Shelagh McDonald made two albums that were milestones of early 1970s folk rock – and then apparently vanished off the face of the earth.
As cult figures go, few come with greater credentials than Shelagh McDonald. A wonderful singer, guitarist and songwriter, beautiful and with a lovely personality, her two LPs (The Shelagh McDonald Album from 1971 and Stargazer from 1972) shared musicians, arranger and photographer with her friends Sandy Denny and Nick Drake and are among the jewels of the early ’70s folk rock era.
And then she completely and comprehensively vanished for 33 years, as if off the planet. Vashti Bunyan famously went off in a horse-drawn caravan as part of the legend that aided her old vinyl’s price-inflation. That experience was a relative luxury compared to McDonald’s. When she first briefly reappeared in 2005 it turned out she had been roughing it in tents in the wilds of Scotland for years at a stretch.
But now Shelagh McDonald is back among us, cautiously planning live appearances and hoping to record again.
On 16th January 2013, Shelagh made her first official public appearance after more than 40 years away, as a guest of The False Beards at the Green Note, Camden, London. Among a half hour set of previously unrecorded material, she also delighted with a reprise of her much loved version of the traditional song Let No Man Steal Your Thyme from her first album.
(Text abbreviated from Ian Anderson’s froots article)