Although essentially an American folk singer, Melanie Safka's music always had a pop edge to it. I wouldn't regard this budget collection from BMG as one the strongest of her compilations, but it offers the undecided and the casual listeners instant access to 18 classic tracks to 'test-the-water' with. Among them are her unique rendition of The Rolling Stones' 'Ruby Tuesday', and the self-written 'Brand New Key' and 'What Have They Done to My Song, Ma', the first two were major top ten hits for her in the UK, and the latter was a minor success.
There are many other great tracks to note here, including the opening 'Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)', which was a hit in many countries, but not here in Britain, and two wonderful covers of contemporary Bob Dylan songs: 'Mr. Tambourine Man' and 'Lay Lady Lay'. Other poetic little gems which rank as among her finest recordings such as 'Beautiful People', the atmospheric and charming 'Pebbles in the Sand', 'Any Guy', as well as the self-explanatory protest number 'I Don't Eat Animals' only add to the pleasure of this set.
Melanie has a very distinctive voice, and I love it, but I don't think it will appeal to everybody. If you enjoy the folk-pop singer-songwriters of the early seventies, you will enjoy Melanie's music, providing you like the voice.
The sound quality on this 2003 released CD is very good, and the basic booklet contains a brief biography of Melanie, an artist who is ideal for fans of artists like Judy Collins, Joan Baez, and the early recordings of Marianne Faithfull.
'Melanie' This American artist perhaps best remembered here in the U.K for her version of the 'Rolling Stones' album number 'Ruby Tuesday' which remains one of my all time favourites sung by either 'Melanie' or the 'Stones' However the song that first caught my attention was her 'Brand New Key' (adapted famously by the 'Wurzels' 'Combine Harvester') 'Melanie' had a long string of hits in the U.S. kicking off in 1970 with 'Lay Down' (Candles in the Rain) 'Brand New Key' gave her a U.S number '1' here in the U.K. it peaked at number number '4' in 1971. 'Ruby Tuesday' Charted at number '9' in the U.K only reaching Number 52 in the U.S. One of her other well known songs here in the U.K 'What Have They Done To My Song Ma' (Chart U.K '39' 1971) She also had two or three other low-order U.K successes (not on this album) Among some of the other interesting tracks on-board 'The Nickel Song' - 'Peace Will Come' and her versions of 'Bob Dylan's' -'Lay Lady Lay' @ 'Mr Tambourine Man' 'Melanie' famously appeared at the much acclaimed 'Woodstock' festival way back in 1969 'Flower-Power' and all. The music of those times certainly had it's effect on the music-scene. 'Melanie's voice a little laid-back in style perhaps in a similar fashion of 'Bob Dylan's' vocal's. This for me is memories of a different time (early seventies) different world maybe.
There are many compilations of Melanie's early recordings and this one isn't the best but is a good starting place if you're not sure.Melanie is a singer you either love or hate and I LOVE her,ever since I first heard her striking version of Ruby Tuesday I was hooked.She has a voice that can go from a whisper to a banshee in one line,a unique singer with so much emotion,she draws you in and takes you with her on a fantastic ride.Why is she so good,because she can sing anything,rock,pop,folk,blues and more,if she had decided to become a soul singer then her career would have gone skyhigh,she is so good,but she has kept to her own individual style.All of her early hits are here,her best album in my view was"Candles in the rain"and its well represented here,including probably her best vocals ever on Leftover Wine,a truly mesmorising song full of power and passion,it just dosent get any better than this.Melanie is still recording today,but her albums don't get the recognition they deserve,most people only remember her for Brand new key,or Brand new combineharvester as recorded by The Wurzels and tend to only think of her as a novelty singer,which is a shame because there is such a lot more to this lady and I hope she will be remembered for the wonderful singer and songwriter that she is.Melanie you are BEAUTIFUL.
Someone sent me the youtube of Melanie doing 'Candles in the Rain', the one with the spoken intro & Woodstock slideshow. It really took me back and summed up so much about that beautiful summer. Then, serendipity, I discovered Melanie was doing a 40th Anniversary gig of "Candles" in a small Nottingham theatre. I got my tickets and then thought I oughta find out more about her repertoire. Okay so I knew 'Ruby Tuesday' and 'What have they done to my song' and 'Brand new key' - a song that was destroyed (and probably her credibility too) by that god-awful Wurzells cover, but what else was there? At this price I couldn't go too far wrong could I? This album gave me a great and beautiful overview. "Beautiful People" is an anthem, 'The Nickel Song' terrific, 'Baby Day' & 'Peace will come' well crafted songs. Suddenly I'm a fan with tickets for this momentous gig, a tribute to her Woodstock appearance when she took the stage just as the heavens opened. I didn't even know she'd done Woodstock. This is a lovely album. It may not become the best in your collection but will be a contender for best value. I love it. Love, Peace, sixties and Flower-power. It's a shame those damned Wurzels interrupted when they did - that's what we all remember. How unfair.