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Manning Guy Manning: Tall Stories For Small Children album cover
3.39 | 38 ratings | 8 reviews | 24% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Last Psalm (14:07)
2. The Voyager (5:22)
3. White Waters (5:46)
4. The Candyman (7:07)
- The Fall And Rise Of Abel Mann? :
5. Grand Fanfare (2:02)
6. Waiting On A Ledge (4:42)
7. Grand Fanfare (reprise) (0:43)
8. Post-mortem: 3 Score Years And 10 (2:18)
9. Post-mortem: In My Life (5:06)
10. Castaways (4:25)
- Holy Ireland :
11. The Land (2:40)
12. A Soldier's Story (3:21)
13. The Widow's Tale (4:42)
14. Priest's Song (4:01)
15. The Land (reprise) (2:58)

Total Time: 69:20

Bonus track on 2010 remaster:
8. The Willow & The Pine

Line-up / Musicians

- Guy Manning / guitar, keyboards, bass, mandolin, percussion, vocals, arrangements, co-producer

- Andy Tillison / keyboards, drum programming, co-producer
- Jonathan Barrett / bass
- Simon Baskind / percussion
- Pav Chana / tabla
- Jon Burr / harmonica (1)

Releases information

CD Cyclops ‎- CYCL 078 (1999, UK)
CD Festival Music ‎- 201004D (2010, UK) Remastered with a bonus track

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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MANNING Guy Manning: Tall Stories For Small Children ratings distribution

(38 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(22%)
Good, but non-essential (43%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

MANNING Guy Manning: Tall Stories For Small Children reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by kev rowland
3 stars Guy is guitarist with Parallel Or Ninety Degrees, and on his debut album he was joined by PO90 keyboard player Andy Tillison, as well as bassist Jonathan Barrett, Simon Baskind on drums, Pav Chana on tables and Jon Burr on harmonica. The album is very impressive, and very mature in outlook. While there are many pieces that would not sound out of place on a Pink Floyd album, for example, there are also others which are far more reflective and Roy Harper in style. Three of the songs are epics, but are sub-divided into smaller songs that can be accessed separately. The vocals and music work so well together that the listener can concentrate heavily on the lyrics.

Feedback #59, July 2000

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Iīve just finished listening to Tall Stories for Small Children, and quite frankly I am not too impressed. The musicians are very competent though so itīs not here there is a problem. Itīs even worse because itīs with the compositions themselves I feel the problem lies. The music is very keyboard laden and Guy sounds like a cross between Ian Anderson and Roine Stolt. This is pretty melancholic which is something I normally like, but not particularly here and I will tell you why. It sounds pathetic to me and if there is something I donīt like itīs pathetic sounding music.

Everything on here has been heard before. No chances are taken and itīs just all too mediocre to me. I donīt remember anything from this album once it is finished. To the all eating prog head this might be worth purchasing, but to those of us who wants just slighty innovative and different music this is not very interesting. The sound quality is not very good either.

2 stars for the good musicians

Review by kenethlevine
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.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars Guy Manningīs first CD is interesting, but quite different from his latter output I love so much. This is basicly a singer/songwriter record, mostly folkish, done in the vocal/acoustic guitar mode most of the time. The notable exception is the opener The Last Psalm, a terrific prog rock track that is one of his very best songs ever. Here we have a good example of what he would do in his future works (i.e. great instrumental arrangement to go with the song, with every instrument coming in and out at the right moment, building a fine climax). Not that the other songs here are bad, far from that. But as I said before, they are mostly acoustic affairs, excellent if you like folk tunes with a few sparse keys and percussion bits to add.

I guess my problem here is that english is not my native language and I have some difficult to grab the meaning of the lyrics in this style, while on his later works Manningīs music was as important as the words and you can appreciate his CDs without having to fully understand the text. There is not much variety here, at least not as much as Iīm used since Anserīs Tree. So, in the end this a too long CD (69 minutes in all) to hold my atention in just one listen. Tall Stories For Small Children is better appreciated when you listen to it in small doses, when you can enjoy every track for its own sake. The weak production does not help either.

In the end I found this album to be a very promising start for a great and prolific songwriter. All the basic elements of his famous sound are already here and he would develop them greatly over the next few years culminating with masterpieces like Ten and Margaretīs Children.

A good beginning. 3 stars.

Latest members reviews

3 stars This is the debut album by GUY MANNING. Guy Manning has been involved in other bands, but this is his first solo effort. It is so solo that he even include his first name here on the album cover. As far as I know, most of his other albums has been released under the name MANNING. Any good reas ... (read more)

Report this review (#218965) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Saturday, May 30, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Tall Stories For Small Children...was the first Guy Manning album. It has a number of varied and intricate pieces on it. From the 3 lengthy 'epics' The Last Psalm , The Fall & Rise of Abel Mann and Holy Ireland to the more introspective The Candyman and the Gabrielesque White Waters, this is a a ... (read more)

Report this review (#159549) | Posted by Topograph | Wednesday, January 23, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Guy Manning, perhaps familiar to some listeners due to the work he has done with UK based progressive rock band Parallel Or 90 Degrees has now produced a fine solo album, a little bit in the Roger Waters (Amused to Death) tradition. No less than three "Epic" pieces can be found on this album! ... (read more)

Report this review (#4755) | Posted by DinoL | Friday, May 27, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I will never forget what i felt when i heard this album for first time. Purely emotional and melancholic, once simple and greateful, someone could find influences of Pink Floyd (or more probably the Roger Waters solo career) or a little of Jethro Tull. But Guy Manning gives a special tou ... (read more)

Report this review (#4754) | Posted by incubus | Thursday, May 12, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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