MELANIE – Madrugada – (Neighborhood Records)- 1974

Melanie - Madrugada

Melanie, again.

I've written at length over Melanie so check out the other comments.

This is an interesting album in the evolution of Melanie in that it lays (with the album previous, "Stoneground Words" from 1972) the direction of Melanie's musical future.

The album(s) is more "mature", less twee, less "hippie". I like the urban and pastoral wide eyed innocence of  Melanie's earlier work but as she grew older her music became even more personal. 

It also became slicker.

There were less of the rustic tones , the shaggy edges which made Melanie's early music so appealing.

This matters not as long as the song's are up to scratch.

On first glance the amount of covers would indicate Melanie was running out of ideas but the truth was this was her 13th album in six years. OK, there were a couple of soundtrack albums and live albums in there but still that's a lot of work. Melanie, also, wasn't adverse to a cover if it fit it into the album. And this all here hangs together quite well.

This album is slicker than her earlier work but the emotional content and Melanie's point of view as narrator hasn't changed that much.

And that is a joy.

This was the last Melanie album to chart in the US (and it barely charted). I'm not sure why here commercial popularity came to an end. There were many other vocalists who weren't as good as this who were having successful careers.

The only explanation, and one the pundits raise often, may be, ultimately, right and that is her audience identified her as the  flower child vocalist (whether she was one or not) and when she outgrew that they refused to go along for the ride.

A pity there is much too  like here.

Once again the album was produced by Melanie's husband, Peter Schekeryk.

All songs written by Melanie Safka, except where noted.

Tracks (best in italics)

  • Love To Lose Again – quite the "world" song with vaguely Caribbean and Latin beats and a chorus that wouldn't be out of place on one of Paul Simon's later efforts. The song is quite catchy
  • Lover's Cross – (Jim Croce) – A cover taken from Jim Croce's fifth and final album, "I Got a Name", from 1973. Croce's broken heart worked because the thought of a big, burly bloke exposing his emotions was jarring and effective. Melanie's version is good though not as good as the original ( and perhaps a little too long).
  • Pretty Boy Floyd – (Woody Guthrie) – The song has been well covered by folkies but it will forever be identified with Woody Guthrie who recorded in 1939 (five years after the outlaw Floyd's death). His song was a romanticised Robin Hood song for the people which was particularly effective in the depression years  where the banks and big business were ripping everyone off blind. Melanie doesn't have Woody's matter of fact Midwestern common touch though, no doubt, she saw something in the lyric which related to the corporate greed in mid – 70s America. She was right and the song is still relevant.
  • Wild Horses – (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) – "Wild Horses" is the Rolling Stones song from their 1971 album "Sticky Fingers". Melanie has always done well with the Stones (her "Ruby Tuesday" is magnificent and her "Jig Saw Puzzle" wasn't bad). It's interesting to note that most singer-songwriters in covering songs leant to Lennon-McCartney whereas Melanie saw something sensitive in Jagger-Richards. Here she orchestrates "Wild Horses" and adds a jazzy spin to it. The horses are no longer the ragged wild horses of the Stones but they aren't tame either. This is a good version that grows on you. (for information on the Stones song http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_Horses_(The_Rolling_Stones_song))
  • I Think It's Going To Rain Today – (Randy Newman) – Randy Newman (most famous?) song, from his 1968 debut album "Randy Newman". The song has been covered by everyone including Judy Collins (1966), Eric Burdon and The Animals (1967), Bobby Darin (1967), Rick Nelson (1968), Peggy Lee (1969), Leonard Nimoy (1969), Nina Simone (1969), Neil Diamond (1971), Dave Van Ronk (1971), Joe Cocker (1975), Jools Holland and David Gray (2003), Val Kilmer (2009), Barbra Streisand (2012). (for more on the song http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Think_It's_Going_to_Rain_Today). This is a great song …it always works
  • Will You Love Me Tomorrow – (Gerry Goffin, Carole King) – The great Goffin and King song that was a #1 for The Shirelles in 1960. The song has been well covered even by chick singer songwriters. Jackie DeShannon (1966), Cher (1966), The Four Seasons (1968), Linda Ronstadt (1970) and Carole King herself in 1971. (more on the song http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Will_You_Love_Me_Tomorrow). This is one of those magnificent songs that is good regardless. Melanie's version is good. She doesn't have the NYC urban teen opera beat but she has made it a NYC urban folkie query without sacrificing the melody of the song. A winner.
  • Maybe Not For A Lifetime – this is big and well produced by Melanie standards…but not to bad.
  • Holding Out – a piano driven song (with piano supplied by legendary session musician Ron Frangipane)…. it grows on you.
  • The Actress – partly autobiographical it seems …and quite effective.
  • Pine and Feather – strings and all, though sparse and not orchestrated, this is meant to be gentle and delicate ..and it works.

And …

I have the others …. I'm keeping it.

Chart Action

US

Singles

1973  Will You Love Me Tomorrow?  The Billboard Hot 100  82 

Album

1974 #192

England

Singles

1974 Will You Love Me Tomorrow # 37

Album

Australia

Singles

"Will You Love Me Tomorrow" #93

Sounds

http://recordlective.com/Melanie/Madrugada/ab314e9c-e85a-3ab7-8245-c2358f722afb/

Pretty Boy Floyd

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1zuXg9jniI

Will You Love Me Tomorrow

Mp3 attached

Others

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6DGMnCZVVg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ca0l5KMdX0

Review

http://www.allmusic.com/album/madrugada-mw0000841516

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madrugada_(Melanie_album)

Bio

http://www.melaniesafka.com/

http://freespace.virgin.net/robert_ian.smith/Melanie.htm

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/melanie-mn0000409670

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melanie_Safka

Website

http://melaniemusicsociety.tripod.com/Mercurio/Mercurio.html

http://www.melanie-music.org/

Trivia

  • This album is the English version of this album which has the Goof-King song replacing a Melanie original, "I Am Being Guided", which is on the US release. ." In November 1973, Melanie had a hit in the UK with her cover of " Will You Love Me Tomorrow" so  I assume to make the album more commercial it was added to the album (it didn't work).
  • "Madrugada" is the Portuguese word the early hours of the morning, before dawn.

About Franko

Hi, I'm just a person with a love of music, a lot of records and some spare time. My opinions are comments not reviews and are mine so don't be offended if I have slighted your favourite artist. I have listened to a lot of music and I don't pretend to be impartial. You can contact me on franklycollectible@gmail.com though I would rather you left a comment. I also sell music at http://www.franklycollectible.com Cheers
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