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MANNING

Eclectic Prog • United Kingdom


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Manning biography
The band MANNING has been in existence since 1999, formed around singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Guy Manning.

Guy was previously an associate of PARALLEL OR 90 DEGREES (PO90) and also a founder member of the internationally respected, THE TANGENT.

MANNING produce an eclectic mix of music which broadly falls within the 'progressive' genre, but in reality spans many different musical forms from ballads and folk-tinged songs through to all-out rock workouts and true progressive epics.

The band experienced a surge of interest and support, with the 2007 album "Songs From The Bilston House" having been nominated for "Album of the Year" by the Classic Rock Society (CRS) and performing a series of storming headline gigs in support of the critically acclaimed follow up album, "Number Ten" (released 2009).

Being an eight piece band, the sizeable line-up is able to reproduce the quintessentially symphonic Manning textures & sound on stage.

Manning have also been very fortunate in having some well respected musicians making special guest appearances on the albums including Andy Tillison (THE TANGENT & PO90), Laura Fowles, Ian 'Walter' Fairbairn (LINDISFARNE & JACK THE LAD Plus HEDGEHOG PIE), Angela Gordon (MOSTLY AUTUMN), Martin Orford (IQ), Marek Arnold (TOXIC SMILE & SEVEN STEPS TO THE DOOR) and Leon Camfield (TINYFISH).

2010 was a milestone breakthrough year for the band with some amazing festival slots including the first venture over the Atlantic to appear at the RoSfest in Gettysburg, PA. USA in May.

The eleventh MANNING album "Charlestown" was released in Oct 2010 and was again nominated by both the CRS and the Italian ProgAwards for "Album of the Year".

2011 continued all the hard work with even more UK dates and a brand new (12th) studio album "Margaret's Children".


Biography provided by Guy Manning

Manning official website

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MANNING discography


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MANNING top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.39 | 30 ratings
Tall Stories For Small Children
1999
3.69 | 26 ratings
The Cure
2000
3.56 | 23 ratings
Cascade
2001
3.77 | 37 ratings
The Ragged Curtain
2002
3.99 | 44 ratings
The View From My Window
2003
4.03 | 58 ratings
A Matter Of Life & Death (The Journal of Abel Mann)
2004
3.57 | 49 ratings
One Small Step...
2005
3.90 | 59 ratings
Anser's Tree
2006
3.91 | 75 ratings
Songs from the Bilston House
2007
3.79 | 88 ratings
Number Ten
2009
3.50 | 127 ratings
Charlestown
2010
4.02 | 107 ratings
Margaret's Children
2011
3.80 | 13 ratings
Akoustik
2012
3.92 | 55 ratings
The Root, the Leaf & the Bone
2013

MANNING Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

MANNING Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

MANNING Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 2 ratings
Burnside - The Sampler
2009

MANNING Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

MANNING Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Cure  by MANNING album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.69 | 26 ratings

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The Cure
Manning Eclectic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Next album by Guy Manning came under the title ''The cure'', apparently a concept release divided in three themes, but this time he removed his first name, propably to indicate that the gathering of musicians around him worked as a proper group.The line-up of Manning/Tilson/Barrett/Baskind is now supported by talented female sax player Laura Fowles and two experienced violin players, Ian Tothill and Iain Fairbairn.The album was recorded in two studios, The Burnside in Leeds and The MBL Heron Garth in Burley-in-Wharefedale, and it was completely written by Manning apart from the opening piece, which was co-written by Tilson.Cyclops was again the distributor.

The opening theme ''Syndrome'', consists of only one track, the 10-min. ''Domicile'', which sounds like the emerging THE TANGENT, a mix of old-fashioned Prog stylings, fronted by symphonic textures in the vein of GENESIS and YES with a good bunch of Canterbury-styled piano and organ and some attacking VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR-like saxes, a real winner.The following 36 minutes composed the second theme ''Therapy'', split in five cuts.Here the assault of Manning in vintage Prog moves continues, even if the contemporary sound is quite evident.Some keyboard parts are a bit pale and flat, but the arrangements are pretty cool with nods to SPOCK'S BEARD and a nice Canterbury contribution in the organ parts.Lots of angular synthesizers and dual keyboard runs, a fair amount of acoustic interludes, beautiful breaks into keyboard-led ambiences and impressive guitar exercises with both melodic solos and jazzy chords.CAMEL, GENESIS and NATIONAL HEALTH are among the bands to spring to mind during this theme, which provides lots of room for instrumental variety and some surprising British Folk tunes via the use of violins.Closing theme ''Prognosis'' is built around the 17-min. title-track and you should propably expect a true grandieur for the album's outro.But this is not the case here, ''The cure'' appears to be the most uneven piece of this work.It is not bad at all, but it seems to be more down-to-earth material compared to the previously displayed stuff.Basically a long Neo/Symphonic Prog piece with smooth singing parts, big symphonic keyboards and emphatic instrumental moves with synthesizers and organ in evidence along with loose guitar plays, passing both through cinematic and bombastic textures and even some sound effects in the process creating dreamy soundscapes, but the farewell minutes are rather minimalistic and secure, based on electronics and some nervous but fake synthesizers, only saved by a great Mellotron washing.

