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Manning - The Ragged Curtain CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.80 | 42 ratings

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3 stars "The Ragged Curtain" has Manning drawing from a much wider palette than in his prior efforts. From the hard rock of "Tightrope" to the ballad "A Place to Hide" to the reggae tinged "Where do all the Madmen go", the start of this album takes us on wild ride. As I have said before, his impact seems stilted when playing the hard rocker, but the other two forays are both confident and marvelously realized, down to the circus like break in "Madmen".

"Stronger" continues to stretch the horizons with an ambient jazz mood. Manning's voice at times reminds me of a huskier Al Stewart meets a more listenable Ian Anderson, including on "Weaver of Dreams", which is otherwise somewhat lacking in excitement. Then we come to this album's epic, the title suite. The melody that had been introduced in the brief opening track is expounded upon at the start, and it proves a winner. Unfortunately, most of the rest does not measure up, as we get bogged down in more faux hard rock, until the gorgeous "Sand" segment. This ethereal ballad style seems to suit Manning much better. The main theme returns for "Ebb". So, again, a somewhat uneven extended piece.

"The Ragged Curtain" is aptly titled, containing highs and lows for Manning. Another good album, but not more.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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