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COUNTRY WESTERN CORNER
Country Music Magazine from Santa Fe, Texas - Jan 2003

Mel Hague, OGB Records - "Still Doin It" CD album walks you through the GREAT years of music from 1962 - 2002. Wonderfully pleasant rock & roll, rockabilly and country styles. What a wonderful performance on songs like "Heartbreak Hotel", "I Don't Do It No More" and "Stuck On You". I sure would like to be the promoter to get this music on radio, one release at a time. This very popular U.K. man is soooooo professional and that means pure enjoyment to all.

LINCOLNSHIRE GLEANINGS by Barry Thistleton
Country Music Round Up March 2003

*On the following Saturday evening the Silver Spur CMC based at the Hubbert's Bridge Community Centre, kicked off their new series of concerts with a three act show. Singer, songwriter and author, Mel Hague filled the hall with the sound of his finely graded but still gravelly voice as it worked its way up from somewhere out of his boots. With at least forty years in the business he obviously has quite a few songs to choose from but at least he picks several that are not done to death by others. Some are tongue-twisting, fun or even quirky songs like "I'm My Own Grandpa", or the heart twanging "I'm Tying The Leaves So They Won't Come Down".

COUNTRY MUSIC ROUND UP March 2003
The Pete Smith Column - MADE IN BRITAIN

The most abused term in country music is "legend". The term seems to be attached to just about any artist who has been around for a few years whether they have made a positive contribution to country music or not. One artist who has been performing for not far short of forty years and who has made an invaluable countribution to country music is the South Yorkshire based Mel Hague. Therefore, in my book, Mel is truly a "legend". I have probably followed Hague's career more closely than most. During the early years I was on the perimeter of Mel's career then more closely for the last twenty years or so.

I believe I have every piece of vinyl, every tape and every CD the guy has recorded and I still enjoy them. On stage Mel 'crosses over' without trying. On more than one occasion I have heard it said, "I don't usually like country music but that Mel Hague is great!" Mel is a natural performer. He has studied his music and puts that knowledge to stunning effect along, of course, with that dry humour so essential to a satisfying show. Hague is also a writer. Over the years he has written some pretty powerful songs and, taking writing to another plane, has written two enjoyable western books. He is also a broadcaster and journalist, again putting his knowledge of country music to extremely good use.

Recently Mel has been reaching the younger generation of country listeners by releasing CD versions of his early albums. 'Mel Hague - Live' was recorded in 1978 at the Rotherham Arts Centre and the Crown CMC in Boston Spa and has seventeen performances (including bonus tracks). It really is great to hear how an audience reacted to songs like 'Please Don't Bury Me', 'Everything's Big In Texas', 'Dreaming My Dreams With You', 'Another Night's Done Come And Gone' and 'You're The Only Good Thing'. The second of Mel's re-issues, 'Live At The Queen Bess' was recorded in 1980 at the Scunthorpe CMC during a time when the club was experiencing financial difficulties. Mel donated his services free therefore helping the club to survive a little longer. The album was the first to be issued on Mel's own OGB Label and features such Hague favourites as, 'Put Another Log On The Fire', 'I'm Gonna Be A Truck', 'Bald Headed Woman', 'Help Me Make It Through The Night' and 'Walls Of A Prison'. 13 tracks in all. Incidentally, for newcomers to country, OGB is short for 'Old Gravel Boots', Mel's nickname for many years.

 

MEL HAGUE ~ STILL DOING IT
Currently celebrating his 40th year as a country singer Mel decided to record 12 tracks for this CD at Pete Heywood's Chesterfield Studio. Pete plays dobro, lead, acoustic and steel guitars, Jon J.Paul accordion, Tony Robinson keyboards and Steve Beighton sax on one song.
There's 3 of Mel's own humorous songs here, "Look at Me in Me Line-dancing Shoes", while "I Wish I Could Wake Up and Find You Gone" and "The Groover" & Pete Ryans "The Best Things In Life Are Hairy" gets another outing.
Theres a string of humour throughout the album, with more from Shel Silverstein, "I Don't Do It No More" "The Three Legged Man" and "Old Dogs". He also includes Ray Stevens "Stuck On You". I like the uptempo version of"Heartbreak Hotel" (including sax), and he rounds out the collection with "You are My Sunshine" and "Let The Rest Of The World Go By".
This is a fine example of a British Country recording and I'm sure this radio friendly CD will be among the nominations come February next year, and deservedly so.
Gerry Ford Country Music & Dance Scotland
 

