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Most famous for the irresistible 1971 hit "Brand New Key" (also known commonly as "The Rollerskate Song"), Queens-born folk-singer Melanie Safka has been something of a revelation for me of late. I picked up her album Gather Me for $2 the other day, and I'm just endlessly fond of it. Her voice is big and booming when it needs to be, with a range and a rasp that anyone would kill for—flirty enough for shuffling country, but deep and soulful enough for hard-hitting blues. And yet the album's actually at its best when the understated string arrangements take over. I don't know if the vinyl I got is just a little dusty or if the vocals were actually recorded a little too loudly, but they're always on the verge of blowing out, and it makes for a thrilling listening experience.