Psalm/Psong for April 22 – “Darlin’ Kate” by Emmylou Harris

Here’s a Good Friday-themed psong from Emmylou Harris. In this psong, which will be released next Tuesday on her new record “Hard Bargain,” Emmylou sings farewell to her beloved friend, Kate McGarrigle. McGarrigle died last year from cancer, leaving behind a rich musical legacy and a bunch of heartbroken family members, friends, and fans.

If you’re not familiar with the musical genius of Kate and Anna McGarrigle, it’s not too late to do some catching up. I recommend “Love Over and Over” and “Move Over Moon,” in addition to the some of their classics that have been covered by other artists, including “Talk to Me of Mendocino,” “Heart Like a Wheel,” and “Heartbeats Accelerating.”

I wish you a Good Friday that is, you know, actually GOOD. At noon, I get to read Psalm 22 for the umpteenth time this week (okay, it’s only the third time, it just SEEMS like umpteen, however many that is). That’s the one with the scintillating line, “But I am a worm, and not human.” Later, fortunately, there’s this line that I love, “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint.”

Here’s my recommendation for how to have a Good Friday that is really good: Think of someone who is, for you, the “sweetest note in the chord of life,” and then tell them that, using those words or ones that work for you. Even if that person is dead, say it. If anyone asks you why you’re talking to a dead person, just tell them that Emmylou does it all the time.

Lyrics to “Darlin’ Kate”:

So it’s finally come. You have left this world.
But we’ll miss our Kate, our darling girl!
We held your hand, kissed your lovely brow,
And bid farewell, you’re sailing now.
Free from the pain you lay that burden down
But your strong and giving heart,
Will surely be your crown.

As you slip the surly bonds of earth and sail away,
Perhaps we will meet again somehow, someday.
Until then, there’s nothing we can do, but wait,
To see what’s more, our darling Kate.

All those nights we sang
And talked ‘til the sun come up,
You fed our souls, you filled our cup!
With your perfect words and oh that voice,
We fell in love, we had no choice.

And I can’t say for sure where you have gone,
But in that place I’m bettin’ there’s a better song.
For we’ve all known down here the taste of joy and strife
You were the sweetest note in the chord of life.

Now you’ve slipped the surly bonds of earth and sailed away,
perhaps we will meet again somehow, someday.
But if there was one name I could consecrate
It would be yours.
It would be Kate.


3 responses to “Psalm/Psong for April 22 – “Darlin’ Kate” by Emmylou Harris

  1. Hi! This is a general e-mail of encouragement from good old Yorkshire, England! I came across your blog, all unawares, today whilst searching for Emmylou Harris ‘Darlin’ Kate’ on the internet. (First impule was to write “whilst researching Emmylou Harris” – but that’d be over-stating it!) Liked what you had to say very much and then noticed link to Dar Williams song! Oooh, liking you even more :) So I’ve subscribed to your blog and will spend the next few days caching up on past postings and making notes of books/music you mention. I’ve already made First Reference (like First Contact, but without the aliens!) to your blog on both my Facebook and Twitter pages – so expect more UK followers in the future!
    Anyways, best wishes and all,
    Lis XX

    • Dear Lis Golding,
      What a lovely way to end my day! Welcome to The Crooked Line! As you can probably divine from the lack of activity here since Easter week, the effort of posting a song a day for Lent kicked my butt.

      Thank you for spreading the word across the pond! It’s hard work doing this bloggy thing, and so nice to hear from people in addition to those who know my parents (or me). I suspect we’d get along famously, judging from your comment about First Reference “(like First Contact, but without the aliens!)” I laughed out loud when I read that.


  2. Well – what a lovely way to START my day! :)
    I’m glad my comment made you laugh … finding that Emmylou’s song ‘Darlin’ Kate’ was written for Kate McGarrigle made me cry! I’ve loved the McGarrigles since ‘Dancer With Bruised Knees’ which I bought (on vinyl – yes, I am THAT old!) when I was about twenty!
    As did the Dar Williams song – I sent the link to my daughter who is away at Uni , as an antidote to all her stressful revising!
    Well, I suppose I ought to get dressed – the coffee is begining to percolate (ho ho!) my bloodstream, so I’m a little bit awake ;)
    Toodle-pip (as we say, all the time, over here in Blighty)
    Lis XX
    (Btw don’t worry about your ‘lack of activity’ in your blog, at the top of the page it specifically states “MUSINGS of …” – and everyone knows you can’t hurry musings! X)

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