Music And Concerts



Home To Myself (1973)

Bootleg Betty, Mister D

The first Harlette to fly the coup. I put this in here for this Miss M has another Miss M singing back-up on the song, Be Happy Now . However, she is drowned out by a chorus of other background singers. So no real need to have this one, unless you're a Manchester fan. This is currently out of print.

Rolling Stone Magazine, Jon Landau

Melissa Manchester is a dropout from Bette Midler's gang of backup singers. I knew she would be leaving when I saw her at Miss M's New Year's Eve concert at Philharmonic Hall. Such class, I could barely turn my head away until Bette started pounding the floor and sashaying across the stage.

With her first album the Other Miss M proves herself capable of one thing that her former employer has not yet attempted writing. In it, she is preoccupied with her need to receive and give affection, the loneliness of failing at it and the solitude she is left with. It's strictly True Romance, but she pulls it off with an often amazing elan, especially on the album's title cut.

Home To Myself is a concept record, professionally produced (occasionally overproduced) by Tokens' veterans and current Dawn producers Hank Medress and Dave Appell. Its star aims for a synthesis of the styles of Joni Mitchell, Laura Nyro and, unavoidably, Miss M, although in the latter case she avoids any obvious cross references. Not so of her two other influences, who she mentions in one song without self-consciousness and in an artful and intelligent way.

It is in her old-fashioned, brazenly interested attitude towards love and sex that Melissa Manchester carves out a distinctive niche for herself. She sings, "If it feels good, let it ride," and asks her friend not to talk it away, demanding she be treated spontaneously and offering to do the same in return.

The melodies often sound familiar, although the songs are original but that is because she and co-songwriter Carole Bayer Sager work in the well-defined R&B-tinged New York street song idiom. Manchester sometimes sings flat, is occasionally repetitious, and is the sole author of the album's haunting "Jenny," to whom the record is dedicated. Her faults notwithstanding, this is an auspicious debut by a promising artist working in an old-fashioned but eminently respectable genre. (RS 141)