My ‘Vintage Recordings’ have a fan base?

One day an Aunt called to say a copy of MARY CATHERINE LUNSFORD was for sale on Ebay. Of course I couldn’t resist checking out the listing and sure enough, there it was out for bid!

Once I even checked out a rare recordings web site and found a copy had sold for over $30.00 in Europe! You can bet your last nickle finding that information was a real ego boost for a low day!

But then I got busy with starting a non-profit organization called Parent Line Inc. I applied for grant support to developed a community education project entitled ‘NOT MY KID’ which led to spending several years in community education.

Well, one day last year while mindlessly ‘surfing’ the web I decided to Google my professional name: MARY CATHERINE LUNSFORD. Up popped several reviews of my first album recorded for Polydor Records in 1970. Many reviews made reference to my being a ‘Joni Mitchell wannabe’ and often ended with some sentiment of not knowing what ever happened to me.

So, when in April 2009 Microsoft Office Live Small Business offered a template to build a web page in an email, I seized upon the opportunity to let people know I was ALIVE and WELL and also fill them in on a few other details. Nothing too extensive because I didn’t REALLY believe anyone even remembered me let alone someone would actively be looking for me.

I enjoyed writing a ‘testimonial’ of where I had been and what I had done since 1969. It was cathartic in a way to put out into the world news of my existence. Reminded me of performing because when one sings to an audience one realizes the music goes into their ears, hopes that maybe it touches a heart or two and on rare occasions, a soul. But really, the music one performs goes out into the Universe….streaming on its soaring wings of notes and poetry ‘out there somewhere’ .

The first indication I had that ANYONE stopped by the MARY CATHERINE LUNSFORD website was when someone sent a message asking me if the MARY CATHERINE LUNSFORD album had ever been made into a CD. Of course, at that time, it had not. Not by Polydor for sure since it only sold around 50,000 copies TOTAL!

You see MARY CATHERINE LUNSFORD was released in the same week as Carole King’s TAPESTRY album…One of the biggest selling albums EVER! I have only a couple of claims to fame. 1. The billboard on Sunset Boulevard, a billboard by the way, of which I DID not take a photo because in my youthful egotistic enthusiasm I believed it was only the first of many….let me assure you, dear reader, it turned out to be THE only one! 2. MARY CATHERINE LUNSFORD has been found all over the world in rare record shops and vintage record online sites. Now that’s a real spirit raising realization!

The second inquiry wanted to know if I had any MARY CATHERINE LUNSFORD albums available for sale. Good Grief! While it may have only been two inquires, it was important to me because it meant someone actually DID remember me and WAS actively trying to find me! I immediately responded with, “YES, I have a few albums on hand. Would you like one?” And then spent the rest of the day trying to figure out where those albums might be stored! I thought I had a few MARY CATHERINE LUNSFORD albums in a closet in the guest room along with a several boxes each of the 1975 YOU MEN AT THE BAR and 1980 COWGIRL IN THE WIND albums.

But, after clearing out every closet in the house it dawned on me that when my husband decided to remodel the garage a couple of years ago, he had chucked boxes of ‘old stuff’ into a dumpster. MARY CATHERINE LUNSFORD, YOU MEN AT THE BAR and COWGIRL IN THE WIND were  ‘rotting away’ in a dump somewhere in Oregon!

There I sat surrounded with a bunch of old reel to reel tapes in unmarked boxes, a couple of boxes of COWGIRL IN THE WIND and one box of YOU MEN AT THE BAR albums, a few cassettes and lots of lyrics written on paper that was dog-eared and brown with age and nearly as fragile as tissue paper! The entire idea of trying to have CD’s made from what was left seemed an over-whelming IMPOSSIBILITY! I wrote an apology to the second inquiry and told them both that if I ever got any CD’s made, I’d let him know.

To make matters more complicated, in 1993 when I developed head and neck cancer I believed I was going to die anyway, so I DEMANDED my husband toss out the YOU MEN AT THE BAR master tape!  He followed my directive!

When I received a third inquiry from the web site about any ‘other recordings’ and if they were available as CD’s, I decided maybe I should try to do something with all the bits.

