Melanie Safka – BBC On Air (1997)

FrontCover1Ten of the 18 songs on this CD were recorded live in 1975, another four date from 1969, and the last four are from 1989. Thus, we get a glimpse of Melanie in performance across a period of 20 years, doing a variety of material ranging from her own originals (including familiar songs such as “Beautiful People” and “Baby Guitar”) to covers of Phil Ochs’s “Chords of Fame,” Alan J. Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s “Almost Like Being in Love” (from Brigadoon), and the Rolling Stones’ “Ruby Tuesday.” Her rendition of “Almost Like Being in Love” is a folk-blues style interpretation, and one of the most downbeat and interesting (if not necessarily successful) takes on the song ever done. There is a certain sameness to much of the rest of the material that works against too many people other than hardcore fans appreciating this disc, although some numbers, such as “The Nickel Song” and “Beautiful People,” always work. The version of “Ruby Tuesday,” like the other three 1989 vintage songs here, features a full band with synthesizers and drum machines, and is a bit jarring, though Melanie still throws herself impressively into the classic Rolling Stones song. (by Bruce Eder)

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Featuring a series of live recordings covering a period of 20 years this CD provides excellent sound and a unique record of Melanie’s live and session work for the BBC. The first 10 tracks feature a concert recorded for the BBC Radio One In Concert series in 1975. Track 5 is incorrectly listed and is actually a song called Here We Go Again. During this concert Melanie is accompanied by Barry Lee Harwood on guitar and mandolin. Barry played on Sunsets and Other Beginnings and As I See It Now but fails to be credited on the cover of the CD.

Tracks 11 to 14 are rare session recordings from 1969, just Melanie and her guitar. Visit My Dreams is perhaps better known as Deep Down Low from Melanie’s second album.
While all tracks have so far featured acoustic versions of songs, the last four feature Melanie with a full band. The tracks where recorded during a visit to the UK to promote Cowabonga. The musicians that accompany Melanie also accompanied her during two concerts at the Shaw Theatre in London in 1989. (by melaniesafkarecordings.uk)

And I confess … I´m a real fan of Melanie Safka … what  wonderful voice, what sensitive music and lyrics …

But … her 1989 recordings were not really good (especially tzhe Version of “Goodybye Ruby Tuesday is more than lousy …) … but …

… don’t miss “Rock An’ Roll Heart” — a song every baby boomer can relate to.
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Personnel:

BBC Radio One In Concert, November 1975:
Barry Lee Hardwood (guitar, mandolin)
Melanie (vocals, guitar)

BBC Session, September 1969:
Melanie Safka (vocals, guitar)

BBC Session, September 89:
Kay Langford (vocals)
Justin Myers (bass)
Neil Palmer (keyboards)
Alan Ross (guitar, background vocals)
Melanie Safka (vocals, guitar)
Chris Staines (background vocals)
Pete Thompson (drums)

BackCover

Tracklist:

BBC Radio One In Concert, November 1975:

01. Autumn Lady (Safka) 4.13
02. Chords Of Fame (Ochs) 5.14
03. Almost Like Being In Love (Lerner/Loewe) 5.09
04. Stoneground Words (Safka) 5.09
05. Here I Am (Safka) 2.37
06. Any Guy (Safka) 2.560
07. Do You Believe (Safka) 6.08
08. Leftover Wine (Safka) 5.44
09. The Nickel Song (Safka) 4.03
10. Beautiful People (Safka) 5.31

BBC Session, September 1969:
11. Visit My Dreams (Deep Down Low) (Safka) 3.51
12. Up Town And Down (Safka) 2.51
13. Baby Guitar (Safka) 2.49
14. Tuning My Guitar (Safka) 4.16

BBC Session, September 89:
15. Ruby Tuesday (Jagger/Richards) 3.50
16. Rock ‘n’ Roll Heart (Safka) 5.17
17. Racing Heart (Safka) 5.17
18. Apathy (Safka/Schekeryk) 3.50

CD1
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