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Manning - One Small Step... CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.58 | 60 ratings

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Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer
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.

Tarcisio Moura | 3/5 |


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