Record Mirror October 1972



bv Robin Mackie


MELANIE'S in London the day before her Albert Hall appearance, and doing a lot of interviews in a hotel that looks remarkably like a record company—it even has palm tree like plants sprouting into the street outside.

                The lady herself is wearing her usual long colourful style dress and a little stole made of the fluffy pink material that they used to use to make jerseys from for primary school girls to put on over their party dresses in my primary school days. Nowadays, I expect little girls wear Slade T-shirts and jeans to go to parties, but Melanie, with her big brown innocent eyes, is still a sort of grown-up little girl from an earlier era.

                She's sitting in a corner looking outwardly very comfortable but as if there's something slightly missing, until a black cat purrs up to her, and curls itself up in her lap. Her cat? "No it's a stray, I saw it outside the hotel. "

                Melanie and the cat both look as if they' d found their spiritual home. It wouldn't be too surprising if they stay together—she brought a rabbit back from Rumania. "There was this man with a rabbit, and people said he was trying to sell him for someone to eat! " She sounds horrified at the thought. "So I bought him, and kept him for two days in the hotel. He shat all over the bed— those pellets, you know, sort of like little Easter eggs.



"The man I bought him from came back 15 minutes later and started wanting some more money, and starting a fight. He wanted 100 dollars." It must have been her air of innocence.

                Melanie's much happier with the cat. It makes her feel at home— back home there's a dog called Roadie, which also pees all over the place, and a cat. "I wish I could bring them with me, " she sighs. "If you're not around animals, you usually lose them. "


                What was she doing buying a rabbit behind the Iron Curtain? You may well ask. That was part of her extensive UNICEF tour, of which her Albert Hall concert and Hard Rock, Manchester date were a part.

                "Yugoslavia was fine. That was a lot more Western, but Rumania was pretty strange. I didn't know what to expect at all. There was kind of a restrained feeling in the beginning, but it soon went. Of course, they don't have my records issued there, but they can hear most of them on the radio.

                "There was a certain sort of ominous feeling in that country at times. I can't really put into words, but there was just a feeling — everyone seemed to be very drab, the clothes, the expressions, just the whole" — she pauses trying to pick out the right word and settles on — "vibration. I guess that's what I'm good at really, picking out vibrations. "

                Melanie's tour for UNICEF ought to do a lot to improve the vibrations, and more concrete things for a lot of people through the UN's Save The Children Fund — she's doing around 20 dates on the tour averaging 2-3,000 people per show, and the proceeds should bring some much needed support to the underdeveloped countries.

The pictures of a smiling, well-fed Melanie in the UNICEF booklet we're given are in stark contrast to those of the pitiful balloon-bellied children who are the real reason for the tour. Some how, it's difficult to imagine her coming face to face with the reality. "I don't need to see the most depressed areas in the world. I like to know what's going on, but I don't have to go there, I know how I'd feel

I'm really pleased to be helping UNICEF, but I'm not making a career alt of it. " Back to the career. On its way, and set for a 4 probable release in early November, is an album called Stoneground Words, which reflects a far more mature Melanie including Together Alone, which must be the best thing she's done yet, and deserves to win a few converts.

                It's her first for the Neighbourhood label, which is "almost like my own company. It made such a nice change not to HAVE to put an album out. With Buddah, it got 80 they were saying 'Well, it's four months since your last record', and I'd have to squeeze a bit more out of the toothpaste tube.                "This time, it was like going back to the beginning, when I had loads of songs, and couldn't wait to get them down. I waited a whole year after Gather Me before I even thought about making an album, and then I just felt I was ready, 80 we did it."


                She was greatly looking forward to her first Albert Hall date and the Manchester gig. "I've always felt people were very receptive, they tend to listen more, and I guess there's a traditional fascination with words. On the other hand, I guess there is more of a concentrated image thing around me here, because I'm not here that often. People tend to freeze you into a particular idea or word they feel safer if they have a whole picture, a person who's sweet and Innocent and doesn't sweat, you know. " Melanie's asked if she feels that her appeal is partly to a sort of Lonely Hearts Club, and collapses with a small shriek of horror, before recovering. "Oh, well, I don't care—I'm not aware of it, but there are some people that are looking for a very basic answer to a basic question. " What's most important about her live performances? "Well, the sound of a voice is similar to the strokes of a brush. The artistry comes from being true in each performance."



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