So in October 2009 I gathered up into a box all that was on hand after calling around and discovering recording studios actually STILL exist in Portland, Oregon then schlepped everything down to a studio, leaving the box with whom I thought was the front desk receptionist, but have subsequently discovered Tara is the video producer at the studio, asking if she could get a quote on how much it would cost to put everything on disc. “First” I said, “someone is going to have to listen to each tape and write some kind of title on it. And, BTW, here are copies of the 3 albums I recorded to which I hope you can match the tapes.” She, Tara, looked at me like I had rocks for brains, which I deserved because I was in such a twit I never once realized how demanding I sounded!

Of course I was asking for LOTS of special attention here and the studio had other clients, after all!  Bless his heart, Russ at REX POST RECORDING http://www.rexpost.com/ went through each and every tape and cassette, then called me to let me know he’d marked them and what the issues were going to be for getting a good transfer to a CD AND that he believed he could help me. Russ spent MONTHS trying to get the YOU MEN AT THE BAR recording to transfer with decent value. You see part of the problem was the surface noise. These days the recording equipment is so sensitive, it picks up every little tiny noise and that wasn’t making for a good transfer! Finally, in desperation, Russ cleaned out his attic to find his OLD record player from which he could make a decent transfer! (Just goes to show you…NEVER throw out equipment that still works because you never know when you may need it!)

In October 2009 I opened the HIDE A HEART Etsy shop and by mid January 2010 the CD’s were in hand thanks to the guidance, artwork and CD manufacturing knowledge of Adam Tuck http://www.altdesign.org .

That’s when I reconnected with those folks who had made the first inquires to let them know the CD’s were available; added the link  http://hideaheart.etsy.com of My Etsy to the MARY CATHERINE LUNSFORD site  and waited to see if anyone would really buy a CD of MARY CATHERINE LUNSFORD/CATHY LUNSFORD music.

To my utter delight, people have placed their orders, but more importantly, they have shared their stories with me about how they ‘discovered’ MARY CATHERINE LUNSFORD.  My heart has been very moved by many of the stories I have received, so I have posted a few to share at http://www.marycatherinelunsford.com .

And finally, just last week, Michael Adelsheim of http://www.adelsheim.com , my collaborator co-writer for SUFFER FOR A LOVER and CONDOMINIUM COWGIRLS, called to tell me he and Joan had a laundry dryer fire at their home a few weeks ago which forced him to go through a number of belongings and guess what he discovered among a few recordings of my live performances? A copy of the master tape for YOU MEN AT THE BAR! Yes, little girl. There is a Santa Claus!


idealism reflected in the tunes. As she grew more worldly, so did her work.

You may be interested in for whom or reasons I wrote tunes. Mostly the songs written for the MARY CATHERINE LUNSFORD album were directly related to the discoveries of a young woman and how she related to men and circumstances that often befuddled her. You can hear the innocence and idealism in the tunes.

The crush I had for years on Maury Manseau was played out in writing songs for him. I recall spending one entire week-end pouring my heart into writing one song after another, then I called and asked if I could visit and play the tunes for him. He agreed and sat through what must have been a rather excruciating experience for a young man of 19, although he handled it with grace and affection for a dear friend, which we remained for decades.

Together Someday

Care, Care, Care (Written as a testimony to my faith in the great beyond. For the session I invited all folks I knew from the Whole Coffee House in Glendale to be part of the chorus. It was a wonderful experience and one I hope each and every one recalls as a sweet memory.)

Band II

Parcels, Candy and Peaches

Band 1

Toad Tale (Written for Mr. Bill Mayhew)

Next time, I’ll share some little tidbits about two of the best sidemen with whom a girl could ever have the privilege of making music–Maury Manseau and Bruce Buell


About marycatherinelunsford

On the quest to reinventing, Morphing into Author is my newest adventure.
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  1. Peter Bright says:

    Well, Ms. Lunsford, this is a letter that has been forty years in the making. When your album came out I was a DJ at WEBN, Cincinnati. We were an album oriented rock station with many eclectic qualities that each of us brought to our radio shows. It was a very creative, open, yet commercially driven format that did quite well and won over a large audience in the Queen City at the time. I played the hell out of EMPTY CHANGES, I’M AWAITIN’ & TOGETHER SOMEDAY off your initial album. I still have my original copy which I am listening to at the moment. The cover has the look of 40 plus years, but the record is pristine.