While ''The cure'' is not totally convincing, it shows a talented artist developing its composing level within the progressive borders.Production is also a bit restrained, but the music quality is usually great and sufficient.Pretty cool and warmly recommended Prog Rock.

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 One Small Step... by MANNING album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.57 | 49 ratings

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One Small Step...
Manning Eclectic Prog

Review by genbanks

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 time and this guitar support. The opening In Swingtime is really catchy and addictive. Night Voices is a superb ballad with extraordinayr lyrics and a beauty melody. No Hiding place is the highlight of the album, longer than the others, in the middle of the track it flows into a really progressive instrumental interlude, just stunning. Mexico Line is good track too. The second half, the epic One Small Step, is something not much of my taste. Excesively vocally driven, the tracks lacks of diversity and the instrumental sections are in small doses, maybe except the track Black & Blue. So I give five stars for the first half, something essential, unless for me, but three stars for the second half. So as a result, I will give it four stars.

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 The Root, the Leaf & the Bone by MANNING album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.92 | 55 ratings

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The Root, the Leaf & the Bone
Manning Eclectic Prog

Review by robbob

5 stars This band is so prolific... You could think ...albums so near one to each other...it can affect music quality ...but no... A must is to congratulate Manning for being so original......a kind of symphonic pop folk prog... Sometimes Jethro Tull. (vocals in the Ian Anderson way)..sometimes Spocks Beard...Neal Morse ,Kansas......or other classic symphonic or folk prog. So a very sweet, delightful album ..with so much variations...so innovative ,creative... Compositions and instrumental arrangements are excellent Very good musicians .. So is very impressive how taking out in so less time albums plus albums...they can get so much musical quality.. For me is a 5 star piece...in this times of so repetitive and lack of originality prog....

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 The Root, the Leaf & the Bone by MANNING album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.92 | 55 ratings

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The Root, the Leaf & the Bone
Manning Eclectic Prog

Review by platform

4 stars I thoroughly enjoyed last years Akoustic CD from Guy Manning the stripped down versions of his songs from his catalogue admirably highlighted Guys proficient and melodic song writing skills Although owning and enjoying all of Guys releases his most recent releases of ' Charleston' and 'Margarets Children' did not really connect with me. Would I be enchanted by The Root , The Leaf And The Bone ? This album is a series of compositions that reward the listener as it reveals its many facets. I have heard this CD on a number of occasions and each play has provided an extra nuance or subtlety to be appreciated. It has many references to a wide variety of musical genres and artists ,but is totally unique in its breadth and execution . 'The Root , The Leaf And The Bone' is adventurous in its musical vision and takes the listener on a journey that is never predictable, but often memorable and exciting. One of the major and most apparent differences to much of Guys previous compositions is the dominant part that keys play throughout the release. I have recently been revisiting Guys first CD 'Tall Stories For Small Children' . In ' Tall Stories For Small Children' acoustic guitar creates the framework for many of the tunes in 'The Root ' the acoustic guitar has been replaced by a large extent by various keys. The other notable difference in 'The Root ' is that Guy has chosen the Saxophone to be the means to usually carry the melody and explore the themes that he has created.

Here are my thoughts on the nine tracks that make up this wonderful and highly recommended release.

The title track 'The Root , The Leaf and The Bone' is an inspired piece of work and one can only begin to imagine the time that Guy must have invested to create a piece that is both complex, and melodically accessible at the same time. It is an intriguing piece of music that incorporates so many different styles and moods. This piece starts with a beautiful pastoral introduction featuring flute and keyboards Guy gently sings 'Strip away the layers overgrown , down beneath the underside it lies alone ' In this track words such as Down and Underground are sung with double effect vocals which add to its atmosphere and are used to create rhythmic sections. The subsequent parts of this track are very reminiscent of William Barrass from Ansers Tree. I especially liked the keyboard section at 5.02 which moved into a memorable instrumental break featuring the organ and flute.The piece includes a very inventive section using the words ' tic toc' , before the main melody of the tune is reprised. The latter stages of this lengthy piece features some great fiddle playing and synth accompaniment before a repeat of the spoken words ' tic toc' ? with flute. The piece climaxes with a slow organ and flute section reminding of the opening melody before pastoral choir vocals take over. The title track is probably one of Guys most progressive pieces. It epitomises what Manning is about : superbly crafted melodies and a totally eclectic style that cannot be categorised

