One of the first bands I followed with my then-frequent religious fervor when I moved to San Francisco in 1989 were WORLD OF POOH. Their bass & sometime guitar player BARBARA MANNING impressed me from the get-go with her lovely voice, totally off-beat, spiky sense of rhythm & song construction, and general falling-down, about to implode onstage persona (at least in that volatile band). I was an instant fan. I talked to her at one of their shows, probably late ’89, and she told me about this album she’d released called “Lately I Keep Scissors”; of course I went out & bought it, and I’m pretty sure that since that time I’ve owned every single piece of vinyl and/or CD with her name on it.
One great place to gain an overview of her oeuvre is the “Under One Roof” 45s collection, thought I’ll warn you that there are some mid-90s duds present that don’t really stand the test of time. One stunning track that does is one they inexplicably left off that collection. It’s called “8s”, and it came out on a limited 45 on the Majora label in 1992. Majora was an excellent label run out of Seattle, responsible for the bulk of the SUN CITY GIRLS’ 1990s stuff, along with great weirdo/noise/folk records from DADAMAH, EDDY DETROIT and LESLIE Q. The Manning single they put out was actually a team-up with SEYMOUR GLASS, the publisher of Bananafish magazine and a nominal noise musician in his own right, and also Manning’s longtime college buddy (Chico State, baby!). The song is haunting, distant and perfect – far better than the version that turned up the following year on an SF SEALS album. I’m still pretty bummed that Manning didn’t get her shot to participate in the 1990s female singer/songwriter financial sweepstakes & find a wider audience, but also pleased as punch that one reason she didn’t is she kept recording strange records with people like Seymour Glass, and always kept her songs one quirky step to the left of what was hitting big.
Download BARBARA MANNING & SEYMOUR GLASS – “8s” (from 1992 Majora 45)