Review: Melanie Fans Rejoice—An Archival Offering From the Flower Power Princess

Melanie /The Magic Bus/ Y&T Records
Three out of Five Stars

Videos by American Songwriter

An archival offering to a great degree, The Magic Bus comes courtesy of indie label Y&T Records, the company whose latest claim to fame is Shine On: A Tribute To Pete Ham. A collection of songs Ham wrote for both Badfinger and his own solo ventures, several of which are unreleased, it’s brought the label an unprecedented amount of notice and notoriety. 

The Magic Bus may not bring the same sort of accolades and attention, given that it’s aimed strictly at Melanie aficionados, those whose appreciation began with her appearance at Woodstock and continued throughout a fruitful solo career that lasted well beyond that. The album is culled from a live appearance Melanie made at Miami radio station WBUS on April 8, 1972. Hence the title. Interspersed with questions from the Deejay, the late Curtis Schwartz, she sings songs that were mostly culled from her new album at the time, Gather Me (1973). Although the interviews are interesting and in-depth, they’re mostly one-time listens and the temptation will be to skip through them and get right to the music. Although Melanie’s waif-like image prevails, she still manages to g I’ve songs such as “Poet,” “Six String,” “Center of the Circle,” and “What Wondrous Love” the emphasis and emotion they so decidedly deserve, even by virtue of these stripped down acoustic settings. 

Kudos to her producer/engineer/musician son Beau for digitally restoring the material and making it shine as bright and effusive as it ought to be.

“I have gotten over being in competition with the past,” Melanie writes in the liner notes. “But every so often, I can sit back and listen to the young Melanie and enjoy it.” Given the innocence and optimism shared here, that’s certainly a sentiment that all of us can agree with. 

Photo by: Universal Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images


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