Deconstruction Blues Imagine hearing a fluteless Tull playing with Buddy Rich. 'Decon(struction) Blues' might well be the nearest that you will ever get to hearing such a thing. It starts with a riff that a Benefit era Anderson would have been envious to have written. It has great brass instrumentation and a killer chorus and if that was not enough David Million comes to the fore with a excellent guitar break This is another five star tune and it will go down a storm if it is played live

Autumn Song This is great tune featuring some tasteful bass and a Flute and bassoon accompaniment I enjoyed the repeated ripple like keys in the chorus. This is one of the few tracks to feature some very tasteful acoustic guitar. It is memorable The Instrumental outro with the sax was beautiful and at times it reminded me of Jan Garbarek's work. Marek Arnolds sax work throughout this release is outstanding and fully compliments Guys vision. The decision to end the tune on a hum was inventive and worked really well

Forge The piece begins with a metallic beat providing a musical link with the title track that once again reminded me of Ansers Tree . This provided an excellent way to build the track as the organ and rhythm section combined to give this opening section a feel of ' money' from Pink Floyd. The backing vocals of Julie King worked particularly well as the track progressed .The track repeats its rhythmic start before continuing with a synth and an instrumental interlude featuring the flute. The extended sax solo within this piece is also very enjoyable and helps to reinforce my view that this album may well be regarded as Mannings most accomplished yet. Old School I was surprised by the beginning of this track. The discordant background of kids voices gave me an audible reminder of the intro of the title track from Alan Gowen's Before a Word is Said. The opening part and the vocal and backing vocals work well to create a sinister atmosphere in this tale of repression and school. The track features a wonderful sounding guitar tone at 5.20 and an inspired organ solo from John Young at 6.54. Another very enjoyable track, although at times I thought I was listening to Klaus Doldinger as the repeated sax phrasing reminded me of Passport.

Place of Delights Although Guy is not known as a fusion or jazz rock musician sections of this excellent composition had me thinking about two giants of Jazz Rock Weather Report and Return To Forever This track features a great opening riff that could have been something that Weather Report featuring Wayne Shorter might have played . The saxophone parts and chorus with backing vocals by Julie King reminded me of the Music Magic era of Return to Forever. The bass playing of Kris Hudson Lee is a feature of this track. He lays down a great groove at before Marek Arnold once again shines . The piece concludes with a wonderfully constructed guitar solo and ends with a thunderous drum and percussion conclusion

The Huntsman and the Poacher This is a tune that has a memorable chorus and is a testimony to Guys abilities as a tunesmith. It is a classic 'folk rock tune' featuring lots of solo fiddle and great lyrics The chorus of 'At The end of the day' has been my ear worm all day. The production on this tune is very good, it includes a section that has handclaps and the staged introduction of different instruments in a way that had me thinking this is Guys 'Velvet Green'

Mists of Morning Calling To the Day I enjoyed the opening bass section and the repeated riff that dominates this track. Stephen Dundon is featured in the early parts of the tune and provides some lovely flute before a change of tempo occurs and a Floydian guitar sound gives this track a vintage feel.

Amongst The Sleepers This track features some of Guys best vocals on the album and some warm acoustic guitar. Its pastoral end with a whispered vocal reprise 'caught in deep contemplation of all the people I have known' was a fitting end to a fine album.

Overall , this is a stimulating , innovative and thought provoking release. It will be interesting to see how Guy arranges these tunes in alive setting and I for one am looking forward to his forthcoming gig at Rotherham to see this work performed.

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 The Root, the Leaf & the Bone by MANNING album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.92 | 55 ratings

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The Root, the Leaf & the Bone
Manning Eclectic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars In late 2012, Guy started formulating the idea about writing a concept album about a faded village that has become lost beneath the march of progress, and started creating pieces based around these themes. However, he soon found that if he kept tightly to the theme then he was too restricted, so instead moved away from the original idea, although many of the songs are still about the nature of change in one way or another. When I played this for the very first time I was surprised how 'warm' the album is, almost like a wonderful comfort blanket, and all I wanted to do was to wrap the music around me. Guy will always find himself compared to Tull, due both to his vocal and musical style, and if I was to think of this as something from Ian Anderson then this would fit right in the middle of the Seventies, although there is much more saxophone used and not nearly as much flute.

