Helpless Dancer

The Endless Note

Melanie

gather me

Whilst browsing in my favourite local second hand vinyl shop I came across the above 1971 classic album with the original gatefold sleeve design.

The album features one of my favourite songs from my early music appreciation period “Brand New Key”

brand new key

After the release of The Good Book in early 1971, Melanie Safka and her producer (and then husband) Peter Schekeryk left Buddah Records to form their own label, Neighborhood Records, and the new freedom seemed to do her a world of good — Gather Me, released later the same year, is one of her most accomplished and confident albums, a set that allowed Melanie the room to indulge her lyrical obsessions while Schekeryk created superb musical accompaniment from her simple but forceful melodies. The epochal “Ring the Living Bell” is a pocket suite that takes a skeletal lyrical conceit and gives it flight through sheer belief while Schekeryk’s arrangement, reinforced with gospel style vocal backing, makes this accomplishment all the more impressive. “Railroad,” “Little Bit of Me,” and “Steppin'” display a lyrical maturity and subtle strength that marked a real step forward for Melanie as a songwriter, and “Some Say (I Got Devil)” is an emotionally devastating tale of a pregnant teenager who clearly has no idea what she should do. Melanie’s habit of overplaying her hand as a vocalist is thankfully in retreat on Gather Me, which finds her in full control of her instrument and communicating a wide palette of emotions without becoming melodramatic. And if “Brand New Key” comes across like a silly novelty tune in this context, it’s a playful and engaging one, and Melanie sounds like she’s having fun putting Freudian symbolism within the grasp of AM radio. Gather Me may well be Melanie’s finest album, capturing her at the height of her skills as a writer and singer, and it has stood the test of time better than the majority of her work.

“Little Bit Of Me” – Melanie

Back in 1970 there was the equally brilliant “Candles In The Rain” (“Lay Down (Candles In The Rain) “being inspired by her reception at Woodstock) which in additional to original compositions featured a cover of Jagger & Richards “Ruby Tuesday”

candles in the rain

Here is the superb “Leftover Wine”…..not a problem I am often faced with.

“Leftover Wine” – Melanie

What do you do when the people go home
And what do you do when the show is all done
I know what I’ll do in the alone of my time
But what will I do with the leftover wine
A line from a poem of my childhood has said
That visions of sugarplums were gonna dance in my head
I’ll spend my whole life making the time rhyme
But I’ll still have a bowl of leftover wine
I’ll spend my whole life making the time rhyme
And then I’ll sing them a song of mine
You know I’m gonna do anything
Just to take up time
Cause I can’t find a taker for the leftover wine
(and) what do you do when the people go home
And what do you do when the show is all done
I know what I’ll do in the alone of my time
But what will I do with the leftover wine
I’m gonna spend my whole life making the time rhyme
And then I’m gonna run to the people
And I’ll sing them a song of mine
You know I’m gonna do anything
Just to take up time
Cause I can’t find a taker for the leftover wine
I’ll drink some of yours
If you’ll drink all of mine
Because I can’t stand the taste of that leftover wine
And I’m gonna drink some of yours
If you’ll drink all of mine
Because I can’t stand the taste of leftover wine
And I’ll drink some of yours
If you’ll drink all of mine
I can’t stand the taste of leftover wine

 

melanie

 

For more information on Melanie click HERE

 

To buy the music of Melanie click HERE

October 20, 2009 Posted by | Blast from The Past, Old Music, Video | | Leave a comment

Sun City

sun city

Sun City was a 1985 album that contained several versions of the Steven Van Zandt-led Artists United Against Apartheid‘s “Sun City” protest song against apartheid in South Africa as well as other selections in the same vein from that project.

In addition to the title track, a number of other songs were recorded at the time, completing an album’s worth of material. Drummer-musician Keith LeBlanc and journalist Danny Schechter came up with “Revolutionary Situation”, an audio-collage set to music that took its title from the words of South Africa’s then-interior minister Louis Nel condemning the state of the country. Amid a background of yapping police dogs, sounds of mayhem and revolt in the township, LeBlanc and Schechter mixed in angry declarations by activists like Alan Boesak, Bishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela‘s daughter Zindzi, looped with what was at that time the most recent interview with her father, recorded in 1961.

Inspired by his meetings with several of other artists who volunteered, Bono of U2 went back to his hotel room and wrote the song “Silver and Gold” that very evening. The song was quickly recorded for inclusion on the compilation, with Keith Richards and Ron Wood of The Rolling Stones accompanying him. Ron Wood’s guitar work is notable for using Keith’s switchblade as a slide. “Silver and Gold” was also issued separately as a promotional single.

“Silver and Gold” – Bono with Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood

Well in the shithouse a shotgun
Praying hands hold me down
Only the hunter has hunted
O in the Tincan town
Tincan town

No Stars in the black night
Look like the sky fall down
No sun in the daylight
Look like it…
Chained to the ground
Chained to the ground

Broken back to the ceiling
Broken nose to the floor
I scream at the silence that crawling
Crawls under the floor
Under the floor

The warden say
Exit’s sold
If you want a way out…
Silver and gold
Silver and gold

Hmmm rope around my neck
Ahhh trigger in your gun
Jesus, say something
I am someone
I am someone

Saw them coming and a going
Oh the captains and the kings
Ah the navy blue uniform
See them bright and shiney things
Hoo!
Bright and shiney things

Captains and kings
In the ships hold
Come to collect…
Silver and gold
Silver and gold

(I saw them a coming)
Temperature is a rising
Uh and the fever white hot
Mister I ain’t got nothing
But it’s more than you’ve got
Chains no longer bind me
Not the shackles at my feet
Outside are the prisoners
Inside the free
Set them free
Set them!

Prize fighter in a corner is told
Hit where it hurts
Silver and gold
Silver and gold

Yeah Silver and gold
Silver and gold
Silver and gold

You can stop the world from turning ’round
Just gotta pay your penny in the pound

Sun City was a modest commercial success, reaching #31 on the Billboard 200 pop albums chart. It did much better in terms of critical reaction, where it reached #5 on the Pazz & Jop Critics Poll for albums for that year. In 1989, Sun City got the final spot on Rolling Stones list of the best 100 albums of the 1980s.

In 1993, Sun City was issued on CD by Razor & Tie, but after the end of apartheid in 1994, the album eventually went out of print, becoming a highly-sought collectible item.

  • Tony Wright – cover art

artists against

 

To buy Sun City click HERE

October 20, 2009 Posted by | Old Music, Video | , , | Leave a comment

   

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