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The McGarrigle Hour


Kate & Anna McGarrigle
The McGarrigle Hour

HNCD 1417


1. Schooldays
(Loudon Wainwright) (Snowden Music ASCAP)
This was also the first song on Loudon's first record, a wry comment on the hubris of adolescence. Now it launches this record with a trio of duets, including one by his kids, now grown up with their schooldays behind them, as they set out on the same path as their parents.

Guitars: Loudon Wainwright, Michel Pepin
Bass: Michel Pepin
Drums and percussion: John McColgan

2. Skip Rope Song
(Jesse Winchester) (WB Music Corp./Fourth Floor Music Inc. ASCAP)
Jesse is an old friend of Kate and Anna’s. Their association dates back to the late Sixties when he settled in Montreal as part of the first wave of draft resistors from the United States. Northern habitat or not, Jesse's songs never strayed very far from his Southern roots, as can be heard in this haunting ballad reminiscent of an Appalachian folk tale.

Banjo: Kate McGarrigle
Violin: Joel Zifkin
Guitars: Anna McGarrigle, Michel Pepin
Bass: Michel Pepin
Drums & Percussion: John McColgan

3. Gentle Annie
(Stephen Foster, P.D. arr. Kate McGarrigle) (Garden Court Music ASCAP)
We McGarrigles, all generations, were brought up on Stephen Foster and Kate and Anna and I spent many evenings around the piano with our father harmonizing to Stephen Foster songs. "Gentle Annie" was our father's particular favourite, as it had been his father's favourite. Longtime friend and singer of McGarrigle songs Linda Ronstadt joins Kate and Anna for a parlour version of this beautiful piece.

Piano: Kate McGarrigle

4. Alice Blue Gown
(McCarthy & Tierney) (EMI Feist Catalogue/Bienstock Publishing ASCAP)
An innocent song from a gentler era and one of our Mother's showstoppers at parties. Gaby had a wicked sense of humour and turned this sweet little song inside out, doing it as a sort of vaudeville turn, to the great delight of her grandchildren.
No hand gesture was too theatrical. no facial expression too exaggerated and the kids ate it up. This is a tribute from her youngest grandchild Lily.

Vocals: LILY LANKEN, Anna McGarrigle, Rufus Wainwright
Piano: Jane McGarrigle
Violin: Joel Zifkin

5. Porte En Attiere
(D.L. Menard) (Flat Town Music BMI)
“...slipping out through the back door" is the running theme of this D.L. Menard tune suggested by Emmylou, who has always wanted to sing in French. Emmy, Kate and Anna blend their accents in a gumbo that brings this Cajun tune back home to French Canada.
Violin: Joel Zifkin
Bass, mandolin and guitar: Michel Pepin
Accordeon: Anna McGarrigle
Banjo: Kate McGarrigle
Drums: John McColgan

6. What’ll I Do
(Irving Berlin) (Irving Berlin Music Corp. ASCAP)
This song means a lot to us. Kate came up with it when our mother died in May 1994 and we wanted her funeral music to have a special touch. It was from Gaby’s era and perfectly expressed our grief. I played the organ. Rufus sang and we all cried. Here, Kate, Loudon, and their kids Rufus and Martha, a foursome who had never sat down to a Christmas turkey together let alone sing a song, come together as natural as breathing – and there were a few moist eyes after this live take as well.

Vocals: Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright, Loudon Wainwright III, and Kate McGarrigle
Piano: Jane McGarrigle

7. Dig My Grave
(Traditional arr. Tannenbaum, McGarrigle & Lanken) (Garden Court Mu.c ASCAP)
A Bahamian rhyming spiritual learned from a favourite Sam Charters anthology, this song played a special part in Kate and Anna's shows for many years as a showcase for Chaim's extraordinary singing.

Vocals: CHAIM TANNENBAUM, Dane Lanken, Kate and Anna McGarrigle

8. Cool River
(Anna McGarrigle & Audrey Bean) (Garden Court Music ASCAP)
For the last twenty five years Kate and I thought this song was about the suicide by drowning of a neighbor in St. Sauveur. We only found out from Anna, at the time of this writing, that it's not about that at all. We were just crushed - it made such a good story. But here's something that is true. Back in 1974 Joe Boyd was producing Maria Muldaur's second record Waitress in a Donut Shop. Under the impression that Kate had written "Cool River," Joe flew her to Los Angeles to play a piano track on the song. When he found out Anna ("You mean there's another one?") had written it with her friend Audrey Bean, he flew Anna out to California and they both did backing vocals on Maria's record. While there was tape running, Kate and Anna put down some of their songs and voila! A Career Was Born.

Vocals: ANNA MCGARRIGLE, Lily Lanken and Martha Wainwright
Piano: Anna McGarrigle
Guitar: Kate McGarrigle

9. Heartburn
(Rufus Wainwright) (Dreamworks Songs ASCAP)
Words fail me. This song might be about love or it might be about Ebola, I can't be sure - but I am sure there was some major partying going on during the recording. A Rufus Wainwright classic.

