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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still my favorite songbird after twenty-five years
Only one other CD retrospect release did I anticipate with such hope that my favorite songs would be included. I was standing at the music store's door to find the answer to that question the day "The Essence of Melissa Manchester" was released. I was so completely disappointed by what had been left out. As other reviews have stated, songs like "Better...
Published on April 6, 2000 by Thomas Lapins

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars original melissa manchester albums due out this year
great news for melissa fans.her "MELISSA" arista debut will be reissued on CD June 19.Arista/BMG has launched a new catalog reissue label[BUDDHA RECORDS],wich will oversee the reissue of many original Arista albums.Tentative plans for "BETTER DAYS&HAPPY ENDINGS" and "HEY RICKY" are in the works for late 2001. We urge all fans to write or...
Published on March 27, 2001


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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still my favorite songbird after twenty-five years, April 6, 2000
By 
Thomas Lapins (Orlando, Florida USA) - See all my reviews
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Only one other CD retrospect release did I anticipate with such hope that my favorite songs would be included. I was standing at the music store's door to find the answer to that question the day "The Essence of Melissa Manchester" was released. I was so completely disappointed by what had been left out. As other reviews have stated, songs like "Better Days"; "Happy Endings"; "Help Is On The Way"; "I Don't Want To Hear It Anymore"; "Pretty Girls" and "For The Working Girl" have all been excluded. As any MM lover would know, these are all foundation songs to her career. Plus they deserve to be on compact disc. However, how wonderful to have nineteen songs on disc, after all these years of waiting. MM's first two albums were still a bit of a mystery to me. The albums were scratchy sounding, so I hadn't listened to them as I would have liked to. The inclusion of "Home To Myself"; "Easy"; "Alone" and "Bright Eyes" make the CD worth the money. These early MM songs are her most intropsective and soulful. Her yearnings and conflicts are universal, and sung by a songbird. The next two albums "Melissa" and "Better Days & Happy Endings" are the two that hooked me on her soulful and silken voice and lyrics. "Essence" includes five songs from these two albums. However, these two albums verged on being greatest hit collections in themselves. MM and Carole Bayer Sager consummated the most serious female collaboration on these two albums. "Better Days & Happy Endings" is the 70's successor to "Tapestry", hence three songs were included. But the whole album needs to be on disc. "Essence" continues with some of the usual standards, most of which had been on an earlier greatest hits collection. So I already had them and had wished for some other material. The poignant and original version of "Come In From The Rain" was included instead of the more popular version from the album "Ricky". That was a step in the right direction. All her music deserves to be on disc. Many are available as a Japanese import, but very difficult to find. I have collected all of them and I'm happy to say they are all of the highest quality, with almost all of MM's songs of significance on them. There is even a "Best Of" collection which I prefer to this collection. Kind of ironic that this American artist is so much more appreciated in Japan. I suggest any MM lover purchase this collection and keep searching the internet for the imports. Very much worth the effort.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant songwriter, singer and pianist, December 16, 1998
I was looking around for something new, wondering if there were any songwriters I didn't know who were as good as Carole King. Melissa Manchester is the one - I can't get over how good this collection is. Nearly all the material is self-written (and the few songs that aren't are tellingly inferior), and peerlessly beautiful. She covers a variety of styles - piano balladry not unlike Carole King (Just You and I), gospel (O Heaven), pop (You Should Hear How She Talks About You), soul (Lovers After All) and the lyrics (some supplied by Carole Bayer Sager, some Melissa Manchester herself) are uniformly heart-felt, direct, touching and honest. And all of this before you even consider her fantastic voice, which knocks all the competition into a cocked hat. I'd be surprised if anyone was disappointed with this fantastic CD. I was enchanted from the first listen. By the third , I couldn't understand why any of her individual albums were out of print.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Let's Start a Petition, April 8, 2000
By 
Les McRae (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
I agree with other reviewers! I also long for the first four albums on CD. I appreciate the ESSENCE albumn but question some of the inclusions. Her earlier muscial gems contained some of the best jazz vocals I have ever had the pleasure to not only hear but feel. The first time I heard LET IT RIDE on FM Radio I had to pull my VW over and write down the name of the artist/goddess/diva. I knew then and there that she was destined for great things and possessed unparreleled musical talent. She still remains an under rated writer, composer and vocal stylist. I think we should start a petition to get her orginals reprinted on CD.....
