The McGarrigle Sisters Go Beyond Cozy Love Songs

A reissue of their album “Pronto Monto” showcases the duo’s sensitive—and edgy—side.


Kate & Anna McGarrigle
Pronto Monto
Omnivore

Courtesy of Omnivore Recordings

The third longplayer from Canadian folkies Kate and Anna McGarrigle, 1978’s Pronto Monto found the sisters poised to enter the mainstream after two critically acclaimed, underexposed albums. With Anna’s composition “Heart Like a Wheel” about to become a success for Linda Ronstadt, the McGarrigles enlisted producer David Nichtern, who’d previously penned “Midnight at the Oasis,” a left-field hit for Maria Muldaur, in hopes of broadening their appeal. While Nichtern and a host of ace studio players muted the siblings’ eccentricities slightly to create a somewhat more mainstream product, a commercial breakthrough didn’t follow, alas. Regardless, Pronto Monto is an engaging and stirring work that gives full play to their thoughtful songs and tender, playful voices. But don’t be fooled into thinking that the McGarrigles are just sensitive softies. After savoring the cozy love song “Stella by Artois,” check out the caustic “Dead Weight,” which observes, “Your charm’s wearing thin and your voice rings like tin,” among other insults. Wicked!

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up to $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate