Friday, 29 June 2018

Melissa “Midnight Tramboline” 1971 Australia Psych Prog


Melissa “Midnight Tramboline”  1971 ultra rare Australia Psych Prog
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The only album of Australian band from Sydney. Established in 1969 under the name of “Molten Hue”. Broke up in 1972. Played psychedelia and acid rock in the style of an American group West Coast. Then, and this album - a great influence “Jethro Tull”, and after the arrival of a group of Irish Joseph “Joe” Creighton - the influence of the young Van Morrison. On CD added to the album as a bonus is their only single…..~


Oh man, does this band want to be an Aussie answer to Van Morrison! They do a killer cover of “Madame George,” and do right by “Young Lovers Do.” Joseph Creighton is a dead ringer for Van the Man, which helps. I love their bluesy arrangement of that trad chestnut, “The Cuckoo,” and only wish they’d stuck around long enough to record more pastoral blues-pop pearls like “Matalla” and “Jennifer in the City.” But ‘tweren’t to be, and this LP and an earlier 7", with a particularly barn-burning take on Dylan’s “Too Much of Nothing,” are all that remain of Melissa. Alas…..by….echoinggrove …~


Melissa formed in Sydney in 1969 under the name Molten Hue. The original lineup was Robert Gunn (flute, vocals), Rick Barrett (guitar) Ken Frazier (bass) and Warren “Wal” Sparkes (drums), but Irish-born bassist Joe Creighton (who had previously been a member of UK band The A-Side) replaced Frazier not long after the band was formed. Melissa started out playing a psychedelia and acid-rock, and they were one of the first Australian bands to play rock in the style of American West Coast acts like Jefferson Airplance, Country Joe & The Fish or The Steve Miller Band. 
Melissa’s debut 45 “Mississippi Mamma” – produced by Rory Thomas from The Questions – was a pacy progressive blues-rock number, backed by a raucous cover of Dylan’s “Too Much of Nothing”. The group’s only album, Midnight Trampoline was recorded over a period of nine months during 1971 and was eventually released in October on the independent Banner label. Several tracks were composed by Creighton and/or Barnett, and there’s an interesting arrangement of the traditional song “Cuckoo”. As Ian McFarlane noted in Freedom Train, the group was obviously heavily under the spell of Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks, and the LP features two Morrison covers, “Madame George” and “Young Lovers Do”. Unfortunately, the album sank without a trace on release, but over the years it has gained a reputation as one of the better Australian rock Albums of the period and it became a sought-after collector’s item. 
Melissa had a strong following on the Sydney suburban dance circuit and they performed with major acts like Tully and Mecca at 'underground’ happenings and concerts at venues like the Paddington Town Hall and the Arts Factory in Darlinghurst. One of the highlights of the group’s brief career was a support slot in Sydney on the Sydney leg of the first Australian tour by Elton John in October 1971. By this time, however, internal tensions that built up during the recording of the LP had brought about to a split the band, with Creighton and Gunn being replaced by Chris Keystone and Ken Hanley, plus a new keyboard player, Glen Farley. Melissa continued to perform through 1972 but broke up at the end of that year. 

Fortunately, the Melissa recordings were among the precious early-'70s OzRock relics selected for reissue by Vicious Sloth Collectibles. The tracks from the Midnight Trampoline LP, augmented by the two tracks from the single, were included on the CD reissue 
The most notable member of the group is of course Joe Creighton, who has long been one of Australia’s most respected and sought-after bassist-vocalists. He has played with many notable Australian acts including Billy T, Mark Gillespie, Pseudo Echo, The Black Sorrows, Vanetta Fields, Ian Moss and The John Farnham Band and The Revelators, he’s toured with Tim Finn, and led his own Joe Creighton Band in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Joe’s remarkable list of session credits includes the Oz soundtrack, Jane Conway, Pat Wilson, Australian Crawl, Hunters & Collectors, Sharon O'Neill, the Wendy Matthews/Kate Ceberano duet album, Greg Champion, Marc Hunter and Jenny Morris….Milesago…~


In the current CD re-issue series Vicious Sloth continue to trawl through Australias rock heritage in an effort to unearth those criminally underrated and overlooked gems from the early seventies. As gems go Melissa’s 1971 album 'Midnight Trampoline’ takes its place alongside the other albums in this series as an extra fine listening experience. Originally known as Molten Hue, Melissa was one of the first bands on the Sydney “head” scene of the early seventies to include obscure West Coast material in their live set. Forever caught between the totally dedicated flower children out for their dose of psychedelia and acid-rock, and the simple popsters of the day, the band members must have suffered no small identity crisis. At its peak Melissa was able to play concerts at Paddington Town Hall and Sydneys famed Arts Factory alongside renowned underground outfit Tully, as well as commanding a large following on the suburban dance circuit. The original Melissa line-up came together in 1969 around Robert Gunn (flute, vocals), Rick Barrett (guitars), Ken Frazier (bass, vocals) and Warren 'Wal’ Spark (drums). Not long after the band s formation, Irishman Joe Creighton replaced Ken Frazier. From early beginnings playing acid-rock, Melissa developed into an innovative rock band incorporating subtle country and jazz-blues overtones. The story of Melissa’s debut album, Midnight Trampoline, is your typical saga of bad deals and lost opportunities. Recorded over a period of nine months, the album eventually appeared on the Banner label to little response at the end of 1971. 'Midnight Trampoline’ stands as an intriguing artefact that combines esoteric, folksy-rock redolent of Jethro Tull ('Matalla’, 'Getting Through’), Moody Blues-styled pastoral pop ('Out in the Country’, 'Jennifer In New York’), progressive blues-rock ('Cuckoo’), and two Van Morrison covers ('Young Lovers Do’, 'Madame George’). The band was obviously taken with Morrisons Astral Weeks album, and indeed Creighton bore a remarkable vocal resemblance to Van the Man. Prospects looked promising, but various pressures and frustrations brought to bear over the album severely undermined any sense of unity. By the time the album appeared there was a new Melissa line-up, but the band continued to tour before finally breaking up at the end of 1972. Mastered from the original tapes, here once again for your enjoyment Melissa with 'Midnight Trampoline’, 
in the original artwork with added liner notes…….~


Melissa 
*Richard Barrett - Guitars 
*Joe Creighton - Bass, Vocals 
*Robert Gunn - Flute, Vocals 
*Wally Sparke - Drums, Percussion 
Additional Musicians 
*“Martin” - Vocal Harmony 
*Peter Martin - 12 String Guitar 
*Glen Farley - Electric Piano


Tracks 
1. Matalla (Creighton, Barrett) - 4:54 
2. Getting Through (Creighton) - 4:08 
3. Young Lovers Do (Morrison) - 4:11 
4. Out In The Country (Williams, Nicholls) - 4:01 
5. Cuckoo (Trad., Arr. Creighton, Barrett) - 5:46 
6. Jennifer In New York (Barrett) - 5:08 
7. Madame George (Morrison) - 6:13 
8. Mississippi Mama (Zinser) - 1:58 
9. Too Much Of Nothing (Dylan ) - 2:44 

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