One of the genuine mysteries of the music world has been solved, with the reappearance of the elusive Shelagh McDonald. (Click to stream Real Audio of "Jesus is Just Alright" from Brian Turner's show.) The folksinger issued two albums in the early 1970's and then vanished for over thirty years. Though the most-persistent rumor regarding her disappearance (that it was drug-related) was true, even people close to her didn't know this for certain and were also in the dark as to her whereabouts. Former friend Leo O'Kelly, a member of the Irish folk-rock band Tir na nOg, (click for Real Audio) pointed out that McDonald was in no way a heavy drug user. Like many others, she was experimenting -- and alas -- one bad trip did her in.
Shelagh McDonald, like nearly every other folksinger of her day outside of the strict traditionalists, had incorporated contemporary elements into her music. Both pop and psychedelic influences can clearly be heard. Though she seemed to be poised for stardom after the release of her second LP, "Stargazer", of course no one can really say. Many musicians have been in a similar situation, only to see their careers dwindle due to a change in what's musically fashionable.
Fans of UK folk will need to have "Let No Man Steal Your Thyme", which consists of her two records plus a bit extra. She had a gorgeous voice, and because her albums featured both top-notch musicians and production, they are worthy of being ranked alongside the best of the era. Read more about her at this fan's website, which contains further information regarding her disappearance and reappearance. In the meantime here are few more Real Audio links to McDonald's work: "Liz's Song" (from Hatch's show) ||| "Stargazer" (from Bill Zurat's show).