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Melvern Taylor - Fabuloso


Melvern Taylor

Platform One Music
357 W. Chicago Ave. Ste. 3S
Chicago IL 60610

Available from

A review written for the Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange
by Frank Gutch Jr.

You have to love a guy whose one post on the press page of his website is from "Some Guy Named Adam" and reads, "Your music makes me want to pee. In a good way..." You can laugh (I still am), but that pretty much sums up Melvern Taylor. The guy is a gas. That gas inflates the blimp known as Melvern Taylor and the Meltones, one great sounding mess of fish in this ocean of a music business. Make that entertainment business. These guys are good enough for Vegas and odds say that they would pack them in.

It isn't the odd assortment of instruments that make them what they are, though it is always good to hear ukulele and accordion used the way they are here. It's the music and the obvious enjoyment they get from it. Borrowing heavily from the fifties and sixties, they modernize the sound. They do it so well that audiences have to eat this stuff up without even a thought to genre. They are the new Sha Na Na, and I'm not talking about the Sea Cruise Sha Na Na but the unappreciated original music Sha Na Na. That's right. They played originals and damn good stuff it was, too. The best stuff they did, in fact. So it is with the Meltones.

As lead voice, Taylor drives the entertainment wagon admirably. Able to croon with the best on one song and bring back the fifties with perfecto falsetto on the next, he gives the Meltones room to move. The result? The music never really gets stale. Take, for instance, the juxtaposition of The Next Train to Baltimore which sounds as if it lived on radio in the days of Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly and Beer Cans which belongs alongside the Turtles later stuff (or at least Flo & Eddie) and then Smoke and Mirrors which lays out (ukelele as lead-in) incredible fifties sounding ballad-rock. I mean, these tracks stand on their own, but put them next to each other and they make you dance, if only in your heart and mind. I mean, how many albums do you have that really make you happy?

Speaking of happy, if Sad and Blue doesn't put you in a good frame of mind, you need anti-depressants. Taylor dons his best falsetto and shuffles his way through with ease, accordion (or maybe that's the magnus organ) and violin supporting him beautifully. This would have been a solid hit in '59.

If Sir Bob Nash hung out at the local pub, I'd head down right now and pound him on the back. His engineering is outstanding. Same with Johnny Grant and Dave Livingston, who round out the Meltones and give them that special edge. As for Melvern? If I ever meet the guy in a bar, his money is no good as long as I'm there. It will be my way of paying royalties. And why the hell not? I love these guys!

Track List:

  • Angel On My Shoulder
  • Sad and Blue
  • Working Stiff
  • Coming Up Roses
  • It's Not My Fault
  • Nothing Good
  • Getting Over You
  • Bettie Lou
  • The Next Train to Baltimore
  • Beer Cans
  • Smoke and Mirrors
  • You and Me (and My Ukulele)
All song composed by Melvern Taylor, © 2006.

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2007, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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