Thursday, January 12, 2006

Shelagh McDonald

Time Out claimed that folk is the new jazz, but things have been pretty folky around here for some time. So I'm going to cut the Americana with some English folk that will at no point involve Arran Jumpers or fingers in the ear.

She was beautiful, played a fantastic guitar in the 'informed by Davey Graham' school of fingerpicking like everyone else from Jansch to Drake (a lot of the solo stuff sounds like better played versions of Nick Drake's home recordings - except they're not standards!) and there's a few pieces that show what can be done with a 12 string guitar in alternative tuning playing folk rather than blues that are astounding.

Two albums - Album and Stargazer are all she left behind before a bad trip and her mysterious disappearance in 1972. Castle records released this compilation last year, with much better sound quality than my poorly tape to taped copy (and it contains all Stargazer)

I'd recommend getting the compilation first, but that's just me and it didn't stop me getting the albums separately later.

Listen: Shelagh McDonald - Peacock Lady
Listen: Shelagh McDonald - Rod's Song (demo)

The invaluable piece on Black Velvet

Bob Stanley's piece in the Times, seemingly based heavily on the one above (like this one).

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