Melissa Manchester

Home to Myself

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"Now, I don't have the soul of Joni, and I cannot see myself like Miss Laura," sang Melissa Manchester on "Funny That Way," thus marking out the competition. Like Mitchell and Nyro, Manchester was a piano-playing female singer, but she was right in noting that while there was a surface similarity in their musical approaches, she did not dig quite as deep emotionally as her predecessors. Manchester came from a lighter pop, supper club tradition, and on her debut album, singing songs most of which had lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager, she explored a territory that seemed almost barren at the time -- a sophisticated, non-rock pop/jazz style that emphasized delivery and chops over individualistic, confessional writing. (It bore some similarities to the style of Manchester's former employer, the more flamboyant Bette Midler.) Not surprisingly, she did not find an immediate audience for such an approach, though this promising album did reach the charts.

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