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Happy The Man - Happy the Man CD (album) cover


Happy The Man


Eclectic Prog

3.87 | 254 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars At the time (1993) I bought this as a cheap used vinyl, I had never heard of this band. The peculiar cover, a long list of used instruments and keyboardist Kit Watkins (known to me from Camel's album from 1979) made me have it. Now, on this PA page I see that it has a respected status among progheads. I sure understand that: this is technically brilliant, jazzy playing with lots of complexity. But still I don't want to give more than three stars. And I remind you this is my subjective opinion. Objectively I admit this might be an excellent addition to a prog collection.

There are several bands and artists that come to mind when trying to describe the music. Jazz-rock a la BRAND X. Rain Dances/Breathless -era CAMEL - but more complex and restless. Time signature complexity owes to YES and GENTLE GIANT. Mostly it's instrumental, but lead vocals by the guitarist Stanley Whitaker remind me of CAT STEVENS - well, not so much of that beggar-in-the-gutter -style though. Compositions are addressed to Watkins (4), reeds player Frank Wyatt (3) and Whitaker (2). Watkins is most up to my taste of them. He seems to be less obsessed by showing off how complex structures they can write and play; his compositions are more peaceful and elegant. As a keyboardist he's a master, using e.g. Mini Moog a lot, and has perhaps the key role in the band's sound.

What gets to my nerves listening to this album is the restless nature of many tracks, especially on Whitaker's 'Stumpy Meets the Firecracker in Stencil Forest' and 'Kneebitten Nymphs in Limbo' - can you think of more idiotic titles? Anyway, one can't blame these debutants on the lack of bravery. They are very skillful but maybe just too anxious to show it.

Matti | 3/5 |


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