I can still remember the first time I heard her on the radio. The song was “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain).” She wrote it about the scene before her during her performance at Woodstock during which the audience held up lighters and matches aflame. It’s a powerful tune – made more so by her incredible voice.
Melanie is playing the Chocolate Church this weekend and I am overjoyed to be going to hear her live. I hope it’s a sellout. I cannot wait to hear that passion-filled voice that moved us to protest, to love, to reflect, to participate. To endure.
I’m looking forward to hearing some of my favorite tunes. Many are on the only album I have of hers, a double album of a concert at Carnegie Hall in 1973. There’s “Psychotherapy” ... “Bitter Bad” ... “Hearing the News” ... Sadly this one’s still quite timely: “Don't you know that, hearing the news ain't like being there, Nothin's like feeling it when it's happening to you, Don't you know that hearing the news makes it easier, Nothing is real unless it's happening to you. And because we don't know. We're trying to understand. And because we don't know. We hurt our fellow man. And because we don't know. We're fitting in the plan. Everybody's hurting. There's a hurt in the land, don't you know, don't you know ...”
Psychotherapy is a fun tune, sure to be a sing along with Melanie moment! The first eight words will clue you in on the melody: “Oh mine eyes have seen the glory of the theories of Freud, He has taught me all the evils that my ego must avoid. Repression of the impulses resulting paranoid As the id goes marching on. Glory glory psychotherapy, glory glory sexuality, Glory glory now we can be free as the id goes marching on.”
No one wrote songs like this woman. No one had the same heart as Melanie. When I first heard “Lay Down,” I knew I was listening to something great; something different, something important. As the years rocked and rolled by, Melanie may not have made the Top 10 charts, but she was creating. She was feeding our souls as she fed her own.
Most people know her song “Brand New Key.” I’m quite sure this will be another sing along with Melanie moment. “I’ve got a brand new pair of roller skates, you’ve got a brand new key. I think that we should get together and try them out you see...I been looking around a while, you got something for me ... Oh, I got a brand new pair of roller skates, You got a brand new key.” Oh well, the romance in this song doesn’t go too far, but like Melanie says later, “Some people say I done alright for a girl ... yeah, yeah ...”
Melanie, “the” Melanie is coming to Bath. Maybe I’ll see some of you at the concert, 7:30-9:30 ... until then, keep on listenin’, singin’ and dancin’ to those Melanie records. I sure will be.