Vocal and piano: RUFUS WAINWRIGHT

10. NaCL (Sodium Chloride)
(Kate McGarrigle) (Garden Court Music ASCAP)
This little gem originally appeared on the now-out-of-print PRONTO MONTO. Kate studied Chemistry in high school and at McGill and hated it, but something must have stuck. One afternoon in 1972, she wrote this at the piano in about 10 minutes.
Vocals: KATE MCGARRIGLE, Anna McGarrigle, Chaim Tannenbaum
Piano: Kate McGarrigle
Violin: Joel Zilkin
Bass: Michel Pepin
Drums: John McColgan

11. Bon Voyage

(J. Laure / Small) (EMI France SACEM)
When we were growing up I used to muscle Kate and Anna into singing harmonies on pop songs of the day and then enter us in talent contests which we always won, We had quite a repertoire of English and French radio hits, We chose this in memory of our Grandfather Latremouille who loved to hear us sing it.

Vocals: JANE MCGARRIGLE, Kate and Anna McGarrigle
Piano: Jane McGarrigle
Accordeon: Anna McGarrigle
Guitar: Kate McGarrigle

12. Allez-Vous-En

(Cole Porter) (Chappell & Co./Buxton Hill ASCAP)
Rufus introduced Martha to Cole Porter when they were working up an early stage show, and when I first heard Martha sing this in a cabaret setting, I thought she was born to interpret Cole Porter. As things fumed out, she was born to interpret her own songs but she never lost the charm and freshness she brings to Porter's world-weary lyrics.

Piano: Tom Mennier
Accordion: Kate McGarrigle

13. Green Green Rocky Road
(Traditional Arr. Kate & Anna McGarrigle) (Garden Court Music ASCAP)
America in the ‘60s was a vivid place: the Civil Rights marches, the hippie movement, the Vietnam protests were all linked by the coffee houses where anyone could get up and sing – and many who probably would have stayed in their chairs used to sing this one. By the early ‘70s, everyone was so sick of it, it disappeared. But Kate and Anna thought that was unjust to this fine old New Orleans children’s game song, so the ‘60s folk revival revival starts here.

Vocals: Emmylou Harris, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Loudon Wainwright III
Guitars: Kate and Anna McGarrigle
Mandolin and Bass: Michel Pepin
Violin: Joel Zifkin
Drums and Percussion: John McColgan

14. Young Love
(Cartey & Joyner) (Lowery Music Co. Inc. BMI)
A tip of the hat to Sonny James from Chaim, who is generally more given to singing song of the revolution or about the plight of the workers. Especially as it gets later and later.

Vocals: Chaim Tannenbaum, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Lily Lanken
Violin: Joel Zifkin
Piano: Anna McGarrigle
Bass: Michel Pepin
Drums: John McColgan

15. Year Of The Dragon
(Martha Wainwright) (Querbes Service SOCAN)
According to a line in Martha’s song “Twenty-one is a good age to be” and it sure is, when you find your own voice as a songwriter and follow in the footsteps of gifted parents.

Vocals: Martha Wainwright, Lily Lanken, Kate and Anna McGarrigle
Guitar: Martha Wainwright
Violin: Joel Zifkin
Piano: Kate McGarrigle
Bass: Anna McGarrigle
Drums: Michel Pepin

16. Forever And The Same
(Phillippe Tatartcheff & Anna McGarrigle) (Garden Court Music ASCAP and Bossey Publishing SOCAN)
They say write what you know and so Philippe did in this song about the pain and pleasure of life on a small working farm. A longtime collaborator, Philippe contributed many lyrics in French and English to various Kate and Anna projects. Still, it's a long way from Jules Valles, the subject of his U. of Paris Master's thesis, to keeping those cows milked in Dunham, Quebec.

Recitation: Philippe Tatartcheff
Vocals: ANNA MCGARRIGLE, Kate McGarrigle
Piano: Anna McGarrigle
Violin: Joel Zifkin
Accordeon: Kate McGarrigle
Bass: Michel Pepin
Drums: John McColgan

17. Talk To Me Of Mendicino
(Kate McGarrigle) (Garden Court Music ASCAP)
Kate and her kids perform an intimate campfire version of her signature song of yearning for the road. Joe forgot to book the tympani this time.

Vocals: KATE MCGARRIGLE, Rufus and Martha Wainwright
Guitars: Kate McGarrigle, Michel Pepin
Piano effect: Kate McGarrigle

18. Baltimore Fire
(Traditional Arr. Kate & Anna McGarrigle) (Garden Court Music ASCAP)
In 1971, when they were all in London, Kate introduced fellow Montrealer Chaim to Loudon. One thing led to another and very soon the three of them were busking in the Portobello Road, sharing a pitch at the tolerance of Scotch Bob. You only needed to know one or two songs, provided they were rousing, up tempo numbers and this was one of them.

