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Tell My Sister

Tell My Sister cover art

Track Listing

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1.01Kate & Anna McGarrigle: Kiss and Say Goodbye2:49
1.02Kate & Anna McGarrigle: My Town2:58
1.03Kate & Anna McGarrigle: Blues in D2:43
1.04Kate & Anna McGarrigle: Heart Like a Wheel3:09
1.05Kate & Anna McGarrigle: Foolish You3:02
1.06Kate & Anna McGarrigle: (Talk to Me of) Mendocino3:08
1.07Kate & Anna McGarrigle: Complainte pour Ste-Catherine2:48
1.08Kate & Anna McGarrigle: Tell My Sister3:38
1.09Kate & Anna McGarrigle: Swimming Song2:28
1.10Kate & Anna McGarrigle: Jigsaw Puzzle of Life2:30
1.11Kate & Anna McGarrigle: Go Leave3:21
1.12Kate & Anna McGarrigle: Travelling on for Jesus2:44
2.01Dancer with Bruised Knees: Dancer with Bruised Knees3:45
2.02Dancer with Bruised Knees: Southern Boys3:28
2.03Dancer with Bruised Knees: No Biscuit Blues1:41
2.04Dancer with Bruised Knees: First Born3:54
2.05Dancer with Bruised Knees: Blanche Comme la Neige3:48
2.06Dancer with Bruised Knees: Perrine Était Servante3:17
2.07Dancer with Bruised Knees: Be My Baby3:11
2.08Dancer with Bruised Knees: Walking Song3:35
2.09Dancer with Bruised Knees: Naufragée du Tendre (Shipwrecked)3:46
2.10Dancer with Bruised Knees: Hommage à Grungie3:53
2.11Dancer with Bruised Knees: Kitty Come Home4:30
2.12Dancer with Bruised Knees: Come a Long Way2:19
3.01Tell My Sister: The Work Song3:10
3.02Tell My Sister: Come Back Baby3:29
3.03Tell My Sister: Jigsaw Puzzle of Life2:28
3.04Tell My Sister: Saratoga Summer Song3:53
3.05Tell My Sister: Annie3:47
3.06Tell My Sister: On My Way to Town2:34
3.07Tell My Sister: Roses Blanches2:39
3.08Tell My Sister: Heart Like a Wheel2:43
3.09Tell My Sister: Kiss and Say Goodbye2:49
3.10Tell My Sister: Southern Boys2:57
3.11Tell My Sister: Willie Moore4:03
3.12Tell My Sister: Oliver, Remember Me?1:23
3.13Tell My Sister: My Town2:43
3.14Tell My Sister: Blues in E2:06
3.15Tell My Sister: Walking Song2:26
3.16Tell My Sister: Tell My Sister3:35
3.17Tell My Sister: Over the Hill2:36
3.18Tell My Sister: Come a Long Way1:53
3.19Tell My Sister: (Talk to Me of) Mendocino3:02
3.20Tell My Sister: Heart Like a Wheel2:31
3.21Tell My Sister: (Talk to Me of) Mendocino2:56

News & Reviews

  • Kate McGarrigle Foundation Receives $50,000 from Sales of "Sing Me the Songs: Celebrating the Works of Kate McGarrigle"

    The Kate McGarrigle Foundation—a non-profit organization dedicated to raising money in the fight against sarcoma, a rare form of cancer from which Canadian singer/songwriter Kate McGarrigle died in 2010, and to preserving her artistic legacy—has been presented with an initial contribution of $50,000 from sales of the album Sing Me the Songs: Celebrating the Works of Kate McGarrigle. Released in 2013 on Nonesuch Records, Sing Me the Songs features highlights from three concerts held in honor of McGarrigle led by her children—the acclaimed musicians Rufus and Martha Wainwright—and her sister and musical partner Anna McGarrigle in London, Toronto, and New York.

  • Watch: Rufus Wainwright Performs at Kate McGarrigle Tribute at Hammer Museum

    Rufus Wainwright offered a short performance at a screening of Sing Me the Songs That Say I Love You, the film documenting a 2011 NYC tribute concert for his mother, the late Kate McGarrigle, at the Hammer Museum in LA last month. The 22-minute set included two Kate McGarrigle songs—"The Work Song" and "(Talk to Me of) Mendocino"—and more. Watch the complete set here. Nonesuch Records released Sing Me the Songs: Celebrating the Works of Kate McGarrigle, a two-CD set of songs from the concert in the film and two others held in honor of the late singer-songwriter.

About this Album

Nonesuch Records releases Tell My Sister, a special three-disc set comprising remastered versions of Kate & Anna McGarrigle's beloved 1976 self-titled debut; its equally praised 1977 follow-up, Dancer with Bruised Knees; and a collection of previously unreleased songs, including solo and duo demos, on May 3, 2011. Joe Boyd, who produced the McGarrigles’ first two albums, assembled the material for the third disc in addition to serving as producer for the whole set.

