Song of the Week – Kiss and Say Goodbye, Kate & Anna McGarrigle

Ignored           Obscured            Restored

In the mid-’70s, the McGarrigle sisters – Kate and Anna – put out two outstanding albums.  The first, self-titled album (1975) included “Heart Like a Wheel” which was made famous a year earlier by Linda Ronstadt.

Key to that record’s success was the stellar slate of session musicians that played on the album, including on today’s SotW – “Kiss and Say Goodbye.”

Kate wrote the song, played rollicking piano and duets with Anna on vocals.  Tony Levin (King Crimson, Bowie, Lou Reed, Tom Waits, Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, and many more) played bass.  Steve Gadd (Steely Dan, Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor, Eric Clapton, and many jazz greats) played drums.  The cut used four guitarists!  David Spinoza, Greg Prestopino, Hugh McCracken, and Lowell George.  Anna has disclosed in interviews that only one note by George was left on the recording… but it was an important one.  “… it slides up.”  And the icing on the cake is the tenor sax solo by the great Bobby Keys.

The melody is a real earworm and uses clever rhymes that lodge in your head.  It’s a sweet story about a woman that’s looking forward to a hookup with a lover that’s coming into town.

Call me when you’re coming to town
Just as soon as your plane puts down
Call me on the telephone
But only if you’re traveling alone
Counting down the hours
Through the sunshine and the showers
Today’s the day
You’re finally going to come my way


I do believe the die is cast
Let’s try and make the night-time last
And I don’t know where it’s coming from
But I want to kiss you till my mouth gets numb
I want to make love to you
Till the day comes breaking through
And when the sun is high in the sky
We’ll kiss and say goodbye

Sadly, Kate died in 2010 after a long battle with cancer.  Her musical legacy lives on through Anna and her two children – Rufus and Martha Wainwright – that she birthed when married to Loudon Wainwright III.

Enjoy… until next week.

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