- Album name: Leftover Wine
- Artist name: Melanie
- Year: 1970
- Number of discs: one
- Label: Buddah Records
- Collection: Brenner / Gessner
- Distinguishing characteristics: RMP / ΤΕΦ is written on the album sleeve
- Buy it on Amazon: $39.97
Level of familiarity before listening
I’m not familiar with this record, but I’ve previously reviewed two others by Melanie:
- Affectionately Melanie (1969): 4/5
- Candles in the Rain (1970): 4/5
What I expected
The album cover says, “Recorded live at Margie’s birthday party.” I don’t know who Margie was (or is), but I guess that means it will be Melanie doing folk rock in concert.
What it was actually like
Based on the song Happy Birthday, it seems that Margie’s name is pronounced with a hard G, which is clearly psychopathic. Also, I hope Margie was not upset with this performance, since most of the songs seemed pretty serious for a birthday party: the style was quite spare, with just guitar and voice.
Anyway, Melanie’s voice still reminded me of Joanna Newsom’s, but at other times it really soared, like in The Saddest Thing and the title track Leftover Wine. I also did not know until listening to Leftover Wine that Melanie’s speaking voice had a rather strong Queens accent!
When reviewing Affectionately Melanie I wrote:
Beautiful People is the song that Melanie got famous for performing at Woodstock, and I thought it was fine, but I’m not such a fan of it.
It was still fine, as was Uptown Down, also from that record.
Her line in Animal Crackers about eating the animal crackers so that children would not starve in Europe was so fascinating to me because, when I was growing up, it was the children in Africa who could be protected from starvation only if I finished my meal, and I knew it had been the children in either China or India, or both, at other times (Melanie was born in 1947, so when she was growing up, starvation in Europe was still a very real threat).
Animal Crackers also had a cute Alice’s Restaurant shoutout, and I took note because I had already noted that she and Arlo Guthrie had both performed at Woodstock.
I Don’t Eat Animals was the most obnoxious song. Even 50 years ago (and even 100 years ago), those people had that reputation.
The song Psychotherapy was definitely the weirdest song on the record by far, and one of the weirder songs out of the 306 records that I’ve reviewed to date. It was an ode to Freud, but sung to the melody of Battle Hymn of the Republic (which itself is sung to the melody of John Brown’s Body), some of the creepiest and most disturbing music ever to become popular, and it immediately brought me back to that morning in March 2019 when I visited the largest electronics store in the world, Yodobashi in Akihabara, Tokyo, and realized that
its theme song was sung to the very same melody (in that context, I described it as “both disorienting and highly charming”).
The final song Peace Will Come (According to Plan) was a studio recording with vocal effects, percussion and a bit of organ, and was the most out of place with the whole rest of the record.
3/5: interesting, but not for me
|↑1||ΤΕΦ was my father’s college fraternity (his copy of Beggars Banquet is also marked with the ΤΕΦ symbol) and “RMP” means that the album belonged to Richard Pearlstein.|