Manzanera, Phil: The Music 1972 to 2008
Phil Manzanera should need no introduction in these pages as his progressive rock credentials are impressive to say the least. He is best known for his guitar work with Roxy Music but has worked with many artists including Brian Eno and formed his own band 801 in 1976. Also included in this 2CD/1 DVD box set are songs from his solo albums Diamond Head, Primitive Guitars, Vozero, 6PM and 50 Minutes Later.
It must have been a daunting task deciding which tunes to include in this album as you will never please everyone but it is obvious Manzanera took great care in deciding which songs made it to this retrospective. As Manzanera says in the liner notes, "The Music 1972-2008 is my selection of songs that reflect a musician on a journey, with no specific destination, but with plenty of stopovers, allowing time for new experiences and meeting fellow players, many of which I've had the pleasure of knowing for, well it seems, forever." The songs on the first two discs flow nicely as Manzanera has kept songs from the same albums together so stylistically they are similar to one another. Consequently, the album does not feel erratic as so many compilation albums do.
The first CD features mainly Roxy Music tracks plus a few culled from the Diamond Head, Primitive Guitars and 801 Live albums. The energy is palpable and no more so than on "Needles In The Camel's Eye" taken from Eno's Here Come the Warm Jets. A huge wall of guitar sound and Eno's melodic vocals make this a great track. "Out of the Blue", one of my favourite Roxy Music songs, is also included. It is a stirring and stunningly beautiful song with spine-tingling vocals from Ferry. I love the swirling sounds of guitar and violin and the piano melody is top notch. "Prairie Rose", taken from the Country Life album, has a faint country flavor with some infectious sax and guitar rhythms. "Frontera" and "Diamond Head" are taken from Manzanera's Diamond Head album with the former including Robert Wyatt's Spanish vocals and Latin influenced guitar stylings while the latter features Manzanera's whirling guitar and heavy violin rhythms. Manzanera lays down some layered guitar that is absolutely stunning. More classic Roxy Music tracks can be found including the richly melodic "Over You" and the heartfelt ballad "Running Wild" with its excellent sax and organ. Two tracks are taken from Manzanera's Primitive Guitars including the Latin infused "Criollo" and the experimental "Big Dome" filled with weird sound effects and interesting synths.
The second disc features Manzanera's more recent material with tunes from Vozero, 6PM and 50 Minutes Later. There are many highlights including the blistering "Green Spikey Cactus" featuring Chrissy Hynde's harmonica and Mackay's sizzling saxophone and the atmospheric "Broken Dreams" with its slow musical build ups and full treatment by Eno. Manzanera's lead vocals are also very good and I believe he has really improved in that area. One of my favourites is the rocking "6PM", a wonderful track and a guitar player's delight. The poignant "Love Devotion" is also a track not to be missed as Manzanera really puts his heart on his sleeve with his melancholic vocals and scrumptious melody. The CD ends with the trance inducing "Enotonik Bible Black" where Eno's presence is fully utilized and Manzanera's guitar pyrotechnics bursts through the surface.
Also included is a DVD which includes a fascinating interview with Manzanera as he discusses his very beginnings in music to his present day successes with his more recent solo records and the yet to be released Roxy Music album. Videos, live concert footage and recording session outtakes can also be found. This is essential viewing for all fans of Manzanera and Roxy Music.
This is a fine retrospective looking back on an extraordinary career and I cannot recommend it enough. A welcomed addition to any progressive rock music collection.
2. Needles in the Camel's Eye
3. Out of the Blue
4. Prairie Rose
6. Diamond Head
7. Miss Shapiro
8. East of Asteroid
10. Over You
11. Running Wild
13. Take A Chance With Me
14. Big Dome
1. La Vida Moderna
2. Mystic Moon
4. Green Spikey Cactus
5. Broken Dreams
7. Love Devotion
8. Wish You Well
9. Technicolor UFO
11. Enotonik Bible Black
1. Revolution of Roxy – Phil Manzanera a Musical Journey
2. Guitar Legends Seville 1991
3. Diamond Head Sweden 1975
4. 6PM EPK 2004
5. Guantanamera 1992
6. Fender 50th Wembley 2006
7. Manzanera Moncada Mama Hue 1991
8. A Million Reasons Why (video 1990)
Added: December 11th 2010
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
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