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Anonyma rides again (briefly)-Lister & McLaughlin

28 Jan 09 - 01:20 PM (#2551172)
Subject: Anonyma rides again (briefly)
From: Anne Lister

OK .. the earlier thread, mentioning Mary McLaughlin's name, didn't excite much interest. Will this one?
Back in the eighties Mary and I were the duo Anonyma, with gigs all over the UK and in the US (and some in Ireland). We made an album, "Burnt Feathers", on the Fellside label, produced by Martin Simpson. Had some great reviews.
This summer Mary is going to be visiting the UK for the first time in a long while, as her home these days is in California. She'll be coming to stay here with us in South Wales and then coming with me to Broadstairs festival, where I'm booked. Broadstairs was where we first met (Mary and Martin Simpson and me) 25 years ago, so we thought it would be fun to do a couple of Anonyma reunion sessions. We did actually have a brief re-formation at Old Songs about ten years ago, which was great fun.

If anyone has any good ideas of where else we might perform in August, please let me know. We'd be up for house concerts, clubs, workshops (we can do a great selection of those, from storytelling to harmonies and even how to sing in Gaelic) ... the only thing is we're mainly looking at South Wales and the M4 corridor to cut down on too much in the way of travel cost. Dates - from 6th August onwards, really, and we're in Broadstairs from 12 - 14 inclusive. Got a possible house concert on 15th in Essex. I'll put one on here if there's nothing better on offer (early in the time frame) and we're talking of a harmony workshop in Builth Wells that first weekend.

Ideally we'd both like to make some money on this but we're not turning our noses up at freebies, depending on where and what the freebies are! And if it all goes well, who knows, we might be a bit more organised and do something another year.

So - anyone got a clever thought to throw my way?

Anne Lister

29 Jan 09 - 12:17 PM (#2552055)
Subject: RE: Anonyma rides again (briefly)
From: Anne Lister

Won't keep on refreshing this if no one else wants to contribute ... just this once.


29 Jan 09 - 03:52 PM (#2552243)
Subject: RE: Anonyma rides again (briefly)
From: Joe Offer

Well, it sounds interesting to me, Anne. Why don't you come to California and perform? I'm sure you'd find the weather better.
I found your page on the Burnt Feathers album - but alas, I see that it is not available. What songs do you intend to perform?
I'm going to add to the thread title and see if it generates more interest.


29 Jan 09 - 06:01 PM (#2552335)
Subject: RE: Anonyma rides again (briefly)-Lister & McLaughlin
From: Anne Lister

Thanks, Joe ...I do have a few copies of "Burnt Feathers" available on vinyl, as it happens, but sadly Fellside haven't wanted to put it out on CD and they own the copyright, so we can't go ahead and do it ourselves. One reason why I've been gradually re-recording some of the songs (two on the new album)!
As to what we'll perform - probably some trad stuff (we had our own take on "Tarry Trousers", "Nelly the Milkmaid", "Once I had a sweetheart" and "A Sailor's Life", but I expect that once we get practising there'll be a few Gaelic songs in there too) and a mix of our own.
Would love to come to California to perform but it's all a question of getting enough work to make the trip viable for me. I'm sure if it all goes well we'll talk about it!


27 Mar 11 - 09:37 PM (#3123021)
Subject: RE: Anonyma rides again (briefly)-Lister & McLaughlin
From: GUEST,Mike Jackson

Greetings from Australia.
Wow! Just rediscovered 'Icarus' — what a lovely version and what a song. Who wrote it?
Shame the pair of you weren't out in Australia recently with Martin Simpson.
Prefer you contact me via my email address. As — much as I love MudCat — I'm not a regular here and don't fully understand the workings of it all. Massively useful source of lyrics and knowledge about the songs though.
I'm touring UK in June — not that you're likely to find me this time as the only festival I'm doing at this stage is the Ukulele Festival of Great Britain. My son Thom is the ukulele player. Me? I'm in the 'If you can, do; if you can't, teach' category. I'm blessed/cursed with being, amongst other things, a world authority on Lesson One for learning uke — I must be, I've delivered it so many hundreds of times!

Mike's website
Kindest Regards

04 Sep 11 - 06:11 PM (#3218222)
Subject: RE: Anonyma rides again (briefly)-Lister & McLaughlin
From: tonyteach1

Just seen Anonyma at the Walthamstow Folk Club great - lovely singing and guitar playing I preferred their traditional irish stuff but for sheer vocal quality and blend really fantastic performers and come across as very nice

FAO Anonyma I was the dark haired ugly bloke sitting on the front row in the leather jacket

18 Mar 21 - 02:31 PM (#4098232)
Subject: RE: Anonyma rides again (briefly)-Lister & McLaughlin
From: GUEST,jdavebooth

I'm going to necropost the thread because of the memories... In the 80's you played a folk club in Reading and this scruffy skinny bloke ran into you at the bar after and said something along the lines of "some of those songs really stuck in my head, I think I've got to learn them..." You laughed and said "Buy the album and go for it."

As it happened I already had it, having bought it that evening. To this day I still sing my own (somewhat mutated by time and the "folk process") arrangements of Moth, Seagull, Stone Circles and The Quiet People. (I've discovered that The Quiet People sung a capella works really well with a segue into CSNY's Teach Your Children with a simplified/minimalist guitar part)

18 Mar 21 - 05:47 PM (#4098262)
Subject: RE: Anonyma rides again (briefly)-Lister & McLaughlin
From: GUEST,Anne Lister sans cookie

I like the notion of "necroposting"!
This post comes at a good moment. I've just been responding to someone who wants to record "Icarus" but with their own version of my words, which, to be frank, make a complete mess of the song (I'm being polite here). I've had to say something I've never had to say before, in my 50+years of songwriting, which is that if they don't record my lyrics (supplied) they can't record my song. The folk process and muting is one thing, complete re-writing of some verses is another thing entirely. So thank you for remembering, and for learning the songs.

Both Mary and I have websites ( and and have pursued individual careers with more songs and recordings. I'll put in a plug for Mary and say that she has a song recorded in lockdown called "Sanctuary" which is raising funds for refugees. Not sure if we'll be able to any further Anonyma tours, but we may record together again some time.

19 Mar 21 - 04:52 PM (#4098397)
Subject: RE: Anonyma rides again (briefly)-Lister & McLaughlin
From: GUEST,jdavebooth

Anne, it's the lyrics that MAKE those songs. Of course I change the pitch. My crusty ol' baritone can't even do 'em an octave down from you two any more. I bumble around the guitar in my own way and I have to make 'em sound recognisable as a solo rather than a duo, which leads to some interesting bits where I effectively have to swap between your line and Mary's mid-phrase but mess with your lyrics? NEVER. I wouldn't be singing the same song.

19 Mar 21 - 06:22 PM (#4098409)
Subject: RE: Anonyma rides again (briefly)-Lister & McLaughlin
From: The Sandman

well said, anne lister

21 Mar 21 - 09:46 PM (#4098701)
Subject: RE: Anonyma rides again (briefly)-Lister & McLaughlin
From: Mrrzy

Hullo darlin'! I shall have to check your duo out!

22 Mar 21 - 12:02 PM (#4098745)
Subject: RE: Anonyma rides again (briefly)-Lister & McLaughlin
From: GUEST,Anne Lister sans cookie

Hi, Mrrzy - it was a long time ago! We may do something together again at some point, but not sure when as we've both got other projects on. However, you can hear Mary's lovely harmonies on some tracks on my "Astrolabe" album.