Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Closing my eyes I hear the sea

I've only just in the last few minutes heard the awful, awful news that Kate McGarrigle has died. I'm really floored. I didn't even know she'd been so ill.

There's a little mental list that I'm barely aware of carrying around with me, of the most perfectly, heart-stretchingly beautiful moments in the history of recorded song. Happily there are plenty of them, but only a couple of people make it twice onto my list -- a feat so improbable you sort of wonder why it doesn't happen more -- : Pete Seeger is one, and the other is Kate McGarrigle: for the banjo coda that's suddenly revealed on her son Rufus Wainwright's song '14th Street' (which I write about here, in a post on -- funnily enough -- Pete Seeger); and for her 1975 song 'Talk to Me of Mendocino', which I mentioned recently in my review of the Wingdale Community Singers' Spirit Duplicator, and which I think is simply one of the most unbelievably lovely songs I know.

This is not the original version, but it's the best that YouTube can do:

"And let the sun set on the ocean / I will watch it from the shore / Let the sun rise over the redwoods / I'll rise with it till I rise no more..."

I swear I'd never in a thousand years have imagined a circumstance that could make that song any sadder than it already is.

1 comment:

Lawrence Upton said...

what he said