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive body of work from underappreciated genius, October 7, 1999
By A Customer
She's been called the female Stevie Wonder because of the ecletcic song/masterpieces she creates that defy categorization and because of her amazing, compelling vocal performances, ranging from R&B to gospel to standards to jazz. If she were a male or if she were black woman, she would get much more respect. Thank you, Melissa, for your musical integrity.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essence of a Great Voice!, October 23, 2002
By 
James J. Peters (Orlando, Florida, United States) - See all my reviews
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This hits compilation is well worth owning for any Melissa fan. First, it is more comprehensive than other such collections. Also, it includes songs that had been previously unavailable on CD form. As a long-time Melissa fan, to finally have "Fire in the Morning" and "Just You and I" in CD format is a treat. Her big hits are clearly present, including "Midnight Blue," "Don't Cry Out Loud," and "Through the Eyes of Love." A couple of songs that were written by Melissa but covered by others include "Come in From the Rain" and "Whenever I Call You Friend" (cowritten with Kenny Loggins) and are simply classics. Other highlights, including the rollicking "Caravan," the seductive "Easy," the affecting "Home to Myself," and the sad "Through the Eyes of Grace," illustrate Melissa's mastery of songwriting range. Melissa Manchester is and has been an incredible singer/songwriter whose presence on the pop charts was good but should have been great! Even the casual music fan should be able to appreciate this collection. This CD is the essence of beautiful music, songwriting, and voice!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Songs And More!, June 11, 2004
By A Customer
Melissa Manchester is and always will be the one voice I like to listen to when I need cheering up. I like to refer to her as the "female Barry Manilow" and I mean it in a positive way! Like Manilow, she recorded for Arista for many years. Like Manilow, her style of music is very similar whether you want to label this music as MOR, adult contemporary, and/or easy listening. Like Manilow, she has LOTS of memorable songs! I have lots of respect of similar female artists who I enjoy listening to also (Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, Carly Simon, Karen Carpenter, and Carole King), but in my opinion Melissa is the BEST! Listening to this CD will let you know why!
Before this collection was available, her "greatest hits" album from 1983 was the best compilation you can find. Thankfully, The Essence Of Melissa Manchester is a better collection! Nineteen wonderful tracks dating from her start in 1973 when her focus was on jazz-flavored songs. All her Top 40 hits are included except for the #39 hit "Pretty Girls" from 1979.
The packaging is superb: liner notes to highlight her music career along with comments on each individual songs. There are plenty of pictures with song credits. As a bonus, both Barry Manilow and Carole Bayer Sager have their own personal comments about Melissa. That alone was worth the price of this CD!
Finally, this collection works for both the casual fan (who will get her hits and full-portrait of Melissa) and for the Melissa fan (who would appreciate her best work on one CD).
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sweet Melissa!, February 2, 2000
By A Customer
An excellent compilation but it could have been better. There are better LP tracks from her 70s and early 80s recordings that should have been included. Then again, that may just be a matter of taste. While these are all good tracks, though, not all are necessarily Manchester's best. But, she's still "Sweet Melissa, Angel Of My Lifetime" on anything she sings. This compilation is an historical musical journey in the life of a great singer and songwriter. Now, if Arista and MCA would just hurry up and release all of her albums on compact disc. For crying out loud - you can get everything from the Best of Polka and screaming rappers to Israeli Folk Songs and Polish Show Tunes on compact disc but there is very little Melissa Manchester on CD. These record companies have either failed to release or have deleted all of her material on compact disc. The Essence Of Melissa Manchester is just a taste of what is in store for you if you can get your hands on all of her material on vinyl. What a shame we can't get all of her music on CD. This compilation wets the appetite for more.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MELISSA MANCHESTER, January 25, 2000
This album is a great overview of her work, although it could have been a 2-disc set. It contains obvious selections..her biggest hits but also some very good,lesser known songs(ex:"Through the Eyes of Grace")I only hope there will be a follow up CD that would include "Better Days" and maybe some songs from her latest albums or even the new "Jazz" version of "You Should Hear How She Talks About You" that she does in concert now (It has a more adult sound,nothing like the teeny-bopper original version)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars original melissa manchester albums due out this year, March 27, 2001
A Kid's Review
great news for melissa fans.her "MELISSA" arista debut will be reissued on CD June 19.Arista/BMG has launched a new catalog reissue label[BUDDHA RECORDS],wich will oversee the reissue of many original Arista albums.Tentative plans for "BETTER DAYS&HAPPY ENDINGS" and "HEY RICKY" are in the works for late 2001. We urge all fans to write or call BUDDHA RECORDS to show interest in these future reissues.[They are located at BMG in New York].
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Melissa deserves better!, January 8, 2000
By A Customer
Manchester's box set is long overdue. The "essence" of an artist of such enormous talent and capable of such incredible musical diversity cannot be captured in a single disc. That is why this collection is less than perfect. As one of the most gifted singer/songwriters of her generation, it is a shame that her classics have to share space with commercial trifles like "You Should Hear How She Talks About You" (which, thankfully, she did not write! ). There are several outstanding album cuts that are not included. However, there are definitely some gems in this bunch: "Caravan", "Easy" and "Come In From The Rain" are the standouts. Let's hope Arista has the good sense to put together a box-set that does her justice.
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Essence of Melissa Manchester
Essence of Melissa Manchester by Melissa Manchester (Audio CD - 1997)
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