Dave Hawkins doesn't seem intent on becoming a superstar on Manchester Mornings. He's just a singer with a few good songs to sing and a relaxed performance style. The album kicks off with the easygoing "Roll On Mighty River," a song that remains upbeat despite evoking the Mississippi floods of several years back. "Embers of Love" and "Fallen in Love" concern themselves with matters of the heart, while the title cut sings of the beauty of Yorkshire pudding, bitters, and cricket. Hawkins also shows that he has a knack for writing story-songs with "If I Could" and "Angel Child." All of these songs are delivered in a natural, down-to-earth fashion, with Hawkins' earnest vocals surrounded by fairly simple, vibrant arrangements. The work of dobro/steel player Randy Kohrs, guitarist Johnny Hiland, and fiddlers Peg Buchanan and Andy Leftwich adds lots of tasteful flourishes to Hawkins' songs. Manchester Mornings' ten songs seem over too soon, and the overall running time -- 30 minutes -- is a bit short. Too many albums, though, run too long, with material included that should've been saved for a future box set. Hawkins and his friends have created an authentic-feeling album with Manchester Mornings and it will appeal to both folk and singer/songwriter aficionados.
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AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.