#32: King Creosote – Marguerita Red (2005)
Certain records are defined by elegance inherent. Something about the particulars of assemblage – the application of lyric, vocal, instrumentation; the exploitation of timbre, tone, production – it elevates the song, delineates the poise that lines this space between musician and listener. One result is that commentary becomes extraneous; there’s little (if anything) I could add that’ll enhance any listening experience.
Hence writing about the career of Kenny Anderson is a problematic affair, such is the beauty behind so many of his songs (I distrust the word beauty; it’s become a vague and generic concept diluted through blunderbuss overuse, and I wouldn’t usually insert it into an article – except in this instance it’s the only word appropriate). Perhaps I should point out the arrogance that powers the narrative, the fakery of sentiment – it would at least make the words easier to formulate, the grit from which fake pearls might grow… but the stench of bullshit would be overpowering; King Creosote is as attached to genuine warmth, to a heightened and instinctive understanding of the Scottish folk tradition and its evocation in the twenty-first century, as I am to cheap liquor and playing records all day long.
So to ‘Marguerita Red’, a song that’s worn many guises over the years (the 2005 reference above applies to the first wide-scale availability); from live favourite to major label staple and back again, each appearance subtlety different, or dynamically different, yet always entrancing, embracing and etcetera (Malcolm Middleton, another of LGM’s aural passions, recorded a version that’s equally as alluring, equally highlights the potency of songcraft, but for very different reasons – to the extent that MM’s version isn’t straight comparison). This is the only entry in the Festive Fifty for which there are two different versions below the words (the second of the two is my personal favourite… although having been fortunate to have been present at more than a few of his gigs, I’ve always been amazed at the dexterity behind each individual performance). Contrasting arrangements, yet perfectly pitched.
As said, there’s no way any words of mine are going to do KC even the remotest of justices, so I’ll leave you with one final, personal thought; when Mrs LGM strangely and unaccountably agreed to get hitched to a guy already-married to his record collection (happy birthday Wendy), I wasn’t sure what record she’d choose to accompany the walk down the aisle. I had money on ‘Too Drunk To Fuck’ by The Dead Kennedys. Or maybe Alice Cooper’s ‘Poison’. That she selected ‘Marguerita Red’ caused at least one heart to skip beats.
(Still does in fact).
King Creosote / Marguerita Red
King Creosote / Marguerita Red (b&q version)
Photo: And Before The Last Kiss