|Guy Manning - Tall Stories For Small Children|
Review courtesy John "Bo Bo" Bollenberg
Whilst the illustrious Guy Manning could do his thing as a guest on Parallel or 90 Degrees' The Time Capsule (Cyclops) he is able to welcome Parallel members bass player Jonathan Barrett and especially the powerful keys of Andy Tillison on his own solo output Tall Stories For Small Children. Manning has an interesting and unique way of combining great prog rock with intelligent lyrics, folky input and acoustic simplicity. The balance between the better singer/songwriter songs and the 'finger-licking-good' arrangements make this album one of its kind. Also the contribution on tablas by one Pav Chana creates another dimension without having to go psychedelic all the way. Throughout the song one can hear the main theme from 'The wizard of Oz'. Very Eastern and fascinating is 'The voyager' which sort of reminds me of the high days of Strawbs. Apparently a lot of 'Chinese take away' on Manning's menu because 'White water' also swims in royal Eastern influences. During 'Waiting on a ledge', Guy's voice steers towards that of Machiavel drummer/singer Marc Ysaye. The pure singer/songwriter is adrift during 'Castaways' where we can witness a mix between Robert Wyatt and John Martyn backed by a wonderful fretless bass. In 'A soldier's story' the feeling gets in the same field as Jethro Tull thanks to simplicity and a grand finale. Then again 'The widow's tale' could be a track out of a Chris De Burgh million seller. As you can see all very positive words for this beautiful album which fans of easy listening, well orchestrated acoustic music with folky influences will certainly relish.
More about Tall Stories For Small Children:
Track Listing: The Last Psalm / The Voyager / White Waters / The Candyman / Grand Fanfare / Waiting On A Ledge / Grand Fanfare (Revisited) / 3 Score Years And 10 / In My Life / Castaways / The Land / A Soldier's Story / The Widow's Tale / Priest's Song / The Land (Reprise)
Review © John Bollenberg