Monday, October 27, 2014

Melissa Manchester-For The Working Girl (1980)


Before disco queen Donna Summer was working hard for the money back in 1983, there was another queen who had already served up a little somethin' somethin' for the working girl herself back at the start of the decade. You can add Melissa Manchester to the exhaustive list of artists who have been around since forever yet whose music is practically brand new to me. In fact, it was about halfway into the New Millennium that I would even get my first ever listen to her dancey 1982 hit, "You Should Hear How She Talks About You". I've since declared that as my #1 Melissa Manchester favorite and, during the midst of my continued 'M' series, have treated myself to plenty of repeated listens to it just for the fun of it. Although "You Should Hear How She Talks About You" actually wasn't the first of her songs that I'd heard; that would be the warming duet, "Lovers After All", performed alongside contemporary soul legend Peabo Bryson (he's like the perfect male partner in these duets, isn't he?). I'd heard "Lovers After All" a few times on the soft rock radio airwaves, and that's main reason I was prompted to obtain this "For The Working Girl" album. Turns out that I now have ten more reasons to have this album in my possession now, taking in such grand, show-stopping ballad performances as the opener, "If This Is Love", plus "Without You", "A Fool's Affair" (that scintillating orchestral and piano accompaniment and the way Melissa's soulful voice grows more and more powerful while singing the main chorus make this one totally captivating!) and the theatrical title track, which sounds as if may have been inspired by her acting endeavors (I like these stage tunes with all of the colorful imagery and storytelling, and I love that line in the lyrics that goes 'a nest egg's a daydream that never gets laid'.). But not every song has to be on an epic scale; the New York-born singer demonstrates what a sweetheart she can be on the bluesy folk tune "Boys In The Backroom", how down to earth she can be on the upbeat number simply called "Talk" (simple songs with simple messages and a big-time catchy beat—yep, that describes the 80's to the tee!) and how inspiring she can be on the sunny concluding piece, "Happier Than I've Ever Been". I must say that this album was a pleasant surprise that blew me away, and I'm sure I'll soon be working overtime with it:

1. If This Is Love
2. Any Kind Of Fool
3. Working Girl (For The)
4. Without You
5. Boys In The Backroom
6. You And Me
7. Talk
8. A Fool's Affair
9. Lovers After All
10. Tears Of Joy
11. Happier Than I've Ever Been

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