This was a question posted on As Far As We Know, the Miracle Legion/Mark Mulcahy forum, back in January 2008 (I didn't respond - I'm more of a lurker than a poster. If I did I would have mentioned the above promo poster for the "Glad" album).
AFAWK is a small but supportive community of (196 registered) long-term fans who therefore tend to own all of the Miracle Legion records (some out-of-print) and Mark Mulcahy solo material as well as assorted singles, live recordings and memorabilia. I owe this group huge thanks - for it is through this forum and the earlier Yahoo group of the same name that I managed to track down and/or swap several live recordings including the Andy Kershaw Miracle Legion sessions from 1992. This included their take on The Smiths "Reel Around The Fountain" - much sought after by me after hearing it at my only Miracle Legion gig that same year.
Sadly due to the tragic circumstances, Mark Mulcahy is back in the media spotlight just now and those on the forum and the general public can all add some more "ML/MM"-related material to our/your collections this week.
Last year, Mark's wife Melissa died suddenly leaving him and their twin three-year old daughters bereft. Mark has always had some high-profile fans (Nick Hornby and Thom Yorke being the most documented) and over the last year a whole host of musicians have been working on a benefit record "Ciao My Shining Star" aimed to raise funds so Mark can continue to write and perform music whilst bringing up his daughters. According to last week's Guardian piece this started happening without Mark's knowledge.
The Thom Yorke cover of Miracle Legion's "All For The Best" has already been released as a limited edition vinyl single. And on Monday, the 21 track album comes out on CD and digitally. Plus another 20 tracks including versions from A.C. Newman, Buffalo Tom and Laura Veirs that didn't make the album, are also available for digital download.
The track listing for the full album alone shows the calibre of support:
01 Thom Yorke – “All For The Best”
02 The National – “Ashamed Of The Story I Told”
03 Michael Stipe – “Everything’s Coming Undone”
04 David Berkeley – “Loves The Only Thing That Shuts Me Up”
05 Dinosaur Jr. – “The Backyard”
06 Chris Harford & Mr Ray Neal – “Micon The Icon”
07 Frank Black – “Bill Jocko”
08 Vic Chesnutt – “Little Man”
09 Unbelievable Truth – “Ciao My Shining Star”
10 Butterflies Of Love – “I Have Patience”
11 Chris Collingwood (Fountains Of Wayne) – “Cookie Jar”
12 Frank Turner – “The Quiet One”
13 Rocket From The Tombs – “In Pursuit Of Your Happiness”
14 Ben Kweller – “Wake Up Whispering”
15 Josh Rouse – “I Woke Up In The Mayflower”
16 Autumn Defense – “Paradise”
17 Hayden -”Happy Birthday Yesterday”
18 Juliana Hatfield – “We’re Not In Charleston Anymore”
19 Mercury Rev – “Sailors And Animals”
20 Elvis Perkins – “She Watches Over Me”
21 Sean Watkins – “A World Away From This One"
In addition tomorrow in Brooklyn this benefit concert is taking place (with a London leg rumoured for October).
Benefit records are two-a-penny these days and of variable quality however good the cause. But "Ciao My Shining Star" has all the hallmarks of an excellent record not least through the strength of the song-writing (says the fan without bias) plus the affection/adoration shown by fellow musicians. So a worthy and important record but more than likely a musically vital one too which I feel confident based on hearing three covers so far to recommend whole-heartedly. Three tracks from the album are streaming on Mark's MySpace page and The Line Of Best Fit is also streaming a track each day for you to check this out yourself.
Most of the Miracle Legion albums are out of print, victims of record company politicking, poor advice and bad timing. I did once email Loose Music (who have released Mark's three solo albums in the UK) and asked what was the chance of a ML re-issue programme. Their response was along the lines of "we'd love to - but it's a complicated, legal quagmire". Now wouldn't it be a great and fitting benefit to the man and his music (and fellow players in Miracle Legion) if these six records - "The Backyard", "Surprise, Surprise, Surprise", "Glad", "Me & Mr Ray", "Drenched" and "Portrait of a Damaged Family" - could be re-released? Or even be put on Spotify??
In the meantime some of them are available direct from Mark via his Mezzotint label (also probably the best way to ensure he gets a bigger cut of the price) and his solo material is available there or at Loose Music. And on Monday you can get your copy of "Ciao My Shining Star" here, here and here.
ALL FOR THE BEST
Surprise, Surprise, Surprise [BUY]
Fathering [BUY or BUY]