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Manning - Songs From The Bilston House CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.92 | 83 ratings

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Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer
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.

Tarcisio Moura | 4/5 |


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