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Henri Strik - Background Magazine

One of my fellow reviewers once got a copy of a Guy Manning album to review. He did find it difficult to review because he had no feeling with the music. At the time I did not know anything by this musician and could not know if he was right. But recently I had the chance to review his latest album "A Matter Of Life & Death". This time under the name Manning. After hearing this band effort I can only come to one conclusion. They made a very beautiful album which reminded me a lot of Jethro Tull. Guy's lead vocals resambles a lot Ian Anderson's voice. But also the folk influences played on mandolins, acoustic guitars, cellos and fiddles could have been on any Tull record. The musicians Laura Fowles (sax and vocals), Gareth Harwood electric guitars and vocals),Rick Asthon (bass and vocals) and Guy Manning (keyboards, guitars, bass, drums and mandolin) himself produced a tasteful concept album about Abel Mann. Also the help of several guest musicians made the album even stronger. A good example is the way Andy Tillison played Moog and keyboards on two tracks ("The dream" and "Midnight sail"). His sound reminded me a lot of the two Tangent albums. So it is easy for me to say that I certainly had a feeling with the music on "A Matter Of Life & Death". But to have a feeling with music is mostly a matter of taste and not a matter of life and death. Thank God not. So it was for me easy to review this fine album. I always loved the folk and progressive rock side of Jethro Tull and therefore I loved this disc very much.

**** (Henri)