Harlequin Melodies

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Harlequin Melodies
Harlequin Melodies album.jpeg
Studio album by Mickey Newbury
Released 1968
Recorded RCA Studio A, Nashville, Tennessee, 1968
Genre Country, Psychedelic rock, Soul, Blues
Label RCA
Producer Felton Jarvis
Mickey Newbury chronology
Harlequin Melodies
Looks Like Rain
(1969)Looks Like Rain1969
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars [1]

Harlequin Melodies is the 1968 debut album by singer-songwriter Mickey Newbury. At the time, Newbury was making an impact as an incredible and successful songwriter in Nashville, signed by Acuff-Rose Publishing. At one point he had four #1 hits on different charts for Eddy Arnold, Solomon Burke, The First Edition and Andy Williams, and he had written hits for several others. Produced by Elvis Presley producer Felton Jarvis, Harlequin Melodies concentrates on Newbury's versions of his hit songs; nearly every song on the album has been covered by other artists.

Sonically, the album is drastically different from anything else Newbury would record. The artist largely disowned the album, considering its successor Looks Like Rain his true debut. In contrast to the subtle expressiveness of Newbury's prime work, Harlequin Melodies is overproduced and packed with often distracting instrumental touches, shifting tempos, and strange production effects. As a result of his dissatisfaction with the album and recording sessions, Newbury ended his RCA contract. Some of the songs on Harlequin Melodies would be re-recorded by Newbury for later albums, with very marked differences. "How Many Times (Must The Piper Be Paid For His Song)" was a highlight of Frisco Mabel Joy, "Good Morning, Dear" and "Sweet Memories" were on Heaven Help the Child, "Here Comes The Rain Baby" on A Long Road Home, the last album Newbury released during his lifetime.

Seven of the songs on Harlequin Melodies were repackaged for Sings His Own where they would be joined by another oft-covered Newbury song "Sunshine" and two of his RCA singles "The Queen" and "Got Down On Saturday." Most CD versions add these songs as bonus tracks to the complete Harlequin Melodies album.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks composed by Mickey Newbury; except where indicted

  1. "Sweet Memories" – 3:19
  2. "Here Comes The Rain, Baby" – 2:27
  3. "Mister Can't You See" (Mickey Newbury, Townes Van Zandt) – 5:45
  4. "How Many Times (Must The Piper Be Paid For His Song)" – 3:13
  5. "Are My Thoughts With You" – 3:06
  6. "Harlequin Melodies" – 2:53
  7. "Funny, Familiar, Forgotten Feelings" – 2:58
  8. "Time Is A Thief" – 3:02
  9. "Good Morning, Dear" – 2:52
  10. "Weeping Annaleah" – 2:34
  11. "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)" – 2:52

Sings His Own bonus tracks[edit]

Most CD issues of Harlequin Melodies combine the intact album running order with the three tracks substituted on 1968's Sings His Own.

  1. "The Queen" (Mickey Newbury, Townes Van Zandt) – 3:08
  2. "Sunshine" – 2:43
  3. "Got Down On Saturday" – 2:48

Raven Records edition bonus tracks[edit]

A 2003 Raven Records edition combined Harlequin Melodies, the three tracks from Sings His Own with a b-side and seven tracks from his Elektra and Mercury recordings selected from the 1985 compilation Sweet Memories.

  1. "Organised Noise" – 3:05
  2. "Remember The Good" – 2:58
  3. "The Future's Not What It Used To Be" – 4:10
  4. "How I Love Them Old Songs" – 3:44
  5. "If You Ever Get To Houston" – 3:41
  6. "She Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye" (Mickey Newbury, Doug Gilmore) – 3:57
  7. "Dizzy Lizzy" – 3:58
  8. "An American Trilogy" (Mickey Newbury/Traditional) – 4:48


  • Al Pachucki – engineer
  • Cam Mullins (tracks: 3, 8), Tupper Saussy (tracks: 1, 2, 6, 8, 9) – arrangements

Selected cover recordings[edit]