Melanie

On Air

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Ten of the 18 songs on this CD were recorded live in 1975, another four date from 1969, and the last four are from 1989. Thus, we get a glimpse of Melanie in performance across a period of 20 years, doing a variety of material ranging from her own originals (including familiar songs such as "Beautiful People" and "Baby Guitar") to covers of Phil Ochs's "Chords of Fame," Alan J. Lerner and Frederick Loewe's "Almost Like Being in Love" (from Brigadoon), and the Rolling Stones' "Ruby Tuesday." Her rendition of "Almost Like Being in Love" is a folk-blues style interpretation, and one of the most downbeat and interesting (if not necessarily successful) takes on the song ever done. There is a certain sameness to much of the rest of the material that works against too many people other than hardcore fans appreciating this disc, although some numbers, such as "The Nickel Song" and "Beautiful People," always work. The version of "Ruby Tuesday," like the other three 1989 vintage songs here, features a full band with synthesizers and drum machines, and is a bit jarring, though Melanie still throws herself impressively into the classic Rolling Stones song.

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