Wednesday, 18 July 2018

John Manning "White Bear" 1971 US Folk Rock masterpiece


John Manning  "White Bear" 1971 US Folk Rock masterpiece...recommended...!
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And another 1971 masterpiece, a beautiful mix of classic singer / songwriting style and folk rock interweaves with melodic and poetic psych sounds. “Goodbye & Hello” to Tim Buckley 
could also be spelled out in a nutshell. All songs are from the pen of John Manning, recorded in 1970 and for vocals he also delivered his famous 12-string guitar sound. However, to enjoy this delicacy, one will have to look for something, the good piece is truly not easy to get, my LP had to be also swept across the pond …..~


Despite being completely unknown at the time, JOHN MANNING who was secretly talked about among SSW fans by offering songs with GENE CLARK and others to the second generation cinema “THE AMERICAN DREAMER” produced and starring DENNIS HOPPER . BLACK OAK ARKANSAS ’s undercard etc also served as well, but the activity at the live seems to have been acclaimed, but the recorded material is a piece of mania drooling scattered by this work. A masterpiece quietly spreading relaxedly in a quiet and lyrical world like a singer / songwriter, as a jacket representing wonderful content. A beautiful melody and poetic taste which is somewhat introspectionally gentle and gently plucked with a 12-string guitar can be compared to TIM BUCKLEY as well. It is a masterpiece that was buried in spite of the release from the major major COLUMBIA full of the remnant scent of good quality era until the supporting baseline and the gospel flavor of female chorus. In 2002 Sony’s Western music hiroshikan series finally became the first CD in the world It’s already a long-awaited gem The gem is a long-awaited revival…..~


This seems like a fitting way to close out this week’s folk auctions. Amazingly, John Manning’s White Bear got released on a major label, but it seems to have largely gone unnoticed at the time and even now. This is a beautiful mix of folk-rock and singer songwriter styles. Manning sings and plays 12-string guitar, and is joined by a top-notch band that fills out the rest. One reviewer said of White Bear: “It is one of the most melodic and poetic albums I’ve ever heard. Every song paints an intense picture.” Highly sought after by those in the know….~


Gentle, soft & warm folk/pop/rock effort which suffers a little from a thin/poor production; in fact two producers were involved in the recording process. For those of you who can bear the force of this White Bear still is an undiscovered major label album, lifted above the ordinary by Manning’s deep, honest & pure vocals….by…eskeshuus …~


An album called White Bear has my undivided attention by virtue of its name alone. But when its cover also shows a lanky long-haired fellow sitting next to a piano in some kind of antique room, I’m sold. White Bear was released on Columbia in 1971, and is the first and only outing of John Manning, a 12-stringed balladeer who sailed the currents of the great 1960s folk wave, before it broke on the shores of the ’70s. 

I’d like to proceed by giving more background on the artist, such as where John Manning hailed from and how he came to record his first album. Problem is, no one seems to know. Apparently, he opened for Deep Purple in the early 1970s. John Manning also shared the bill with Iron Butterfly and Black Oak Arkansas, and performed in the legendary Troubadour club. 

For the rest, there’s about four short reviews available online, one of them in German, as well as a one-sentence review in The Milwaukee Journal of October 6, 1971, describing John Manning as a “sad, restless, romantic balladeer.” Finally, two of his songs were featured on the soundtrack of a Dennis Hopper documentary called The American Dreamer, also in 1971. 

The dearth of information wouldn’t be so baffling if the music wasn’t so good. John Manning is a first-class singer, musician and songwriter, though his lyrics tend to be on the obscure side. It’s no surprise then, that he brings up his “drug-infected mind” in “The Whole Song,” a near-perfect folk ballad that also contains the beautiful line “but my every loving thought for you, like every song I sing, is the child of a mystic dream you’ve never known.”
“Hard on the Road to New Mexico” is equally mystifying without losing out in intensity, reminding of Dylan’s great “Isis.” There’s a lover who offers the singer a “guiding moonstone” before departing. He escapes to the highway and meets a bunch of Indians. The plot thickens as Jesus joins in as well as a Prophet of the Dawn. There’s a beautiful verse about a girl in Colorado and a poignant conclusion: “And yet there is always one more question: Will there be someone still at home?” The song is a wild trip, but it’s well worth the ride. 

John Manning’s “Free Clinic Song” is worth a listen too, as a poetic meditation on love and loneliness that starts with: “Who am I to hold your hand and think to know your mind?” The song is about that most basic of questions: Can we ever truly know each other? There’s an existential intensity to the singer’s probing – “sometimes in the dark you come to think you know too much” – that is reinforced in the refrain: “It’s so hard to be living here and never find out why.” Yet the singer clings to love, desperately believing in its potential: “Sometimes I imagine that I understand what’s real: If we put our hearts together, do you think they might be healed?”
As a singer, John Manning has a clear and intimate voice. He reminds of Tim Buckley at times, combining the depth of his low register with piercing trips into his higher range. In the intensity of his singing, he also brings to mind such artists as Roy Harper, Gene Clark, even Scott Walker and early Neil Young. Of course, comparisons can only bring us so far: Manning has a distinctive voice of his own, the perfect medium for his poetic and dramatic folk songs. Though I have cherry-picked only a few, there is no weak moment on the record; songs like “Mother Earth” and “Leaving Home Again,” especially, should not go unmentioned. 
So this is what we have: a great album released as an LP in 1971, re-released on CD in 2002, and now available on YouTube – and an untraceable artist. Resorting to YouTube comments for more clues, we find, among pertinent observations such as “Hey, this guy has my name … AND MY HAIR,” and someone suggesting that John Manning may be still around and working on a follow-up album. 
If that is indeed the case, some of the mysteries surrounding John Manning may be cleared up some time in the future. Until then, we’ll have to make do with the mysteriously beautiful folk music on the unjustly neglected White Bear…..BY KASPER NIJSEN….~


The only album of the forgotten hero of folk rock, which can be attached to a long list of musicians of those years with a single musical treasure: Larry Murray, Mark Levine, Willis Alan Ramsey and others. John Manning with his soft voice reminiscent of Tim Buckley had all the qualities that would fill some void in the brutal and dense jungles of the music business show, but certainly undoubtedly had high chances to go undetected, which actually happened … But nevertheless, as one music critic said, John Manning’s album can be played orbit once, but not two … and his song “Hard Road To Mexico” is the best single / romance / traveler’s hymn you’ve ever heard…~


Credits 
Bass – Floyd Frederick Fletcher III 
Flute – Alan Dennison 
Guitar – Mike Bolan 
Keyboards – Alan Dennison 

Tracklist 
1 Leaving Home Again 
2 Theme From H+2 
3 Free Clinic Song 
4 Warm Inside 
5 Music Belongs To The People 
6 Hard On The Road To New Mexico 
7 Mother Earth 
8 The Whole Song 
9 Down Inside The Jungle 

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