Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Resurrection Of Melba Moore

It's An Overused adjective, But This Is No Ordinary 'Comeback'

Melba Moore in a live performance in Lyon, France May 3rd, 2008

KC Shoen aka 'PNG'

There is no logistical reason for Melba Moore to be anywhere near relevant in the music scene as it is now.

The 1993 divorce from Charles Huggins wasn’t just your average celebrity carnival melt-down scrapper between two megalomaniacal cads who wish nothing further than to dowse each other with ad hominem just to get some media attention for their respective selfish causes, real or imagined: what we normally expect to see in our tabloid-obsessed media culture.

Not even close.

This divorce had so much more toxic potency than that. It had all the makings of being a bonifide coup de grace. Huggins, a ne’er-do-well liar, thief, and borderline sociopath spent sixteen years absolutely raping the Peach Melba of all her earnings by maliciously defrauding her name in by way of numerous account openings, land investments, and opening lines of credit without her knowledge or consent. But he wasn’t done there. Just to seal the deal, he set about going public to whine about what a lying, crazed loon she allegedly was. In the court proceedings themselves, Huggins tried every available legal angling to make Ms.Moore the poster child of morbid delusional paranoia. And to add a bit more arsenic to the open wounds, Huggy-Bear almost achieved complete destruction of her relationship with their only daughter, Charli.

All this under the harsh reality that her marriage (at least on Huggins end) was a complete fa├žade, and a platform for which a coward could use the sanctity, and legality of the marriage and business partnership for his own gravy train ticket to ride. Doubly insulting, was the way the vermin of the New York media ate up the financial toll put upon her, further putting more salt in the gash by way of violating her privacy, humiliating her for their own ends. Any lesser individual might have gone clock-tower sniper, maybe dissolved their will by way of chemical abuse. Even as far as suicide. And Charles might have had his way entirely on all counts, but he had one problem:

Melba Moore.

Rather than lie down and surrender out of the entire intensity of that debacle, she fought back, never losing her calm in public, refusing to let intimidation make her react irrationally, and staying focused on the fact that she had the truth. As the years went on, and as her visibility waned, she never stopped working, even going as far as doing a three-woman play in a regional theater in Florida. She was even evicted from her apartment, as the years of fraud coupled with litigation left her destitute, having to even go as far as to apply for welfare for a short period. Yes, I said it: Melba Moore and food stamps in the same sentence…

There is no logistical reason for Melba Moore to be anywhere near relevant in the music scene, and given all this, even remotely sane enough to hang on…

Enter Ron Richardson.

HushTown Entertainment was originally ran by Huggins from its earliest beginnings in 1976. As Melba began to win lawsuit after lawsuit to wrest control of her career from Huggy-Bear’s clutches, she installed Richardson: the son of Donald Raysor, the replacement for Ronnie Bright in the famous doo-wop group The Valentines, and godson of the legendary (and rather notorious) producer Richard Barrett (for you youngins’ out there, just google “The Valentines”, or go to Wikipedia and do the same). Having come from such great stock, Ron had a predisposition for what he calls “classic acts”, and began his career booking such acts to venues that otherwise they could not obtain themselves, particularly if they had been out of circulation.

As time went on, he went into management, specifically focused on, as he explains “these classic divas (who) suffered in the business and with there so called ‘soul mates’”. Melba couldn’t have asked for more qualified candidate than Ron, not just because of his experience, his passion for the “classic” sound, or the unique music bloodline he came from. It was something deeper..unusual, even by today’s standards.

He actually gave a damn.

Ron Richardson, by nature of his strong Christian values, nuanced by his real-life earthiness in life experience, was a natural fit to lead in the New Era at Hush. As Melba poignantly pointed out on a recent on-air interview I was a part of, she said of Ron “He developed my philosophy—‘if you don’t know-learn’” adding “ ‘if you have a passion (for it) you can learn’” A simple statement that encapsulates the entire complex position that the Peach currently resides: She has learned..

It took up to as recently as 2007 before complete justice was served on Huggins (by way of incarceration), and for Melba to start receiving the full-on royalties she was long overdue. A testament to her faith, she is more than just a survivor. More than just recovered. She has learned, and from the learning an impossibly imagined growth now finds her at the precipice of regaining that top spot..and keeping it.. “Nobody But Jesus” was the featured track on the Virgie Lindsey Show, and although the playback through the radio program was scratchy as sandpaper, I heard something while on the line that stunned me almost to a hault…

She’s gotten better. Vocally. Emotionally. Spritually.
Don’t take my word for it..Listen for yourself.

There is no logistical reason for Melba Moore to be anywhere near relevant in the music scene. She is, however relevant. Her music is evolving. Her marketing strategy is evolving, Her management is nails, and she’s due to release her first commercial CD in years. Melba is relevant. It’s not logical.

But neither is faith.

…As Ron would say “ *ponder*”

This is from the live radio broadcast in which Melba Moore and I talked about the music industry and new artists.
Her advice is gold to anyone trying to make headway into the music world. A solid listen. Thanks To the Peach for taking the time

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