March 5 – Turntable Talk 12 : Melissa Was Hot From The Start

Welcome back to Turntable Talk! Thanks to all the regular readers and welcome to any new ones. If you’re keeping count, this is our 12th instalment, meaning we’ve been doing this periodically for a year now! But for new readers, briefly, on Turntable Talk we have a number of guest columns from other music fans and writers, sounding off on one particular topic. This month, our topic is First Time’s The Charm. We’ve asked our guests to pick a debut record by an artist that really impressed them…and maybe let us know if they feel the artist kept up the quality and momentum with subsequent works.

Today we start with Randy, from Mostly Music Covers, where he looks at cover songs in all their variety and glory. Being from Ontario, will his choice be a Canadian act?:

When I received the invitation from Dave to participate on this topic, several artists came to mind. With some I may have heard the name but not the music before but this one was a true eureka moment. “Bring Me Some Water” was the debut single from Melissa Etheridge, released in 1988. It was written by Etheridge, and it appeared on her eponymous album Melissa Etheridge.

Like many people I can sometimes put myself in the time and place where I first heard a song and subsequently made some kind of lasting connection with the artist. One of the most vivid of those memories is “Bring Me Some Water”. It was a sunny day in May, I was listening to Q107 while driving into downtown Toronto. As I am inching along on the York Street off ramp this song exploded from my radio.

The song is a cry out, “Can’t you see my baby’s got another lover”, “Can’t you see I’m burning alive”. It’s a slow build with a great guitar intro followed by the surly opening lines. I was just so struck with her amazing vocals and could feel her distress and pain. Three things occurred to me after I listened, one; I really, really like that song, two; that woman is going places and three; I’m buying that record tomorrow. I did buy the album and the next three she produced. She received her first of many Grammy nominations for that song. My wife and I were lucky enough to see her in Boston when she performed as part of a Berklee College music night at Tanglewood (with the Boston Pops) in 2014, she performed solo acoustic and was as dynamic and awesome as I had hoped. The song is now thirty-five years old, but honesty writing about the song just now I got chills down my spine and I’m pitching a fever. “Somebody bring me some water”!


24 thoughts on “March 5 – Turntable Talk 12 : Melissa Was Hot From The Start

  1. Thanks Randy! It’s great when a song makes such an impact you can still remember the very first time you heard it over 30 years later. That was a good album, it had several really good tracks on it and I think many were surprised by it, and her. There hadn’t really been a female singer like that with the raw intensity since Janis Joplin. Thankfully Melissa has dealt with adversity much better than JJ did.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. nothing at all wrong with that and it was a good entry for her. I had the album, think via Columbia House and quite liked it. She was brave being ‘out’ openly in the pre-Ellen , Pride everywhere, era and then had to deal with cancer. A real survivor. Bet that boston Pops show was good!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great pick, I love that album and, frankly, had completely forgotten about it. I’ve always liked Melissa Etheridge and her raspy vocals. She’s also a decent guitarist.

    I saw her once in Cologne, Germany, in the ’80s when she opened up for somebody else who may have been Peter Gabriel – I don’t remember! What I do recall is she played a pretty compelling set!

    I would actually go and see her again, if an opportunity arose and ticket prices would be reasonable!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I always liked Etheridge’s vibe. Very talented lady and still is. I bought this debut for my girlfriend at the time when this came out for Xmas 88. I liked it as I loved that voice. So good and great backstory Randy as I love hearing peoples discovery point with this kind of stuff..
    Awesome Sir!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. From a tourist point of view it was great. Lots of history there of course, founding fathers and all that, lots of well preserved architecture. The waterfront is great, lots of restaurants.
        Didn’t get to Fenway but I know people who have and say it’s an experience. I’d go back.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. yeah, if I ever did go there, I’d want to be sure to be in the baseball time of year and see Fenway Park… don’t like the Red Sox but that stadium is an absolute icon in sports.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. quite right. I was in the minority up there, for years I disliked Bosox more than the Yankees. Especially when they more or less tampered with John Farrell and signed him away- though in retrospect, good riddance. He never seemed devoted to T.O. anyway.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve loved her music for a long time and she is one I was lucky enough to see live in concert. “Brave and Crazy” is the album I’ve played the grooves off of but I’ve got a couple other of her albums also.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Melissa grew up about 30 minutes from where I did, and we are similar in age, so I’ve heard a lot of her music, but for some reason I don’t remember this song at all. It’s powerful. I wonder if our radio stations didn’t play her earliest releases.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: March 5 – Turntable Talk 12 : Melissa Was Hot From The Start – Mostly Music Covers

  7. Badfinger (Max)

    Sorry I missed this Randy! My lights just came back on last night around 10pm…I could have wept.
    When I first heard this album….I thought of one thing…Janis Joplin. She didn’t copy her but attracted me because of the sound of her voice. Sweet-sounding pop divas don’t get to me…I like the gravel and intensity.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Badfinger (Max)

        I think it is Dave…. the ice still han’t melted in our big freezer so I think it’s alright. All the food still had frost on them also.
        Her voice does have that Janis thing but yea…the music is different…more a product of it’s time.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Badfinger (Max)

        A fee for a day but none for 3 days and nights. I sure took it for granted…
        Oh I’ll send you mine by the end of the work day.

        Liked by 1 person

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