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.

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The Water Is Wide

02:46
Mel, Mel & Julian
Traditional/Public Domain

Story

Back in '66 we went into Gallo Studios, Johannesburg to record the third and last Mel, Mel & Julian LP. The folk-rock movement was going strong, and Judy Collins had recorded "In My Life", her baroque-folk album. We were definitely interested in the way that "our" music was evolving, and so we recorded "Miscellanea" our third LP for Columbia, as a mixed bag of music, showcasing the various types of folk music that we played during our gigs. The umbrella that was folk music at the time, had in it's circumference, everything from Child Ballads, Bluegrass, Old-Timey and Blues... and now string quartets were popping up. Mel Green soloed on this version of "The Water Is Wide". Julian added chopped electric guitar to Mel's fingerpicked acoustic, and later, Dan Hill... Gallo's resident arranger added the string quartet backing. This is the result. Is it Baroque, Folk or Folk-Rock? M,M&J really didn't care, this was a ground-breaking song for them.

Lyrics

The water is wide, I cannot get oer 

Neither have I wings to fly 

Give me a boat that can carry two 

And both shall row, my love and I 

 

I leaned my back against an oak 

Thinking it was a trusty tree 

But first it bent and then it broke 

So did my love prove false to me 

 

Oh love is handsome and love is kind 

Gay as a jewel when first it is new 

But love grows old and waxes cold 

And fades away like the morning dew 

 

There is a ship and she sails the sea 

She's loaded deep as deep can be 

But not so deep as the love I'm in 

I know not if I sink or swim