“Garden In The City” by Melanie - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1971Album Chart of the Decade: 1970s

TJR says

By the time of this release in November 1971, Melanie had left Buddah Records and signed with Neighbourhood. In a move which must have been really annoying for both the artist and her new label, Buddah issued this compilation of predominantly unreleased material in direct opposition to “Gather Me” (Neighbourhood Records NRS-47001) which had only out a matter of weeks earlier. It really is a cut-throat business. But, hey, what do fans care? All they see is a new Melanie album with songs they haven’t collected yet. Where’s the crime? Buddah pulled the stops out too, creating an attractive, appealing package which looked, every inch, an all-new affair. The UK release famously had a “scratch 'n' sniff” label on the sleeve with the message “Rub gently to release the magic of Melanie's Garden”. And who could resist that? [steady] Content wise, the album is surprisingly good in the circumstances, with 5 strong originals from the pen of the lady herself. Interestingly, the three covers – “Lay Lady Lay” (Bob Dylan, 1969), “Jigsaw Puzzle” (The Rolling Stones, 1968) and “Don’t You Wait By The Water” (Winnie Lightner, 1924 in the musical “George White's Scandals”) – are the weakest moments on the set. Her own “Garden In The City” serves as a fantastic start to the record, playing to her strengths; strong in the voice with some beautiful melody lines. Only two of the album’s tracks had seen the light of day before now – “We Don’t Know Where We’re Going” and “Stop! I Don’t Wanna Hear It Anymore”, both of which had featured on “R.P.M. (The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)” (Bell Records ‎BELL-1203) in 1970. The latter of these is an interesting little folk-rocker with shades of Peru. The album goes out in a blaze of glory and no little humour with “People In The Front Row”, an excellent production which regales a tale of her being “third on the bill of a second rate show” and just how lonely it can feel as a performer. She sings: “You know I looked around for faces I'd know, I fell in love with the people in the front row” The nervous laugh which she delivers as part of the song cracks me up everytime. Lovely Melanie <3

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [02:38] 8.1.png Melanie - Garden In The City (Melanie Safka) Pop
A2 [03:23] 6.0.png Melanie - Love In My Mind (Melanie Safka) Folk Rock / Americana
A3 [02:32] 5.7.png Melanie - We Don’t Know Where We’re Going (Barry DeVorzon, Perry Botkin Jr.) Folk
A4 [06:15] 6.4.png Melanie - Lay Lady Lay (Robert Zimmerman) Folk
B1 [03:19] 5.4.png Melanie - Jigsaw Puzzle (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) Folk
B2 [02:40] 5.7.png Melanie - Don’t You Wait By The Water (Melanie Safka) Songwriter
B3 [02:03] 6.4.png Melanie - Stop! I Don’t Wanna Hear It Anymore (Melanie Safka) Folk Rock / Americana
B4 [02:27] 5.8.png Melanie - Somebody Loves Me (George Gershwin, George Gard De Sylva, Ballard MacDonald) Songwriter
B5 [02:34] 8.8.png Melanie - People In The Front Row (Melanie Safka) Folk Rock / Americana

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