Harry Manx: Mantras for Madmen
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|5. A Single Spark|
|6. You Sweet Name|
|7. Afghani Raga|
|8. It Makes No Difference|
|9. Don't Take His Name Away|
|10. It Takes A Tear|
|11. Nothing Fails Like Success|
|12. Talkin' Turban|
Mantras for Madmen, Harry Manx's sixth record, is blindingly unapologetic when it comes to even greater use of instrumentation. He kicks the groove level up a notch, adding gospel-laden backing vocals with killer harmonies that enrich the ten original tunes and Indian instruments for the two ragas that are thrown into the mix. "Tijuana" pulls out all the stops with a full Indian treatment of this J.J. Cale classic with the addition of tamboura, drums and hang along with Manx's famous mohan veena. "Single Spark" and "Your Sweet Name" fuse that cultural merging of East and
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Top Customer Reviews
I found most poignant the song "His Sweet Name"; the title sounds like something vaguely religious, but really it is about the death of an "unimportant" person, someone rendered nameless in a newspaper report(you know the type: "One man died today on highway 16..."). The song is a plea that the name of this person be spoken and endure in memory.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
For all the exoticism of the instrumentation, Harry's songs are actually pretty accessible, and like the best songs are a bit mysterious in their actual meaning but give you a feeling that he's really saying something. Don't Take His Name Away is a terrific song about life and death and memory. I wonder who it's about.
Another standout song is A Single Spark, which has the trademark Indian sound mixed with an emotive blues sound and an intriguing, memorable lyric.
There's not a bad song on the album, though It Takes a Tear, a duet with a singer who's not really interesting enough, comes closest to being one you might want to skip past.
I like the production, even though it sounds at times almost too clean and bright for Blues. The production favours the sound of the Indian instruments, and the couple of instrumentals using those instruments sound fantastic.
On the whole, one of the best albums I've heard for some time. I can see I'll be enjoying this one for years to come.
I had never heard of Harry Manx before this years Arts Presenters Conference in New York but many friends said "you have to see this guy!". They were sure right. Manx only played a short 20 minute "showcase" but I was hooked and followed up getting a few of his CDs. This one - Mantras For Madmen" is, by far my favorite.
I must admit that I'm not a big fan of Indian (as from India, not Native American) music, whether it is from one of the Shankar family members or Bollywood. But Manx uses traditional Indian instruments in a non-traditional way. He evokes the earthy blues sounds of American folk musicians but tweaks that too. His voice has a worn quality that makes the songs even more appealing.
I play this CD nearly weekly and haven't tired of it yet! If you haven't heard Harry before, start with this CD and have a happy exploration! You'll be glad you did! (I sure am!)