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Manning One Small Step... album cover
3.58 | 61 ratings | 12 reviews | 24% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2005

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. In Swingtime (4:30)
2. Night Voices (5:56)
3. No Hiding Place (9:33)
4. The Mexico Line (7:02)
- One Small Step ...
5. Part I - Star Gazing (4:34)
6. Part II - For Example (3:03)
7. Part III - At The End Of My Rope (2:04)
8. Part IV - Man Of God (2:36)
9. Part V - A Blink Of The Eye (4:56)
10. Part VI - God Of Man (2:30)
11. Part VII - Black & Blue (7:26)
12. Part VIII - Upon Returning (3:28)

Total Time: 57:47

Bonus track on 2010 remaster:
6. In Swingtime (1999)

Line-up / Musicians

- Guy Manning / acoustic & electric guitars, keyboards, bass, mandolin, drums, percussion, vocals, producer

- Gareth Harwood / guitar
- Neil Harris / piano
- Ian Fairbairn / fiddle
- Laura Fowles / sax, vocals
- Martin Orford / flute (5)
- Rick Ashton / bass
- John Tipping / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Ed Unitsky

CD ProgRock Records ‎- PRR 139 (2005, UK)
CD Festival Music - 201004C (2010, UK) Remaster with a bonus track

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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MANNING One Small Step... ratings distribution

(61 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (31%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

MANNING One Small Step... reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars.This latest release from Guy is less complex instrumentally than his past work but he makes up for it with amazing melodies and lyrics. Other than the usual instruments we have fiddle, sax and flute. Actually Martin Orford (IQ) guests on flute. It's interesting that Guy uses some of the same melodies on different songs, so he takes you back to what is familiar.

There are a few songs that really stand out for me,"Night Voices" is simply beautiful and uplifting, "The Mexico Line" featuring fiddle and piano, is just a really good tune. I like Guy's passionate vocals too. And "Black And Blue" which is guitar driven, including some beautiful soaring guitar. I like the flute from Orford as well.

The last 8 songs are really 8 parts of one song called "One Small Step...". From what I understand he's asking the question "Why are we so intent on exploring space when ?...and we have 8 different topics, scenerios or questions to that main question. A lot of thought went into this record, especially the lyrics and song structures, and on top of all this if you like Folk, well... you'll die for this one !

Review by kenethlevine
2 stars This prolific British troubadour focuses on space exploration on this 2005 release. The first few couple of songs are actually the highlights, suffused with his warm baritone and elegant lyrical and musical phrasings. "In Swingtime" is suave and suits its title, with gently bouncing arrangements, while "Night Voices" is a classic melodic Manning ballad. While "No Hiding Place" and "The Mexico Line" are more complex, they lack the simple appeal of the previous tracks while remaining song oriented.

As is usual for Manning, the lion's share of his efforts, and his main beef, is applied to a suite. While several components are emotional and communicated with conviction, such as "Man of God" and its bookend, "God of Man", the majority seems to forget to generate excitement. "Star Gazing", "Black and Blue" and "Blink of an Eye" are far more verbose than what we have come to expect, a bit too blunt, even trite lyrically ("we're only here for a moment", "the great escape of the monkey into man", oof), while the instrumentation seems overly subservient to Guy's message. A plodding bluesy feel seems to be the mood du jour here, and not what we have come to expect from Manning, whatever theme he may be exploring. Unfortunately it doesn't really work, as it needs some sort of infusion. All the instrumentation is there, the voice is there, but the material and the execution are both somewhat wanting.

Compared to Manning's earlier efforts, "One Small Step" is at best sideways, at worst a retrenchment.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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)

Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars After listening to Guy Manning´s latest two releases (the magnificent Ten and the brilliant Songs From The Bilson House) I felt the urge to find out more about this talented and prolific artist. A few years ago I bought One Small Step but I was disappointed at the time (I guess I was expecting something like The Tangent, the main reason I went looking for one of Manning´s records). So I felt the urge to hear it again under a new light. After all, Manning may be an important part of The Tangent, but his solo career has a style of his own. Besides, I had no recollection of what One Small Step sounded like.

