You know, it's not often I'm proud to be French (the last time it was in 1789, but I was not born), but with this single, the first Melanie released on the Buddah label (a division of MGM) after parting company with Columbia, it's the case. Why? Because issued as a B-side in the US (with "I'm Back In Town" on A-side), "Bo Bo's Party" was issued on the A-side in France and it became a hit, the first for Melanie, so that her first real international concert was at the Paris' Olympia. OK, it was a disaster cos' she was planned before a French singer (Gilbert Becaud) and honestly the audience of this stomping pianist was not at all adapted to Melanie's intimate songs played alone of acoustic guitar (they even tried to make her play with the band but she refused). But the fact is we were the first (actually I was too young to be in it) to make of Melanie a front artist. And it was justice since "Bo Bo's Party" is a great song, one of Melanie's Top 20 for me. And the lyrics are far from the supposed "little folky hippie girl" everyone think she was. Strangely, the other side was not "I'm Back In Town", a song that has a true Thirties French Café Concert flavour, but Dylan's "Mr Tambourine Man" cover, putting her a little bit more in the folk category. I never liked this song but if there's a version I like of it, it's this one. Delicate and modest, I can even appreciate the song. So, for my birthday (yes today I make a giant step toward the grave in changing my age year) I offer me this post, the only party I'll do tonight. Hope you'll find it a delicious birthday earcake too. Enjoy it here.
If I repost this LP, it's not only because Mandy Morton is one of my all-time fave female singer with Billie Holiday and Melanie, nor because this album is musically wonderful and lyrically about a painful break with her loving partner, somewhere between Peter Hammill's Over and Groundhogs' Crosscut Saw. No, it's because someone informed me recently that in my rar file, the 2 last songs of the LP were missing. Since the hardware on which this LP was stored (I didn't possess it, neither in vinyl or in CD) was dead, I decided to buy the CD and to post the LP in its entirety.So here it is. If some visitor knows Mandy Morton, please tell her that she is greatly missed and she shouldn't have stopped her musical career.
After the wonderful Magic Lady (that you can find here) Mandy Morton parted way with the Spriguns, and more importantly with her husband, Mike Morton, although he's on this follow up. Since we are in the beginning of this terrible period that were the 80's (with the awful production options of that sad era) the LP is somewhat deceiving from time to time (who had the bad idea to put these synthetisers on "After The Storm" or "Silas The Silent"?) but contains again some superb compositions, among the best Mandy Morton composed (such as "Ghost of Christmas Past", "Twisted Sage", "Land of the Dead" or "The Sculptor"), and the lyrics are really moving. Unfortunately, the fan site on which all the Mandy Morton lyrics were available is down for a year now. I don't know why but I regret not to have dl them when it was possible. Similarly to Magic Lady, what's striking with Mandy Morton, is this impression of quiet evidence that her voice and her melodies provide. This album has much more in common with String Driven Thing The Machine That Cried era (eg. "Twisted Sage") and Strawbs From The Witchwood era (eg. "Wake Up The Morning") than what Mandy and the Spriguns played. So sad that there will only be an album afterwards (that I failed to find on the net) and then nothing. This lady should be remembered as one of the UK folk secret treasure and more largely of popular music. She works for more than 20 years on a radio and has a cultural show (I never heard it since we can't get it from France) but, even if she's happy this way, it's a great waste for music and for our hearts that she was so good to comfort".
Here is the second attempt of Columbia to make Melanie one of the stars of the 1968 folk sky. A failed attempt but it's true that the songs do not help to give a great musical credit to the young Melanie. Orchestrations are rather high-sweetened and melodies more nursery than adult-center influenced. Only the B-side (even it again it's a 2 A-side single) gives a different light on her writing with lyrics in which adolescent fears and even anguish are palpable. As a gift (once again through my generous donator called Albgardis, she must be thanked again) I added a much longer version (and apparently earlier than the Columbia single one) of "Why Didn't My Mother Tell Me". Sound quality is not perfect but the version much better and the emotion much stronger. If only they put this one on the single, sure people would have perceived Melanie differently. But her time would come. Meanwhile enjoy this rather rare tryptic here. Sorry for the cover sleeve, I don't have the single so I did the same than for the previous one in order to have a larger image. Below a picture of Melanie in 1968.
A repost. Because this is surely one of the albums I've listened to the most often over the last 2 years. And that I've listened to it last week and thought that, with time passing by, I'm quite sure I consider this is one of the best LP of this first decade (and a bit more) of XXIst century (at least, it's in my Top 10). So, since Scott Conner said there would be no more Xasthur LP, and since bands are often quick forgotten when they stop their activity, I thought it was necessary to repost it. The vocal presence of Marissa Nadler all along the LP contributes to its success. Although many Xasthur's lovers considered that Conner had lost the touch with the 2 previous albums, I on the opposite consider he was reaching a peak and that it's a shame he quitted. So, if you never tried, believe me and get it here. It's truly a music that explores the deepest of despair but makes it so beautiful we even don't regret to feel it. Below what I wrote in the initial post.
Xasthur, the one-man band of Scott Conner (so-called Malefic) has been buried by his creator and this album is its testimony. As I said for Daughters LP here, this Portal of Sorrow will be for me one of the few albums that will mark this year and without any hesitation, will stand the test of time. Much better produced than the previous one (you can dl here), easier to listen (just a bit), it is the more faraminous relevant soundtrack of our deleterious times. Nothing is less than exceptionally good here. You enter in such an album as you slip in a bath of muddy water. With a sensual disgust from which you get out with regret. It seems this album sold quite well (1500 were pressed all's gone) and Scott Conner is not sure to do a new press of it (see it here). It would be a shame. He says he will go somewhere totally different musically. But this guy is so good I'm sure we will find to enjoy in his next project. Meanwhile enjoy this last but not least gem here.
Below some tracks. Some of my favorites but there's not a weak moment on this album.