On this his 14th album, Guy provides Acoustic 6, 12 & Classical Guitars, Bass, Diddlybow, Drums, Incantation Bell, Keyboards, Mandolin, Percussion, Samples, Lead & Backing Vocals and as well as his band of David Million (Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Banjo), Julie King (Vocals), Kris Hudson-Lee (Basses) and Rick Henry (Percussion) he has plenty of guests to further assist him in filling out the sound.

It took me a while to get used to the keyboard sound, which is often like that of the old electric pianos, and in turn this gives the album quite a dated feel. But, the more I played this the more I found that instead of being a detraction it instead became an integral part of the whole sound. Each of the nine songs has a real story to tell, but the one that really hits home for me is "The Forge" which muses romantically about the loss of craftsmanship in favour of mass production. Lyrically the song is wonderfully evocative, "The bellows & the furnace dance in furious harmony, Wind & flame on a bed of earth in elemental symmetry, Born out of sweat in a battle to commence, Grappling with the raw flow with just his implements". Musically the rhythm and cadence of the song also makes one feel that they are in the presence of the blacksmith, hard at work with his iron and fire. In many ways this reminds me of Show of Hands, although more proggy and less folky.

Over the years I have been lucky enough to hear all of Guy's solo albums, plus of course those he has recorded with groups like The Tangent, and this stands up as one of his finest releases. He brings together classic songwriting and great lyrics, with emotion and drive, creating music that takes plenty of influences from the Seventies but making them relevant for today. Although the songs contain many different styles and instrumentation, they are tied together with Guy's soft vocals as he brings the listener in closer and creates an intimate experience. Superb.

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 Charlestown by MANNING album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.50 | 127 ratings

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Charlestown
Manning Eclectic Prog

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

3 stars Guy Manning is a musician that has been active for almost 15 years and now in 2013 he and his band are about to release their 14th album. Charlestown (2010) was their 11th album and has one thing I have always loved, a really long track.

Prog Rock albums that incorporate long tracks have always been one of the most interesting things to me. But I'm not talking about 10 minutes tracks, I'm talking about 20+ tracks. In the Charlestown (2010) case, I'm talking about a 35 minutes long track.

You need to being aware of the fact that, in this new Prog days, to release an album with a half an hour song wrapped in 70's style, you need guts! From time to time we have albums with long tracks, but Manning did it perfectly with track one of the album 'Charlestown' and its 35'08 minutes. You have the complex yet structured suite that tells a story. In this case, a sailors story. One thing that wouldn't pass unnoticed is Guy Manning's voice. It's so similar to Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson that sometimes you actually think that Ian is once again recording some great Prog. 'Charlestown' is rich, deep and full of great melodies all over the song. And it's pretty much the thick body of the album.

'Caliban And Ariel' does the hard job of giving continuity to Charlestown (2010), especially after the opening giant track. It does well, but unfortunately I must say that it is a weak continuity. The track is a ballad that is quite pretty but doesn't really go anywhere. Then we have 'The Man In The Mirror' that tries to keep the Prog sound going, but I think the song has the chorus repeated too much. Much of the Manning's music is led by the acoustic guitars (Guy's main instrument), and this one is not an exception. Add cello, saxophone and a fiddle solo and you have 'The Man In The Mirror'.

'Clocks' comes in and one starts to wonder if all Manning's cards were played in 'Charlestown', because the rest of the tracks are quite weak, frankly speaking. This one looks like a leftover from a 90's Jethro Tull album. Unfortunatelly 'T.I.C.' doesn't make me change my mind about the whole Charlestown (2010). 'T.I.C.' is definitely the best track after the opening one and has good guitars, keyboards and a catchy chorus. But two songs (even if one is 35 minutes long) are not enough to make a whole album. But, we still have a final track called 'Finale'. This is a great instrumental track with an upbeat tempo, a Prog Extravaganza I would say. They have a great opening track and a very good ending, but what about the middle?

On Charlestown (2010) it seems that Guy Manning tried really hard with the title-track and forgot about the rest of the album. And this is a pity, cause this album could be a modern Prog classic if better worked on. As it is, not really. But anyway, it's really worth checking because of the mentioned tracks.

