Barbara Manning

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Barbara Manning
Barbara Manning, 1994.jpg
Barbara Manning in San Francisco, 1994
Background information
Born (1964-12-12) December 12, 1964 (age 51)
San Diego, California, United States
Genres Indie rock, indie pop, lo fi, folk rock
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter
Science teacher
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active 1984–present
Labels (selected) Heyday, Matador, Innerstate[1]
Associated acts 28th Day
World of Pooh
S.F. Seals
The Go-Luckys!
Website Barbara Manning

Barbara Manning (born December 12, 1964) is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist whose albums blend elements of rock, folk, pop and proto-punk. She's also known for her cover versions of often obscure pop songs. In addition to an acclaimed solo career, Manning has been active in a number of bands, including 28th Day (with Cole Marquis), World of Pooh, S.F. Seals, and The Go-Luckys!.[2]

Early life[edit]

Manning's parents met in high school but split up when she and her younger sister Terri were young. Her mom moved the girls to the Sierra Foothills, settling in a cabin without running water or electricity to live near a religious commune. Manning's early exposure to popular music came from her parents and their friends, who listened to The Beatles, Country Joe & the Fish, The Carpenters, The Moody Blues, Odetta and Elton John. Manning bought her first guitar at age 14 and began playing and practicing harmonies with her sister, inspired by The Bee Gees.[3]

Music career[edit]

1980s[edit]

While attending Chico State University in 1983, Manning, guitarist/singer Cole Marquis and drummer Michael Cloward formed the jangle-pop band 28th Day. The following year, the group released a self-titled EP on the Enigma label with Marquis writing the majority of songs. This was the only recording from the band before it split up in 1986, when Manning moved to San Francisco, but two expanded editions with outtakes and live recordings were re-released in 1992 and 2003.[4][5]

Of note, 28th Day's EP was produced by Russ Tolman, singer-songwriter of True West and at the time of the band's breakup, Tolman and musician/writer Pat Thomas had formed their independent label Innerstate which would go on to release more Manning recordings in the coming years, including the 2003 28th Day - The Complete Recordings reissue.[6] A Pitchfork review of this 20-song collection praised the timelessness of the 80s band, saying "...this stuff still sounds as beautiful and rich and satisfying as it ever did. Anthems of heartbreak, odes to inarticulatable sadness, paeans to the dead! Sandy Denny could have sung most of these tunes without breaking a Brit-folk sweat."[7]

In 1986 Manning joined singer-songwriter and bassist Brandan F. Kearney's band World of Pooh. They released their only album The Land of Thirst on the Kearney's Nuf Said label in 1989 (now out of print).[8] Manning's own songs included "Scissors" and "Somewhere Soon;" both would be rerecorded for her upcoming solo album. She also shared some songwriting credits with Kearney.[9]

Also in 1986, Manning made her first solo album, Lately I Keep Scissors, recorded quickly as an 8-track demo, which would eventually be released on Thomas' San Francisco label, Heyday in 1988.[10][11] Terri Manning recorded some vocals and local musician friends pitched in, including drummer/singer Melanie Clarin, who would become a longtime collaborator on future projects. The songs ranged from personal laments to jagged folk-rock and pop, including "Every Pretty Girl," "Scissors," (with a percussive scissors track) and "Mark E. Smith & Brix," which referred to The Fall lead singer-songwriter and his former wife.[12] Trouser Press praised Manning's song-craft, saying her solo work "reveal[s] a songwriter of tremendous lyrical power and breadth of sonic vision."[13]

1990s[edit]

Rolling Stone took notice of Manning's musical output, calling her as one of 1992's most important new artists.[14] The World of Pooh lineup eventually morphed into a new band called The SF Seals with Manning as chief songwriter and singer. Band members included Melanie Clarin, cellist Kim Osterwald, bassist Margaret Murray, guitarist Lincoln Allen.[15] Manning, a longtime baseball fan, named the band after the city's former Pacific Coast minor-league team. SF Seals released the EP Baseball Trilogy in 1993, most likely the first baseball-themed release in indie rock. The three songs included a cover of Les Brown's "Joltin' Joe DiMaggio," the Mad V. Dog-penned "Ballad of Denny McLain," and Manning's "Dock Ellis," about Ellis' infamous 1970 no-hitter pitched while tripping on acid.[13]

