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MANNING - "SONGS FROM THe BILSTON HOUSE"
BY
DAVE O'NEILL
(DAVE O PROG SHOW PHOENIX FM)

Someone once said, and please forgive the paraphrasing, that any sufficiently advanced technology would appear to us as if magic. Well, is that still true? After a steady diet of Stargate, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica and any number of similar programs, are we not effectively becoming inured to whatever wonders an alien contact may bring? If you were an alien and you were coming here to meet us for the first time youíd need to have some serious stuff about you to impress me, let alone mankind! So, has the ďmagicĒ gone for me? Maybe it has or, more to the point, maybe I should be looking somewhere else for it. Maybe we should look to ourselves for the magic? I think so.

Well, last Wednesday I found the magic again.

It came in a small package about the size of, you guessed it, a CD, bearing the title Songs From The Bilston House. The new album from Guy Manning arrived in the post and soon found itís way onto my MP3 player and from there into my amazed mind. Iíve always known that something released by Guy would be worth a listen and I was eager to hear this new one. What I didnít know was how good the album would be, even though I had heard the rough mix for Antares earlier this year. Itís probably one of his most progressive releases to date and is awash with talent, including Andy Tillison from The Tangent who played drums throughout, as well as supplying a few keyboard parts. The album is a true delight and one I will listen too for years to come. Now, for someone like me to say that it has to be magic!


Speaking of looking to the stars, Guy wrote a track about the light of Antares reaching the Earth and how it was helping guide some sailors back to the shore, along with the help from a candle in the window from a child. Quite a touching story, really, and I felt a little ashamed that I donít listen to the lyrics as much as I should. This will have to change. My wife knows every lyric to every song sheís ever heard and she regularly puts me to shame with my lack of knowledge.

I had to play some more from The Tangent as Andy was also on the show with Guy and I couldnít think of a better album then their new live one called Going Off On One. Strangely enough, Guy is also on this album. It was recorded in Southend on Sea in a little, intimate venue called Club Riga. And what a good album it is, I have to say. If you like progressive rock, and you like the live experience, then get the DVD of the show as itís a killer.

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