Dan Manjovi | Woke Up This Morning

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Woke Up This Morning

by Dan Manjovi

If Elton John, Harry Connick Jr. and The Beatles ever recorded an album together, it might sound a lot like this.
Genre: Pop: Pop/Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
clip
1. Forgotten How to Dream
4:40 $0.99
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2. Celebrity
3:55 $0.99
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3. I Fall Down
4:18 $0.99
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4. Give 'Em What You Got (Takin' It Back)
4:27 $0.99
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5. Everybody's Got An Agenda
4:16 $0.99
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6. Daddy Longlegs
4:33 $0.99
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7. Is Anybody Watching?
4:32 $0.99
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8. Prelude
0:35 $0.99
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9. Things'll Get Better
4:13 $0.99
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10. Celebrity (Electronica Remix)
3:45 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
With a grand, precise, steely-fingered keyboard technique, Manjovi infuses sweeping power and exactness into all he tackles. In his hands, standard blues and simple pop song forms are transformed into expansive anthems - belted out with broad, showtune-style expressiveness. His genial, everyman rock/broadway tenor hits every note dead center.

As a singer/songwriter, Manjovi draws deeply from the well of pop's soulful, rhythm & blues greats. This listener hears influences ranging from Jackie Wilson to Bonnie Raitt to Blood, Sweat & Tears to the great seminal white funk rock band Rhinoceros. Oh, yes - and by way of a finale remix of the track "Celebrity" - some old school disco ala the likes of Sylvester and Two Tons of Fun.

Manjovi's often dark & humorously sardonic lyrics mirror the more theatrical interpreters of the R & B pop genre - think Bette Midler and the composers of modern pop musicals such as Rent, Chorus Line and Spring Awakening. In fact, the song lineup on " Woke Up this Morning" plays almost like a broadway musical show score - one might imagine set changes in between the tracks - as Manjovi offers up songs evoking song & dance "specialty" numbers ("Give 'em What You Got" and "Daddy Longlegs"), 11 o'clock wake-up songs ("I Fall Down") and houselights-down, spotlight-on solo ballads ("Things'll Get Better"). As with many broadway show tune soliloquies, Manjovi's lyrics are often sung in the first person. There's that kind of "man against the world" delivery - a guy conflicted about on the ups and downs of fame, and of the stuggle to find one's place in modern life. This piano man has musical theater in his blood and it shows.

In addition to his piano, vocal and songwriting input on the nicely-produced "Woke Up This Morning", Manjovi also plays some mighty fine organ, Fender Rhodes keys and acoustic guitar. Oh, yeah - and by way of some witty, tongue-in-cheek political commentary by Manjovi in the prelude to "Things'll Get Better", check out his surprise guest vocalist - President George W. Bush!" - Robert Urban, URBAN PRODUCTIONS, NYC

Woke Up This Morning" CD Review
Artist: Dan Manjovi
Review by; Len Rogers
There are many words which would aptly describe Dan Manjovi's latest release, "Woke Up This Morning." Thankfully there is one which I think best gives credence to Dan's work, that being, Bravo! To just say this is an impressive CD does no justice to the deep appreciation the listener immediately establishes with this anthem-esque producing artist. The songs are catchy, imbedded, and delivered with Broadway gusto. All made better by the quality of the gutsy, "feeling-man" vocals of the remarkable Dan Manjovi. I would be severely remiss in not mentioning the superb instrumentals and accompaniment on the entire CD. Of specific note are the dynamic
keyboard skills of Manjovi and the saxophone prowess of Lily White.
Dan Manjovi's scope of influence make for a diverse tapestry from which to relate. However, of possible musical references one could include; Chicago, Steely Dan, Elton John, The Who, BS&T, and in some tender moments Dan Fogelberg, just to mention a few of the many. What you have to understand if you are not already an aficionado of Dan Manjovi's captivating talents is his ability to make himself comfortable in multi-style mode. So while the listener may detect an influence, the result is unequivocally Manjovi. Combined resilient musical virility with Manjovi's clever; sometime social, sometime political, and sometime just fun lyrics, make for a memorable toe tappin' to sing-a-long experience.
Ten tracks make "Woke Up This Morning" a generous serving. From start with "Forgotten How To Dream" Dan Manjovi entices with lyrical themes which are people-wide and socially specific at the same time. Carried by musical rivers of emotive visions Manjovi delivers a very listener friendly treat. "Celebrity" is one of the best takes on what we see as "today" phenomenon. Putting it in place with a not so gentle musical wink. And get this, you actually wanna wink back. Manjovi does make his music interactive in one way or another. The flow of "Woke Up This Morning" is also something of note. It seems you are carried and delivered, one song to another with little effort and total comfort. Musically entranced works well actually, or think stage changes.
For me it would be hard to pick a favorite song. For this listener starting with "Give 'Em What You Got" through "Is Anybody Watching" I get totally absorbed. While I think the entire CD is an awesome work, Manjovi holds my undivided attention through these four tracks. The diversity of sound, the messages, and the experience which maybe gives us a look into the artist himself, all create 'moments' which hold. However, "Things'll Get Better" is Manjovi at his best. The words are empowered as is Dan's musical authority with this song. And somehow, at the end of the song I believed it would, ...get better. Sadly this is near the end of the CD and my musical journey was short-halted after the 'improved on a good thing', "Celebrity Electronica Remix".
But the experience isn't over. I can and do hit replay. "Woke Up This Morning" is a collection of musical art which has holding power. Snippets of song, bits of lyric hang in my memory as I continued my day. Dan Manjovi shares his talent and thoughts with us in such a way as we join together. I know the songs and sounds of "Woke Up this Morning" are part of my musical experience and me a part of theirs. A nice gift Dan, thanks!

