Shelagh McDonald (born 1948) is a Scottish folk singer, song-writer and guitarist who released two albums before her abrupt and mysterious disappearance in 1971. On her albums, she was backed up by many notables within the English folk-rock scene, including Richard Thompson, Dave Mattacks, Danny Thompson, Keith Tippett, Keith Christmas, the Fotheringay rhythm section, as well as Ian Whiteman, Roger Powell and Michael Evans, then members of Mighty Baby.
On 23 June 2005, by which time McDonald's albums had been reissued on CD, an article by Charles Donovan appeared in The Independent, the first high profile piece about McDonald's disappearance. This prompted copycat features in local papers, the Glasgow Herald and the Scottish Daily Mail. It was the latter of these that caught the eye of McDonald herself. In November 2005, McDonald turned up in the offices of the Scottish Daily Mail and told them her story. She retreated from public life after a bad LSD trip left her paranoid and hallucinating, with a ruined voice. Living with her parents and working privately in Edinburgh, she met and married bookseller Gordon Farquhar; together, they lived a nomadic lifestyle in north Britain, living on welfare benefits and moving from house to house, and later tent to tent.
In the 2005 interview McDonald said that her voice had improved and she was again interested in music, and the renewed interest in her work by the public surprised and gratified her. After that nothing more was heard of her until 2012, when she spoke to fRoots magazine. In the new interview she reveals that, since her partner's death earlier in the year, she has resumed contact with other folk musicians and is cautiously planning low-key live appearances and hoping to record new material. In an October 2013 interview with The Guardian, she revealed that she had, in fact, recorded a new album, though she provided no further details about it.
- The Shelagh McDonald Album - B&C Records, 1970
- Stargazer - B&C Records, 1971
- Let No Man Steal Your Thyme - Sanctuary Records, 2005
- Grace Macaskill, "Back From the Wilderness", Scottish Daily Mail, 19 November 2005. Reproduced online. Retrieved 25 October 2006.
- Donovan, Charles “Mystery Woman,” The Independent
- Ian Anderson, “Return journey,” fRoots 353/354, November/December 2012, pp33-7
- Shelagh McDonald, "Experience: I disappeared for 30 years", The Guardian, 11 October 2013, Retrieved 13 October 2013
- Official website
- "Shelagh McDonald fan site". Archived from the original on 30 September 2004. - originally established 1999 in hopes of learning her fate. Now available from the Internet Archive: a version of the site from 30 September 2004, before McDonald turned up.