Part-time Parallel or 90 Degrees member Guy Manning is continuing the
tradition of great British progressive singers who take the
and expand it to epic proportions. At various times, we're reminded of Roger Waters, Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), Geoff Mann (Twelfth Night), Dave Cousins (The Strawbs),
Roy Harper, Rupert Hine, Al Stewart, and Nigel Mazlyn Jones.
Manning's strong vocals are among the best in the progressive genre today. He is a poet and storyteller who could be (and sometimes is) a folk troubadour but chooses to work on a larger scale. His Hammond organ playing is a delight to hear. The Ragged Curtain is the latest Manning album and it is magnificent, ranging from intimate, heartfelt songs to Van der Graaf Generator-like intensity. Manning is now a full-fledged band with six members including ex-Parallel or 90 Degrees guitarist Gareth Harwood, plus guests Andy Tillison (Parallel or 90 Degrees) on keyboards and Angela Goldthorpe (Mostly Autumn) on flute and recorders.
The music is full of Mellotron flute and strings, and culminates in the eight-part epic title track. The album was engineered and produced by John Spence (Mostly Autumn, Castanarc).
The Cascade CD also features Harwood and Goldthorpe. With so much progressive rock today lacking emotional warmth, it's vital to hear music this organic.