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CD Review: Kate and Anna McGarrigle

Tell My Sister (Nonesuch)

Before she passed away from cancer last year, Kate McGarrigle married fellow folkie Loudon Wainwright III, gave birth to singer-songwriters Rufus and Martha Wainwright, and recorded a series of albums with her older sister Anna. Their first two — 1976's Kate and Anna McGarrigle and the following year's Dancer With Bruised Knees — anchor this three-CD set. The debut includes "Heart Like a Wheel," which was famously covered by Linda Ronstadt. But it's the freewheeling Dancer — an ambitious song cycle that sucks up bluegrass, vaudeville, and French songs in its vortex — that shows off the McGarrigles' breadth and talent. A third disc, featuring demos and previously unreleased songs recorded before the debut, seals it. — Gallucci

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