    After four years at WEBN, I traveled on to Chicago and then to LA, where I lived and worked in network television for over twenty years. Music stayed in my profesional life as I worked on, among others, DON KIRSHNER’S ROCK CONCERT, SOLID GOLD, THE GRAMMYS, and spent a year with Michael Jackson and his family, (minus Jermaine), on the CBS TV Show THE JACKSON’S. I’ve had the opportunity and pleasure to work with many from Sinatra, to Joe Walsh, Ringo, to Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins and the band Chicago, just to name a few.

    You are extreemly talented, a wonderful collaberation of writing and performing capabilities…and your voice climbs inside me and lets me soar. I have always wondered what became of you.

    I was raised on classical music, grand opera and jazz. I added rock and roll as I came of age, (but not all of it). I need melody, lyrical in nature, (with or without words) in the music I love.

    I could hope that there is more to come of your talents, as in more M.C.L. music!

    Feel free to contact me…need a video producer-director? I’m already in your camp.

    A good day to you.

    All my best,

    Peter Bright 31 August 2010

    • Hello Peter,

      Forty years is a long while to await writing a letter! How lovely to hear from you, learn about how you came to discover and play MCL and to know you still listen to my first album.

      Few know of the MCL blog….however did you find it?

      FYI: Re: more MCL music.
      There is an MCL page on FB http://www.facebook.com/marycatherinelunsford where I have posted a few selections from other work I wrote/recorded and even a taste of a selection recorded while I performed with the Portland Symphony Pops Orchestra. I performed across the country with several Symphony Orchestras for about ten years, including the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts….that was a huge ‘dream come true’ for me!

      Unfortunately, after recovering from head/neck cancer, about which I have not yet written on the MCL blog, I performed for about two more years until the voice became too unreliable for concert work. I can sing on ‘good’ days however and for that I am grateful.

      I hope my note finds you well in your life and IF I were in need of a video producer-director for my music, YOU would certainly be on my list to call FIRST!


  2. Craig Saxon says:

    Hi Cathy,
    You may not even remember me, but I had the privilege, and daunting responsibility of replacing Maury Manseau on guitar for your live shows back in 1971 for a brief period. My friend, renowned studio pianist John Jarvis filled out the rest of the trio. We played at Glendale College for some outdoor event, and God knows where else. Mostly, we rehearsed a lot. It was a real growing period for me at 20.
    I went on to play in a trio with Maury and Bruce. I’m not in touch with Bruce, but know Maury is still quite active and happy living in Santa Rosa. I still play professionally in Ventura County.
    Thanks so much for the lovely time I spent with you and your exquisite music. I wish you the best.

    • Hi Craig,

      OMGosh…you are a busy guy morning! Did you just decide to Google my name this morning or what?
      I remember you and John fondly. I’m sorry we didn’t have many gigs together, but I am happy to know you recall the time spent playing music together was enjoyable and challenging….as I recall, you filled Maury’s musical shoes just fine.

      After Polydor dropped me as an ‘uncooperative artist’ (whatever THAT means), I recall I ended up as a single out at the Japanese Deer Farm (is it still in existence???) for a few weeks during the summer of ’71.

      So glad to hear from you and please, keep in touch.

  3. Greg Sager says:

    Dear MCL,
    I fell hopelessly for you in 1971 at the age of 18. The portrait on the cover of your album looked like that of some martyred Celtic princess, and when I listened, found she possessed the voice of an angel. I played the record so often over the years, that I swear you can almost see though the vinyl. While I haven’t had a turntable for 25 years, I have kept your LP. It’s the only one I still own. How wonderful to find you again after all these years.


    Greg Sager

    • Greg, Thank you for taking the time to leave me a note to let me know how much my music touched you. I hear turntables are available again, so I hope you will once again have the opportunity to hear the music I loved making. MCL

  4. Mary Lou Caramella says:

    How sweet you write. I so enjoyed hearing your story. And wish I could hear your music,
    While changing out Entertainment centers for a bigger tv, we discovered ours no longer works, so after the cost of changing out this center and also getting a great buy on an antique hutch. That will have to wait. But there is a cubby left waiting for a CD player maybe a tape player too since I have so. HUGS

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