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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Coal Tattoo

02:05
Mel, Mel & Julian
Billy Ed Wheeler

Story

One of the finest hard-driving songs to come out of the coal mining state of Kentucky... a protest against automation which forced many men out of jobs in big mines and into employment in small unsafe  "tin pot"mines. We were first inspired to do this song after listening to the fine rendition by our friends, Leon & Mike at the Troubadour in Johannesburg... a city which is not exactly unaware of mine safety conditions, being in an area where there are active gold mines right under one's feet and also coal mines not too far away in the Orange Free State.

Lyrics

Travelin' down that coal town road. Listenin' to my rubber tires whine.
Goodbye to Buckeye and white Sycamore. I'm leavin' you behind.
I've been coal miner all of my life. Layin' down track in the hole.
Gotta back like an ironwood, bit by the wind. Blood veins blue as the coal. Blood veins blue as the coal.

Somebody said, "That's a strange tattoo you have on the side of your head."
I said, "That's the mark of the number nine coal. A little more and I'd been dead.
Well, I love the rumble and I love the dark. I love the cool of the slate,
And i'm going down the new road, lookin' for a job. This travelin' nook in my head.

I stood for the union and walked in the line and fought against the company.
I stood for the U. M. W. of A. Now, who's gonna stand for me?
I've got no house and I got no job, just got a worried soul
And a blue tattoo on the side of my head left by the number nine coal. Left by the number nine coal.

Some day when I'm dead and gone, to heaven, the land of my dreams.
I won't have to worry on losin' my job, on bad times and big machines.
I ain't gonna pay my money away on dues or hospital plans.
I'm gonna pick coal where the blue heavens roll and sing with the angel band.