(“The (mostly) country one”)
Berry Gordy Jr. went on a veritable spree of founding new Motown subsidiary labels in 1962. This one, founded in June that year, started out as something of an oddity, a fourth label for releasing R&B-soul-pop cuts that didn’t fit on the “big three” of Tamla, Motown and Gordy. The first few releases on the new label were a mixed bag of largely unremarkable soul records which are more notable nowadays for what their creators went on to do afterwards; the first Mel-o-dy single was Dearest One by one Lamont Dozier, while other 1962 non-hits included Mind Over Matter by a band called “the Pirates” (actually the Temptations under a different name), and You’ll Never Cherish A Love So True by “the Vells” (a.k.a. the Vandellas).
None of those early Mel-o-dy records did any business, and so Berry Gordy Jr turned control over to Al Klein, who completely restocked the roster, binning the soul music and refashioning Mel-o-dy as a label aimed at the hitherto-untapped country & western market. A couple of comedy records also came out on the label in early 1963, but for the most part Mel-o-dy was a dedicated country & western imprint for the rest of its short lifespan.
Despite a lack of chart action, sales must have been respectable, because the label carried on putting out country sides for another two years before shutting up shop in the spring of 1965. The last single released on Mel-o-dy was All The Good Times Are Gone by label mainstay Howard Crockett (a sort of supermarket own-brand Johnny Cash). It marked Motown’s last foray into the world of country music until the mid-1970s and the equally shortlived Melodyland/Hitsville and MC labels, but Berry Gordy continued to hanker after white audiences outside Motown’s traditional fanbase and eventually set up the Rare Earth label for white rock and pop bands in 1969.
All of the singles released by Mel-o-dy Records have now been covered on Motown Junkies: here’s a complete 45 discography for the label.
MEL-O-DY RECORDS: COMPLETE 45 DISCOGRAPHY
- LAMONT DOZIER: Dearest One (7) / Fortune Teller (Tell Me) (3) (Mel-o-dy 102, June 1962)
- THE CREATIONS: This Is Our Night (5) / You’re My Inspiration (1) (Mel-o-dy 101, July 1962)
- THE CHARTERS: Trouble Lover (4) / Show Me Some Sign (3) (Mel-o-dy M-104, September 1962)
- THE PIRATES: Mind Over Matter (I’m Gonna Make You Mine) (6) / I’ll Love You Till I Die (8) (Mel-o-dy M-105, September 1962)
- THE VELLS: You’ll Never Cherish A Love So True (‘Til You Lose It) (6) / There He Is (At My Door) (6) (Mel-o-dy M 103, October 1962)
- THE CHUCK-A-LUCKS: Sugar Cane Curtain (1) / Dingbat Diller (2) (Mel-o-dy 106, February 1963)
- BERT “JACK” HANEY & BRICE “NIKITER” ARMSTRONG: The Interview (Summit Chanted Meeting) (1) / Peaceful (4) (Mel-o-dy 107, March 1963)
- BILLY MERRITT: Why Go Out Of Your Way (4) / I’ll Go Anywhere (2) (Mel-o-dy 108, unreleased)
- HOWARD CROCKETT: The Big Wheel (6) / That Silver Haired Daddy Of Mine (1) (Mel-o-dy 109, October 1963)
- GENE HENSLEE: Shambles (3) / Beautiful Women (1) (Mel-o-dy 110, January 1964)
- HOWARD CROCKETT: Bringing In The Gold (1) / I’ve Been A Long Time Leaving (3) (Mel-o-dy 111, March 1964)
- BRUCE CHANNEL: Satisfied Mind (5) / That’s What’s Happenin’ (4) (Mel-o-dy 112, March 1964)
- DORSEY BURNETTE: Little Acorn (4) / Cold As Usual (5) (Mel-o-dy 113, May 1964)
- DORSEY BURNETTE: Jimmy Brown (4) / Everybody’s Angel (4)(Mel-o-dy 116, June 1964)
- BRUCE CHANNEL: You Make Me Happy (5) / You Never Looked Better (5) (Mel-o-dy 114, July 1964)
- HOWARD CROCKETT: My Lil’s Run Off (3) / Spanish Lace And Memories (4) (Mel-o-dy 115, August 1964)
- DORSEY BURNETTE: Ever Since The World Began (3) / Long, Long Time Ago (4) (Mel-o-dy 118, November 1964)
- HOWARD CROCKETT: Put Me In Your Pocket (1) / The Miles (1) (Mel-o-dy 119, December 1964)
- DEE MULLINS: Love Makes The World Go ‘Round, But Money Greases The Wheel (4) / Come On Back (And Be My Love Again) (3) (Mel-o-dy 117, January 1965)
- THE HILLSIDERS: You Only Pass This Way One Time (8) / Rain Is A Lonesome Thing (2) (Mel-o-dy ME 120, March 1965)
- HOWARD CROCKETT: All The Good Times Are Gone (1) / The Great Titanic (1) (Mel-o-dy 121, April 1965)
(Click a song title to read a full review of that side. NB: The coloured numbers after each title indicate the highly subjective mark out of ten I gave that song on the day I happened to write about it. They weren’t intended to be taken too seriously.)