2017 – Muddy Manninen
Release Date : July 14, 2017
By Phillip Smith; Nov 28, 2017
Muddy Manninen, a founding member of the Finnish rock band Havana Black, recorded three albums with Gringos Locos from 1987 to 1991, and joined the progressive UK blues-rock band Wishbone Ash in 2004. With them, he shared lead guitar duties and took on responsibilities as main song writer for twelve years until his recent departure to reemerge as an extraordinary solo act. Long Player, his first solo album is magnificent album of expertly-crafted guitar-centric rock.
When it comes to instrumentals, Manninen’s are breathtaking. “Dickies” puts a smile on my face as soon as it hits my ears. Drummer Dave Hill and bassist Mark Butler form an amazing rhythm section for Manninen’s tantalizing performance. Waves of crashing cymbals provide the backing of long-hanging notes peppered with a slew of magnificent guitar licks. I love the bouncing bluesy groove on “Cheese Rolling”. The accompaniment by saxophonist Patsy Gamble and keyboardist Tom Malm coat the song with a lush sophistication. Captivating and beautifully played, “Lil’ Rosie” blooms with a hypnotic allure. It’s quite seductive. “The Jester” fits well into the same wheelhouse as the Allman Brothers, as it embraces the free-wheeling twangy-ness of southern blues-rock. Mark Perry joins on keys and Manninen’s guitar playing is again un-deniably stunning.
The renowned Gregg Sutton lends his strong raspy vocals to the Eighties-style rocker “Danger Zone”, a song he co-wrote with Manninen. Kev Moore provides guest vocals on the lovely “Swan Song”, a folky melody featuring Tom Leary on fiddle. Of the dozen songs on Long Player, are all original tunes, with the exception of one, a delightful rendition of Bread’s 1969 hit, “Guitar Man”. The song surely evokes a sense of reminiscence.
It’s a safe bet; Muddy Manninen’s Long Player is a must-listen for the guitar aficionado.
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