Matthew Walther’s Favorite Song

Judy Collins

I have never met anyone else who owns Judy Collins’s debut album. Fans prefer her lusher mid-’60s records, which are indeed some of the best pop-folk LPs of all time. Even though I value it more than any other record I own, I will concede that Maid of Constant Sorrow is mostly a forgettable affair. Its value lies with one song, the third cut on side one, her recording of “Wild Mountain Thyme.”

The Two Best Early ’70s Occult Lady Folk Singers

Carolanne Sills

I’m more than a little terrified of witches. So far from thinking that they are a harmless bunch of dorks playing around with tarot cards and soothing crystals, I agree with Fr. Montague Summers that the witch is “an evil liver: a social pest and parasite: the devotee of a loathly and obscene creed: an adept at poisoning, blackmail, and other creeping crimes: a member of a powerful secret organization inimical to Church and State: a blasphemer in word and deed.” So what if they think that The Wheel and The Chariot are only symbols of natural forces? Satan doesn’t care.

On the Rocks

Did you hear that Mick Jagger and wife or girlfriend number-I’m-not-sure had a little boy? At age 73, he’s still a little more than a quarter-century shy of the Abrahamic hundred attested by Genesis 21:5—a record likely to stand for a long while, I would guess—but still, kudos. According to the Daily Star, he has promised to pay £14,000 (an oddly specific figure, no?) in child support and buy “a multi-million dollar home” for Melanie Hamrick and his eighth child.

‘Let’s Play It Fast’

Maybe the secret to a good life is being good at more than one thing. Having another string to your bow, as they used to say. Oh, and having money, too, probably helps: just enough that income isn’t your first thought when pursuing an interest. But, really, the older I get—the wider my acquaintance grows and the more obituaries I read—the more I think that the enjoyable lives are the ones neither focused too narrowly nor scattered too broadly. Happiness is a fickle, unlikely thing, of course. Ain’t no one but the Shadow knows what really passes in the heart. Still, the fun lives, the ones I find myself admiring and envying, seem to share a shape—a common pattern across their differences. And that shape usually involves a mild multiplicity and a fine interest in the variances of the world.