“PRAYIN’ THE BLUES” (blu funk) by: Bobby Manriquez
"There was a time when my life felt rather empty. I had some fears…and felt alone, but also always felt an awareness of a “flicker” in my heart which burned for something deeper, and bigger than what my life had come to represent. Despite the fear, I had a hard shell. Part of my fear was that in my gut, I knew beyond any shadow of a doubt that I could not make the changes I needed to make, by myself. I could not conjure up enough optimism to feel truly confident about facing life in the shape I was in. Actually, I began to even run out of ideas!...and so I prayed. I prayed to God, to the concept of a Source of LOVE, that if It were really "presiding;" if scriptual promises were not empty ones, that Goodness would come into me…take me over, FILL me,.... PLEASE!!!...a simple prayer, but a fervent one. There was no burning bush, no halo, nor glow that I was aware of; no levitation off the floor... but GOODNESS and LOVE did come. They filled my heart. Like a warm cloak descending onto my weary shoulders, I KNEW everything was going to be alright. That was 1985, and it has been good to this day.
When I was 5 years old, I was dressed up as Elvis, as my uncle had entered me in a talent show. I was in awe of Elvis. I ended up with an inexpensive Stella guitar as a prize. It was bigger than I was. I remember that I would just prop it up on a chair and enjoy how cool it looked to me. That was the beginning of my love affair with guitars and music; a precious gift. The guitar has been a passion, provided income, friends, gained me popularity, and some status,...but by all that, I was brought to my knees; a posture I adopt willingly nowadays. It is with gratitude that I sometimes still find the need to pray in thanks for a life that, to be really honest, I don't feel I deserve to have. I live in the Light of what has been shone upon this old heart; years can bring some wisdom. This heart feels for others today, and provides power to resist some of my many human inclinations. This heart welcomes and feels others' love, and looks for opportunities to be helpful rather than critical. That is not by virtue of my own; it is not even like "me"....the old "me," that is. It is by "soul knowledge" that I can claim Promises, and in the shadow of a crude Cross, I can dwarf my trials by identifying out. Ironically, but truthfully though, I often ask for strength...simply to be thankful. It's all true ! To know in my heart that God lives is so inspiring !! I pray that my music is embraced by the ears of those who believe, as well as those who differ in beliefs. I would never preach; I just strive to love instead. -----Bobby Manriquez
History – the world’s view
In the early 70's he shared lead guitar duties in a D.C. based band emerging in the A&M Records release of "Daddy's Girl" in 1976. During the same period, he was selected to be the lead guitarist for the touring band of Capitol Records artist Kathi McDonald, parts vocalist for the likes of the Rolling Stones and Tina Turner. Her just released album,"Insane Asylum," was manned by guitar greats Neil Schon of Journey and Ronnie Montrose. The new group joined such acts as Rufus, KISS, and Earth, Wind & Fire in entertaining U.S. audiences. Work with the late, great producer David Briggs (Neil Young, Alice Cooper, Nils Lofgren) began for Bobby as Capitol anticipated the release of a second album for Kathi.
The late 70's brought a very successful affiliation with gifted guitarist/songwriter and current E-Street Band member Nils Lofgren, which saw extensive U.S. and European touring. This period also marked a continuation and increase in very positive press for Bobby including Rolling Stone Magazine, Billboard Magazine and several large city papers. The bills included appearances with Santana, Jeff Beck, Fleetwood Mac, Rick Derringer, and other greats. Also, such T.V. appearances as the London BBC recording of the "Old Grey Whistle Test" would later be released by Lofgren on a 1993 CD titled the same. What followed was a period of more than a decade which Bobby endearingly calls a "self- induced change of life," where his full attention was devoted to improving on the kind of lifestyle that so many fell victim to in the 70's and 80's. He stopped playing -- He started praying.
Bobby reemerged in 1994-95 as the lead guitarist for soul legend Wilson Pickett. Obviously revitalized, Bobby further broadened the spectrum of his musical portfolio with authentic sureness and played shows in the states and abroad.
Bobby's first solo CD, "Another Shade of Blue(s)" has, upon release in 2001, received high acclaim from artists ranging from CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE, jazzy MIKE STERN to rocker NILS LOFGREN, from bluesman BOB MARGOLIN to funkster, and original Sly & Family Stone member / Eric Clapton drummer ANDY NEWMARK. After months of review from publications ranging from RollingStone.com, the WASHINGTON POST to BLUES REVUE Magazine, we've heard nothing but emphatic (and greatly appreciated) compliments on Bobby's musicianship and song-writing abilities. A wholesome compilation of songs with a message, it is the strong prequel to his second solo work.
* “PRAYIN’ THE BLUES (blu funk)” is an exciting and soulful representation of Bobby's renewed, refreshed and redeemed talents. He hopes that the listener may be moved by what God has given him, and he seeks to share it with all those who already have, as well as those who have not yet surrendered their hearts to the life-changing, life-saving gift of grace.
“PRAYIN’ THE BLUES (blu funk),” is composed of passionate, heartfelt tunes and Spirit-inspired lyrics. GRACE testifies to the happenings as Bobby’s surrendering heart was awakened by the Spirit of Love. SLINKY is a metaphor about Christ's life on earth. SWEETEST LOVE is the testimony of his faith and hope that a special lady, possibly a wife prepared uniquely for him and his calling, does exist. God is faithful to complete every work He’s begun – Bobby Manriquez’s life is a living testimony to this, and so many of God’s promises. *Number 3 CD Album is presently being written by Bobby in his home; new, exciting and well-known artists will again converge to contribute.
* Commentary by Beth, a dear friend