Daily News, Sunday, June 25, 1978 USA


Pretty, Girl, Like a Melanie

Melanie is a survivor like the Rolling Stones, she has been away for a while but now is back—in a Big way.

The flower child of the '6Os is back on the pop scene with a new record "Melanie—Phonogenlc, Not Just Another Pretty Face," released by Midsong and distributed by MCA Records. Being away from the scene, she has been away from the home she and her husband, Peter Schekeryk, have been developing on the Jersey Shore. They've been married 11 years and have two children Three quarters of the year, the family, kids and all, are on tour The other three months, they work on improving the house. It was a four-room meditation center when they bought it They've added 22 rooms and a pool Melanie spent the first 12 years of her life in Queens She likes Italian food and hubby likes Ukrainian, but they compromise, particularly when his mother sends some Ukrainian goodies over. -- Jim Handchett

Photos by Richard Corkery

Not Just Another Pretty Face? That's the title of Melanie's new album. Her very photogenic face has a childlike quality as she looks through a window of her home on the Jersey shore.

Jeordie, 3, gets a piggy-back ride and 4-year-old Leilah hangs in there as Melanie takes advantage of a rare opportunity to play with her kids in the yard of the home she and hubby built.



It's quite clear that Melanie and her husband-manager, Peter Schekeryk (® ), see eye-to-eye during a quiet moment with the kids. That's Jeordie up front and Leilah looking on.

¬ Books that have actually been read line the shelves of room where pianist and guitarist help Melanie prepare for concert. Her first in New Jersey in four years will be at Garden State Art Center Aug. 4.

DAILY MER C.S.U.L.B. April 4, 1978

By Mark Chalon Smith
Arts Editor

Melanie, Not Just Another Pretty Face. MCA.

Back in 1971, after a series of marginal successes, Melanie climbed to the top of the charts with a whimsical little Tune called "Brand New Key." As a song marked primarily for its silliness, it proved to be a curse in disguise for its singer. After a short reign at the top of the pop charts, Melanie found herself musically typecast as a singer of only innocuous quality.

Critics and the public alike refused to see her as a singer of serious ability and her career soon sputtered. After a layoff of four years, Melanie tried to shake her image with the album "Photograph." Although hailed by critics for its experimental and challenging style, it failed to change the public's view of her. She remained a relatively uninteresting singer of harmless songs.

With her latest album—the first in three years—Melanie once again tries to dispel her plaguing image by tackling a variety of demanding songs that test her vocal range. It's an uncompromising lest that, while showing her bright talent for giving expression to the sentimental and lyrical side of music, also points out her singing limitations.

Her resonant, plaintive voice—by nature child-like and simple—has always been custom-made, for the songs of the heart; uncomplicated pieces that depend on the tremulous range of her voice for emotional vocation. And to her credit, her voice shines on the material that reflects this style.

"Let It Be Me" is a haunting rendition that showcases Melanie's vocal sincerity. Likewise, her interpretation of Jesse Winchester's "Yankee Man" is a sensitive and secure narrative that makes the songs a very believable story of love. On the cuts that follow this mould, the dreamy implications of her voice are close to entrancing.

But when she tries to turn up the tempo, ala Linda Ronstadt, she gets into deep water. Simply, her vocal range is limited and the heavier numbers underscore these weaknesses.

In the old R&B standard "Knock on Wood" and the up-tempo version of the Beatles classic "We Can Work It Out" she fails to generate the gutsy feeling or sexual abandon that could make the numbers hop.

There's no fault with her back-up band. Though Chris Parker's drums and Hugh McCracken's guitars, her moody ballads and revving rockers have powerful backbones and help to keep the album on the good side of fair.

And even if the album is qualified, it's still pretty good. With the few well-handled and compatible tunes breaking better than even against the few misplaced intentions, it show where Melanie's voice can't go, but also where it can.

Los Angeles Times
Sunday, April 16, 1978

Pop Album Reviews


"Phonogenic." Melanie. Midsong. MCA 3033. Melanie's provocative, throaty voice has always been at odds with the thumb-sucking persona she's been saddled with and this LP should help dispel her outdated flower-child image. Although her vibrato occasionally gets gratingly out of control she is a distinctive vocalist whose wistful, raggedy style has taken on a note of fully developed authority. Songs penned by Melanie provide the album's most interesting moments and one wonders why she included so many overworked standards rather than more of her own material. Her rendition of "Knock on Wood" is high-spirited and fun but does the world really need yet another version of "We Can Work It Out"? Appealing as her voice is, Melanie's potential as a writer transcends this hodgepodge of cover tunes. She merely treads water with this outing.

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