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Fumo Verde learns about Manilow from the source of all knowledge: his mother

CD Review: Barry Manilow – Barry Manilow II and Even Now

Hey, Fumo here with some newly remastered CDs from the man who writes “the songs that make the whole world sing.” For those of you who may be smirking right now, you can cut it out. Barry Manilow is one of the world’s premier entertainers, and is an inductee of the “Songwriters Hall of Fame” and Rolling Stone has called him “The Showman of our Generation”. Two of his most popular albums have been remastered digitally, Barry Manilow II and Even Now, and although I am not such a fan, my mom is. So this week the review will be a Q&A from Momma Verde.

FV: How long have you been listening to Barry?

MV: The first I had ever heard of Barry Manilow was with the TV commercials, you know Dr. Pepper, Band-Aid brand Band-Aids, the Oscar Meyer jingles, but it was your father who introduced me to the music of Manilow. Your father loved to dance, that’s how he put himself through college. How come you never finished college, Fumo?

FV: Not now, Ma. Which of Barry’s albums is your favorite?

MV: Even Now has to be one of my all time favorites. It has “Can’t Smile Without You,” “Where Do I Go From Here,” and of course “Copacabana.” These CDs definitely have a better sound than the 8-tracks we used to listen to, and the new CD of Even Now has a previously unreleased track called “I’m Comin’ Home Again” which still shows that Barry — even after all these years, can still write great songs. Not only does he write his own music but he produces and arranges it himself too.

FV: What about Barry Manilow II?

MV: That’s another special one. It has “The Two of Us,” which was the song your father and I loved to dance to. “My Baby Loves Me” and “It’s a Miracle” are also full-bodied songs. There is also a new unreleased track on this one too, “Good News,” which I never heard before.

FV: I wonder why… Full-bodied song?

MV: A song that makes your whole body feel good. “Mandy” is also on this CD. That was one of Barry’s top songs. After your father died, it seemed as if that’s all they played on the radio for a while. Not that that song had anything to do with your father, just hearing Barry’s voice reminded me of your father.

FV: Have you ever seen Barry perform live?

MV: I’ll be honest here, I never cared for the man’s looks, but his voice was so incredible and his music so good, I loved to listen to him. Now, his act is polished and he seems to have gotten better with age. I hear he has a deal like Celine Dion, where he plays five nights a week in Vegas. I never wanted to see him before, but now, I really want to. You know my birthday is coming up.

FV: I know, Ma. I already got you a present.

MV: Tickets?

FV: No Ma, something else.

In conclusion, Barry Manilow is one of the world’s greatest performers and a songwriter who is a living legend. Behind his smile and under that one-of-a-kind voice, Manilow has the mind of a musical genius and his talent will outlast most of the people who really love his work. “I Write the Songs” explains it well; here is a man who started out writing commercial jingles and has made his way up the ranks, from Broadway through the hellish business and bullshit known as the recording industry, all the while writing “songs that make the whole world sing.” Even now, teenage kids – not all but some, have heard of Barry Manilow, if not his most famous song “Copacabana,” starring Lola, she was a dancer.

Anyway if you’re a Manilow fan like my mom, then you will enjoy the newly remastered CDs that Barry Manilow and Arista Records have released. They bring a “fullness” to Barry’s voice and let you hear how he would sound if you were at one of his shows. So Ma, take a hit, turn up the volume, and I’ll spill a gin and tonic on you so you too can imagine that you’re right there front row with Barry Manilow.

This is Fumo Verde saying, “Goodnight, babies.” Say “goodbye,” Ma.

MV: Goodbye.

Written by Fumo Verde

About Gordon S. Miller

Gordon S. Miller is the artist formerly known as El Bicho, the nom de plume he used when he first began reviewing movies online for The Masked Movie Snobs in 2003. Before the year was out, he became that site's publisher. Over the years, he has also contributed to a number of other sites as a writer and editor, such as FilmRadar, Film School Rejects, High Def Digest, and Blogcritics. He is the Publisher of Cinema Sentries. Some of his random thoughts can be found at twitter.com/ElBicho_CS

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