Barry Manilow – Here at the Mayflower

Barry ManilowBarry Manilow
Here at the Mayflower
(Concord – 2001)
by Matthew S. Robinson

Name-checking the sadly late Tito Puente and the sadly early Dave Koz, as well as many of his older personas (a young girl named “Mandy” comes to mind), Barry Manilow opens his latest career leg with a square block of interestingly varied yet impressively interconnected stories. Playing like Jimmy Stewart’s journal from “Rear Window,” Mayflower tells the tales of the all too real residents of a mythical hotel. From the smooth jazz loving lonelyheart to the long-time couple recalling their younger days, Manilow peeps through “so many windows,; so many locks” and reveals sides of his characters and of himself that are both familiar and novel.

From the uptempo beats of the “Stairway to Paradise”-themed “Come Monday” and the gangster swing of “Freddie Said” to the “get up and dance” lilt of “Turn the Radio Up” and the dramatic diction of “Talk to Me,” Manilow manifests manifold mannerisms. Which one is Manilow’s true voice is debatable. But in laying bare an entire brick and stone edifice, Manilow allows us to look into ourselves while hearing a variety of voices which fall gently and comfortably on the ears, even as they pick away at the locks on our hearts.

c. 2001, M. S. Robinson, ARR