Saturday, 26 December 2009

The Manhattans - Forever By Your Side - 1983 / 2009 - Vinyl Masterpiece

One of my all-time favourite groups, the Manhattans may have had a scarcity of hits in the 1980s, but at least they were fortunate enough to have been recording at a time where belief in artists and artist development were still important. This classy, classy set from 1983 boats being the first time on CD yet it was actually released in the early '90s by Sony in South Africa of all places. The thing is, that album is highly sought after and was allegedly from the Columbia masters. I was never 100% sure on that front and having had the opportunity to revisit this set on the new reissue from PTG / Vinyl Masterpiece out of Holland it's my opinion that the edge on quality - sound and artwork / presentation - truly falls to PTG as the overall winners! A label after my own heart, releasing quality material from the 80s, a decade I personally feel has been both maligned and ignored. December 2009 may be cold, snowy and icy but albums like these really warm my heart no end.

No-one should be able to resist the upbeat opening cut, "Crazy" excellent 80s dancer, still fresh as a daisy today, and highlights how wonderful a vocalist Gerald Alston is. The harmonies here in the 80s are still very close and exactly what you would expect of a group of this caliber. Fans of the mighty, mighty Leo Graham will be happy to see that his work with them continued into the '80s and tracks such as "Starting All Over Again" and the KILLER "Just The Lonely Talking Again"will be more than enough to satisfy. If you, like me, adore the wonderful Columbia work of Tyrone Davis then the latter cut with it's gentle flavour and sunny, summery demeanor will undoubtedly satisfy. Again, Graham wins with the guitar / moog number "Love Is Gonna Find You" - a great number for Alston and the boys . Many may have overlooked or passed over this album back in '83 in favour of more Electro-fied sets. A pity, as this material certainly won out over the trendy, flash-in-the-pan stuff of the day. True will be said of today's quality material that is overshadowed by rap cum children's RnB. It is fitting that this material, 25 plus year later is still as fresh and relevant today as it was back then and a ripe choice for Vinyl Masterpiece to bring to our attention today. Planet Rock anyone? No, I seriously doubt it.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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