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22 Jul 2017

Terry Manning "Home Sweet Home" 1970 US Psych Rock




Terry Manning "Home Sweet Home" 1970 US Psych Rock

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Featuring the recording debut of Big Star's Chris Bell, this outrageously enjoyable blend of psychedelic rock, Memphis soul and dirty R&B kicks off with one of the most audacious and successful Beatles covers ever. Terry Manning was a key figure in '60s Memphis music-making -- from his experience at Stax (learning from the likes of Isaac Hayes, Ike & Tina Turner, Willie Mitchell, Booker T. Jones, Eddie Floyd, Al Green, Otis Redding, The Boxtops, Percy Sledge, The Staple Singers, Mississippi John Hurt, etc.) he became the Ardent Studios engineer/producer, and co-owner of the Ardent Records label that released the Big Star albums. Originally released on Stax's Enterprise label, this record is Manning's only solo work (he engineered, produced, and played almost all of the instruments) and features a feast of fuzz guitar, sweet vocals and funky rhythms that makes its long overdue CD debut here (complete with full liner notes and three bonus tracks), Home Sweet Home is a tongue-in-cheek blast from start to finish, and guaranteed to thrill fans..............

Terry Manning's 1970 solo album Home Sweet Home started off as something of a joke when he recorded a deliberately over-the-top psychedelic version of the Box Tops' "Choo Choo Train." When Stax Records asked for a whole album of such material, Home Sweet Home was the result. Like "Choo Choo Train" (included on the final LP), the album as a whole was over-the-top psychedelia, and indeed over-the-top mimicking of several manners of late-'60s trendy excess in hard rock, blues-rock, and soul music. There's a tongue firmly planted in its cheek, however, which keeps it from being as tough an exercise to sit through as the records it was poking fun at -- though only just. Whether it's a ten-minute version of the Beatles' "Savoy Truffle" (with early Moog effects), loving Manning-penned homages/satires of Jerry Lee Lewis ("Wild Wild Rocker") and late-'60s dance-soul ("Trashy Dog"), or knowingly slightly hysterical covers of old blues tunes ("I Ain't Got You") and, again, the Beatles ("I Wanna Be Your Man"), he plows his way through the tracks with the fervid energy of a man who can't decide whether he's pulling off an inside joke or a work of genius. As is so often the case with these kind of projects, however, it's much more an inside joke than it is a work of genius. That's not to say it isn't amusing, and it does hold some interest for serious Big Star fans for marking the first proper studio appearances by guitarist Chris Bell. Like many somewhat silly, somewhat inspired jokes, though, listeners will most likely find the humorous novelty wearing off after one or two listens.....by Richie Unterberger......

If you recognize Terry Manning's name, its likely a result of his work as an engineer and producer, including numerous projects for the Memphis-based Ardent Records were he worked with the likes of Alex Chilton and Big Star. With the exception of true hard core collector's, most folks probably don't know that Manning actually recorded an early-1970s solo LP.

By the early 1970s Manning was a fixture at Stax having engineered many of their recording sessions. While he wasn't known for his performing talents, a one off demo of a song intended for The Box Tops caught Stax VP Al Bell's attention and served to get Manning signed to the Stax affiliated Enterprise label. Manning subsequently made his solo debut with 1970's "Home Sweet Home".

A true solo effort, Manning produced, engineered and save drums, handled most of the instrumentation (Big Star's Chris Bell provided lead guitar on a couple of tracks). In terms of the music, anyone into the Big Star/Alex Chilton scene will find this album irresistible. Besides, how can you not like an album that starts out with an extended, fuzz-filled cover of George Harrison's 'Savoy Truffle'.

Manning's voice certainly didn't have Chilton's depth and breadth, but he used his limited talents well, turning in a uniformly impressive set that effortlessly blended blue eyed soul, R&B and garage rock moves. Simply a blast from start to finish, it was hard to pick out favorites, though 'Trashy Dog' (The B-52s could've had a hit with it), 'I Ain't Got You' and a fuzz guitar and harmonica propelled cover of The Beatles' 'I Wanna Be Your Man' were all worthy highlights. (Okay, I'll admit the Elvis-wannabe 'Wild Wild Rocker' was forgettable.) Sadly, the LP vanished without a trace, making it a sought after collectable. .....Bad Cat.........

Terry Manning was an engineer and producer who worked with a lot of Stax artists: Issac Hayes, the Staple Singers and much later, Lenny Kravitz.

This is a solo album he put out on Enterprise, a Stax sub label, in 1970.
Home Sweet Home is not soul or funk, but contains a lot of great, radically altered Beatles covers and other rock pieces. Check how Manning turns Beatle-Georges "Savoy Truffle" from a rock quick chestnut into a long psych jam essay. Manning knows what he is doing: at no point to the Fab covers become the pretentious art stabs so many other bands careened to when going to the holy grail.

The non-Beatle tracks here also work as psych jams, phase shifted and flanged as you may expect on an album like this in '70, but the playing is always in the pocket, and what could be an indulgent disaster turns into charming covers; for all the effects, Manning never forgets the songs.

This is not a classic, but collectors of the forgotten from this era will want to impress their friends with Home Sweet Home..............

