Foiled by the Farmer’s Song folkie

Murray McLauchlan sings about straw hats and old dirty hankies. And it won me over. I was eight year old when I first saw him play the Farmer's Song. And for months afterwards it went round and round in my head -"Straw hats and old dirty hankies, mopping my face like a shoe. Thanks for the meal, here's a song that is real, from a kid from the city to you ...."

Murray McLauchlan sings about straw hats and old dirty hankies.

And it won me over.

I was eight year old when I first saw him play the Farmer’s Song.

And for months afterwards it went round and round in my head -“Straw hats and old dirty hankies, mopping my face like a shoe. Thanks for the meal, here’s a song that is real, from a kid from the city to you ….”

Now, more than two decades later, I listened to it again on YouTube and the memories and lyrics came flooding back.

McLauchlan is playing the Yukon Arts Centre on Thursday with his group Lunch at Allen’s.

So, after all these years, this childhood fan had a reason to talk to the harmonica-playing guitar folkie.

But McLauchlan never called.

His publicist Cristin Fraser started promising an interview early last week.

But McLauchlan was on the road, and it was tough finding time to talk.

Finally, it was set for Monday at 10 a.m.

First, however, there was an interview with prolific songwriter and Lunch At Allen’s co-musician Marc Jordan.

He was going through a Tim Hortons drive-through in Cochrane, Alberta, when I called.

Jordan’s written songs for the likes of Rod Stewart, Cher, Bonnie Rait and Bette Midler, back when he was living in LA, working for Warner, BMG and Atlantic Records.

It sounds like a tough gig, writing a hit and letting go without getting the chance to record it.

But Jordan loved it.

“The whole idea was to get as many people as possible to hear the songs,” he said.

“And I always wrote the songs as if I was going to record them.

“I never thought, so-and-so needs a song, so I’m going to write it for him.”

Jordan started off writing for himself.

But after losing his record deal in the early ‘80s, he took the staff writer position at Warner.

“And people started cutting my songs,” he said.

Now, playing with McLauchlan, Ian Thomas and Cindy Church in Lunch at Allen’s, Jordan is reappropriating some of his long-lost songs.

And sometimes, they’re better than when he left them.

“In one case, I wrote a song for Amanda Marshall, and she did it so much better than my demo,” he said.

“So when I recorded it, I copied her.”

Lunch at Allen’s came out of a lunch meeting at Allen’s Restaurant in Toronto.

Murray McLauchlan had been asked to put together a songwriters series and approached Jordan, Thomas and Church.

“I said I’ll do it, if you do it with me,” said Jordan.

The show was so successful, an agent in the audience asked the group to do a few more performances.

Eight years later, they’re still touring.

“We became more like a band and dug in and learned each other’s material,” said Jordan.

After getting together at Thomas’ studio, an old barn outside Toronto, the group started putting out CDs – acoustic versions of their individual hits with musicians shuffling from guitar to percussion and piano.

Thomas’ songs are philosophical, said Jordan.

Church’s have an emotional beauty.

And McLauchlan’s songs are photographic -“they have this wonderful sense of time and place.”

McLauchlan was set to call next.

But he never did.

Leaving me to contemplate his “song that is real, from a kid from the city to you ….”

Contact Genesee Keevil at

gkeevil@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

Yukon hospital workers reach tentative deal to avoid a strike

The proposal will be voted on March 4, the union says

Longtime Yukon lawyer, former federal NDP candidate Melissa Atkinson dead at 45

Atkinson, who served as the territory’s first Indigenous Crown attorney, died the morning of Feb. 14.

WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World

Women ordered to pay former Dawson City couple $800k in damages for defamation

The women had started a campaign in support of a Dawson retiree the couple was suing over her house

Senior U.S. official says Canadian report authors may not ‘fully understand’ mitigation proposals for ANWR development

Joe Balash responded to a report alleging problems with the draft environmental impact statement

German rookie wins 2019 Yukon Quest red lantern

Hendrik Stachnau was the last musher to cross the finish line

Hospital workers are prepared to strike

‘They’ve had enough’

Whitehorse mayor calls tax and fee increases reasonable

Council approved the 2019 operations budget

Team Yukon attends pep rally before heading off to Canada Winter Games

The Games are taking place in Red Deer, Alta., from Feb. 15 to March 3.

This year’s Sima Cup medals were delicious

A local bakery provided the prizes

Mushers of all sizes come out for the Babe Southwick Memorial Sled Dog Races

As the leading Yukon Quest mushers were nearing the finish of their… Continue reading

History Hunter: Mining on Dublin Gulch has a long history

A new gold mine is being developed north of Mayo that will… Continue reading

A tale from the trail: The Arctic Ultra marathon distance

Writer Amy Kenny completed the race with guts, scotch and possibly an emergency McMuffin

Most Read