The band released their first album, "Nowhere" on the Matador Records label in 1994 with guitarist Brently Pusser joining in the recording sessions. Their second album, "Truth Walks in Sleepy Shadows," came out a year later. It made Spin Magazine's top ten list for 1995[14] and won a Bay Area Music Award (BAMMY) for best independent rock album. But the SF Seals wouldn't stay together past 1996.

Manning toured the U.S., both solo and with her various bands, throughout the 80s and 90s, opening for such acts as Yo La Tengo, Giant Sand, Pavement, Calexico, the Replacements, Richie Havens, Donovan, Television Personalities, Stuart Moxham (Young Marble Giants), Jon Langford (Mekons), Faust, Urge Overkill, Gary Lucas (Captain Beefheart), and Sonic Youth.[16][17]

With the encouragement of fellow musician Alastair Galbraith, Manning traveled to New Zealand in 1997, touring with John Convertino and Joey Burns of Giant Sand and Calexico[18] and collaborating with her favorite musicians from the underground scene there. Recording sessions commenced with musicians including David Kilgour and Chris Knox of The Clean, Graeme Downes of The Verlaines, Robert Scott of The Bats, and David Mitchell and Denise Roughan of The 3Ds.[19] The resulting album, In New Zealand, was released in 1999.[20]

Manning's solo album 1212 was released on Matador in 1997 with Burns and Convertino backing her. The album's 19-minute song cycle, "The Arsonist's Story" was conceived as a rock opera, told from the points of view of a troubled teenager and her equally troubled mother.[21] A Salon review referred to Manning's ballad “Isn’t Lonely Lovely?” as the album's standout, describing her lyrics as being set to "a majestic, echoing landscape."[22]

1212 also paid tribute to Manning's fondness for Krautrock with the Burns and Convertino-composed, "Stammtisch," based on a riff by German band Neu! and a cover of Amon Düül's "Marcus Leid."[10] Several more diverse cover songs were featured, including Richard Thompson's "End of the Rainbow," The Bevis Frond's "Stain on the Sun," and an obscure Deviants' single from 1969, "First Line (Seven the Row)."

2000s[edit]

Manning lived in Stuttgart, Germany, where she had a strong fan base, from 1998 to 2001. During that time, she recorded and toured with her band The Go-Luckys!, its rhythm section made up of twin brothers, Flavio and Fabrizio Steinbach.[14] In four years they released four albums, Homeless Is Where the Heart Is (2000), You Should Know by Now (2001), Transatlantic Trips (2002), One Starry Night At The Shop (2003), and one five-song EP, A Mountain.[23][24]

While working on her degree in biology at California State University, Chico in 2008, Manning fronted a new rock band, The Sleaze Tax, with drummer Mike Erpino and bassist Wooten.[25] The band recorded some songs and played live on the west coast but no album was forthcoming. She also formed two short-lived bands, Champion, with guitarist Loki Miller and drummer Charles Mohnike, and Fiberglass Jacket, with drummer Justin "Dusty" Evans-drums and guitarist Tom Little. She composed music for the Chico theater group The Blue Room, for a play based on Moliere's The Misanthrope, with lyrics by playwright Lauren Goldman Marshall.[26] Manning also hosted a weekly radio program called Radio Detour on listener-supported station KZFR.[27]

Cover songs[edit]

In addition to being a highly regarded songwriter, Manning is known as an interpreter of other writers' songs. Artists she's covered include The Bats ("Smoking Her Wings"), Badfinger ("Baby Blue"), Jackson Browne ("These Days"), The Verlaines ("Joed Out"), Portastatic ("Through With People"), Tom Lehrer ("Rickety Tickety Tin"), and Les Paul and Mary Ford ("Blow The Smoke Away"). Manning sings the opening track, "San Diego Zoo", on the 1995 album Wasps' Nests by Stephin Merritt's side project The 6ths. Her cover of Marianne Faithfull's "The Shalala Song" can be heard in Jon Moritsugu's 1994 film Mod Fuck Explosion.

