The Gypsy Rover – Mel, Mel & Julian
We sometimes forget what a great folk scene we had in South Africa and also forget that there was more to SA folk than Des & Dawn. One of the groups from back in the day (when folk wasn’t just George W. Bush’s name for people) was Mel, Mel & Julian. The group comprised 2 guys called Mel and one called Julian which should be obvious from their name. And just who were these Mel’s and a Julian? Well. One Mel was Green and the other a Miller. Mel Miller? I hear you ask (if you aren’t old enough to know the group), wasn’t he that ou from ‘Biltong And Potroast’? (And if you’re younger than those not old enough to know the group, you’re asking ‘What’s ‘Biltong And Potroast’? – a very early TV comedy show if you must know). And Julian, well, if you’re not old enough, you may want to sit down here…was Julian Laxton. Yes, him of Freedom’s Children and The Julian Laxton band (to name a few).
Anyways, the three of them got together and made some beautiful folk music. The two Mel’s were mainly responsible for the honey coated vocals and marvellous harmonies, while Julian was the guitar man. On ‘The Gypsy Rover’ (a song written in 1950 by an Irishman called Leo Maguire and sometimes called ‘The Whistling Gypsy’ which was recorded by number folk luminaries like The Kingston Trio and The Clancy Brothers), the guitar playing is plucking brilliant, the whistling is crisp and clear and the vocals are like silk. And then there’s the ‘hardy-doo-hardy-doo-da-day’ bit where the harmonies are quite angelic. You put all those bits together and you have a folking good song.
Where to find it:
Ethnic Shmethnic – Mel, Mel & Julian (2002), Mlg Limited
Hear on Spotify: