Home Sweet Home

Terry Manning

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Home Sweet Home Review

by Richie Unterberger

Terry Manning's 1970 solo album Home Sweet Home started off as something of a joke when he recorded a deliberately over-the-top psychedelic version of the Box Tops' "Choo Choo Train." When Stax Records asked for a whole album of such material, Home Sweet Home was the result. Like "Choo Choo Train" (included on the final LP), the album as a whole was over-the-top psychedelia, and indeed over-the-top mimicking of several manners of late-'60s trendy excess in hard rock, blues-rock, and soul music. There's a tongue firmly planted in its cheek, however, which keeps it from being as tough an exercise to sit through as the records it was poking fun at -- though only just. Whether it's a ten-minute version of the Beatles' "Savoy Truffle" (with early Moog effects), loving Manning-penned homages/satires of Jerry Lee Lewis ("Wild Wild Rocker") and late-'60s dance-soul ("Trashy Dog"), or knowingly slightly hysterical covers of old blues tunes ("I Ain't Got You") and, again, the Beatles ("I Wanna Be Your Man"), he plows his way through the tracks with the fervid energy of a man who can't decide whether he's pulling off an inside joke or a work of genius. As is so often the case with these kind of projects, however, it's much more an inside joke than it is a work of genius. That's not to say it isn't amusing, and it does hold some interest for serious Big Star fans for marking the first proper studio appearances by guitarist Chris Bell. Like many somewhat silly, somewhat inspired jokes, though, listeners will most likely find the humorous novelty wearing off after one or two listens.

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