A REUNION? We have been researching venues...


Occasionally we hear from old fans, who invariably ask:  Wouldn't a re-union of Mel, Mel & Julian be wonderful?

A REUNION?
The band was planning to re-unite in South Africa in 2018 for a few dates in the Johannesburg area... Due to complications that will not be happening as we had hoped,
although some research is still going on...

 

Mel, Mel & Julian from an interview in a Durban newspaper, drawn by Jock Leyden, who got it right!

 Mel Miller continues his stellar career as Grandfather of South African comedy at shows around South Africa.

   Julian Laxton continues to make his own great music, plus sessions, sound-tracks, commercials around South Africa.  
   Mel Green is a Graphic Designer, Painter, and Illustrator. He still makes music as a songwriter and performs regularly  around Boston, USA...
 
  Watch this space and your local media for news of future shows!
We are pleased to announce our South African Booking Agent:To inquire about future shows, please contact Rael Birns at Rael@raelbirns.co.za  or at 081 452-1100

Once upon a time in the 60s...

How Mel & Mel met: where they performed; when Julian joined the band; who they met along the way; their influences and the key people in their brief, but sweet career ... and what they're up to today. Enjoy!

Links in the M,M&J Chain...

Influences & Earworms...

Two young guys singing in an art school classroom at lunch hour to appreciative listeners, and the realization that they had something special.

Key people and places in their career:

The Troubadour Coffee/Steakhouse in Johannesburg, THE folk club where it was happening!

Gary Bryden, Brit folkie, who got Little Mel up on stage at the Troub in the first place.

Keith Blundell, who auditioned Mel & Mel and who without hesitation offered them a weekly gig at the Johannesburg Troubadour..

Des Lindberg who kept them on at the Troubadour as headliners, when they weren't playing full-time at their long hotel residencies.

Ben Segal, quiet folk fanatic and founder of SAFMA, the South African Folk Music Association, and 3rd Ear Music, who opened his vast collection of music and his hospitality to the guys. 

Johnny Kongos, friend and a hit-making rock & roller, who encouraged them & introduced them to...

John E. Sharpe, a wonderful bluesman, who was managed by...

Billy Forrest, South Africa's greatest C&W singer and mentor to many young musicians, who became their manager, friend and guiding light.

Brenda Newfield, a wonderful folksinger, who gave Mel  & Mel some of their first gigs, and who opened up her home & her record collection to them, thus helping them expand their repertoire. 

David Sapire, a photographer and a fan who also helped with their repertoire, and who most significantly... introduced Mel and Mel  to his brother Julian!

Mike Dorsey, entrepreneur & club owner on the Durban music scene, became a fan, a mentor and helped the band in many ways.

Their influences. They  listened to everything possible, at parties, record shops, friend's living rooms, records and reel-to-reel tapes... absorbing everything that appealed to their evolving musical tastes and their developing musical skills. 

See the BLOG PAGE which has a list of recording artists and songs which first caught their ear(s) and whose styles and genres were adapted to suit their style, carrying on the "the folk-process" down in South Africa.

 

Historic Reference

In 1994 Mel, Mel & Julian were acknowledged and included in the book, "History of Contemporary Music in South Africa"...taking their place as one of few notable folk groups to make an impression on the evolving contemporary music scene.

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We listened to everything, at parties, record shops, friend's living rooms, records and the current cutting-edge technology of that time,  reel-to-reel tapes... absorbing everything that appealed to our evolving musical tastes and our developing musical skills. 

 

Here is a list of recording artists and songs which first caught our ear(s) and whose music we adapted to suit our ever-evolving style.

 

During our Johannesburg Art School days, Joan Baez's first two LPs on Vanguard caught almost everyone's ear.... In our case Joan with The New Lost City Ramblers singing "Banks of the Ohio" and "Long Black Veil" were personally influential... and she was one of our earliest influences in the 60s.

 

Peter, Paul & Mary: "Don't Think Twice It's Alright" and many other of their 3-part harmonized songs influenced us, and their live album featuring comedy by Paul Stookey, also influenced Mel Miller.

 

Hoyt Axton: "Greenback Dollar"... his delivery and forceful style!

The Kingston Trio: (their version of Greenback Dollar), "One More Town" by Jon Stewart,  "Lemon Tree", and many other tunes.

Ewan McColl & Peggy Seeger: "Ballad of Springhill" about a mining disaster in Nova Scotia. Chilling!

Ewan McColl: "Dirty Old Town" A blue-collar pean to life in a grimy city.

Billy Edd Wheeler: "Coal Tattoo", first heard sung by our friends Leon & Mike, and also his "coming of the Roads" as performed by Judy Collins, who was an important link to many other wonderful songwriters,making their names at the time, such as:

 

Gordon Lightfoot: "Early Morning Rain" and "For Lovin' Me", (Both of which were also covered by Peter, Paul & Mary.  Many other Lightfoot compositions made a profound impact.

 

Leonard Cohen: "Suzanne", "Sisters of Mercy", "That's No Way to Say Goodbye". Amazing!

 

Brown & Dana who were a fairly obscure duo, whose amazing recorded productions caught our ear. "Sinner Man" was amazing!

 

Listening to the Vanguard catalogue of LPs in friend's collections and record stores, was the way we discovered players who knocked our socks off...

 

The Weavers: "Goodnight Irene", a song that sank in when I was a mere child... later learning about Pete Seeger, Ronnie Gibert, Hayes who made musical magic and social commentary which made this South African ponder about the wider world.

 

Rambling Jack Elliot: "Diamond Joe" and "Black Snake Moan". The first, his take on a southern tune about a gambler, the second his version of an obscure Blues song with plenty of double entendres! His guitar style, and persona made a huge impression. Plus his link to Woody Guthrie and all those early folkies from the 40s and 50s. 

 

Sonny Terry & Brownie McGee: Guitar, harmonica and that original authentic hair-raising sound first heard on a tape which came as a bonus with a reel-to-reel recorder purchased from a friend, bass-player John Rice.

 

Ian & Sylvia: "Little Beggarman", "Four Strong Winds" and many, many more of their songs... this wonderful duo and their superlative backing musicians set the standard for us! Their music is still a favourite to this day.

 

John Hammond Jr. whose covers of Chuck Berry's "No Money Down" and other blues such as "If your man gets busted/Traveling Riverside Blues"... also opened our ears to other country blues.

30s era Ragtime discovered on favourite LPs by...

 

Jim Kweskin & the Jug Band: Washington at Valley Forge", "Sweet Sue", “Coney Island Washboard" and many other fantastic tunes written by famous song-smiths of that early era. They re-united in Boston recently for a concert celebrating the 50th borthday of Club 47, which is nowadays known as Club Passim.

 

The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem:  "Irish Rover", Paddy McGinty's Goat and many more.

 

Mimi & Richard Farina" "Pack Up Your Sorrows". An amazing duo, worth reading about  and following their fascinating story.

 

Steve Gillette: "Darcy Farrow" was covered by many people... a beautiful song which sounds as if might have been written 100 years ago.

 

Eric Andersen: An amazing songwriter... "Thirsty Boots", "Dusty Boxcar Wall" and many others. Songs that pull you in.

 

And many more... watch this space as my synapses kick in and I remember more!