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Reviews


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jed ryan

DAN MANJOVI: WOKE UP THIS MORNING
Dan Manjovi: "WOKE UP THIS MORNING"

There's a pivotal point midway through New York City native Dan Manjovi's second album "Woke Up this Morning", when the reaction from the listener changes: specifically, from mere enjoyment and admiration to no less than astonishment. The revolutionary moment comes after the first half of the album, which features mostly stripped-down, guitar-driven, all-American indie rock. Then, Manjovi's voice and style dramatically change. For the sixth track, "Daddy Longlegs" ("Eight legs, one head, and two beady eyes!..."), the singer's vox takes on an aggressive, gravelly, Janis Joplin-esque style, with the piano being his only rival for intensity. The song itself is all-out, take-no-prisoners, "down South"-influenced blues which puts the "decadence" in so-called "southern decadence". "Daddy Longlegs" is not a tribute to that genre; It's the real thing! Many questions are raised: What in this artist's history or background contributed to his ability to sing the blues so well? Who, if anyone, was the inspiration for the character "Daddy Longlegs", the guy with the "biggest... and long-est legs in town!"? An unscrupulous music agent? An opportunistic hanger-on in Manjovi's social scene? I gave up the analysis and from that point, merely enjoyed listening to the piano-driven song's indulgent irreverence. But before we even get to "Daddy Longlegs", it's vital to point out that the road to Dan Manjovi's chameleon-like musical transformation is filled with thrills along the way, starting with when you stick the keys into the ignition of Dan's magical mystery tour bus. Manjovi clearly knows the life of a free-spirited, fiercely independent, rising musician who cares more about substance than style, and this shows throughout "Woke Up This Morning". The album's opener "Forgotten How to Dream" (The mid-tempo yet exhilarating beat may remind the listener of Roy Orbison's megahit "You Got It") combines Manjovi's thoughtful lyrics-- about youthful angst (The kind of angst that sucks while you're going through it, but has been a fertile source of songwriting for generations), desire, and hope-- with his band's expert musical skills, including a killer rock guitar interlude and one helluva closer. Manjovi's voice, solid but with an oh-so-subtle emotional range, may strike the listener as a young Glenn Frey, and his band's musical influences seem to range from Grand Funk Railroad, to The Eagles, to The Steve Miller Band, to other pivotal rock groups from the 70's and '80's. The album's second song "Celebrity", another true gem on the CD, references the proverbial "beautiful people" and even offers a not-so-veiled swipe at America's favorite weekly TV gloss-fest: "I'll be recognized, perhaps Idol-ized..." in a musical mock admiration of our celebrity-obsessed culture. The hook is when Manjovi sings, "I'm gonna be famous for nothing at all!", and like the rest of the song, Manjovi delivers these lyrics with a cynical deadpan disinterest, which really works. "I Fall Down", not quite as defeatist as the title suggests, continues with Manjovi's rockin' "rebel-with-a-cause" theme, featuring expert guitar rifts and a few teasing hints of Manjovi's vocal flexibility.

