On Monday, Melissa Manchester gave fans a taste of her forthcoming album, The Fellas, sharing the album opener and first single, “Ain’t That A Kick In The Head,” via her social media channels. Her rambunctious, horn-filled version of the song swings exuberantly from the rafters.
“I wanted to invite the audience in, right away, to what the album and song was going to feel like,” says Melissa Manchester. The classic song was first recorded in 1960 by Dean Martin, who also performed it in the film Oceans 11 the same year.
Manchester co-produced The Fellas with Robert Slack, Dean of Visual and Performing Arts at Citrus College in Glendora, CA. She is backed by The Citrus College Blue Note Orchestra, which is composed of students, alumni and faculty from the community college.
The Fellas – which will be released on September 8 via Manchester’s independent label, Long Run Entertainment, LLC – is available for pre-order now on Amazon Music – Melissa Manchester, The Fellas.
While it’s primarily a solo album, Manchester did recruit one very special fella to join her on The Fellas: Barry Manilow duets with her on a jubilant “For Me and My Gal,” a tribute to Gene Kelly and Judy Garland, who performed the 1942 movie’s title track. Manilow and Manchester met 40 years ago when they were young jingle singers trying to break into show business. Manilow introduced her to Bette Midler, who recruited Melissa to become a founding member of the Harlettes.