The release coincides with a two-night tribute to Kate McGarrigle—who died of sarcoma last year—May 12 and 13 at New York City’s Town Hall. Curated by Joe Boyd, the concerts will feature performances by Kate’s children, Martha and Rufus Wainwright, and her sister Anna, as well as Emmylou Harris, Antony Hegarty, Norah Jones, and Teddy Thompson, among others. Profits from the concerts will go toward creating the Kate McGarrigle Sarcoma Research Fund.

Raised in an artistic family in St. Sauveur, Quebec, Kate moved to New York in 1969 to pursue a singing career while Anna studied art in Montreal. Both wrote many songs during this period, including Anna’s “Heart Like a Wheel,” which eventually appeared on their debut album (and was made famous by Linda Ronstadt in 1974), and Kate’s “The Work Song,” which Maria Muldaur recorded in 1973. It was another Muldaur recording of a McGarrigle song that first brought the sisters to the attention of then–Warner Bros. Records President Lenny Waronker.

“Lenny and I loved ‘Cool River’ for Maria Muldaur’s second album. The tape came from Kate McGarrigle, so we assumed it was her song and her voice layering up those delicious harmonies,” recalls Joe Boyd. “The song turned out to be Anna’s; and those harmonies weren’t overdubbed, they were live, the sisters’ overtones vibrating in the air around the microphone, making two voices sound like a multitude. Warners gave them a contract; Greg [Prestopino] and I co-produced with my old pal John Wood (Nick Drake, etc.) engineering.”

Among many other critical accolades, Melody Maker named Kate & Anna McGarrigle Album of the Year and the New York Times named it to its 10 Favorite Disks list, saying “This folkish debut disk was the most charming, purely beautiful and sentimentally moving record of 1976.” The album’s 12 tracks were mostly written by the sisters, with the few exceptions including a track by Kate’s then-husband Loudon Wainwright III. Although the album did not achieve commercial success upon its release, it has come to be seen as a classic over the ensuing years.

The dozen tracks on Dancer with Bruised Knees, released the following year, are mainly by the McGarrigles, as well, with two traditional French songs. Longtime Village Voice critic Robert Christgau gave it an A, calling it “even better than the debut.” Boyd, who produced the record, says, “Its only problem was the album it had to follow.”

In approaching Tell My Sister’s third disc of previously unreleased material, Boyd says, “I was wary of listening to the demos, afraid they might expose our production as overdone compared to the wonder of the two sisters sitting side by side at the piano, harmonizing like goddesses. But plain and fancy both sound great to me 37 years on.”

Anna McGarrigle said of those first recordings: “Kate could easily have had a solo career, as is evident from her early song demos, but she told me, ‘I don’t want to do this by myself.’ So I put my puppet-making career on hold. To paraphrase her ‘Blues in D,’ I couldn’t let the poor girl down. Thank you for asking me, little sister.”



Kate & Anna McGarrigle

Kate McGarrigle, piano (1, 3, 6, 8, 12), vocals (1-12), guitar (4, 11), banjo (5, 9, 10), button accordion (7)
Anna McGarrigle, vocal (1, 2, 4-10, 12), piano (2, 7, 10), banjo (4), button accordion (5, 9)
Tony Levin, bass (1-2, 7, 10, 12)
Stephen Gadd, drums (1-2, 7, 10, 12)
David Spinoza, guitar (1, 7)
Greg Prestopino, guitar (1, 7), piano (5), oohs and aahs (8)
Lowell George, guitar (1), acoustic & electric guitars (12)
Hugh McCracken, guitar (1)
Trevor Lawrence, horn arrangement (1)
Bobby Keys, tenor sax (1)
Tony Rice, guitar (2)
Joel Tepp, harmonica (2, 7), clarinet (3)
David Grisman, mandolin (2, 10)
Red Callender, bass (3)
Amos Garrett, guitar (3)
Janie McGarrigle-Dow, organ & vocal (4)
Peter Weldon, banjo & vocal (5, 9), percussion (12)
Dane Lanken, vocal (5, 9), oohs and aahs (8)
Chaim Tannenbaum, guitar & vocal (5, 9), harmonica (7), oohs and aahs (8), percussion (12)
Jay Unger, fiddle (5, 7, 9)
Michael Small, orchestral arrangement (6, 8)
Andrew Gold, guitar (7)
Floyd Gilbeau, fiddle (7)
George Bohanan, horn arrangement (7)
Densil Lang, percussion (7), percussion (12)
Russ Kunkel, drums (8)
Peter Weldon, oohs and aahs (8)
Nick DeCaro, accordion (10)
Dimmy Dimbuster, percussion (12)

