Thursday, 17 January 2013

desert Island Discs 65 - Kite by Kirsty MaCcoll

65 Kite by Kirsty MaCcoll 1989

Up until Kite I knew Kirsty Maccoll through the pleasant cover of Billy Bragg's New England and the not quite novelty hit of There's Guy works down the chipshop.

In fairness Kite would have passed me by if it wasn't for French and Saunders

Every week Kirsty would perform a song backed by Raw Sex or with French and Saunders mugging in the background.

They were usually cover versions but then she performed one of her own songs (about 6 1/2 mins in on the above clip) about the shallowness of fame and the red tops.15 Minutes could have been written this year with the ins and outs of the Leveson enquiry

The lyrics were spot on sharp

Seven times in seven days
I've sat and wished my life away
I know the greyness comes and goes
But the sun don't shine
And the snow don't snow

There's Suzy-Ann with her tits and curls
Where mediocrity excels
For those vicious boys and their boring girls
You know it makes me sick but it's a bozo's world

Then there's always the cash
Selling yourself for some trash
Smiling at people that you cannot stand
You're in demand
Your fifteen minutes start now

City banker looks are in
The heartless heart, the chinless chin
And you'd spill your beans for just a pint of gin
How you got so holy
And became so thin

In Sunday papers every week
The silly words you love to speak
The tacky photos and the phoney smiles
Well it's a bozo's world
And you're a bozo's child

Then there's always the cash
Selling yourself for some trash
Smiling at people that you cannot stand
You're in demand
Your fifteen minutes start now

Then there's always the fame!
Autographs now and again
People who saw you on Blankety Blank
Or in the bank
Your fifteen minutes start now

The lead off single was just as good with its view of Tory Britain, with  a lyric as biting as anything Billy Bragg or Elvis Costello could come up with

I though of you when they closed down the school and hospital too
Did they think that you were better they were wrong
You had so many friends
They all left you in the end
Because they couldn't stand the patter

The public were apathetic, preferring the harmony laden and perfectly lovely cover of The Kinks' Days.

The lp is full of hidden treasures whether it is the country lament on love in Don't come the Cowboy or Johnny Marrs jangle pop of Innocence or the quieter more fragile moments

You and Me Baby - Kirsty Maccoll

It is a shame that as one smart songwriter she is probably best known for singing other people's lyrics and with her cruelly premature death this is unlikely to change

Kite has just been re released as a double cd with a load of extras on which you can get here


  1. Bought the 'novelty' single and still have it. Cracking piece of songwriting. But then she had it in the blood, as they say. Certainly underestimated as a songwriter versus her singing - but then her singing on those covers is pretty wonderful.

  2. Kirsty sorely missed...

    I'm shacked up in a hotel in South Carolina, list packed away in the car. I'll implement the "no particular order" clause here, and ante up with an easy one...

    #65 - PETER GABRIEL - #1 (rain on the windshield album) (1977)


  3. Hi Seamus I was lucky enough to go to the tribute concert that her half broterh Neil curated.

    thats an interesting choice TT - this first one is the one that is often overlooked

  4. Thanks, I didn't know about the extended version, I'll have to start saving up for that... though, sadly, not from the link you provided.

  5. Hi Rol

    yes I put this up some time ago. It is a bit of a double blow as i work for the company (administrators are sat outside my office as i type this!)

    1. Sorry to hear that - still hope something can save them!

  6. I didn't really know much about Kirsty until after her death. She hadn't made much of an impression here in America. Shameful. I knew who her famous ex-husband was, and I had a couple of songs by her from the Stiff box set that I liked. It seems her name keeps popping up everywhere I look. She has worked with everyone, and it's obvious she was well respected by her peers. The song that really grabbed me was Titanic Days. You posted it a year ago, and I have been chasing down her music ever since. Providing music to sample really works. I wish the powers that be understood that. Thanks very much.

  7. Kite is an album packed with great tunes and like Rol I had no idea there was a double CD released. Very tempting.Rather wish I'd put this in my list as it's almost devoid of female artists!
    #65 Cousteau - S/T. Liam McKahey has one of the best voices going and in 'Last Good Day Of The Year' they released a classic single.

  8. 'Kite' is (and has long been) on my list of all-time fave albums. Kirsty is (and has long been) on my list of all-time fave singers/songwriters. A true talent, very sadly missed.

    Her Latin American-influenced later stuff is also well worth picking up, but the 3-CD Anthology 'From Croydon to Cuba' is an absolute must!

    BTW, the link you provided for the Kite double-set has died, owing to HMV's (un)fortunate demise...

  9. Hi Robster I've got all her lps and like teh csouth american flavoured stuff but after kite my fav is teh "divorce" lp Ttianic days .

    re hmv alas it is a bit of a double whammy in that i also work there but I'm guessing for not much longer!

    Really like both the Cousteau lps Phil

    Thanks for teh comments Brian and keep up with your great blog! (I'll add it to teh sidebar


Leave a comment and let me know what you are listening to.