"True (short) story: Waay back in '75 I had the good fortune to catch "Sweet Talking Guy" on the radio. So did a friend of mine, a kid who I had a competition "thing" with. Neither of us had seen the album, but he swore to me that of course, he would have it first. I was pretty sure he was right, because my allowance was about 50 cents a week. Strangely, I saved my money any way, and after a couple of months or so, I rode my bike ten miles up the road to the closest (rural) department store. By the time I got there I was afraid they wouldn't have a copy of the album, but there it was, with that nifty caricature cover. Though it had been weeks since I'd last heard "my song," I cycled home with my little triumph on my mind.Someone was on our party line, so I decided to listen to the album first. And the most amazing thing happened: it was like being transported back to a time before anything I had known. As an average 11 year old, I didn't have the words to describe the silky jazz opener, "Tuxedo Junction," or many of the songs that followed. I just knew I was in love."Sweet Talking Guy" sounded better than I remembered, all those interwoven vocal lines swirling over the stacatto keyboard. I should say that some of the tracks didn't "click" with me at first, but I remember being impressed by the sincerity, the naturalness of the vocalists. "Java Jive" was my favorite singalong and "Blue Champagne" made me fantasize about cocktail romance, whatever that was.Now when I play this album, and I do it often, I'm struck by the sheer talent that went into creating it, and pleasant sense of melancholy it registers in me. I wouldn't call it nostalgia or camp, because there is nothing bad or particularly funny about the attraction. "You Can Depend On Me" still offers a thrilling vocal exchange between Janis and Tim, "Heart's Desire" still bowls me over with the intensity of the group's heart-felt harmonies. And "Clap Your Hands" still makes me sing along with Janis, who never sounded more soulful or full of joy.The next time I saw my friend, he informed me that Manhattan Transfer were "old news," and that he wasn't interested in them any more. To this day I've never told him how much he missed."
Looking Back, and Taking it Forward.
KRA | East End of LI | 08/29/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First, yes there actually WAS a railroad station known as Manhattan Transfer, and as it's name implied it was a station where people could transfer for trains direct in NYC.
That said, the current groups first studio album is awesome, and while it borrowers heavily from the "swing" era, it also contains great salutes to Do-Wop (Gloria, Hearts Desire), Beat (Java Jive), Gospel (Operator), and Pop (Sweet Talking Guy).
The songs from the swing era are all excellent with my favorites being; Tuxedo Junction, That Cat Is High, and the song that started it all off, Blue Champange.
The Man-Tran would go onto many differnt styles in the long and continuing career, but this landmark album started it all!"
KRA | 05/27/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Blue Champagne and Heart's Desire demonstrate the uncommon versatility of this talented group. The closing notes of Heart's Desire show that Janis Siegel can compare favorably to an opera contralto when she uses that timbre of her golden voice."
Gotta have it
KRA | 05/21/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Classic. Utterly classic. If you like sweet harmonies, a digging back beat, and vocals that can growl and soar at the same time, you need to own this. One of my all-time favorites. (I'm buying it in CD [finally] after wearing out four vinyls and all of the attendant bootleg cassettes I made from them)!"
Not really the original...
Lee Hauser | Seattle, USA | 11/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I haven't had a copy of this album since the early 80s, when I had it on a cassette I practically wore out over the years. I never bought this on CD, so I decided it was time to replace that long-lost tape with the MP3 version of the album. I was disappointed to find that several of the tracks are NOT the original album tracks (as advertised on the track listing here). They have been replaced with live versions of the songs. Now, I have no objection to hearing Manhattan Transfer live -- I've been to many of their live shows over the years -- but to me, it's a rude and unwelcome experience to expect to hear one rendition of a song and hear another version instead!
I don't know if there were licensing issues or what reasons there may have been for not making the original tracks available as MP3, but I am disappointed. I can't give this less than 4 stars, because it IS Manhattan Transfer, but I can't give it 5 either because it's not what I expected to hear.
Tuxedo Junction - Live, not LP Sweet Talking Guy - LP, as advertised Operator - Live, not LP Candy - LP version Gloria - Live, as advertised Clap Your Hands - LP version That Cat Is High - LP version You Can Depend On Me - LP version Blue Champaign - Live, not LP as advertised Java Jive - LP version Occapella - LP version Hearts Desire - LP version "