MEL HAGUE - Still Doin' It
This year marks Mel Hague's 40th Anniversary as a country singer and he is still doin' itas the title suggests. Whilst not all these songs are my country cup of tea, Mel Hague certainly can not be faulted for his singing of the older style country, nor for the quality of recording and I am sure his many fans will enjoy it immensely.
The instrumental backing is very good, I particularly enjoyed the guitar and accordion work on Let The Rest Of The World Go By, a lovely waltz. Mel Hague's own composition Look At Me In Me Line Dancin' Shoes is a catchy number, written with a sense of humour. I can see it catching on, and there is already a four wall line dance written to it., choreographed by J.A. Jackson.
The album was recorded at Pete Haywood's Studio in Chesterfield, and Pete plays dobro, electric/acoustic guitars, pedal steel, Tony Robinson is on keyboards, Jon J Paul on accordion, Steve Beighton, tenor saxophone, and drums by Johnny Japanese!
Sue McCarthy Southern Country Magazine
 
Mel Hague - Still Doin' It
Mel Hague has long been a notable pillar of British country music, making his mark as a singer, songwriter, radio broadcaster, magazine contributor and writer of cowboy novels. Celebrating 40 years in the business as a country singer, Mel released Still Doin' It in January 2002 to mark the occasion. Mel turned professional in 1966 and declares "I've had some exceptionally good times and a couple of spectacular bad times, but I've stuck with it."

Still Doin' It finds 3 of Mel's own compositions, including the light-hearted song about love gone wrong 'I Wish I Could Wake Up And Find You Gone', the tongue-in-cheek jibing 'Look At Me In My Line Dancin' Shoes' and the poignant look at an ageing swinger with 'The Groover'. Singing earnestly and with conviction, Mel Hague digs deep with his colourful style, offering a well defined selection of covers, featuring 3 tracks from the witty Shel Silverstein and Ray Stevens' 'Stuck On You', which poses the cautionary tale of the perils suffered at the hand of a tube of "superglue".

12 tracks in all to be found on Still Doin' It, includes Mae Axton's 'Heartbreak Hotel', the cynical 'How Come My Dog Don't Bark When You Come Round' and closes with Pete Ryan's near-the-knuckle 'The Best Things Are Hairy'. With musicians of the calibre of Pete Haywood on dobro, electric/acoustic guitars: Tony Robinson, keyboards: Jon J. Paul, accordion and Steve Beighton, tenor sax. Still Doin' It offers a kaleidoscope of imaginative numbers which are sure to please.

Graham Lees

It's taken me thirty years to 'discover' Mel Hague!

Singer/songwriter Mel Hague. No, no. That Just will not do; let's try again. Superb singer of country music, prolific composer of quality country songs and complete entertainer, is the one and only British born, Canada raised, Mel Hague.
Why then has it taken thirty years for our paths to cross. Fortunately they did so at the Krazy Cowboys CMC (Hereford) recently and I was able to evaluate all the glowing reports this artist has garnered over those years. Now that I have enjoyed an evening in the company of this man I know all those accounts were thoroughly deserved. Those of you who have listened to him on many occasions have been fortunate indeed. At the end of the evening, with tongue in cheek, I asked him if he could let me have some of his work with one or other of his bands. He offered to tape an album and didn't want any payment. I was certainly overwhelmed when a package arrived containing five albums plus a single. That makes him a very generous man. Those of you who own his 'Don't Want You Knockin' On My Door', album will know, as I now do, the quality of his songwriting:
If it takes another thirty years l have to catch up with this man again. If you add to his considerable recording and live shows his many years in broadcasting and journalism (including contributing to this paper) and couple it with the fact that he was born with congenital cerebral palsy, that makes him a very courageous man with a terrific sense of humour. Mel Hague it was a privilege to meet you.
BORDER COUNTIES (October 1997)
By Alfred Toye, 1 Winthills, Knowbury, Ludlow, Shropshire, SY8 3JT
 

END OF THE TRAIL C M C
The first show for this month was a double bill show featuring BILL ALEXANDER and MEL HAGUE.
Mel Hague is no stranger to the club, but a few years had passed since he was last with us in fact the last time being back in the day's when he was working with a band. But on this occasion he was back as a solo artist, in fact doing his thing in the style that most of our followers remember best. His two sets on this occasion I feel will be best described as "pure magic" with two very well selected sets. Mel had the audience in his hands right from the first song, proving that he still has the unforgettable ability of being able to entertain with a nice rapport and just the right amount of good clean humour, mixed in with the selection of songs that he portrays so well. Our thanks to both acts for all the effort and for making this another night to remember.
Extract from Southern Country Music Magazine

25th Anniversary of MEL HAGUE
BRITISH COUNTRY MUSIC ROOTS (May 1991)
AUDREY LAZENBY

This month sees the 25th anniversary as a professional in the country music business of one of the best and most courageous men I know, Mel Hague.

