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Melanie


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Rock/folk/pop

Status:

Most recent release, "Will Peace Come in Time for Christmas" (single, 2015); most recent full-length release, Ever Since You Never Heard of Me (2010)

See also:

Melanie's site

A fan site

Comparisons:

Grace Slick, Janis Ian

Covers/own material:

Mostly own, but also covers

General comments:

She was an acquired taste. That particular song ["Lay Down"] was quite anthemic with gospel overtones, partly because she was backed up by the Edwin Hawkins Singers, a large r&b/gospel group who are a long way from Melanie's regular sound. (She never used her last name on her albums.) Her voice was something between a screech and Janis Ian. She targets Pop as opposed to Protest or Folk; the album "Candles in the Rain" was released 3/70. The alternative press (which included Rolling Stone, then) just hated everything she did. In terms of positioning her in the female singer/songwriter (she did write some of her songs) pantheon now it would be very hard to say. Not as teenybopper as Tiffany but targeting the then-equivalent of that market; not a lightweight yet talented (in my opinion) pop singer like Kylie Minogue or Sheryl Crow; she's too quirky and original for that. (mp@moonmac.com)

She aligned herself very much with the singer-songwriter image of the day. A little folky and forever a hippie. She had a knack for knocking out a cutesy pop song every album or so and was forever branded for it, but she preferred to be remembered for her folkier side. Her voice was most definitely an acquired taste, one I must've acquired, since I have every one of her 20 or so albums, including the one she put out last year, her first in 10 years.
     She played Woodstock and she played Carnegie Hall. She covered Dylan, Croche, Ochs, Newman and the Stones. And she deserved a better place in rock history than "Brand New Key", a song she later said she regretted writing. (pmcohen@voicenet.com)

One of the most underrated songwriters of the last few decades. (miazgama@pilot.msu.edu)

Recommended first album:

Probably one of the greatest hits or other compilations would be the best starting point. The Silver Anniversary / Unplugged might be a good beginning.

Recordings include:

  • Affectionately (1969)
  • Born to Be (1969)
  • Melanie (1969)
  • Lay Down (Candles in the Rain) (1970)
  • Leftover Wine (1970)
  • My First Album (1970)
  • R.P.M. (1970)
  • All the Right Noises [Original Soundtrack] (1971)
  • Garden in the City (1971)
  • Gather Me (1971)
  • The Good Book (1971)
  • Woodstock Two (1971)
  • Four Sides Of (1972)
  • Stoneground Words (1972)
  • At Carnegie Hall [live] (1973)
  • Please Love Me (1973)
  • Madrugada (1974)
  • As I See It Now (1975)
  • Sunset & Other Beginnings (1975)
  • Swedish Fly Girls (1975)
  • Photograph (1976)
  • Phonogenic Not Just Another Pretty Face (1978)
  • Ballroom Streets (1979)
  • Festival of Stars (1979)
  • What Have They Done to My Song Ma (1981)
  • Arabesque (1982)
  • Beautiful People (1982)
  • Seventh Wave (1983)
  • Am I Real or What? (1985)
  • Cowabonga (1989)
  • Silence Is King (1993)
  • Freedom Knows My Name (1993)
  • Silver Anniversary / Unplugged (1993)
  • From Woodstock to the World [live] (1994)
  • Old Bitch Warrior (1996)
  • Melanie Magic (1999)
  • Ring the Living Bell: A Collection (1999)
  • Sunshine Love (2001)
  • Solo Powered (2002)
  • Crazy Love (2002)
  • Yes Santa, There is a Melanie (c. 2003)
  • The Greatest Hits Legacy (c. 2003)
  • Low Country (c. 2004)
  • Paled By Dimmer Light (2004)
  • Ever Since You Never Heard of Me (2010)
  • Will Peace Come in Time for Christmas (single, 2015)

Cowabonga

Release info:

1989—Food for Thought (UK)

Availability:

Currently out of print

Ecto priority:

High if you like a little of the rough edge

Group members:

Melanie Safka—vocals, guitar

Comments:

Judging from this album, Melanie definitely has a place in an Ectophile's collection, but I don't know how this album stacks up against her others. Melanie's voice isn't very pretty, she's almost hoarse, but her music works very well. (jbr@casetech.dk)

Freedom Knows My Name

Release info:

1993—Lonestar

Availability:

Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans

Group members:

Melanie—vocals, backing vocals

Guest artists:

Micheal Beuchard—backing vocals
Sal DiTroia—classical guitar
Michael Franklin—arrangements, keyboards
Tim Franklin—electric bass, acoustic bass
Jim Gentry—electric guitar
Jess Leary—acoustic guitar, mandolin, backing vocals
Paul Parker—drums
Mark Prather—percussion
Beau Jarred Schekeryk—backing vocals
Jeordie Schekeryk—backing vocals
Leilah Schekeryk—backing vocals

Produced by:

Peter Schekeryk

Comments:

A pleasant album, nothing earthshattering, but kinda nice to hear her voice again after a 10-year absence. Hubby Peter Schekeryk once again produces and her now-teenaged kids are on it. She's still a hippie. (pmcohen@voicenet.com)

Silver Anniversary / Unplugged

Release info:

1993

Availability:

Unknown

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Comments:

This is a two-disc set in U.S. called Silver Anniversary and a 1-disc album in Europe called Unplugged.

Stripped-down versions of her best known songs. Great cover of "Purple Haze". Brilliant and lovely stuff. (stjarnell@yahoo.com)


Thanks to Jens P. Tagore Brage for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2016-06-05 14:49:37.
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