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Manning Songs From The Bilston House album cover
3.93 | 91 ratings | 7 reviews | 30% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2007

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Songs from the Bilston House (6:04)
2. The Calm Absurd (7:25)
3. Lost in Play (7:05)
4. Understudy (8:13)
5. Skimming Stones (7:19)
6. Antares (7:11)
7. Icarus & Me (5:54)
8. Pillars of Salt (10:36)
9. Inner Moment (7:33)

Total Time 66:00

Bonus track on 2010 reissue:
10. From The Heart (Demo)

Line-up / Musicians

- Guy Manning / 6- & 12-string acoustic, Classical & electric guitars, keyboards, bass, mandolin, bouzouki, vocals, arranger & producer

- Julie King / vocals
- David Million / electric guitars
- Andy Tillison / keyboards, drums, vocals
- Ian Fairbairn / fiddle
- Laura Fowles / alto sax, vocals
- Stephen Dundon / flute

Releases information

CD ProgRock Records ‎- PRR 270 (2006, UK)
CD Festival Music - 201004D (2010, UK) With a bonus track

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy MANNING Songs From The Bilston House Music

MANNING Songs From The Bilston House ratings distribution

(91 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(30%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

MANNING Songs From The Bilston House reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Iīve got to say I was never really a fan of Guy Manningīs solo career. Ok, I only knew two CDs of his prolific discography before tackling this one (One Small Step... and The View From My Window), and even then, I just did so because a good friend praised the CD a lot in the internet. I first heard of Manning through his work with The Tangent, a group I happen to like a lot. I bought One Small Step... because I wanted to know his work outside The Tangent and I was not moved. I tried again with The View... and I was not impressed either. It seemed that this singer/songwriter/multi instrumentalist was doing better being a part of a symphonic group than on his own. Of course my opinion changed radically when I started listening to Songs From the Bilston House.

From the fisrt notes of the title track I knew this was something to pay atention: great keys, fine melody line and very convincing perfomance by all involved. Was it a fluke? I asked myself. The second song was equally good, although totally different is style (it reminds me a lot of The Tangentīs Lost In London). Third track: one of those few songs that is worth the price of the album alone . Lost In Play has everything you wish in a classic: an unforgetable riff, a beautiful melody line, inspired lyrics, breathtaking arrangements and a powerful delivering that makes you press the repeat button again and again. This is, needless to say, the CDīs Highlight. Of course the remaining songs arenīt as good as this one, but still they are equally inspired, varied and very well done.

After some repeated listenings I can say this is a fine piece of prog music. Manning combines classic rock, celtic folk and symphonic prog (plus some jazzy and bossa nova overtones here and there) into a very distinctive style that sounds both original and familiar. His vocals are not really outstanding, but work very well within the context of his songs. The playing is awesome, all musicians are very skilled (including some help form The Tangentīs fellow member Andy Tillson and Molly Blumīs flutist Steve Dundon ). The arrangements are very tasteful and precise, with all the instruments falling nicely into place. The production is top notch. But most of all the songwriting is the key: Guy Manning is in great form here, inspired and passionate all the way through the CD.

I guess Iīll have to hear his other CDs with a new perspective. Songs From The Bilston Houser, however, is an excellent prog record on its own and a fine addtition to any prog lover collection. final rating: something between 4 and 4,5 stars.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Anyone who likes the 1970s music of VAN MORRISON, JETHRO TULL, MARSHALL TUCKER BAND, DAVE MASON or even the ALLMAN BROTHERS will like the music of Guy Manning. My question is: Is this prog? To me, this sounds like straightforward bluesy rock'n'roll; there are no challenges or experimentations with form or structures, just solid lyric-driven song-writing. My other problem with Manning and the above mentioned artists is that, while I do like and appreciate their music and artistry, I do not love this kind of music--and I rarely seek it out. Is Songs from the Bilston House masterful? Perhaps. For its genre. Do I consider it an "excellent addition to any prog lovers music collection"? Perhaps. Of the Manning catalog, this is the one I would most recommend trying. Especially if you like(d) any of the above-named artists music from the 70s. Is it good music? Yes, it is good music--very well crafted--"bard"-like--music. Just not my cup of tea.
Review by Starhammer
2 stars Don't judge an album by its opener...

Having listened to all 363 seconds of the crime against prog that is Songs From the Bilston House I was already considering turning it off. Then I was hit with the "your call is in a queue, please hold the line" intro to The Calm Absurd, by which point I felt like throwing my CD player out the window.

The Good: Luckily I didn't as this album has more than enough nice moments to make it worth sitting through. Guy Manning is one of the best neo-symphonic composers around, and the instrumental passages throughout just prove this. Even with an average track length of over seven minutes the majority of tracks are well structured and, at the very least, hold my attention.

The Bad: In addition to the aforementioned travesties, the vocals are abysmal and sound like a heavily intoxicated Ian Anderson. They are not only hard to listen to, but also detract from the overall effect, giving the release a raw and almost unfinished feel.

The Verdict: 2.999999... stars.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Nine songs from a quirky house. 16 months ago, I got the last THE TANGENT album and I got hooked. Some months later, I spotted the cover of this album on ProgArchives and that intrigued me. I just got to have this album. I got it together with the other MANNING albums, but put it in the back ... (read more)

Report this review (#213741) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Monday, May 4, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album has been in my player a hell of alot since it arrived! It is an exciting listen! From the moment you see the cover with its 'Psycho' like abandoned house and dramatic coastal waves you know this is going to be an interesting experience. The packaging is quite excellent but the mus ... (read more)

Report this review (#160054) | Posted by Topograph | Monday, January 28, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars How does Guy keep up to the standards set so highly by the previous release? Year after year he does it again & again. A lot to ask when you consider it's only about twelve months from start to finish of an album. I'm sure a lot of artists would find this pace impossible to keep up. Guy not only ... (read more)

Report this review (#160048) | Posted by Simon Jackson | Monday, January 28, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Guy did it again! Actually Guy exceeded it again. The new album, Songs from the Bilston House is stunning. Guy has developed his style keeping the playful songwriting attitude and yet creating a symphonic masterpiece. The music is beautiful, intrestingly complex and harmonically coherent. Stron ... (read more)

Report this review (#149264) | Posted by pirkka | Tuesday, November 6, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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