Vocals: Loudon Wainwright III, Anna McGarrigle, Chaim Tannenbaum, Kate McGarrigle, Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright
Guitar: Loudon Wainwright III
Banjo: Kate McGarrigle
Mandolin: Chaim Tannenbaum
Accordeon: Anna McGarrigle

19. Johnny’s Gone To Hilo
(Traditional arr. Kate & Anna McGarrigle) (Garden Court Music ASCAP)
Kate and Anna and Friends have been known to unwind after a show in a nearby pub and spontaneously burst into a capella song. A longtime staple of the after hours repertoire, they began singing "Johnny" in their live show sometime in the '80s but had never recorded it until now. It is believed this sea chanty dates from the mid-19th century when American sailors made regular voyages to Ilo, Peru, to pick up their cargo of nitrite. Or delivering boatloads of missionaries to Hilo, Hawaii. Whatever, it's a beautiful song for group singing.

Vocals: KATE MCGARRIGLE, MARTHA WAINWRIGHT and LILY LANKEN, Anna McGarrigle, Rufus and Loudon Wainwright, Chaim Tannenbaum, Dane and Sylvan Lanken
Guitar: Kate McGarrigle

20. Time On My Hands
(Chaim Tannenbaum) (SOCAN)
Chaim, the working Philosophy professor, has managed a simultaneous second career as a session and touring musician. But now we find he's been a secret songwriter as well. Even though "we've known him for a hundred years" as Kate said, she first heard "Time" a few years ago on a cassette Loudon was carrying around.

Vocal and whistling: CHAIM TANNENBAUM
Piano: Tom Mennier

21. Goodnight Sweetheart
(Campbell, Connelly & Noble) (EMI Robbins Catalog Inc./Campbell Connelly Inc. ASCAP)
And finally Rufus, the eternal romantic, takes us back in time for this ultimate slow dance to bring The McGarrigle Hour to a close. A little over an hour, to be sure, but the Boswell Sisters harmonies of Kate, Anna and Martha bring a fitting close to a musical documentary weaving together the influences, long-term friendships and shared memories of an extended musical family - a family united by blood, by music created and exchanged and by love and respect for each other's work.

Piano: Tom Mennier


The McGarrigle Hour reunites many of the same people who worked on the first Kate & Anna record in 1975. My own first recording experience found me struggling through 27 takes of the organ part on "Heart Like A Wheel" and finishing off the bass line down on my knees playing the Hammond B3 pedals with my hands. Joe Boyd was down on the floor with me giving moral support while John Wood pulled the whole thing together back in the control room. November 1997 found us back together again in Quebec, listening to the wonderful singing unfold around us. As John observed, "It's nice to see that everyone has held up so well."

Jane McGarrigle
August 1998


Cast of Characters

Kate & Anna McGarrigle - born 14 months apart to Frank McGarrigle and Gaby Latremouille McGarrigle
Jane McGarrigle - sister to Kate & Anna
Loudon Wainwright - formerly married to Kate McGonigle
Rufus Wainwright - son of Kate and Loudon
Martha Wainwright - daughter of Kate and Loudon
Dane Lanken - married to Anna McGarrigle
Sylvan Lanken - son of Dane and Anna
Lily Lanken - daughter of Dane and Anna
Chaim Tannenbaum - musical playmate of Kate & Anna's since schooldays (Also appears on stage with Loudon)
Joe Boyd - producer of Kate & Anna's first and second records for Warner Bros. Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Dancer with Bruised Knees
John Wood - engineer for Kate & Anna's first and second records
Joel Zifkin - violin
(He joined Kate & Anna on stage in the early Eighties and has been recording with them since then)
Michel Pepin - guitar and bass
(He joined Kate & Anna on stage in the early Nineties and produced as well as engineered Matapedia.)
John McColgan - drums and percussion (First played with Kate & Anna back in the early Eighties)
Tom Mennier - piano-playing friend of Rufus and Martha Wainwright
Linda Ronstadt - interpreter par excellence of several McGarrigle songs
Emmylou Harris - interpreter par excellence of McGarrigle songs and most recently a collaborator on various projects including the Trans-Atlantic Sessions and a recent tribute to Tammy Wynette
Randy Soharuni - photographer and record jacket artist for Dancer with Bruised Knees, French Record and Love Over and Over


Produced by Joe Boyd
Recorded by John Wood at le Studio Morin Heights, Morin Heights, OC and Studio Frission, Montreal, QC
Mixed by John Wood at Studio Frission, Montreal, QC
Assistant Engineer: Don Murnaghan
“Schooldays” and “Green, Green Rocky Road” mixed by Michel Pepin at Studio Frission, Montreal, QC
Cover Concept, photography and design by Randy Saharuni
Additional Photography by Melissa Caro, Don Mumaghan, Sylvan Lanken and Anna McGarrigle

We’d like to thank Dane Lanken for loaning us the radio.


Linda Ronstadt appears courtesy of Asylum Records
Emmylou Harris appears courtesy of Eminent Records
Loudon Wainwright appears courtesy of Virgin Records
Rufus Wainwright appears courtesy of Dreamworks SKG

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