One of Melanie's best
anduarto | Provincetown, MA USA | 08/08/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"By far the best album of Melanie's "Early" period. Significantly more sophisticated than her previous efforts in terms of both writing and instrumentation, Lay Down (Candles in the Rain) rightfully brought Melanie to a much wider audience than she had previously enjoyed. It also garnered what may have been the highest level of respect of her career. It contains her first big hit, the stirring, gospel flavored anthem to the Woodstock generation "Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)" but it's truly solid throughout. Production values are high and the support personnel are first rate. In addition to Lay Down, it also includes her own version of "What Have They Done to My Song, Ma?" as well as extremely impassioned and effective covers of both James Taylor's "Carolina in My Mind" and Jaggers/Richard's "Ruby Tuesday". As much rock as folk on this outing, the ravaged, marvelous "Lovin' Baby Girl" really should have been a hit. The studio version of "Leftover Wine" is rich and beautiful and the odd but effective "The Good Guys" manages to transcend what could have been a disastorous bout with a toy drum. The only sour tract for me here is "Citiest People" and even that objection is more philosophical than musical. It's one of the more memorable of Melanie's dissertations on the "city bad/ country good" theme she has visited so often. It's a position I've always found simplistic and cloying, but even Citiest People has a lovely and graceful presentation here. Two or three albums might vie for the title of Melanie's "second best" and Candles in the Rain surely a prime contender among them. Only "Gather Me", which she released a couple years later, would clearly surpass it."
A fine singer that should be represented on CD
anduarto | 05/30/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Listen to the title track and you'll be taken back 34 years to the Woodstock era. Melanie has an ocassionally raspy voice, but she delivers folk music with real verve. The title track is especially nice with the Eddie Hawkins Singers, a gospel group. While she is not on the same level as the stellar Joni Mitchell or Laura Nyro, it is a shame that there is no way to get her recordings anew."