Barbara Manning Sings With the Original Artists is a peculiar but mostly successful album. With Manning employed primarily for her interpretive skills, backing is provided by a cast of Feel Good All Over label regulars, including the Mekons' Jon Langford, the Coctails' John Upchurch and ex-Young Marble Giant Stuart Moxham (whose '90s band is named the Original Artists). The ten-song repertoire consists of a pair by Langford (including "Big Eye," heard in a different version on the Killer Shrews' album), five by Moxham, one by Manning (the outstanding "Optimism Is Its Own Reward") and covers of "Cry Me a River" and Lora Logic's "Martian Man." Everybody involved gets poppy and cuts loose a little, especially Moxham, whose "Daddy Bully" has go-go checks all over it. It's probably the most fun record Manning's made. - Douglas Wolk, Trouser Press
Barbara Manning Sings With the Original Artists is a somewhat slight but wholly enjoyable release from a short-lived "supergroup" consisting of vocalist Barbara Manning and members of Young Marble Giants (Stuart Moxham), the Mekons (Jon Langford), and others. The music has more of a retro/lounge feel than the folk-tinged pop with which Manning is usually associated. Further, she is only credited with one song ("Optimism Is Its Own Reward"), while Moxham and Langford penned the rest of the originals. "Cry Me a River" is a faithful, non-ironic cover of the Julie London classic (much like Grenadine's "I Only Have Eyes for You"), while "Martian Man" is a lovely Lora Logic (X-Ray Spex, Essential Logic) cover embellished with brass and sitar. As a whole, the recording evokes the same sort of insouciant ambience fellow lounge lizards Grenadine, Combustible Edison, and Friends of Dean Martinez were making around the same time (the mid-'90s). Similarly, the approach is more sincere than campy. Moxham's garage-y "Daddy Bully" breaks the mold -- but not the mood -- to some extent by taking as its inspiration Sam the Sham & the Pharoahs' '60s nugget "Wooly Bully." - Kathleen C. Fennessy, AllMusic
released January 1, 1993
Barbara Manning - vocals, guitar
Stuart Moxham - guitar, vocals, drums, percussion, organ
Jon Langford - guitar, drum programming, synth
Andrew Moxham - drums, organ, guitar, bass
Baron von Trumfio - double bass, bass, sitar
John Upchurch - bass clarinet, soprano sax
Mike Hagler - piano
Dave Crawford - muted trumpet, flugelhorn
J Niimi - guitar solo on 'DaddyBully'
Recorded and mixed in a week or so in the summer of '93.
Produced by Stuart Moxham at Kingsize Sound Laboratories
Engineered by Baron von Trumfio & Mike Hagler
all rights reserved