Joe Mannix strikes me as someone who has heard a little too much Bob Dylan and has taken it much too much to heart. To some of you that will be a recommendation, to some a critique. To me it’s just descriptive of the album as I heard it, with a strain audible in the vocals that didn’t help my headache any.
Yet there are some sweet spots here, mainly due to Mannix’s guitar playing and instrumental songwriting, both of which are entirely pleasant. I get the feeling that if Mannix would just relax into his vocals, maybe take a hit or two off something first — it worked for Marvin Gaye — I’d like his songs a lot more.
Another pass at the lyrics wouldn’t hurt either; right now they’re sometimes painfully earnest.
There’s a certain kind of singer-songwriter that I often think would have been better off sticking to the latter half of that equation, and Mannix is one. But just so he shouldn’t feel too bad, that’s also the way I feel about Elvis Costello and Dylan himself.
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