Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Music Review - Bernie Manning's Greatest Hits, VOL III

This third album by talented Melbourne songwriter Bernie Manning has veered away from the protest and is more a celebration of the varieties of human experience. I found it interesting as a kind of crossover piece between the worlds of music and poetry; Manning is essentially a poet, and the lyrics in Volume 3 reflect this bent in particular as the album rides the range of humanity, from the cheerful, cock-robin tone of the opening track, through the thought-provoking 'Do What You Do Best' and the nostalgic song of filial love 'My Father' (I was listening to that track on Father's Day and I must admit it brought me to tears) to  the gentle, valedictory sorrow of 'Sorrento'.

Humour isn't missed in the collection;in Track 10, 'I Am Not A Refrigerator' we see a rare lighter side to Jeff Burstin's voice, and of course there is a special treat for fans of Manning's dry, but essentially kind, humour in the two closing tracks, Men's Secret Nightmares 1 and 2.

The booklet of lyrics is provided with its usual professional presentation. I was a little sad that the lyrics  of two of the loveliest tracks, The Artist and Sorrento, were omitted from it; they are the two tracks (apart from Men's Secret Nightmares) where Manning speaks his own lyrics, and are also particularly beautiful tracks. Sorrento in particularly is heart-breakingly lovely. 

However, the clear diction of all three of the vocalists renders the book a luxury rather than a necessity. Altogether a very satisfying work, and one I will play often.

Bernie Manning's Greatest Hits, Volumes One, Two and Three, are available from  Bernie's own website.

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