Melton Levy

Melton, Levy and the Dey Brothers

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    5
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Melton, Levy and the Dey Brothers' sole album has a bit of a come-down-from-the-reckless-heights-of-Haight-Ashbury vibe, but is a reasonably accomplished and pleasing record, if an unassuming one. It's got the characteristic San Francisco Bay Area blend of blues, country, rock, and good counterculture cheer, with a more laid-back, soul-influenced approach than Barry Melton had taken with his first band, Country Joe & the Fish. Everyone from the quartet contributes original material, with Melton, Rick Dey, and Jay Levy taking roughly equal shares of the writing credits. Some of the more keyboard-oriented tracks sound a little like Paul McCartney's early solo work, as unlikely as that comparison might seem; check the chorus of Jay Levy's "Been So Fine" for an illustration. It's easy to imagine this as suitable rustic rock to play on your escape from the big bad city of San Francisco to a more laid-back locale with similar progressive hippie ethos, but more space and less angst, even if that journey would probably go no further than Marin County. A little bit of Melton's more radical past sneaks through on "Taxpayer's Lament," with its opening bursts of reverb guitar and anguished anti-war lyrics, in a vocal that falls between John Fogerty and Burton Cummings.

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