In a tribute to Kate McGarrigle posted at Bloggorhea the other day, friend and colleague Mead Hunter embedded a video of Ms. McGarrigle performing her beautiful song “Talk to Me of Mendocino". That live performance with accompaniment from her talented children, Rufus and Martha Wainwright, led me to another version that was recorded as part of the BBC’s “Transatlantic Sessions” program--a show that brings noted musicians from both sides of the ocean together, with a particular focus on Scots-Irish musical influences. I’ve used videos from the sessions in past posts and recommend that you either get the DVDs or search YouTube for “Transatlantic Sessions” for more.
Here’s Kate McGarrigle singing "Talk to Me of Mendocino" with Karen Matheson, a Scottish singer known for her vocals with Capercaillie.
That led me to this version of “Farewell, Farewell”, which was written by Richard Thompson* and first appeared on Fairport Convention’s “Liege and Lief” album. I wore that album out by playing it hundreds of times in high school. I think it was originally my sister's album, but I may still have it squirreled away somewhere. This version of the song is beautifully rendered by Irish singer Mary Black, and it's hard to believe it wasn't written 300 years ago.
* Richard Thompson will be playing at the Aladdin Theatre on February 16th and 17th. He comes through Portland every few years, sometimes solo and other times with a band. We've had the privilege of seeing him a few times, including a memorable solo show under the summer sky at the Oregon Zoo. In another show at the Aladdin with band in two he let loose some fiery guitar solos.