Dancer with Bruised Knees
Anna McGarrigle, lead vocal (1, 5-7, 9, 11, 12), piano (1, 7, 9, 11), button accordion (4, 12), recorder (5, 6, 11)
Kate McGarrigle, lead vocal (2-6, 8-10, 12), piano (2-4, 8, 10, 12), button accordion (5, 6), organ (11), banjo (12)
Andrew Cowan, lead guitar (1, 9), guitar (10)
Scot Lang, guitar (1, 4, 7, 9, 12), lead guitar (10)
John Cale, organ (1)
Mike Visciglia, bass (1, 4, 7, 12)
Grady Tate, drums (1)
Tommy Morgan, harmonica (2)
Richard Davis, bass (2)
Chaim Tannenbaum, harmonica (3, 10), recorder (5, 6), mandolin (5)
Pat Donaldson, bass (3)
Dave Mattacks, drums (3)
Kenny Pearson, organ (4, 7), electric piano (9)
Warren Smith, congas (4)
Stephen Gadd, drums (4, 7, 12)
Peter Weldon, harmonica (5, 6)
Ron Doleman, violin (5, 6)
Janie McGarrigle, organ (5, 6)
Dane Lanken, trumpet (6)
Ron Doleman, violin
Janie McGarrigle, organ
John Cale, marimba (7)
Susan Evans, percussion (7)
Gordie Fleming, accordion (8)
Gilles Losier, bass (8)
Pat Donaldson, bass (9, 10)
Dave Mattacks, drums (9, 10)
George Bohanon, horns (9)
Jay Unger, violin (12)
All backing vocals are by Kate McGarrigle, Anna McGarrigle, Chaim Tannenbaum, Peter Weldon and Dane Lanken.

Tell My Sister
Kate McGarrigle, piano, banjo, guitar, accordion, vocals
Anna McGarrigle, piano, accordion, bass, vocals
Roma Baran, guitar, vocals (9, 11)


Reissue Produced by Joe Boyd

Kate & Anna McGarrigle
Originally released 1975 on Warner Bros. Records
Produced by Joe Boyd and Greg Prestopino
Recorded at A&R Studios, New York, NY and Sunwest Studios, Hollywood, CA
Engineered by John Wood
Mixed by John Wood, Dennis Dragon and Roger Mayer
Songs written by Kate McGarrigle (1, 3, 6, 8, 11), Anna McGarrigle (2, 4, 7, 10), Wade Hemsworth (5), Philippe Tatartcheff (7), Loudon Wainwright III (9), Trad. adapted from Frederick McQueen of the Bahamas (12). Published by Garden Court Music Co. (ASCAP) (1-6, 8, 10-11), Bug Music obo Les Editions Macbec & Montreal Rose Music (CAPAC) (7), Downtown Music Pub LLC obo Snowden Music, Inc. (ASCAP) (9).

Dancer with Bruised Knees
Originally released 1977 on Warner Bros. Records
Produced by Joe Boyd
Recorded at A&R Studios, Son Quebec, Montreal, and Le Studio, Morin Heights, Quebec
Engineered by Glenn Berger, Tim Hewlings and Steve Ham
Mixed by John Wood and Dennis Dragon
Songs written by Anna McGarrigle (1, 7, 9, 11), Kate McGarrigle (2, 4, 8, 10, 12), Galt MacDermot & William Dumaresq (3), Trad. arranged by Kate & Anna McGarrigle (5, 6), Philippe Tatartcheff (9). Published by Bug Music obo Garden Court Music (ASCAP), except Track 3 published by Wonish Pub. Co. (CAPAC).

Tell My Sister (Demos and Unreleased Recordings 1971-74)
Tracks 1, 10, 12, 15-16, 18, 20-21 Recorded in 1971 in New York, NY (studio unknown)
Tracks 2-3, 8, 13-14, 19 Produced by Greg Prestopino; Recorded 1974 at Amigo Studios, North Hollywood, CA
Tracks 5-7, 9, 11, 17 Produced by Joe Boyd & Greg Prestopino; Recorded 1974 at A&R Studios, New York, NY; Mixed February 2011 by Joe Boyd and John Wood
Track 4 date and studio unknown
Songs written by Kate McGarrigle (1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 9-11, 12, 14-16, 18, 19, 21), Anna McGarrigle (3, 7, 8, 11, 13, 20), Chaim Tannenbaum (5), Loudon Wainwright (17). Published by Bug Music obo Garden Court Music (ASCAP), except track 5 published by Chaim Tannenbaum Songs (SOCAN), track 17 published by Downtown Music Pub LLC obo Snowden Music, Inc. (ASCAP).

All mastering by Simon Heyworth at Super Audio Mastering; assisted by Andy Miles and supervised by Joe Boyd and John Wood

Design by Evan Gaffney
Cover photograph & Dancer with Bruised Knees cover photograph by Randy Saharuni
All other photography by Gail Kenney

Executive Producer: David Bither

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