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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 10 December 2000
I know this album because my parents played it when I was little, so I've always known it. It has stood up to the ultimate test - and has withstood a lot of listening. The best tracks are (for me) Jigsaw Puzzle of life, Go Leave, and of course Heart Like Wheel. I actually think I think I could listen to those songs on repeat pretty much all day. I imagine that for many people this style may take a bit of getting used to, compared with so much of what is termed 'popular' these days, but once you are familiar with it, you will be humming along all day.
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on 16 February 2006
This album first appeared in 1976 - prog rock was at it's most pretentious, the first stirrings of punk were registering in the UK music press. And this album by a pair of Canadian sisters appeared out of the blue. One had been married to Loudon Wainwright and their stuff had been covered by Maria Mulduar and Linda Rondstadt - but hey, not a lot of street cred in that at the time in the commuter towns to the north west of London!
There was a cracking review of this album in ZigZag magazine - so, as a 17 year old, I bought it. I can remember playing it at school (probably in between others who were into Gong or Eddie and the Hot Rods (it was that kind of year - you could watch the Clash one week and Stackridge the next!) - and can remember the stunned silence. People who would shortly be clad in bondage trousers and safety pins and others wearing tea-cosy hats and kaftans united in listening to banjo, fiddle and accordion music - and those stunning harmonies.
Thirty years on, this remains one of the best debut recordings ever. The simplicity and authenticity of the production by Joe Boyd focus attention on the songs which are quite simply awesome: Heart Like a Wheel and Talk to Me of Mendocino are definitive versions while Kiss and say Goodbye and Go Leave are warm,humane, touching and emotionally direct.
Even the covers of the traditional Travellin' on for Jesus and Wainwright's Swimming Song are better than many artists achieve in their whole career.
I have yet to meet anyone who's listened to this album and found it anything other than great! The McGarrigles have never appeared to take the blindest bit of notice of musical fashion - and this attitude has clearly set up kate's kids Martha and Rufus to have musical wisdom beyond their years!
You will not regret owning this album of songs!
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on 15 January 2009
The songs, the arrangements, the performances are all lovely. Unfortunately the sound on this pressing of the CD is terrible. It's heavily clipped and sounds distorted at moderate volumes. Sound quality is not the be-all and end-all, but in this case it is bad enough to interfere with the listening experience and reduce enjoyment. Other pressings on other labels may be better, but this one (on the Rhino label) is really sub par.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 12 September 2008
This is a wonderful record, full of great melodic songs mainly written by Kate and Anna, including "Heart like a wheel" which had already been a hit for Linda Rondstadt. The songs feature the sisters' beautiful harmonies with folky backing provided by combinations of French-Canadian musicians and seasoned session players like Steve Gadd, Tony Levin, Lowell George and Bobby Keyes etc. The results are a mixture of heart-breakingly beautiful ballads, delicate and fragile but with an inner strength, and bitter-sweet songs of family relationships. The McGarrigles would find this record hard (if not impossible) to better.
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on 5 January 2010
Though I like the music, I returned this CD (i.e the "Rhino" issue illustrated on this page) on account of the bad remastering. Everything above a certain volume level (not very high) sounded compressed and distorted. This is not just a fine point for those obsessed with sound quality - it really did sound quite bad. (I had in the past heard it on LP, so I knew there was nothing wrong with the original recording...)

I have since acquired an earlier CD issue (Warner, 1994 - the back cover is half black and half white) which sounds just fine. It also has the song texts in the insert, unlike the Rhino issue. So if you like this music, I would suggest seeking out this earlier issue.
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on 1 January 2007
This album is astounding, it just has everything - blues, folk, jazz, gospel and much more. If I ever get stranded on a desert island, this is the one album I must have with me (and this from an avid Beatles and Ralph Mctell fan, mind). There are tracks to sing along to, tracks to cry to, tracks to beat the steering wheel or table to and then those you just have to stop whatever you're doing and listen to every note. I bless the day I came upon this album, almost by accident, and I thank the Misses McGarrigle for sharing their incredible talent with us all.
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on 4 October 2002
Two wonderful singers and songwriters, released this debut album in the 70's to huge critical acclaim, but poor sales. Many of the songs will be familiar to many, as they were performed by the likes of Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris and Maria Muldaur. However, the originals possess a certain charm, perhaps missing on the slicker and commercial cover versions. Check this out . i'm sure you will not be disappointed.
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on 19 May 2005
I tried this based on critics recommendations and surprisingly found the whole album to be really quite exceptional. Heart Like Wheel is the famous one and probably is the stand out track, but this doesn't mean the remaining tracks are weak. I happen to slightly prefer the tracks written by Anna but I would recommend the entire album as an absolute delight.
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on 20 July 2007
I bought a book in 1987 called 'The Top 100 Albums of All Time'. This album was at about number 46, surrounded by 'Pepper', 'Born to Run', and 'Blonde on Blonde'. I'd heard of those three, and most of the 100 in fact, but this one was a real mystery. Trying to buy it back in the 80s was also a problem and I only found a copy in 1996. Was it worth the wait? Absolutely! Switch off the lights, sit back, and then listen to 'Mendocino'. 'Heart like a wheel' and 'Go leave' and feel your heart melt and the tears flow. Quite simply, this is one of the greatest collections of music ever committed to record. Don't even hesitate - buy it and weep!
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on 26 October 2007
Although my record buying history dates from the time of this release right through to the modern brilliance of Rufus, Sufjan, Joanna Newsom et al, the McGarrigle's debut remains a personal favourite. A timeless and charming gem.

For those that haven't heard this, put simply, the album is full of jaunty, poppy, jazzy, folky, clever, engaging, entertaining and very touching songs. The music is homely and sophisticated at the same time. Mendocino is possibly the most beautiful song you've never heard, and Go Leave possibly the most heart-rending.
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