Tuesday, September 7, 1999 Published at 10:37 GMT 11:37 UK
No sure bets for Mercury
The smart money is on the Manics in a unpredictable race.
The Welsh band's fifth album, This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours, currently has 3-1 odds of taking the award, which celebrates the best contemporary music from a British or Irish act.
The Manics lead an eclectic field of nominees for the £20,000 prize, one of the most coveted awards in the music industry and one which guarantees a surge in sales for the winner.
The Manics' ability to shift albums in the shops will not assure them of victory. In previous years judges have steered clear of commercially successful acts.
The 1998 winners, Gomez, had seen only modest sales of their blues-pop debut Bring It On prior to scooping the award.
The year before, few had predicted that low-key drum 'n' bass outfit Roni Size/Reprazent would triumph.
Orton's second Mercury-nominated album faces stiff competition from a large contingent of dance acts.
The Chemical Brothers, Underworld and Faithless are all in with a chance.
Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons, the duo behind The Chemical Brothers, are leading lights in the dance world. They have enjoyed considerable chart success while retaining credibility among their peers.
"Talvin Singh takes listeners on a remarkable musical trip across a global landscape," say the Mercury prize panel.
With Jazz saxophonist Denys Baptiste, folk singer Kate Rusby and innovative composer Thomas Ades making up the rest of the field, traditional guitar bands are in the minority.
"13 is a set of inventive songs that showcases Blur's brave and brilliant combination of musical power and lyrical wit," say the Mercury judges.
Stereophonics complete the shortlist of nominees. The Welsh rockers' debut album Performance And Cocktails has already earned them the best newcomers award at the Brits. Whether this can be translated into Mercury success is a question only the judges can answer.
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