I’ve walked upon the moors
On many misguided tours
Where Emily, Anne and Charlotte
Poured their hearts out…
I first heard this captivating song while I was up a ladder, burning thick layers of ancient paint off the shingles of a house in Dartmouth, NS, little drops of molten paint, probably full of lead and a dozen other carcinogens, searing little red pits into my forearms. We had a boom box going on the lawn. Summer of 1984.
Kate and Anna were from Montreal, and were the sort of musicians and songwriters who enjoy only moderate success with the public while earning the adoration of their peers. Their compositions were liable to be covered by the likes of Emmylou Harris, Judy Collins, Joan Baez, and Linda Ronstadt, who made Anna’s Heart Like a Wheel the title track of her breakthrough number one album of 1974 (they allude to that success in the lyrics of today’s selection: You ask me how I feel / I said my heart was like a wheel / why don’t you listen to it some time?). Love Over and Over manages to be bouncy, melodic, wry, doubtful, straightforward, complex, very clever, joyful, and highly exasperated all at once, wondering what the hell anybody really knows about love when even the frickin’ Brontë sisters couldn’t figure it out.
That’s Mark Knopfler on guitar.
In Canada, at least, they’re perhaps most famous for something they didn’t write, Wade Hemsworth’s Log Driver’s Waltz, which they performed for an endlessly charming little cartoon produced by the National Film Board. If you’ve never seen it, you simply must:
They recorded well-received albums up until 2008, by which time they’d both been awarded with an Order of Canada, a bunch of Junos, and other gongs. Then Kate, beset with cancer, died in 2010, at only 63. The Guardian posted a nice obit: