waiting for the Wind to Rise." The highlight, though, is the lovely "Ophelia's Song," which appears once in a full-band version featuring an old-timey clarinet and a full string section and later in a stark solo guitar version; both are sublime. The Mooncrest CD adds eight bonus tracks from the demo sessions for McDonald's second and final album, Stargazer, including a remarkable early demo of that album's title track and a pointless version of the Doobie Brothers' "Jesus Is Just Alright." ~ Stewart Mason, All Music Guide

01. Mirage
02. Look Over The Hill And Far Away
03. Crusoe
04. Waiting For The Wind To Rise
05. Ophelia's Song
06. Richmond
07. Let No Man Steal Your Thyme
08. Peacock Lady
09. Silk And Leather
10. You Know You Can't Lose

11. Ophelia's Song
12. Jesus Is Just All Right *
13. Book Of Rhyme *
14. What More Can I Say *
15. The City's Cry (Version 1) *
16. The City's Cry (Version 2) *
17. Rod's Song *
18. Stargazer (False Start) *
19. Stargazer *
*Bonus Track

5 Comments:

Blogger bilbo1742 said...

Wow I wanted to hear this lp for a long time and now thanks to you I can!

A much appreciated post (and blog)

21 August, 2006 10:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks very much for this. I was never aware of this great singer. Anyone who likes Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins, Sandy Denny, or Judee Sill will love this.

06 November, 2006 08:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope you can also post STARGAZER. The bonus tracks are the best thing on this album. Sounds exactly like Joni Mitchell.

06 November, 2006 08:57  
Blogger Carlos Blanco said...

Thanks a lot for this beautiful record. As good as Joni was at that time.

05 February, 2009 05:24  
Blogger Jay Ess said...

This sounds great--does the link still exist? Thanks, Jeff

06 September, 2009 14:13  

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