acute observations on modern life--like a Kurt Weill for the Tarantino
Fricke, Rolling Stone
"...supper-club class and fine surrealist humor. One song
retells the Creation story with Frank Sinatra as God; another celebrates
the liberation of Switzerland. Deeply weird, utterly fab..."
"...the music is angular and sardonic
in a Kurt Weill mode...but Melody’s lyrical conceptions are original.
He dreams of marching on Switzerland and curing the natives of their smug
complacency ("Happy nations have no history/Let’s go give ‘em some").
He sings of his weariness with modern reality ("I can’t remember
the reason I woke up this morning/Maybe awake is what’s left at the end
of a dream"). In "The Dance Lesson," he trains a knowing
eye on the eternal spectacle of a young man and woman falling head over
heels in love, for reasons they’re unlikely to fully comprehend: ‘Blame
it on the moon/Blame it on the mystery/Blame it on the mom and dad who
wrote your sordid history.’
is hardly a run-of-the-mill romantic ("What the called love, let’s
call lingerie," he croons), but he does place faith in the transcendent
powers of art and imagination, wondering, at one point, "If dreamers
felt at home/Would there be a sky to roam/Would there be a tale to tell?"
...this debut effort has literary depth and a warm, inventive sound that
should keep all ears cocked for a follow-up."
Wilonsky, New Times Los Angeles
"...[it’s] about the songs from start to finish: Little Jack’s
1991 debut On the Blank Generation is a remarkable record that paid homage
to Randy Newman ("A Waltz in Springfield, Missouri"), cast Frank
Sinatra as a benevolent God surveying his big-band America ("Happily
Ever After"), retooled Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony as a swingin’ affair,
called for the occupation of a self-satisfied Switzerland, and blamed
everything else on the moon and your mom.
1994 follow-up World of Fireworks was just as marvelous,
filled with literate song-poems about bastard moons and Shetland ponies
to the moon...there’s genuine genius underneath this musical madness."
"...tangos, tarantellas, rumbas, polkas, and waltzes arranged
with popish, wry wit and keen observations...Melody’s sweet, sultry voice
flutters over tinkling ivories and intoxicating accordions...a neo-Weimar
cabaret from Denton, Texas, that finds co-dependency and the L.A. riots
appropriate subject matter..."
"...he spins tales of pillaging Switzerland (seemingly rankled
by the cuckoo clocks and cheese), circuses from hell and a recasting of
the Book of Genesis where God is Sinatra and Paradise is "Vic Damone
at the Frontier Room and there’s no cover." ...It’s all charming
and refreshingly uncynical. Did you say you’re looking for something different?"
"...this guy is one great singer...on my charmed life, the
new Carpe Diem Records release...the man called Melody is true to his
name, lending a range of top-notch vocal performances to each of the 12
songs...Melody’s fine voice makes standout tracks of the albums three
"...in his uniquely sophisticated, feeling songs there’s
a perception so sharp as to be redemptive, recognizing the courage behind
managing that wan smile when all you really want to do is burst into tears."
News, Stuart, Florida
"...Little Jack Melody’s my charmed life...the
first real must-hear album of 1997...It’s exceptional...A real alternative
to alternative music...His lyrics are short stories-- vivid, clever and
filled with characters we recognize...everyday folk dreaming small dreams
in a big-dream world...Free of the campiness and ironic approach of retro-music
scenesters, Melody’s vocals are sweet, gimmick-free and devoted to his
song’s characters. Like all great vocalists he inhabits the meaning of
a lyric; there is no straining for emotion here...The album proves Melody
to be a writer/performer of no small stature who has produced a body of
work that could rank with any of America’s finest songwriters..."
"...On the Blank Generation brims with originality and astonishment
at every placid turn. Not unlike early Van Dyke Parks-- tossed with a
casual croon that’d make Harry Connick Jr. envious...a wonderful craftsman
whose songs demand careful, not casual, attention. At once simple and
street-ready, these tales of the mundane have been polished till they
sparkle. On the Blank Generation is a debut that offers untapped
new pleasures with each playing, something that is far from both the mainstream
and the accepted alternative."
