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Manning - One Small Step... CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.58 | 60 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Progcustic!

One thing for sure when the first time I spun this album it reminded me to Ian Anderson / Jethro Tull acoustic work in terms of style and compositions. But when I look into deep there are differences between the two. First is the fact that this one by Manning does not depend in itself with flute rather it relies on saxes. Second, Manning's voice has less accentuation as compared to Anderson's even though there are some similarities in some music passages. Third, the use of acoustic guitar in this album is much more intense. Despite the differences, I almost pretty sure that if you like Jethro Tull acoustic version, you would definitely like this album. It's a joy listening to this album.

The opening track "In Swingtime" (4:30) is basically an upbeat music performed unplugged using acoustic guitar as main rhythm section augmented beautifully with string arrangements and drum beats. Through this track you might say close proximity of the song with Jethro Tull's acoustic music. Of course the nice sax solo played by Laura Fowles makes it different. It's a good track especially in terms of the smooth flow as well as melody line. The second track "Night Voices" (5:56) is my favorite due to it has an excellent tagline melody with reasonable number of changes in moods. The opening part with acoustic guitar augmented beautifully with string section has made a good impression in the very beginning of the track. When the vocal line by Manning enters into music stream, it sounds nicely. The chorus line is excellent. As with the opening track this one has a good flow as well. "The Mexico Line" (7:02) is a bit different with the first two tracks as it has some country elements.

The central focus of this album is probably the epic that comprises 8 parts where each part is represented by one track. It starts nicely with dynamic acoustic guitar at first part "Part I - Star Gazing" (4:34) which has some kind of mellotron work. Again, Manning vocal line is similar with Anderson. The music turns into more energetic nature in the second part "Part II - For Example" (3:03) where acoustic guitars sound aggressively here. "Part III - At The End Of My Rope" (2:04) provides some sort of musical break as the music is cooling down. "Part IV - Man Of God" (2:36) is another favorite of mine especially in the way Manning sings - it's excellent! The use of flute in "Part V - A Blink Of The Eye" (4:56) is really nice especially with the combination of acoustic guitar work. The epic flows nicely until Part VIII with consistent use of acoustic guitars as main rhythm section and sometimes takes control of melody as well. "Part VII - Black & Blue" (7:26) has a great opening especially with its bluesy nuance coupled with flute and saxes. The electric guitar solo is also stimulating. The epic concludes with "Part VIII - Upon Returning" (3:28).

Overall this is a good album which has solid composition, brilliant songwriting by Guy Manning and there are many prog elements in this album. I'd rather categorize the music as progressive acoustic (progcustic). The other interesting point of this album is its artwork by Ed Unitsky who used to design The Tangent albums. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW (i-Rock! Music Community)

Gatot | 3/5 |


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