|Guy Manning, very interesting musician, singer,
composer hailing from UK, with so many projects to his name,
that its almost unbelievable! As a young lad he listened to, to
name a few: Wishbone Ash & Alice Cooper (“Schools Out” period)
but he also listened to Tulls':” Thick as a Brick”.
And his amazing discography holds no less than:
1. 10 solo outings/ albums from :1999- 2007.
2. Parallel or 90 degrees :" No More travelling Chess" 2000.
3. The Tangent : 2003-2007 , with 4 albums and among those, the
highly praised: “ The Music That Died Alone” and/or the
excellent: “The World We Drive Through” .
Now up to date,
Manning´s new album: “Songs From The Bilston House” really is an
amazing achievement! It is in all honesty a masterpiece!! I got
it from my dear friend and soul mate and at first listen, I
thought well....another ok album in my vast collection! But then
I listened and listened some more as one should, being a
reviewer and all!
By the third (or fourth) listen, I realised that this was/is one
special album! Like in the old days, when you played that
Beatles, Stones or for that matter Wishbone Ash (love that band)
..the first two or three listens was just tip of the iceberg!!
Later excursions into said bands/albums proved rewarding as in
the more you listen, the more you get!
Now, back to this magnificent solo album, where the title track
has a somewhat sinister story to tell. It is...after mentioned
repeated listenings...quite an amazing track both lyrically and
music wise!! It has some mesmerizing hypnotic spell, I honestly
cant get the tune out of my head!!
Track 2: “ The Calm Absurd” has a certain Caravan (the band)
vibe, including flute!! Superb track!!
“Lost in Play” boasts some fine acoustic guitar intro, soon to
raise the bar with some flute (a la Tull) and a synth keyboard
theme that just burns and would you believe a violin insert?!
“Understudy” a towering powering tune, with plenty of synths and
keyboard play!! And some superb guitar from
David Million!! You will love it!!
“Skimming Stones” starts as a soothing slow ballad-like
theme, building gradually into a traditional folk rock type of
song with violins, keyboards and again a brilliant guitar from
David Million!! Another great track !!
“Antares” sounds like a cross between America & the Strawbs,
tune and vocal wise, suddenly crashing into a
tighter keyboard theme, that could have been on a Rare Bird
album! Again with fine lyrics, this track is Just brilliant!!
“Icarus and Me” unlike the other fine tracks, are closer to the
sound of The tangent, but still very much in the sync
with the rest of the album! Its also displays some excellent
hammond keys, great guitars (again) and a beautiful sax solo!
“Pillars of Salt” a true homage to the fabulous sixties, both in
sound and beautiful lyrics (mentioning both Marilyn, JFK and
Beatles) it has all the trimmings of a great sixties ballad
(with plenty of hints musically to Beatles and a glimpse of
Doors, with a drop of Tull thrown in) boasting psychedelic
leanings in sound and production!! Superb Stuff!!
Final track: “Inner Moment” shows Manning at his utmost
traditional mode, delivering a tune that really are a beautiful
piece of classic traditional folk music that only musicians from
Uk can produce. Its a wonderful “Inner Moment” to end a perfect
Most certainly one of the great albums of the year 2007, with
many memorable songs and some excellent musicians playing their
There must have been a good vibe in the studio sessions, as you
can feel the warmth and enthusiasm in every groove!
I recommend this album highly, to anyone into fine music!!
A masterpiece indeed!! Thanx Manning!!