I first met Mel way back in the Seventies, and he had been a professional singer for about ten years at that time. He was the one person who helped me develope an interest in the contemporary country music of that time, and we have remained good friends ever since.

Contrary to popular belief, Mel was born in Rotherham in South Yorkshire. From birth he suffered with congenital cerebral palsy and his parents were told he would never be able to walk. And indeed he didn't until he was three years old when he took his first steps.

When he was eight years old his parents took him to Canada to obtain treatment which at the time was unavailable in this country, but unfortunately that was unsuccessful. But one good thing did come from his stay in Canada and that was a fast developing interest in country music.

At 19 years old Mel and his family returned to settle in Rotherham, where he started singing and playing rock 'n' roll with some of the local groups.

He formed his first group called the Paladins in 1962 and in the following year the Westernaires, his first county band, was born. It was in 1966 while with the Westernaires that he turned professional, touring American bases in Europe where they were well received.

The band went through various changes of personnel but remained very popular and won the most entertaining band award at the West Country Music Association in 1973. Through winning this award Mel was given a recording contract from Jim Fowley, head of Look Records, and after a lot of hard work the first record The Winner was produced. This album included Don't Call Me A Cowboy, Lisa and As Close To Me As You, showing off Mel's undoubted talent as a songwriter.

While Mel was still with the Westernaires he met and married Ivy and their son Gary was born. Incidentally it will also be their silver wedding anniversary in August of this year.

Eventually the bass player left the band and after thinking about it for a while the rest of the band decided that they had gone about as far as they could, they disbanded and Mel then took to the road as a soloist and just after this time Ivy gave birth to their daughter Angela.

During the next ten yours as a solo artist Mel won just about every award going. Too many to mention them all, but they included the top solo act at the Wembly County Music Festival for two years running. He was also nominated the top British Country Music songwriter two consecutive years by the British Country Music Association. In 1981 he was voted top Country Music Entertainer in a nationwide ballot sponsored by Aria Guitars and the Daily Mirror. For this he was awarded a Golden Guitar, worth one thousand pounds, then. This was a special one off guitar and it's current value must be priceless.

I had known Mel for quite a while at this point and was there when he was presented with the guitar at the Peterborough Festival, it is now one of his most treasured possessions. Another possession which he finally obtained was a big white Cadillac, a car he had always wanted and he was so proud of it. About this time he became involved in local radio, producing and presenting his own country music programme on Radio Sheffield which used to go out every Tuesday night. I was a big fan of his programme because he played a lot of modern country music. I always had difficulty in picking it up, but if I took the radio upstairs I managed to hear it quite clearly. So every Tuesday night found me upstairs listening to country radio.

While doing this show Mel devised a British Country Music chart from the requests he got through his programrne and each month it was published in a country music paper. It made interesting reading.

1981 was the year of the disdabled and Mel decided he wanted to do something different to raise money for PHAB the charity for Physically Handicapped and Able Bodied. After a great deal of thought he came up with the idea of riding a bike from Doncaster to Wembley, getting there in time for the festival.

As Mel had never ridden a bike before this was to be no mean feat. It would have been impossible for him to ride a two wheeler so he set about searching for an adult size trike. After a long search he found the said trike, he had three months to learn to ride and get in all training he needed. I turned up once or twice while he was training and believe me I know it isn't easy for him. At last he was ready and 6 days before the festival he set off, with his son Gary who was nine at the time riding along side of him. Every night he managed to fit a gig in to swell the funds. At the end of all this he had raised £5000, and 1, along with the rest of his friends and family were really proud of him for this achievement.

After 11 years of being a Soloist Mel felt it was time for a change, so decided to get another band together. After a lot of hiring and firing he seems to have come up with the right formula with the present line up. They are Nick Strutt guitarist and mandolin player, Andy Seward on double bass and drummer John Firminger.

Nick and John have both been around the country music scene for a great many years and most of you will be familiar with them but young Andy is only 22 years old and he is an absolute wizard on that double bass. With that line up Mel seems to have found the recipe for a good country band. Their programme is quite different and the way they present the songs is certainly unique.

Mel Hague has been giving us good country music for 25 years now, and there is no reason why he shouldn't go on for a good few more years yet. I know I for one will be listening to him for many more years to come.

 Contact Mel 
37 Wroot Road, Finningley Village, Doncaster, South Yorkshire, DN9 3DR, UK
Tel. 01302 771287
Email: [email protected]
© Mel Hague ( OGB Records)