Next up is the unapologetic anthem "Give 'Em What You Got". Not content to be cryptic, Manjovi confronts his song's target (Jamaican reggae singer and arch-homophobe Buju Banton) by name and offers the proudly gay-hating singer some not-so-subtle, much deserved advice: "What you sing and what you say, Ain't worth hearing anyway; Why don't you do us all a favor and just-- go away!". The song is a musical counterattack to Banton-like homophobic musicians as well as a call to action for all of us: "Rise up! (Give 'em what you got!) Re-spond! (Show 'em who you are!) Re-claim (Don't be what you're not!) Take it back! (Give 'em what you got!!)". Astute listeners will get the message, but anyone who listens at all will be drawn in by the infectious beat: a combination of retro funk 'n' soul and modern, elastic rifts and bridges. Many people-- artists and otherwise-- have paid lip service to Buju's Banton's unrepentant homophobia before, but it takes this indie artist to fight back with Banton's own weapon: music. If "Give 'Em What You Got" is a musical plea for us to stand up for equality, then "Is Anybody Watching?" is an even more far-reaching plea for greater social consciousness in our homeland. With lyrics like, "Life remains great here in the States; We got the poor to fight the war, while all of us acquire more...", the song features many smart references to the dangers of blind patriotism, the inequalities of war, capitalism verging on greed, "reality" TV, and more... as soulful female vocals croon, "Is there anybody watching?" in the background. Manjovi's lyrics: "Living in gilded affluence; Behind a remote control fence, of practices worth the expense..." are especially provocative. "Things'll Get Better" is a somber power ballad-- and, incidentally, the somewhat darker tone and themes suits Manjovi's voice very well. His delivery really borders on grand at times. Ostensibly a reflection on the gray cloud of war hanging over America-- with references to our (ahem...) "fearless leader"-- the song nevertheless, as its title implies, focuses on looking towards the future, with genuinely sincere optimism in Manjovi's performance. "Woke Up This Morning" closes with a sped-up, electronica version of "Celebrity" which adds an interesting urgency to his voice as well as the feel of the song in general.

"Woke Up This Morning" features a great variety, in both musical style and content. Its offerings range from songs patently written for political and social awareness ("Is Anybody Watching?", "Give 'Em What You Got") to great music simply for the sake of great music! ("Daddy Longlegs", etc...) No matter what the genre or theme, what remains stable are the musical talents of Dan Manjovi and his band. In the opening track, a longing Manjovi croons, "I've forgotten how to dream..." At the risk of taking his lyrics too literally, let's hope, for the sake of a third album by Manjovi, that the creative success of this CD helps the artist get his groove back! After all, dreams are always a fruitful source of music and lyrics...

Jed Ryan,PM Entertainment Magazine
Winner, Reviewer of the Year, Stonewall Society 2005 Pride in the Arts Awards
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Morry Campbell

Great Music, Fierce Heart
When I think of Dan Manjovi, I think killer keyboard chops, and those are certainly on display on his new release, WOKE UP THIS MORNING. But that was not what grabbed me on the first listen. What really got my attention was the vocals. Dan Manjovi is a singer, a great singer.

From a songwriting point of view, the tracks are varied and distinct. Each track is a world unto itself. And Dan's voice, chameleon-like, changes with each song. Case in point: just compare the opening track, FORGOTTEN HOW TO DREAM, with track number 6, DADDY LONGLEGS.

The opening track (and title track) has an almost Country flavor to it. It's got all that's good about Country music and none of what is bad. Dan's vocal would not be out of place on a contemporary Country release. The sound quality is perfectly appropriate. He's born to it. The arrangement supports his vocal beautifully. All the guitar licks are classic rockin' country. The guitar and keyboards are appropriately twangy without being corny, and the organ gives it just the right Rock 'n Roll flavor.

Contrast that with the funky, cool, edgy, jazzy DADDY LONGLEGS. The vocal has an infectious growl to it that makes you want to get up and dance, and sing along. You would never associate this vocal with the one on the first track if it were not on the same CD. In support of the hot, funk-infused vocal, the rhythm is complex and multifaceted. The arrangement supports the vocal like the proverbial glove to the hand. The band is soulful and jazzy, and the funky horn section provides perfect punctuation.

The second track, CELEBRITY, is biting satire. Funny, clever, pointed, and cutting a little too close to the bone, the song is a send-up of Celebrity culture, where sometimes the least deserving of fame are the ones who achieve it. Yet, even in a humorous sendup of a song, Dan writes beautiful melodies. The chorus is catchy and memorable.

