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Manning - Guy Manning: Tall Stories For Small Children CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.39 | 33 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
3 stars Manning's debut is by far his most acoustic oriented album, driven mostly by acoustic guitar albeit with plenty of keyboard embellishments. It reflects a surprising musical maturity, especially in the first and longest track. Questionable sound effects and allusions to "Wizard of Oz" notwithstanding, "The Last Psalm" generally manages to hold interest thanks to that blend of instrumentation and a sense that one doesn't know what Manning will say next. It is nonethless a bit static at times, a general theme among Manning's work.

Other highlights of the album are "White Waters" and especially the wistful and atmospheric "The Candyman". Most of the rest of the album is dominated by 2 suites, "The Rise and Fall of Abel Mann" and "Holy Ireland". The first of these ends strongly, with "Post-Mortem: 3 Score Years and 10" having more than a little Camel in it, and "Post-Mortem: In My Life", being an uplifting ballad with a lovely melody. From the later suite, "The Widow's Tale" features more of that plaintive style with some well placed bass work, while "Priest's Song" is a welcome jig like tune blended with prog elements.

Because Manning has such a distinctive, albeit pleasant voice, and the instrumentation tends to be similar from track to track, this 69 minute album falls into the trap of perhaps seeming overly long and at times overly languid. Still, a good debut with plenty of promise, and that's no tall tale.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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