A REUNION? COMING SOON!


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

A REUNION IS "IN THE WORKS"!
The band is planning to re-unite in South Africa in 2018 for a few dates in the Johannesburg area... Where? When? To be arranged soon, so please watch this space for details!

We are pleased to announce our booking agent: Please contact Rael Birns at Rael@raelbirns.co.za or 082 452-1100

 

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 professional Graphic Designer and Illustrator by day, is a songwriter and sings solo around Boston, USA...
   So, please watch this space and your local media for news of future shows!

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.

Get in touch... Sign up for emails here... please

Notable places we played & recordings we made


 Mel & Mel 1964 
1963 - 1964  Mel & Mel

Feature: Mel, Mel & Louis Johannesburg Folk Festival, with Louis Meyer (banjo).
(Performing on the first folk LP  released in South Africa of the Main Stage Concert.
Mel, Mel & Louis had three cuts on the album recorded live by
CBS South Africa, after which they were signed to the label. 

Mel & Mel "Songs about mines, people, places and one train", their first LP made for Columbia, South Africa, included mostly traditional songs. The original LP was a ground-breaking interpretation of usually staid trad folksongs, which also had current singer-songwriter hits on it, such as "Coal Tattoo" by Billy Ed Wheeler, "Universal Soldier" by Buffy St. Marie, and "The Ballad of Springhill" by Ewan McColl and Peggy Seeger... which have not been included on "Ethnic/Shmethnic", re-mastered as a CD  and re-issued in 2001 on their own label.
Julian is heard here for the first time as their studio lead guitarist... he was later invited to join the band.

Residencies as the duo, Mel & Mel:

The Troubadour, Johannesburg (Wednesday nights 1964 - 1965)
plus headlining some Saturday or Sunday evenings. 
Edward Hotel Durban 1965
Deal's Hotel, East London 1965


 
1964 - 1967 Mel, Mel & Julian

Regular appearances at The Troubadour in Johannesburg

Residencies:
Edward Hotel Durban
Deal's Hotel, East London
Grand Hotel, Cape Town 

New Year Show at Port Alfred

A couple of Sunday night gigs at The Troubadour Coffeehouse in Cape Town.

Headlined concerts at: 
University of Cape Town; 
Wits University, Johannesburg; 
Durban University; 
Rhodes University, Grahamstown 

Winner: Redro Battle of the Bands - On Springbok Radio,
Recorded an EP sponsored by Redro Fishpaste 
 

"One More Town" Their second album of songs by current singer/songwriters
including Lightfoot, Dylan, John Stewart, Steve Gillette, 
Ian Tyson and Peggy Lee

"Miscellanea" Their third LP of folk, folk-rock, jug-band & baroque tunes
Songs by singer/songwriters: including
Chuck Berry, Gordon Lightfoot, Dick Farina, 
Bob Dylan and Robert Johnson, plus a song written by
Mel & Mel, and an instrumental by Julian 

 A Notable & Memorable Gig: Aboard the aircraft carrier USS Wasp. Performing proudly with local entertainers for US troops returning from Vietnam, docked in Cape Town harbor, 1966. A really exciting gig. 

1970
Reunited at the Minstrel, Pretoria... their last show as Mel & Mel, the original duo.

Individual Accomplishments

Mel Miller went on to perform as a successful stand-up  comedian, and he has acted in a number of plays, a few movies and television commercials, as well as being a fixture on "Biltong & Potroast", a hit TV show. More recently: Mel was awarded the first Lifetime Achievement Award for Comedy in South Africa! Currently known as "the Grandfather of South African Comedy".

Mel Green performed regularly as a solo folksinger at coffeehouses, and folk festivals in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban, made recordings and he acted and provided the musical interludes for a theatrical review called "What is Love?" with Fiona Frazer & Bill Brewer, as well as occasional advertising radio jingle work in Johannesburg and in the USA.

Julian Laxton vaulted into the Rock and Roll arena by fronting well known bands, "Hawk", Freedoms Children" and his own eponymous band. He has won numerous advertising awards for his musical contributions to commercials and radio, and he has written sound tracks for well known South African films.