Dallas Times Herald
"...without overstating the case, On the Blank Generation
floats like a life raft on a sea of mediocre local releases...a vehicle
for adventurous, thoughtful songwriting...bounding from the stunningly
beautiful ("A Waltz in Springfield, Missouri") to the pleasantly
oddball ("Happily Ever After", "Switzerland"), demanding
"...Like Randy Newman, Little Jack Melody doesn’t hit anybody over
the head with his messages; he’s able to let evocative musical and lyrical
phrases do all the work for him much more subtly, and thus more powerfully.
It’s not going too far out on a limb to say that these lyrics could stand
alone as poetry; certainly they’re charged with a resonating, poetic energy.
approaches his music with a strong measure of fun and good humor, but
he’s never patronizing. Watch this guy closely; it’s folks like him who
are really stretching the bounds of so-called "popular" music."
"...a series of thoughtful bagatelles, some overtly funny, some lonely
sounding, all somewhere between the cabaret music of his dreams and very
highly developed pop... Melody’s lyrics, which he sings in a light baritone,
reflect his literary obsessions: the stark realism of Hubert Selby, Jr.
("Babylon," "A Waltz in Springfield, Missouri"); Jonathan
Swift’s extreme satire ("Switzerland," "Lock up your daughters,");
and certainly the Bible (the lovely "Song of Ishmael," a cover
of Schiller’s "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony,
and a creation myth called "Happily Ever After," in which Frank
Sinatra is God, and his first clay people become Bobby Darin and Peggy
Lee)...Melody’s an alchemist, as well as a true pop original..."
"...one of modern music’s most obscure geniuses: Denton, Texas’s
sublime vocalist Little Jack Melody...evokes cabaret music from some impossible
place: a postwar Parisian hotspot thriving amid Weimar Germany, say --
an untenable café cut loose in time where Edith Piaf and Randy
Newman sip eternal aperitifs with Kurt Weill and Frank Sinatra... words
of subtle magnificence conjure up wry scenarios..."
"...World of Fireworks is a warm, confident mini-masterpiece.
I get the same feeling listening to it as I did upon first hearing Randy
Newman’s Sail Away or Tom Waits’ Blue Valentine or Elvis
Costello’s This Year’s Model; it’s the feeling that here’s a musician
who captures the mood of an era without directly addressing it, who brings
to the party such absolute smarts and style, who fuses his literary and
musical influences effortlessly."
"...odes, laments, and observations embrace a weary-but-hopeful romantic’s
take on oppression and struggle in the working classes. Fueled by a genuine
humanity, the sometimes-political content of the lyrics draw more from
literature than performance, carrying none of the latter’s often humorless
and didactic preaching. These are songs of love and beauty..."
"...crooner/songwriter Melody is closer in spirit to Kurt Weill than
Burt Bacharach, mixing sunny tunes with dark fates and social satire...Melody’s
melodies transcend mere homage. His velvety, low tenor suggests an enervated
Mel Torme with a fatal vein of self-doubt."
"Little Jack Melody’s third release is full of gorgeous musical textures
and hidden aural surprises... Ah yes, what a deliciously crazy world it
the ezine of Pulse! and Classical Pulse! magazines
"For those who have yet to sample the majesty that is LITTLE JACK
MELODY & HIS YOUNG TURKS, a world of wonder awaits. Like a young Frank
Sinatra battling terminal ennui... ...the novelty factor has been toned
down in favor of a more heartfelt approach that heralds the arrival of
a serious songwriter...[be] the first on your block to discover The Only
Lounge Band That Really Matters."
St. Petersburg Times
"Little Jack Melody is a music original...like an existential Eddie
Haskell... ...With a quirky show-biz jazz feel, his band would be at home
in purgatory’s Copa Cabana..."