Of her penchant for covering such a wide range of songs, she stated: "I listen to a lot of different types of music. I think that's why there's such a diverse bunch of covers. ...If I fall in love with a song, I'll make a tape of that one song and hear it fifty times in a row without having to rewind. Usually, all the covers I've done are songs that I've obsessed on. "[10]

Personal life[edit]

Manning lives with her husband Dan Vargas, a music producer, in Long Beach, California, where she teaches science in public middle school.[3]

Discography[edit]

Solo releases[edit]

  • Lately I Keep Scissors (Heyday, 1988)
  • One Perfect Green Blanket (Heyday, 1991)
  • Barbara Manning Sings With the Original Artists - collaboration with Stuart Moxham of Young Marble Giants and Jon Langford of The Mekons (Feel Good All Over, 1995)
  • 1212 (Matador, 1997)
  • In New Zealand - collaboration with various musicians (Communion, 1999)

Collections

  • One Perfect Green Blanket - CD release compiled with Lately I Keep Scissors (Heyday, 1993)
  • Under One Roof: Singles and Oddities (Innerstate, 2000)
  • Super Scissors - three-disc re-issue of Lately I Keep Scissors andOne Perfect Green Blanket with previously unreleased bonus tracks, outtakes and demos (Rainfall, 2008)

Singles

  • Don't Let It Bring You Down b/w Haze is Free (Mounting a Broken Ladder) (Forced Exposure, 1990)
  • February 8, 1992 with Seymour Glass - "8s" and "CZC" (Majora, 1992)
  • We Go Under with Flophouse - "B4 We Go Under" and "I Love You 1,000 Ways" (Teenbeat, 1993)[1]

Compilations

28th Day[edit]

  • 28th Day EP (Bring Out Your Dead/Enigma, 1985)
  • 28th Day CD reissue with six bonus tracks (Skyclad, 1992)[33]
  • 28th Day - The Complete Recordings CD reissue with 13 bonus tracks (Innerstate, 2003)[34]

World of Pooh[edit]

  • The Land of Thirst (Nuff Sed, 1989)
  • G.H.M. b/w Someone Wants You Dead 7‐inch single (K Records, 1990)
  • A Trip to Your Tonsils EP (Nuff Sed, 1991)

Barbara Manning & Seymour Glass[edit]

  • February 8, 1992 7‐inch EP (Majora, 1992)

Barbara Manning with Flophouse[edit]

  • Before We Go Under b/w I love You a Thousand Ways 7‐inch single, TeenBeat Records (1992)

S.F. Seals[edit]

  • The Baseball Trilogy EP (Matador, 1993)
  • Nowhere (Matador, 1994)
  • Truth Walks in Sleepy Shadows (Matador, 1995)

Singles

  • Nowherica b/w Being Cheated (SubPop, 1993)
  • Inside Dave's Garage Volume Five - split 7" with The Dambuilders (Radiopaque, 1994)
  • Still? b/w Don't Underestimate Me (Matador, 1994)
  • Ipecac (Matador, 1995)

Glands Of External Secretion[edit]

  • Northern Exposure Will Be Right Back (Starlight Furniture Company, 1995)

The 6ths[edit]

  • Wasps' Nest - vocals for Stephen Merritt single, "San Diego Zoo" (London, 1995)

Barbara Manning and The Go-Luckys![edit]

