Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sweetwater - Melon (us 1971)

Sweetwater - Melon (us 1971)

Warner Reprise still had faith in the band and gave them another chance so they released "Melon", an album described by some people as a blend between Jethro Tull, Santana and Jefferson Airplane, but the time had passed and they were not so advanced in 1971 as in 1968 and without Nansi they were unable to regain their lost audience, so they disbanded after a short tour.
~ Iván Melgar Morey - Perú (

Personnel on this album:
* Nancy Nevins (lead female vocals, acoustic guitar),
* Fred Herrera (bass, vocals),
* Alex Del Zoppo (piano, keyboards, harmonica, vocals),
* Albert B. Moore (flute, vocals),
* August Burns (cello),
* Elpidio Cobian (conga, percussion),
* Alan Malarowitz (drums on tracks: 04 & 10),
* Ricky Fataar [courtesy Brother Records] (drums on all other tracks).

01. Get It When You Can (Alex Del Zoppo) - 3:42
02. Don't Forget (Nancy Nevins) - 3:00
03. It Ain't Easy (Albert Moore) - 3:20
04. I'm Happy Today (Alex Del Zoppo) - 4:17
05. Rejoice... The Smile Of Man (Fred Herrera) - 4:53
06. Take It From The Splice, Boys (Fred Herrera) - 6:48
07. Naturally (Alex Del Zoppo) - 3:35
08. Don't Give A Hoot (Albert Moore) - 2:22
09. Faith (August Burns) - 0:38
10. Join The Band (Alex Del Zoppo) - 5:30

That old cliché "you can't tell a book by its cover" may have been true for the Guess Who's Road Food LP, a repulsive album jacket and inner sleeve housing a gem like "Star Baby," but the lesser-known Sweetwater beat the Guess Who to the punch by three years with a watermelon on the front of the Melon LP, and its remains on the back. The music inside is unsettling, but not without merit; Fred Herrera's "Rejoice...The Smile of Man" plays like a less annoying "White Bird" two years after It's a Beautiful Day unleashed that FM staple. Herrera goes off key, but that adds to the charm. Nansi Nevins does not come up with a "White Rabbit" with "Don't Forget," but still manages to sound like Grace Slick on her songwriting contribution. It's the Jefferson Airplane's "Lather" by way of H.P Lovecraft. "Take It From the Splice, Boys" is Jethro Tull meets Santana while predicting the dawn of the Electric Light Orchestra, that mix not flowing well into the countryish "Naturally," which could be Nick Gravenites' version of Big Brother & the Holding Company. Flute, cello, conga, and acoustic guitar should all combine to make for a delicious musical feast, but there are only glimpses of possibilities on Melon, an album that is disjointed, and in desperate need of a song that can raise it to the next level. Wiley Brooks' production is clear and precise, and the feel of the band isn't bad at all; it's just that when they step up to the plate, they hit a few foul balls, and on some tunes, like "Don't Give a Hoot," they simply strike out. "Join the Band" is a real strange one; The Monkees did this much better with "Listen to the Band," the punk vocals mixed with an off-key gospel chorus is certainly interesting, and somewhat amusing, to the point where it could be slipped into a radio show and listeners might say "what the heck was that"? As a novelty, it is wonderful, but after repeated listenings its charm would wear off and you may find yourself looking to hear Mike Nesmith's song again. Alex Del Zoppo's "Get It When You Can" is not as direct as Janis Joplin's "Get It While You Can," which came the year before, its preachy vibe not as much fun as Joplin's tour-de-force lecture. He fares better copping Lou Reed's "Cool It Down" from the Velvet Underground's Loaded LP on "I'm Happy Today." The band puts everything but the kitchen sink into this album, and the telling turntable spindle on the plate with seeds and melon crusts imagery by photographer Annette Del Zoppo kind of sums it up. Just when a song like "It Ain't Easy" makes you want to hit "reject," an intriguing musical passage makes the curiosity factor kick in. An odd presentation for sure, and deserving of some kind of recognition --exactly how much is the question.
 ~ Joe Viglione, Rovi.
In 1995 they were invited for Woodstock II and reunited without Albert Moore, Alan Malarowitz and August Burns who had already died neither Elpidio Cobian who despite their efforts was impossible to find.

One more album (Live at Last 2002) has been released since then and a movie about the band filmed for the 30th anniversary of Woodstock.

I'm sure that if it wasn't for Nansi Nevins accident, SWEETWATER would have kept evolving and probably be considered one of the early icons of USA Prog, but despite that destiny didn't allowed them to reach this status they deserve a place in Prog Archives.
 ~ Iván Melgar Morey - Perú (

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