Melanie - (The Complete) Silver Anniversary 2 LP (1993)

Re-up of this fantastic collection of recreated songs by Melanie, her unplugged session as I wrote below (since MTV would not have the courage and good taste to invite here). This is the beginning of her artistic rebirth and of an exceptional decade that will unfortunately end in 2002 with Crazy Love. There are so much gems in these 30 titles that the best is to leave you discover them if you missed it when I posted it initially. I think this version I compiled, gathers all the songs she played for this occasion, and that have been spread in various albums. Catch it here.

The today's post took me quite a bit to create. But beforehand, some words to explain the context. In 1993 (probably after spring, since she covers "How To Help You Say Goodbye", released by Patty Loveless in April 1993 on her Only What I Feel album, the song being a massive hit, unfortunately not by Melanie, only one year later, showing how Melanie had felt the potential of this song) Melanie does an unplugged session in the wake of the popular MTV's ones (Neil Young had done his the same year, and Bob Dylan would do his 2 years later). No need to say the success would not reach the same level. But one must admit that the sleeve was quite awful (the reason why, once again, I did an alternate one) and the distribution was confidential, the album being not even released in UK or in the US (only in Germany and in Holland). The title refers probably to her meeting with Peter Schekeryk, husband and producer, that she had met in 1968/9, ie., 25 years before (silver marriage). In 1993, she was in a quite dark period with her last real proper album being Seventh Wave 10 years earlier (and her last real Melanie album Arabesque, the year before). Since then, her albums were uneven affairs, mixing various styles adapting to the ugly 80's sound, and released in a more and more underground way. Here, she goes back to her real roots and proposes a moving and intense travel into her universe, rich and complex, with ghosts of child dreams in her adult desillusions, that never killed her appetite for living and laughing. So, why was it so difficult? Because Silver Anniversary was released in 2 versions, a 2 CD German one with 26 songs and a 2 CD Dutch one with 25 songs (3 songs different between them). Moreover, some songs recorded during the same sessions (like Ballroom Streets, it is recorded with Melanie facing a small audience), were not on these 2 versions, and had to be found on various compilations (these acoustic sessions provided a lot of material for cheap compilations on which they could write Hits without paying their due to Buddha Records). So, here it is, maybe not as complete as I say, but except if I missed one song, the most complete I could do, with 28 songs (plus a bonus, the long version of "Long Long Time"). Afterwards, I decided to take time to listen closely to all songs and to compose a thematic 4 sides 2 CD album. I gave a name to each side according to the lyrics and the atmospheres of the songs. I know this is highly subjective and you might have prefered to get the album in its original version, but I doubt there was really an original one, and when listening to the 2 versions I described above, you can't help to think these songs were put in random order, losing much of the interest of the listener who is shifted from an atmosphere to another without any planned intention. So, the 1st side will be like an introduction to the whole project, the 2nd side under the influence of the sky (cyclone, rain, sun, moon, all elements symbols of peace in the Melanie"s world), the 3rd side the lighter one, with this so delicious way Melanie has to become the little girl she surely was back then, and the 4rth side, dedicated to the Hits, the singalong songs, and closing with songs that perfectly fit the end of such a musical communion. The albums does not consist only in covers of others or of her own classics. There are also new ones, and they sometimes are the best of the whole. So this album must be re-rated for what it is, a great unplugged experience, much deeper than most of the MTV ones. If you want to read the lyrics, just click here.

Below, the real sleeve. You can see that it was not the best to help the album to find its way to those who ignored who was Melanie. In streaming, I chose to propose her wonderful version of "Purple Haze" (from Hendrix of course) and a new track, "Taking A Bath", in which all the particular charm of Melanie is, this derision, this way to say things clearly even when it's not to her advantage, and this lighty way to talk about her problem with her body. But there is much more to love in the album.

Purple Haze. Purple haze all in my brain Lately things don't seem the same I'm acting funny And I don't know why Excuse me while I kiss the sky Kiss the sky Purple haze coming all around Don't know if I'm going up or down Am I happy or in misery Whatever it is it put a spell on me Help me, help me Purple haze all in my eyes Don't know if it's day or night You got me running You blow my mind Is it tomorrow or just the end of time Help me, help me Purple haze all in my brain Lately things don't seem the same I'm acting funny And I don't know why Excuse me while I kiss the sky Kiss the sky Excuse me while I kiss the sky

Taking A Bath. Oh I feel grotty, the scent of my body Reminds me of dish water left over night Oh salty eyes looking for light Oh this old dress has been cried in and lied in And sweated and dried in, it's hittin' the sack But now I'm alone with buttons down the back And it's odd after all that our love has gone though I should be sitting here crying for you But all I can think of is taking a bath, cleaning my blue Bathing my body and oooh, coming out new All hopes for getting this straight Left my mind very late in the morning, you left after dawn I'm touching the tap and I'm turning it on I've already wished I'd expire and I'm so tired Of cursing your sun-sign and the day you were born I'm numb to the hurt and I'm glad it feels gone And reality blazes and I'm left amazed That recovery's already started with basics And all I can think of is taking a bath, cleaning my blue Bathing my body and oooh, coming out new, oooh Taking a bath Taking a bath Taking a bath Taking a bath Cleaning my blue




Liz said...

Thank you very much !

Any middle-aged German Witch in Amerika said...

Hello again, this is one of my absolute favourite Melanie albums!

I actually went out back in 1994 and bought it in a west german store, first hand (not used), and paid full price for it!

I loved it very much. I had bought the Silence is King CD with it, but after the first listen I put that one aside and kept playing this Unplugged DOCD over and and over again.

Long Long Time, Arrow, If I needed you, just to name a few, are still making me shiver today. And the version of Peace will come is the best she EVER recorded, imho. I mean, there are many others, but THIS arrangement is the ultimate and will never be made better, as this is the one. At least for me.

I don't have the dutch version, so I would have liked a precise tracklist to compare (what is on version D and what is on version NL), and which are the other songs you took from other compilations. The dedicated fan must spend at least an hour online to research that, while you have it at your hands and could have spilled it out right there. Just as a tipp for next time.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this double CD. I had been out of touch with Melanie for a very long time until I came across this CD in a store here in Australia in 1994; it was selling new in quite a few independent CD stores in Australia in '94, '95 (German edition). .

Thanks for the post - love your cover artwork too!

dkelvin said...

Thx for the comment and the cover sleeve appreciation (I love doing these fake sleeves actually but sometimes wonder whether it's relevant or not. Yes, a great set full of gems unfortunately not known enough.

Anonymous said...

Could you kindly re-up this record? Thanks so much.
I would have as well a special request to you as it seems your opinions on which tracks of Melanie are good and which less. Could you do your very personal Greatest Hits collection of Melanie? I would love to listen to it.

dkelvin said...

I'll re-up it soon ok
Impossible to do a Best of (and I hate Best of LPs). There would be too much songs on it. I think you have to listen to the most of her repertoire and do your choice according to your taste and mood. There's plenty on this blog and I'll re-up everything (and post more) in the further weeks. I encourage too to buy material she gets money from since I'm not here to spoil artists I love.