R-701044-1296084424From 1994 in which a lead vocal, a backing vocal, an acoustic guitar and a cello combine to stunning effect:-

mp3 : Kristin Hersh – Your Ghost

It was the debut single from the Throwing Muses main protagonist and she called in a favour from her dear friend Michael Stipe whose band were probably just about the biggest selling on the planet at that particular time.   It’s a song that caught a lot of people by surprise – aficionados of Throwing Muses were astonished at the stripped-back beauty and simplicity of the track while R.E.M.‘s newest batch of fans were left scratching their heads and wondering why Stipe would feature so prominently on a recording by a musician more or less unknown in commercial or mainstream circles.

I was thrilled to pick up a mint copy of the 12″ single in a second-hand store the other week for just £2.  I actually reckon that the person who bought it did so on the basis of the backing vocal in the hope (in vain as it turned out) that Stipe would feature on the other songs.  It certainly appears to be a more or less unplayed piece of plastic.

Three other songs make up this lovely release, one of them being a rather startling cover of a Led Zeppelin track (and as someone who is not a fan of the rock giants I’m prepared to say that Kristin’s version is waaaaay superior!!)

mp3 : Kristin Hersh – The Key
mp3 : Kristin Hersh – Uncle June and Aunt Kiyoti
mp3 : Kristin Hersh – When The Levee Breaks

Oh and the lyrics of the middle song of these three refers geographically to Canada and it was wonderful to hear the province of Nova Scotia being refered to as New Scotland. I often forget just how many people from my wee country made their way to the rugged east coast of Canada to try to carve out a new life for themselves.

Finally…anyone who enjoys autobiographies of any sort really should track down a copy of Paradoxical Undressing, Kristin’s brilliantly-written and very frank, moving, often disturbing and occasionally laugh-out-loud-at-the ridiculousness-of-it-all memoir of a period in her life when she suffering from a debilitating mental illness.

Happy Halloween y’all.



  1. A very sweet Halloween… The album Hips and makers was also a fine collection of intense acoustic songs. The sound of Jane Scarpantoni’s cello was part of the imprinting from that age in indie American music: Bob Mould’s Workbook, Nirvana’s In Utero, REM’s Automatic for the people and many others.

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