Well, as much as I adore his later work, after repeated spins of the record, I still think One Small step as not at the same league as the last two. At least partially. The first two tracks, In Swingtime and Night Voices are excellent songs bearing all the trademarks of his best works: great melodies, clever lyrics, stunning arrangements and the overall feeling they couldn´t be better delivered. Both songs would be featured on either Ten or Songs... Unfortunatly the introduction and chorus of No Hiding Place reminds too much of 80´s pop cliches for my taste. Not a bad song (the maniacal sax solo during the strange middle section kind of saves the day), but not my cup of tea. The next track is Mexican Border, another tune that is not very inspiring. Again not bad, but quite below Manning´s usual excelent standard composition.

The centerpiece of the album is the 30 minute suite One Small Step. It is devided in 8 parts and while I found the lyrics very well done and interesting, the music fell short on this one. It seemed that Manning could not give the words the same exciting and varied musical landscape to go with them as he did so brilliantly on some of his works (like the masterpiece The House On The Hill from Ten). I like it, but I feel some kind of musical climax is missing. I guess it sounds better live than on the studio (the storytelling is fine).

All in all I found this CD to be better than I first thought. It has its merits and I´m glad to have bought it after all. But it is not for the newbie. If you´re new to Manning´s career you better get either Ten or Songs From The Bilson House before tackling this one. My final rating3,5 stars.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Mixed impressions about this album. Based mainly in an acoustic mode, the first half consist in four traditional songs, and the rest is an epic tracked in 8 parts. The first half is simply outstanding, specially the first three songs. Great melody lines with Guy Manning voice shining all the t ... (read more)

Report this review (#1076599) | Posted by genbanks | Thursday, November 14, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Prog down the acoustic path. This is the seventh album from Guy Manning. The long album songs hints on Guy Manning going symph prog. To a certain degree, this is true. But instead of layer upon layers of electric instruments like keyboards and electric guitars, Guy Manning has largely gone acou ... (read more)

Report this review (#584039) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Wednesday, December 7, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is a superb album centered around the ambitious 30 minute epic suite One Small Step... A different again album to its predecessor A Matter of Life and Death, but there again I am quickly finding out that the patterns & style of a MANNING album seem to change on an album by album basis. T ... (read more)

Report this review (#160318) | Posted by Topograph | Thursday, January 31, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars As a big fan of Guy, I have to say that my initial impression of this new album is disappointment. It is nothing to do with the musicianship but I find that the epic is not quite at the level of his previous ones and, for the first time, find that some of the songs are a bit too much for Guy' ... (read more)

Report this review (#70907) | Posted by | Thursday, March 2, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Manning - One Small Step Progrock Records (PRR139) The latest release from the prolific 'Manning', One Small Step, sees the talented troubadour in a more thoughtful and dare I say artistic mood. Fear not, all the usual Manning trademarks are still here, superb melody, strong rhythm, vocals ... (read more)

Report this review (#62171) | Posted by Paul Baker | Thursday, December 29, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Guy Manning makes intriguing music every time and this won't be the one to let you down. At this pace, he may never slip or fall. He's surely made steps in the right direction. While his albums are broken into tracks, they usually follow one long theme. The whole album could be seen as one ... (read more)

Report this review (#58953) | Posted by | Friday, December 2, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Guy Manning doesn't like to be called a singer/songwriter. That evokes images of the Joni Mitchells and the Bob Dylans of the world, and it's true that his music has little in common with those luminaries. Manning's sound is very different - it is full, with layer upon layer of progressive ins ... (read more)

Report this review (#58884) | Posted by | Friday, December 2, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars After last years almost perfect "A Matter Of Life and Death", my expectations for this new album were very high indeed. I really thought that Guy would have a hard job equalling, never mind bettering the quality of songwriting and playing on that disc. But he has and how! Whereas "A Matter of ... (read more)

Report this review (#58883) | Posted by larky | Friday, December 2, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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