  • Homeless Where the Heart Is (Innerstate, 1999)
  • A Mountain EP (Supermodern, 2003)
  • You Should Know By Now (Innerstate, 2001)
  • Enjoy the Lonely Time (Innerstate, 2006)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Barbara Manning discography Discogs. Retrieved on December 1, 2015.
  2. ^ "The Woolen Men, Barbara Manning's Birthday Suit, The White Shark," The Portland Mercury, December 12, 2015. Retrieved on December 12, 2015.
  3. ^ a b B, Mads. "Music comes from this she thought," sseennsseess, August 1, 2015. Retrieved on November 30, 2015.
  4. ^ True, Chris. 28th Day, AllMusic. Retrieved on December 2, 2015.]
  5. ^ 28th Day. Discogs. Retrieved on December 2, 2015.
  6. ^ Innerstate Records - the urban folk revival starts again and again. Retrieved on December 2, 2015.
  7. ^ Welsh, Philip. 28th Day - The Complete Recordings, Pitchfork, January 27, 2004. Retrieved on December 2, 2015.
  8. ^ H., Jay. Your Roadmap to the World of Pooh, Detailed Twang, July 16, 2007. Retrieved on December 2, 2015.
  9. ^ World of Pooh. Discogs. Retrieved on December 1, 2015.
  10. ^ a b c Gross, Jason. "Barbara Manning Interview," Perfect Sound Forever, September, 1997. Retrieved on January 6, 2016.
  11. ^ Keresman, Mark (March 12, 2008). "Producer, Label Honcho, Performer, Journalist: Pat Thomas is San Francisco's musical catalyst". SF Weekly. Archived from the original on February 11, 2015. 
  12. ^ Fennessy, Kathleen C. Barbara Manning - Lately I Keep Scissors, AllMusic. Retrieved on December 1, 2015.
  13. ^ a b Wolk, Douglas. Barbara Manning, Trouser Press, 2007. Retrieved on December 1, 2015.
  14. ^ a b c Richard, Derk. "Once a darling on the indie music scene, Barbara Manning makes a rare SF appearance," SFGate, June 7, 2007. Retrieved on November 30, 2015.
  15. ^ Kemper, Nick. S.F. Seals Artist Biography AllMusic. Retrieved on November 30, 2015.
  16. ^ About Barbara Manning. Retrieved on December 3, 2015.
  17. ^ Gaffney, Leslie. "Making Loose The Ends That Meet," Popwatch #4, pp. 10,11, 1993. Retrieved on December 12, 2015.
  18. ^ Burns, Joey. Goin' to the South Pacific, Calexico, February 19, 2007. Retrieved on December 6, 2015.
  19. ^ Mirov, Nick. Barbara Manning In New Zealand, Pitchfork, December 7, 1999. Retrieved on December 6, 2015.
  20. ^ Barbara Manning Interview, A.V. Club, November 11, 1998. Retrieved on December 3, 2015.
  21. ^ Ankeny, Jason. Barbara Manning, 1212, AllMusic. Retrieved on January 6, 2015.
  22. ^ Zarcharek, Stephanie. "Barbara Manning 1212," Salon, June 13, 1997. Retrieved on January 6, 2016.
  23. ^ Barbara Manning & The Go-Luckys! Discogs. Retrieved on January 6, 2016.
  24. ^ Chadbourne, Eugene. "Barbara Manning, A Mountain, AllMusic. Retrieved on January 6, 2016.
  25. ^ Walker, Vicky. "Saturday Night: Barbara Manning and the Sleaze Tax at the Hemlock Tavern," SFWeekly, August 9, 2009. Retrieved on December 3, 2015.
  26. ^ Barbara Manning Bandcamp
  27. ^ Radio Detour with Barbara Manning, KZFR
  28. ^ Various - Heyday Sampler Discogs
  29. ^ No Alternative, Discogs
  30. ^ Silver Monk Time: A Tribute to the Monks, Discogs
  31. ^ You Hit Me With a Flower (Redux): The Ptolemaic Terrascope #36 Summer/Fall MusicBrainz
  32. ^ Herzog, Kenneth. Various Artists - Score! 20 Years of Merge Records AllMusic Guide. Retrieved on December 1, 2015.
  33. ^ 28th Day, Discogs.
  34. ^ 28th Day Complete Recordings, Amazon

External links[edit]