Do your eyes have an answer
to this song of mine
They say we meet again
on down the line
Where is on down the line
how far away?
Tell me I’m okay
— Margaret A. Roche
Longtime readers will recall that I got married the first time because my bride-to-be had Graham Nash’s “Songs for Beginners” on vinyl. Yes, that was enough.
You know pretty much all you need to know about a person from their record collection. I figured anyone who had that album was a keeper. But she also introduced me to Joan Armatrading (I’m not in love, but I’m open to persuasion. What a perfect lyric). And she had an album that had just came out by three sisters named the Roches.
I was skeptical, but gave it a listen. And then another. And another 2 million.
It’s the perfect album. Simple acoustic guitar, impossible three-part harmonies, heartfelt lyrics about real life. It is so, so wonderful. I, of course, lost the album in the divorce, but when Spotify came along, it was one of the first I revisited.
I only saw them live once and I don’t remember much about the show. Subsequent albums never seemed quite the same. I guess you never get over your first love. And anytime I’m carrying my guitar I find myself singing “Please be careful with my guitar, whoever you are.”
They were a little group that never made it big, a career living on the musical edges. “Despite modest sales, the Roches persisted,” the NYT obit says. Because you find what you do and you keep doing it, I suppose. What choice is there?
“We’d like to make a million dollars and be set for life,” Maggie Roche told the LAT in 1995. “We’ve been lucky, though. We have a career, and that is a gift. I guess I want things to be easy, but that’s not the way it is.”
So I didn’t quite know how to feel when I saw the obit today that Maggie Roche is dead at 65. It happens, I guess.
The weird thing is, I’m frozen in that moment in time. It’s 1980. I’m hearing that album for the first time for the millionth time. And it still makes me so stinkin’ happy.
Music lives forever. So will Maggie.maybe heaven is in Ireland.
I really need some strawberry apricot pie …