Kate & Anna McGarrigle

The McGarrigle Hour

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An interesting idea, given the talented family tree of the McGarrigle Sisters: Gather the family together (including Kate's ex-husband Loudon Wainwright) and record a CD as they play the family piano and sing traditional folk tunes, originals, and old pop standards. Add in some friends (Emmylou Harris turning in a stirring vocal on "Skip Rope Song"), Linda Ronstadt, and Chaim Tannenbaum, and the end result is a pleasant yet somewhat mediocre CD. But even a mediocre release from this family has several redeeming qualities. Kate and Anna's harmonies have never sounded tighter, and the choice of using Joe Boyd as producer (he produced their first two albums) was a good one, as he seems able to highlight their vocals and harmonies. There are some truly amazing songs as well, especially when they tackle pure, traditional folk tunes. Loudon Wainwright's "Schooldays," the opening track, is an early highlight, featuring great vocals and a great tune. The traditional folk song "Dig My Grave," featuring Chaim Tannenbaum, is chilling, and Anna's version of her own "Cool River" is incredibly moving -- all beautiful songs. The problem with this album is that there are no new songs, which is a real shame since this is the follow-up to 1996's brilliant Matapedia. This may be a small complaint, as the songs all mean something to the family, as evidenced in the notes in the package. Overall, however, a good album, but not the best release from the McGarrigles.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 2:52 SpotifyAmazon
2 2:34 SpotifyAmazon
3 2:59 SpotifyAmazon
4 2:39 SpotifyAmazon
5 3:05 SpotifyAmazon
6 3:37 SpotifyAmazon
7 2:38 SpotifyAmazon
8 3:32 SpotifyAmazon
9 2:28 SpotifyAmazon
10 2:30
11 3:25 SpotifyAmazon
12 3:43 SpotifyAmazon
13 3:54 SpotifyAmazon
14 3:23 SpotifyAmazon
15 5:20 SpotifyAmazon
3:29 SpotifyAmazon
17 2:58 SpotifyAmazon
18 3:15 SpotifyAmazon
19 3:09 Spotify
20 4:15 SpotifyAmazon
21 2:09 SpotifyAmazon
blue highlight denotes track pick