- Released: May 20, 1997
- Label: Arista
- 1.If It Feels Good (Let It Ride)
- 3.Bright Eyes
- 4.Midnight Blue
- 5.Through The Eyes Of Grace
- 6.Home To Myself
- 8.O Heaven (How You've Changed Me)
- 9.Good News
- 10.Through The Eyes Of Love (Theme From Ice Castles)
- 11.Just Too Many People
- 12.Lovers After All
- 13.Fire In The Morning
- 14.Whenever I Call You Friend
- 15.Don't Cry Out Loud
- 16.You Should Hear How She Talks About You
- 18.Just You And I
- 19.Come In From The Rain
Personnel includes: Melissa Manchester (vocals, piano, electric piano, Clavinet); Peabo Bryson (vocals); Chris Dedrick (acoustic guitar, trumpet, electric piano, organ); David Wolfert (acoustic & electric guitars, Clavinet); Bob Mann, Dave Appell, Dennis Budmir, Lee Ritenour, Larry Byrom, David T. Walker, Steve Lukather (guitar); Stanley Schwartz (clarinet, tenor saxophone, piano, electric piano, Clavinet); Billy Payne (piano); James Newton Howard (electric piano, ARP synthesizer); Greg Phillinganes (electric piano); Andy Feingold (keyboards); Cooker LoPresti (bass, background vocals); Andy Muson, Richard Davis, David Hungate, Chuck Rainey, Tom Robb, Steve Tischer (bass); Jim Keltner (drums); Tower Of Power Horn Section.
Producers: Hank Medress, Dave Appell, Henry Medress, Vini Poncia, Leon Ware, Steve Buckingham, Arif Mardin.
Engineers: Bill Radice, Bob Schaper, Milt Calise, Gary Starr, Ed Seay, Lenny Roberts, Tim Boyle, Allan Chinowsky, Alex Kashevaroff, Jeremy Smith.
Includes liner notes by Paul Grein.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
Personnel: Melissa Manchester (vocals, piano, electric piano, Clavinet, background vocals); Peabo Bryson (vocals); David Wolfert (guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, Clavinet); Bob Mann (guitar, acoustic guitar); Dennis Budimir, Larry Byrom, Lee Ritenour , Steve Buckingham, Steve Lukather (guitar); Dave Appell (acoustic guitar); David T. Walker (electric guitar); Harry Bluestone (violin); Chris Dedrick (strings, trumpet, horns, electric piano, organ); Stanley Schwartz (clarinet, saxophone, tenor saxophone, piano, electric piano, Clavinet); Randy McCormick (bassoon, keyboards); David Manchester (bassoon); Tom Saviano (saxophone); Jay Scott, Larry Williams (alto saxophone); Trevor Lawrence (tenor saxophone); Bill Payne (piano); James Newton Howard (electric piano, synthesizer); Greg Phillinganes (electric piano); Steve Tischer (Fender Rhodes piano); Don Grolnick (organ); Alan Feingold (keyboards); Robbie Buchanan (synthesizer); George Devenes (vibraphone, congas, percussion); Kirk Bruner (drums, percussion, background vocals); James Stroud (drums, percussion); James Gadson, Jim Keltner, Allan Schwartzberg (drums); Lenny Castro (percussion, background vocals); Hank Medress, Mickey Buckins (percussion); Millie Whiteside, John Cooker Lopresti, Leslie Miller, Leon Ware, Paul Davis , Arnold McCuller, The Dixie Hummingbirds, Ula Hedwig, Vini Poncia, Will Lee (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Ed Seay; Hank Medress; Phil (Boogie) Schier; Billy Radice.
Audio Remixers: Michael O'Reilly; Arif Mardin; Bill Schnee; Bob Schaper.
Liner Note Author: Carole Bayer Sager.
Recording information: A&M Studios, Hollywood, CA; A&R Studios, New York, NY; Allen Zentz; Britannia Studio, Los Angeles, CA; Century Sound, New York, NY; Davlen Studios, North Hollywood, CA; Le Studio, New York, NY; Music Grinder; Northstar Studios, Boulder, CO; Producer's Workshop, Hollywood, CA; Record Plant, Sausalito, CA; Sounc City, Los Angeles, CA; Sound Labs, Inc., Hollywood, CA; Sunset Sound, Hollywood, CA; Village Recorders, Los Angeles, CA.
Ensemble: New York Strings.
Arrangers: Hank Medress; Melissa Manchester; Tom Saviano; Barry Fasman.
The Essence of Melissa Manchester is a comprehensive overview of her decade's worth of recordings for Arista. During her stint at the label, she was at the peak of her popularity, racking up a string of adult contemporary hits including "Midnight Blue," "Just Too Many People," "Just You and I," "Don't Cry Out Loud," "Pretty Girls," the Peabo Bryson duet "Lovers After All," and "You Should Hear How She Talks About You." All of those hits, plus several lesser-known gems like "Whenever I Call You Friend," are included on this terrific compilation, which is a definitive retrospective of her finest recordings. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine