Melissa Manchester

Singin'

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The title was actually "Singin'..." including quotations marks and an ellipsis, and the three dots might have been meant to stand for "in the Rain," from the evidence of the classy Kosh-designed cover picture. But the title also signaled that Melissa Manchester, previously known primarily as a singer/songwriter, was acting mostly as an interpretive singer on this collection, a point also hinted at in the name of her sole original composition, "No One's Ever Seen This Side of Me." "Singin'..." was released as Manchester's sixth album a mere eight months after her fifth, Help Is on the Way, and maybe that wasn't enough time to write an LP's worth of new material. Instead, Manchester and producer Vini Poncia scrounged around for outside material, starting with session guitarist David Spinozza's "Sad Eyes," and also recorded a bunch of covers. Manchester was at home with such selections as James Taylor's "You Make It Seem Easy" (which she turned into a bluesy tour de force) and Wendy Waldman's "My Love Is All I Know," but her ventures into R&B on the Michael Jackson hit "I Wanna Be Where You Are" and Sly & the Family Stone's "Stand" were more of a stretch. Nor did she do much with the Beach Boys' "The Warmth of the Sun." "Singin'..." reached the same Billboard chart peak, at number 60, as its predecessor, but it was hard to think of it as anything more than a placeholder in her discography, marking time until she had a chance to write a new batch of songs.

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