Dan is a man with a social conscience, and it comes out in several cuts. The first one, GIVE 'EM WHAT YOU GOT, is probably the best "out-and-proud-be-who-you-are-no-apologies" anthem I've ever heard. Couched in funky guitars and blazing hot horns, the message is to stand up to bigotry and embrace who you are. "We gotta be ourselves, love ourselves, when they put us down." Dan's emphatic delivery puts passion into activism and makes even the most timid want to get out and march against the machine.

The second political song is called IS ANYBODY WATCHING. The plight of the homeless and the culture of consumption are poignantly put on trial. Dan manages to make you think and entertain you at the same time. "I stare into my Blackberry/So I don't have to see/The homeless person next to me/The middle class sips Chardonnay/With our possessions on display/Oh God, we love the USA." Stark, harsh, plainly stated. And yet, by couching those words in a catchy tune well performed and beautifully orchestrated, he pulls it off without seeming preachy.

Thank God Dan gives us, in the very next breath, THINGS'LL GET BETTER. In a beautiful, mellow, heart-felt ballad, Dan assures us that things can mend, that things can get better and they will get better. Dan's warm voice is reassuring and assertive, and the chorus is soaring and hook-laden. And yet, this is no cockeyed optimist, Pollyanna-esque assertion. The lyrics recognize the current state we're in. The reassurance is couched in reality. You believe him. Things just might get better some day.

Morry Campbell
Musician/Recording Artist
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Len Rogers

Manjovi Magic Again!
"Woke Up This Morning" CD Review
Artist: Dan Manjovi
Review by; Len Rogers
There are many words which would aptly describe Dan Manjovi's latest release, "Woke Up This Morning." Thankfully there is one which I think best gives credence to Dan's work, that being, Bravo! To just say this is an impressive CD does no justice to the deep appreciation the listener immediately establishes with this anthem-esque producing artist. The songs are catchy, imbedded, and delivered with Broadway gusto. All made better by the quality of the gutsy, "feeling-man" vocals of the remarkable Dan Manjovi. I would be severely remiss in not mentioning the superb instrumentals and accompaniment on the entire CD. Of specific note are the dynamic


keyboard skills of Manjovi and the saxophone prowess of Lily White.

Dan Manjovi's scope of influence make for a diverse tapestry from which to relate. However, of possible musical references one could include; Chicago, Steely Dan, Elton John, The Who, BS&T, and in some tender moments Dan Fogelberg, just to mention a few of the many. What you have to understand if you are not already an aficionado of Dan Manjovi's captivating talents is his ability to make himself comfortable in multi-style mode. So while the listener may detect an influence, the result is unequivocally Manjovi. Combined resilient musical virility with Manjovi's clever; sometime social, sometime political, and sometime just fun lyrics, make for a memorable toe tappin' to sing-a-long experience.

Ten tracks make "Woke Up This Morning" a generous serving. From start with "Forgotten How To Dream" Dan Manjovi entices with lyrical themes which are people-wide and socially specific at the same time. Carried by musical rivers of emotive visions Manjovi delivers a very listener friendly treat. "Celebrity" is one of the best takes on what we see as "today" phenomenon. Putting it in place with a not so gentle musical wink. And get this, you actually wanna wink back. Manjovi does make his music interactive in one way or another. The flow of "Woke Up This Morning" is also something of note. It seems you are carried and delivered, one song to another with little effort and total comfort. Musically entranced works well actually, or think stage changes.

For me it would be hard to pick a favorite song. For this listener starting with "Give 'Em What You Got" through "Is Anybody Watching" I get totally absorbed. While I think the entire CD is an awesome work, Manjovi holds my undivided attention through these four tracks. The diversity of sound, the messages, and the experience which maybe gives us a look into the artist himself, all create 'moments' which hold. However, "Things'll Get Better" is Manjovi at his best. The words are empowered as is Dan's musical authority with this song. And somehow, at the end of the song I believed it would, ...get better. Sadly this is near the end of the CD and my musical journey was short-halted after the 'improved on a good thing', "Celebrity Electronica Remix".

But the experience isn't over. I can and do hit replay. "Woke Up This Morning" is a collection of musical art which has holding power. Snippets of song, bits of lyric hang in my memory as I continued my day. Dan Manjovi shares his talent and thoughts with us in such a way as we join together. I know the songs and sounds of "Woke Up this Morning" are part of my musical experience and me a part of theirs. A nice gift Dan, thanks!
Read more...