Melvern Taylor and His Fabulous Meltones

I’ve invented a new genre: lounge lizard country. Imagine a guy just this side of greasy, wearing a suit with sweat stains where stains shouldn’t be. His tie’s askew. He’s gripping the microphone when he’s not making chords on the ukelele, and he meets your eyes frantically (but his bandmates never look up). The dark red velvet of the half-empty hotel room reflects very badly on his skin. After the set, you buy him a drink and he confides that his wife left him and he’s living in his car.

This is no aspersion on Melvern Taylor, who wrote me a really nice email (note: flattery will get you everywhere). He calls his music “ukelele noir,” happy songs about sad people. And I’m sure in person that he and his band are not greasy at all. His sound — heavy on the 50s influence, heavy on the uke (of course), and heavy on the standard lyric (“i won’t mind it if you break my stupid heart / because I’ve got no place else to go”) — is an intriguing gestalt. These elements combined make up a music with more variety than should be there; it both is, and isn’t, a type of music I hear every day. An interesting conundrum (and perhaps completely unintended by the band. Oh well. Heh.)! I shall have to listen further; though there are vague plans hinted at on the website, the band’s latest album is 2006’s “Fabuloso.” Please cogitate along with me and let me know what you think.

Melvern Taylor and His Fabulous Meltones — Site | Myspace

[ ed note — tracks removed. contact me for a copy.]

Melvern Taylor and His Fabulous Meltones — Angel On My Shoulder

Melvern Taylor and His Fabulous Meltones — Sad And Blue

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9 comments

  1. James’s avatar

    Lounge-lizard country hmmm. Have I recommended COAL to you, they are soi-disant torch-noir (though I would say with some country influence)…

    http://music.download.com/coal/3600-8585_32-100132217.html

    Those three tracks aren’t their best stuff though.

    There’s a short, poorly transfered .AU file: http://www.mbus.com/bands/genadm/Coal.htm (No Angel) that is a better representation of why I like them so much.

    I think you’d like Nicole herself, she’s also an artist/painter; she does “Lowbrow”/pop-surrealism.

    I did like the Melvern Taylor quite a bit, he seems like he’s wonderfully irreverent. Hmmmm, you might also like some Handsome Ned (Robin David Masyk): http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=45335804 but he was a lot more country. His is a wondrous and tragic story.

  2. Johnny Meltone’s avatar

    Hey James! I hope you put some Melvern Taylor links on the COAL blog. Love you!

  3. manimal’s avatar

    His wife did not leave him, and he does not live in his car. He is the dedicated father of two beautiful children and is enduring his marriage as well as any man is. Sometimes the band looks up.

  4. zara’s avatar

    Oh, I’m sure; it was simply a stereotype and has no real bearing on Taylor himself, like I said in the review.

  5. Melvern’s avatar

    Just for the record, those are not all sweat stains on my suit. Some of it is old urine. I tried one of those “TIDE” pens but that just made it worse.

  6. Jerry’s avatar

    “Love Songs For Losers”, the newest from Malvern Taylor and the Meltones shows just how accomplished a songsmith Mr. Taylor is, and by the way those Meltones are no slouches either. If I was a young girl, I’d follow that band everywhere they went. Fortunately for everyone concerned I’m just an old fart who really likes their songs and their sound.

  7. zh’s avatar

    What a great comment :D A young girl could definitely do worse than to cultivate a love for ukelele noir.

  8. kad barma’s avatar

    I caught Melvern (sans visible sweat and urine stains, which is disappointing, but I’m not saying they weren’t there) at the Lizard Lounge last night. The “bad day for the angel on my shoulder” (a song you can sing along to the very first time you hear it) was my own personal highlight, but there were so many others that I lost count. The band sounds incredibly good. (The trumpet was an inspired interlude). The songwriting is top notch. The performers not only looked up every now and then, they even spoke out loud.

    There was only one flavor of CD in the merch bag, (Love Songs For Losers) but I’ve been out scouring Amazon and eBay for the back catalog. (Fabuloso is in the win column, not least cuz I just had to get “Angel On My Shoulder”, and I’m still trolling for Spider and the Barfly). I’ll be onto the other shopping sites for a stingy brim next.

    GREAT STUFF!!!!!

  9. zh’s avatar

    What a great writeup. I love concerts where the audience gets to sing along. Good luck with the CD search!

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