Smoking Her Wings - Barbara Manning, Scott, Robert [New
Don't Rewind - Barbara Manning, Marquis, Cole
Lock Yer Room (Uptight)
Someone Wants You Dead
Sympathy Wreath (Demise)
Talk All Night
Make It Go Away
Every Pretty Girl
Mark E. Smith & Brix
Something You've Got (Isn't Good)
Prophecy Written - Barbara Manning, Marquis, Cole
Possibly the finest postpunk troubadour out there, this San Francisco-area singer-songwriter has long been one of the rock underground's most vocal baseball fans (as evidenced by the title of this disc). That obsession isn... more »'t chronicled here--although it does permeate the Baseball Trilogy EP she recorded with the SF Seals, a backing band named after a famed minor league franchise--but Manning's vulnerable vocals drive home her cutting, introspective lyrics with power to spare. Songs like "Sympathy Wreath" (which appears twice) and "Someone Wants You Dead" rank with Manning's finest work, and as a bonus the CD appends her 1988 solo debut, the powerful Lately I Keep Scissors, in its entirety. --David Sprague« less
Possibly the finest postpunk troubadour out there, this San Francisco-area singer-songwriter has long been one of the rock underground's most vocal baseball fans (as evidenced by the title of this disc). That obsession isn't chronicled here--although it does permeate the Baseball Trilogy EP she recorded with the SF Seals, a backing band named after a famed minor league franchise--but Manning's vulnerable vocals drive home her cutting, introspective lyrics with power to spare. Songs like "Sympathy Wreath" (which appears twice) and "Someone Wants You Dead" rank with Manning's finest work, and as a bonus the CD appends her 1988 solo debut, the powerful Lately I Keep Scissors, in its entirety. --David Sprague
"Barbara Manning has her quirks. She worships baseball (her non-solo act band is named after defunct minor league San Francisco Seals), is excessively fond of semi-obscure New Zealand bands like The Bats, and as a previous reviewer pointed out, doesn't have the best self esteem. Still, I'll take her any day over the hoards of angry, self-obsessed, art school dropout female singer-songwriters currently populating the scene (and you know who you are).
This beautiful album (actually two packaged together) is loaded with great pop songs sung in Manning's sweet, occasionally bitter voice. As a songwriter, she favors pop hooks ("Straw Man," "Sympathy Wreath," "Scissors," "Somewhere Soon") but isn't afraid to explore the less obvious in songs like "Make It Go Away" and "Mark E. Smith & Brix." The latter gives you some idea of her influences which include The Fall, along with Brian Eno, The Clean and, oddly enough, Hoagy Carmichael.
Manning likes to pay tribute to these influences and this CD features several covers--a nice version of Smoking Her Wings by The Bats' Robert Scott and several by former 28th Day bandmate Cole Marquis. But her own songs are the standouts, particularly Scissors, a song that reels between self-blame and good-riddance anger--all against an infectious beat. "Someone Wants You Dead" is a mystery of a song that reminds me in its eerie meaning of Freedy Johnston's "This Perfect World." Finally, "Talk All Night" is a gorgeous acoustic number that you'll want to play well, all night.
This is a great introduction to Barbara Manning and an essential American indie-rock album. Listeners interested in more of Manning should also check out her solo 1212 and the S.F. Seals album Truth Walks in Sleepy Shadows."
Part of my rotation for 10 years (often on 3 days rest!)
R. Edward Poole | Washington, DC | 12/05/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"(...) In what I believe are her first 2 "solo" albums (after World of Pooh, which you should definitely check out if you can find it in an antique store that carries vinyl), Barbara Manning proved herself to be a clever songwriter, bursting with catchy hooks, well-crafted indie pop sensibilities, and moody (yet melodic) soundscapes. I first heard this disc as a college DJ in 1991 (which, unfortunately, is where much of Barbara's fan base is located), and I've played it at least once a week for the last 10 years. It's just superb. (...)"
18 songs: all hits, no errors
John L Murphy | Los Angeles | 01/16/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"While it lacks the epic scope of what I think's her best album, "1212," this double-header of a disc sounds satisfyingly consistent and, considering a probably miniscule budget, strong in both the guitar and the vocal departments. Barbara Manning's singing style may leave the uninitiated rather nonplussed. Like Mary Timony, she offers her musings in an unadorned, straightforward approach; but Manning is less willful or idiosyncratic. She lacks any attitude but her own, and in refusing to play into whatever hipness could have anointed her the latest singer-songwriter, she keeps my and her respect.
The tunes, while direct, have that wonderful hint of New Zealand-Flying Nun undertow that moves them along winningly. These tunes, especially "Sympathy Wreath"--which merits two at-bats here--hold up well and the pace does not slacken over 18 songs, a rarity for any artist. It's good to see that this is still in print, and I urge you to support her and the label with your purchase of a sadly under-promoted talent."
She Hits, She Scores
Kathy Fennessy | 10/15/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One Perfect Green Blanket is the ideal introduction to Barbara Manning, long one of the Bay Area's finest singer/songwriters. The CD includes eight tracks, three of which were previously released on compilations and flexi-discs ("Smoking Her Wings," "Don't Rewind," and "Someone Wants You Dead") plus an additional 10 from 1988's Lately I Keep Scissors. "Smoking Her Wings" is a sublime, cello-laden cover of New Zealand band the Bats' original (from The Law of Things). "Mark E. Smith & Brix", an ode to the leader of The Fall and his ex-wife/sometime collaborator, is done in the minimalistic style of the Young Marble Giants. All of the songs are quite catchy, but "Scissors," "Every Pretty Girl," and "Something You've Got (isn't good)" are particularly infectious. The title reflects Manning's love of baseball. "One perfect green blanket"--as depicted on the cover--is a baseball diamond (the CD includes a broadcast sample from the San Francisco Giants Western Division win). Manning would explore this enthusiasm further as a member of the SF Seals on the 1993 EP, The Baseball Trilogy (featuring tributes to Joe DiMaggio, Denny McLain, and Dock Ellis)."
Get your hands on this cd any way you can
Kathy Fennessy | 07/18/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This "Green Blanket/Scissors" cd is amazing. Angry, sharp lyrics, wonderful melodies, great singing. Barbara Manning doesn't play the virgin/whore card that her erstwhile label-mate, Liz Phair, does, but she deserves all the credit in the world for introducing an original, remarkable voice to popular music."