When Terry Manning sings about his "dear old mother" in "Choo Choo Train", he doesn't give a damn about her. Written by Donnie Fritts and Eddie Hinton, "Choo Choo Train" is only marginally straighter in the Box Tops' version, which Manning engineered. Home Sweet Home is a record of magnificently conceived and beautifully recorded parodies, and it's not without overtones of something approaching real feeling. Originally released in 1970 on the Stax imprint Enterprise, Home Sweet Home gives George Harrison's "Savoy Truffle" and Jack Clement's "Guess Things Happen That Way" the Memphis anglophile treatment, with Richard Rosebrough's drums locked into a stiff post-soul-music groove. It illustrates how Manning, Chris Bell (who plays guitar on four tracks) and other Ardent Studios denizens created Memphis power-pop by letting local traditions collide with cosmopolitan abstraction. These heartfelt jokes point the way toward Big Star's #1 Record and Radio City..................

Terry Manning is mostly known as a producer and engineer, having worked behind the glass for everybody from Led Zeppelin and ZZ Top to Al Green and the Staples Singers. Home Sweet Home is the only album he ever made on his own account, and that was almost completely by accident. The story goes that Manning was engineering a 1968 recording session for Alex Chilton’s Box Tops, when one night he decided to stay overtime and play a joke on songwriter Eddie Hinton. Hinton had brought in a song for the Box Tops called “Choo Choo Train”, a hard chugging, Southern boogie song that he thought would be perfect for Chilton. Manning felt that Hinton was taking himself a little too seriously. So late one night, he recorded his own version of “Choo Choo Train”, purposely accenting the cut’s hard psychedelia. The next day he played his way-over-the-top version of the song for producer Dan Penn, Chilton and Hinton, and everyone had a good laugh. But later, when Manning brought the cut to Al Bell at Stax, the joke was on him. Bell asked him how long it would take to record an entire album of similar material, and the seeds of Home Sweet Home were sown.

Not that Manning ever took the record too seriously. He decided to make every song represent a different style, each, like “Choo Choo Train” pursued a little harder than normal. As a result, nearly every track will remind you of other artists…artists taking the piss at their own worst excesses. For instance, there’s a long, freaked out, solo-laced version of George Harrison’s “Savoy Truffle” to kick things off, an Elvis-strutting Johnny Cash cover called “Guess Thing Happen that Way”, and a slinky, organ-pulsing Booker T and the MGs tribute titled “Sour Mash.” Somewhere between pastiche and parody and genuine rock achievement, Home Sweet Home is a fascinating inside joke that nonetheless works as music. 
Part of the reason it works is, obviously, the musicians Manning was able to rally. You can hear a very young Chris Bell (soon to be of Big Star) trying out his Memphis soul leads in cuts like “Trashy Dog” and “Guess Things Happen That Way”. Robert Moog, inventor of his eponymous synthesizer, sits in on the sublimely excessive “Savoy Truffle”. And the Hi Hat Rhythm section, a band of southern soul vets who had backed Al Green and the Staples Singers, puts an irresistible groove under the live-recorded Ann Peebles cover “I Can’t Stand the Rain”. This last cut is one of three bonus cuts, not included on the original vinyl. Manning recorded it at Memphis State University, substituting at the last minute for George Thoroughgood’s opening act. 
The other two bonus tracks have similarly interesting back stories. A Beatles cover—“One After 909”—was one of Manning’s earliest efforts. He did it after receiving a demo of the Beatles version, before they had even recorded their more famous rendition. The demo was so raw, though, that it didn’t have all the words or guitar parts on it, and Manning filled in the best he could. It wasn’t until 2003 that he edited the cut, adding a guitar bridge that was originally missing, and finally finishing it. And “Talk Talk” by the Music Machine and Sean Boniwell was originally intended as the first cut on a follow-up album which was, sadly, never made.

Home Sweet Home‘s first side (“Savoy Truffle”, “Guess Things Happen That Way”, “Trashy Dog” and “Wild Wild Rocker”) is stronger than its second, where the goofiness begins to overwhelm the music. Still, the bonus tracks indicate that Manning might have had more in him, given time and resources. He was successful for the rest of his life, but he never made another record, and this one, given Stax’s difficulties in promoting pop, never reached a wide audience. Now, 40 years later, Home Sweet Home is a time capsule, with its aggressive psychedelic riffs and hard-edged soul rhythms. It’s also an oddity, an artifact, a sly joke ... but that doesn’t make the music any less fun.....by Jennifer Kelly.......

"Terry Manning is best known as an engineer and producer who spent the '60s and '70s in Memphis working for Ardent and Stax Studios on some of that city's most important records, from Isaac Hayes to Big Star. In 1970 he cut the album Home Sweet Home and it was released on the Stax subsidiary, Enterprise. Originally intended as a joke project, Home Sweet Home is now a highly regarded and collectible LP, praised for its innovative studio trickery and Manning's offbeat arrangements, especially the epic opening 10-minute version of George Harrison's 'Savoy Truffle.'"...............................

Musicians
*Chris Bell - Guitar
*Terry Manning - Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Percussion
*Steve Rhea - Drums
*Richard Rosebrough - Drums

Tracklist
A1 Savoy Truffle 10:05
A2 Guess Things Happen That Way 3:23
A3 Trashy Dog 3:00
A4 Wild Wild Rocker 2:27
B1 Choo Choo Train 4:38
B2 I Ain't Got You 3:12
B3 Sour Mash 5:04
B4 I Wanna Be Your Man 5:02

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