March 1972

Garden In The City

album reviews

See what Melanie said about this!

unknown source

Apparently a collection of material left over from previous sessions, though not released before. And it is good, though at times some of the tunes seem a little incomplete, leaving me with a faint tinge of dissatisfaction. That, though, applied only to the first three cuts.

Any Melanie music is good. Her voice is unique; her style compelling "Jig Saw Puzzle" is a good example. And of course she has great ability at translating other artists songs (as she did with "Ruby Tuesday") into her own style. This she does with Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay", and does the same on "Somebody Loves Me", but instead of building the number up with her interesting hoarseness she puts it over in a naïve, child-with-hands-in-lap manner.

Five of the songs are her own, but I don't think the title track, though melodic with a strong rock structure, is a true representation of the lyrics she is capable of writing. But "People In The Front Row" does have true Melanie lyrics. Her voice is good, and the arrangements, with some deep, gruff brass and high strings, is startling. Surely one of the best cuts. In all, an excellent album, using a mixture of backings which in no way impose on Melanie's own acoustic guitar work and singing…

unknown source

It's sad to say it, but this album is disappointing and Melanie's charm seems to be wearing a bit thin. Really there's nothing outstanding, or even comparable to the material on her previous albums. They have each had several good songs, but the only notable track here is a song which was released as a single last year, "Stop! I Don't Want To Hear I Anymore".

That's more like her old, dramatic style, with excellent guitar work, military drum and whistle and good lyrics. But she has wasted her single style on pointless songs like "Don't You Wait By The Water" where her histrionics just don't pay off. Her version of "Lay Lady Lay" is just a disaster. Her petulance ruins the whole mood of the song. There are few women who can beat Dylan at his own game and Melanie is nowhere near the Joan Baez class. The nicest thing about the album, and probably the main selling point, is its gimmick sweet 'smelling' sleeve……

unknown source

More difficult to get into than "Gather Me" which was, for me, her best LP to date. You have to get past the smelly cover (though the scent is cheap and strong it isn't distateful), and the no-gaps between the tracks. "Garden In The City" is the opener, a hymnal lament, which ain't as optimistic as the cover pic suggests: "the stone was his home, he said his heart was mine" says Mel…and them city boys, well, we all know about that. I listened through, waiting for the sun, until , "Stop! I Don't Want To Hear It Anymore" when the sun came out and Melanie's voice cut me right through. Personal identification for sure, but red hot. Staunch Melanie fans will have an easier time and should make this into a big hit record…..

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