(Originally posted on progshine.net)

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 The View From My Window by MANNING album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.99 | 44 ratings

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The View From My Window
Manning Eclectic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars So Guy is back with his fifth album, and yet again I am amazed at just how powerful his songs can be. If ever there was a modern songwriter and performer who was trying to pick up on the electric side of Richard Thompson then it has to be him, and opening song "Phase (The Open & The Widening Sky)" reinforces that idea. It is powerful and commercial, yet has a strong guitar line throughout just behind the vocals, or sometimes replacing them. But this album appears to be deeper, with more influences, more darkness, than before. Play the introduction to the title cut and you could be forgiven for wondering what on earth you were listening to, as many musical styles come together in a bazaar. But the guitar cuts through everything like a shining ray of light, before giving way to acoustic strumming and the feeling that Guy has turned his attention to one of our great eccentrics, Roy Harper. The keyboards are much more delicate at this point, with the focus very much on the vocals.

The major opus of the album is called simply "Suite:Dreams", and is over twenty minutes long, which allows Guy to run through many emotions and styles. Possibly the most powerful is when he is just accompanied by piano and some seeping keyboards in the background. It may be simple, but is effective. This gives way to some lounge style noodlings before again being moved into something more dramatic and moving, almost as if the listener is bursting into the sunlight.

In some ways Guy is the least progressive act on Malcolm's label, yet in others he is the most as he crosses boundaries and performs music that wouldn't normally have that tag. Again this is a wonderful piece of work that I recommend whole heartedly.

Originally appeared in Feedback #78, April 2004

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 The Ragged Curtain  by MANNING album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.77 | 37 ratings

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The Ragged Curtain
Manning Eclectic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This is the fourth album from Manning (as this is really a full-blown band now, and not just Guy Manning solo) and sees the song writing take on a more mature angle, moving away from the progressive scene into one that is far more British in outlook, almost as if Richard Thompson has been involved with Grace. There are also small passages where people are talking about relationships, which does give the album something of a 'Dark Side Of the Moon' feeling. Although the album does contain strong musicianship it is geared towards providing a strong backdrop for the emotive vocals and it is these that drive the album ever onwards. Of the musicians, special mention must be made of Laura Fowles whose sax playing has taken the songs into another area.

It is the album closer that shows Guy at his most inventive, as at 25 minutes long "Ragged Curtains" allows him to bring together styles from the early Seventies up to the present day. It starts gently with keyboards and woodwind, vocals murmuring gently over the top, and then it becomes a vehicle for sax/guitar interplay before going off again onto another tack.

All the way through is the impression that this is a 'grown up' album, and although Guy has temporarily lost some of the band they are still playing some dates in the near future. Guy will always be associated with Parallel Or Ninety Degrees and with Andy Tillison-Diskdrive guesting on this and temporarily covering live keys that association looks set to continue. An album that is much more than 'just' prog.

Originally appeared in Feedback #73, Jun 03

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 Cascade by MANNING album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.56 | 23 ratings

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Cascade
Manning Eclectic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This is the third album by Guy Manning, and is easily his best to date. Any Tull lover will immediately warm to songs such as "Tears In The Rain" where Guy accompanies himself on acoustic guitar and there is just a little background keyboards to add texture. I kept imagining that it would fit quite well on 'Minstrel In The Gallery', on side two just after "Baker St. Muse".

Although Guy provides the vast majority of the instruments, he has brought in a couple of guests to add some extra colours such as sax. Cyclops boss Malcolm Parker feels that the title cut could be a contender for prog song of the year and while I am not prepared to go that far, there are some very pleasant Floydian nuances that make it a great introduction to the album as a whole. He even manages to bring in some VDGG as well as some quite commercial pop touches to the same song.

Of course the follow-up, "By The Book" could only start by having a multi-tracked sax jazz introduction. The album would have made sense otherwise, even if it didn't come across as Gary Numan playing acoustic jazz prog!!

There are some wonderful songs on here, and I am sure that many progheads will enjoy this album that is really a slice out of time. It doesn't belong in this century.

Originally appeared in Feedback #65, Dec 01

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 Charlestown by MANNING album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.50 | 127 ratings

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Charlestown
Manning Eclectic Prog

Review by sinslice

4 stars If you love Iron Maiden or Magma, you should not listen to this work of Manning, let alone comment. Charlestown is a delightful 35-minute suite that runs lyrically and musically through various passages sung and instrumental, well accompanied by flutes, acoustic guitars and cello among others. A bold work, but which achieves the goal of entertaining anyone looking for this type of music created. Caliban and Ariel is a delicate piece, smooth and direct. The Man in the Mirror is an upbeat song that is about mood swings, and to move on and not lose heart. The music accompanies those feelings with solid acoustic guitars, sax and violin. Clocks is another soft song based on guitar and flute, and a good synthesizer orchestration. T.I.c. has an obvious touch of Rhythm and Blues and Finale is just a good instrumental.

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