My Way Home - Kirsty MacColl
One of the two small children that Ewan MacColl left, along with wife Jean Newlove, for Peggy Seeger (see post May 6th), Kirsty MacColl's influences were punk, pop and country and western as much as the folk music roots of her father.
First noticed supplying backing vocals for a punk band, Kirsty's main influences were the Beach Boys and the early sixties girl groups, although her first hit, the wonderful "There's a Guy Down the Chip Shop Swears he's Elvis" is more the kind of c&w that Chris Hillman and Gram Parsons would have been proud of, and that's not even her so-called "country" version.
Not surprisingly, a recurring subject in Kirsty's songs is the the general fecklessness and unreliability of men, and this combined with the lushness of her singing, often tinged with the faintest whiff of bitterness, is the theme running through her wonderful oeuvre of five albums over twenty years.
On "My Way Home", from her amusingly titled 1991 "Electric Landlady" album, her vocal is dreamy yet strong and optimistic, seemingly, as it often is, against the odds. Her lyrics often combine the ordinary and prosaic with wistful but striking images, denying regret and emanating defiant independence.
"All it took was the time it takes to smoke a cigarette or jam on the breaks
I nearly had it in my hands and now it's gone
am I complaining about my luck again?...."
Listen out for the hustling urgency of Pete Glenister's acoustic guitar, the lacelike embroidery of Eliot Randall's guitar licks and a hot trumpet section that sounds as though it's been nicked from Lionel Richie's "All Night Long" - no bad thing at all.
In the year 2000, while on holiday scuba diving with her two sons on Mexico, Kirsty was killed when she was hit by a large cruiser speedboat. The vessel was owned by Guillermo González Nova, one of the richest men in Mexico, who was on board as were his young sons. Although a young deckhand was convicted for the driving the boat, MacColl's family always believed that he took the rap for Nova or one of his sons.There seems little doubt that the boat was trespassing into a swimmers' only area and driving way over the prescribed speed limits, although this was denied by the defence. MacColl's mother conducted a nine year campaign to bring Nova to justice, only giving up when he died. Jean Newlove herself died on May 16th, just 3 years ago almost to the day, and was cremated at Mortlake Crematorium, where Kirsty was sixteen years before.
".....now you see me, now you don't
you say you will but I know you won't
you nearly had me in your hands
but now I'm gone..............
....I'm not complaining 'bout my life again no siree
but what I've got belongs to me entirely......
....I look left and I look right
and I cross this road alone
cause I'm feeling, feeling my way home,
my way home, my way home................"