Debut albums simply aren't supposed to be as accomplished and beautifully crafted as Kate & Anna McGarrigle's first record, which is as lovely and superbly realized as folk-rock gets.
Times of Our Lives is an album by Judy Collins, released in 1982. It peaked at #190 on the Billboard Pop Albums charts. In 1981, prior to the album's release, Collins appeared on the CBS soap Guiding Light, performing two songs from the (then) forthcoming album: "Great Expectations" and "It's Gonna Be One of Those Nights".
Emmylou Harris’s groundbreaking album Wrecking Ball reissued April 8 on Nonesuch Records. Produced by Daniel Lanois (U2, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Willie Nelson), Wrecking Ball won the 1996 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album and was highly praised by critics worldwide. The new three-disc set features the remastered original album, a bonus CD of previously unreleased material, and a DVD of the documentary Building the Wrecking Ball, which was directed by Bob Lanois and includes interviews and studio footage of Harris and Lanois as well as special guests Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Neil Young, Steve Earle, Brian Blade, and others.
It's difficult to write about Emmylou Harris without lapsing into a long train of superlatives – she really does have one of the most beautiful voices of her generation, and her taste in material and skill in using her instrument is nearly faultless. However, as good as Harris is and as consistently strong as her body of work has been, one could make a convincing argument that she's been frequently underrated through much of her career – more than just a lovely woman with a pure, clear voice and a fine ear, she's championed a number of gifted songwriters before they went on to have distinguished careers of their own (from Rodney Crowell to Gillian Welch), matured into a first-rate tunesmith herself, collaborated with a remarkable array of artists, and has never been afraid to take her talents into unexpected directions, from purist bluegrass to the experimental atmospherics of her work with Daniel Lanois.
From the sweet to the salacious to the poignant, Maria Muldaur's eponymous, strong debut features savvy studio vets, talented guests, strong tunes, and Muldaur's lissome pipes. The outstanding players include Ry Cooder, David Grisman, Clarence White, and Mac Rebennack, better known as Dr. John. A tasteful guitar solo by the underrated Amos Garrett elevates the charming surprise hit single "Midnight at the Oasis." Although she later gravitated to jazz and gospel, Muldaur's first outing is heavy on songs derived from country and blues. A rousing "Work Song," borrowed from Kate & Anna McGarrigle, is only one of several highlights.