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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Audio Beaverhausen: The Return of Melissa Manchester

Melissa Manchester's new album, You Gotta Love the Life, kicks off with the catchy title tune co-written by the singer. It is, indeed, a splendid pop album released independently, which is where the musical action seems to be these day, outside the mainstream drivel. Herein, I think she proves there is life artistically -- big and bright -- after and beyond Clive Davis.

Manchester's collaborative efforts are rich, especially on "Other Side of the Phone." She wrote the music for that track with lyrics supplied by the legendary Hal David. Duets with Stevie Wonder (on harmonica), Dionne Warwick and Al Jarreau (vocals) among others are all delights.

The album's styles span pop to jazz to soul, all rendered resplendently. MM's ballad rendition of Ellie Greenwich/ Jeff Barry's "Be My Baby" is a pop gem. Her jazz-cum-conga arrangement of the medley "Let's Face the Music and Dance/ From This Moment On" is bliss, as is her bonus track, an accapella rendition of Rogers and Hammerstein's "Something Wonderful." The original "Open My Heart to Your Love" is another stand-out. She even ventures into Country successfully with the number "Feelin' for You."

Ms Manchester has a right to wear the tiara on her album's artwork. Not only is she one of America's pop princesses, but this is certainly a crowning achievement to her long career. Flawless and very highly recommended. You're gonna love this album!

You Gotta Love the Life is beautifully nuanced from start to finish. The cd version is handsomely designed and is loaded with informative liner notes and credits. Available on Melissa Manchester will be at 54 Below in NYC March 26 through 28.

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