’90s Mixtape Staple: Barbara Manning

Wow I listened to this album a lot in 1995: Barbara Manning Sings With the Original Artists (1993). Apparently it was a collaboration with Stuart Moxham of Young Marble Giants and Jon Langford of The Mekons, another band I listened to an awful lot that summer.

They both were just friendly enough and just bitter enough to suit my mood without letting me realize that I was depressed.

It is totally not on iTunes. I wonder how much of this stuff from the ’90s is vanishing.

My favorite song of hers, “Big Eye,” was (I thought) about Saint Denis. Apparently it was about Saint Etienne. Here are the lyrics:

If you can lose your head
Like a prisoner escapes from prison
Decapitation is so much better
I don’t think I’ll ever miss it

Ordered thought
A horrible thought!
The smell of gunpowder is spreading

Broken eggs
And Big Eye is staring up

Population shifting
The Big Eye is staring up

St. Etienne
Carried his head
From Paris to his old hometown
At his name’s day celebration
His friends all buy him hats

Caught thinking in straight lines
Rehabilitated with a sharp axe
Doing time
Hats off for good behavior

Free from the neck down
It’s hats off for good behavior

If you can lose your head
While all around you they’re keeping theirs
You’ll be a man, my son
They will call you Big Eye!

St. Etienne, although your eyes are blue
St. Etienne, they made a mess of you
St. Etienne, we are so in love

St. Etienne, we are so in love


1 Comment

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One response to “’90s Mixtape Staple: Barbara Manning

  1. LD

    Wow, somehow I never stumbled across this record, even though I’m a fan of Barbara Manning. Thanks for the post. [Any chance of posting it?]

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