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Happy The Man - Retrospective CD (album) cover


Happy The Man


Eclectic Prog

3.96 | 14 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars I'm happy that mr Neumann did open the path for recognizing the perfect introduction to one of the best band in american prog history and maybe the ultimate most underated one! Over 70 minutes mainly from their two masterpieces who stood tall and sole at the end of the seventies while all the giants were already turning poppish... Wrong time wrong place could we say about Happy the Man. I can remember the first listen to the self title album - their debut had i thought wrongly at that time, and being stunned by the first notes of "Stumpy ..." , frenetic rythm, intricate interplay and above all, the keyboards sounds and wizardry of Kit Watkins. I've read since plenty of technical explanations about Watkins'mastery by clever auditors and musicians thus putting words over my personal emotions, but it has been the debut of a personal love affair with everything he has a recorded since , as part of Camel or as a solo artist.

You can say no wrong by comparing Happy the Man to Gentle Giant or Canterbury's alumnis, or admitting they were the natural son of british symphonic prog and american jazz rock , and yet not pay credit to their true inventiveness and hability to reach the perfect balance between instrumental virtuosity and sense of melody. Most would be caught by the upbeat compositions, but personally i think that their most magnificent colors were proposed in their slow tempos ones, Wyatt displaying his flutes and saxes, Watkins trading his electric virtuosity to delicate acoustic guitars, overwhich, evidently, Kit Watkins provided keyboards sounds that were, for me, not of this world. STARBORN, OPEN BOOK, HIDDEN MOODS are still true gems in my collection.

Thirty years later, this is one of the very few bands that still make it for me like the first time i've heard them at the time. That tells a lot about the quality of the production indeed which doesn't sound dated by the way. This is a must go for seekers of the lost treasures of the seventies progressive wreck.

Hat's off to Happy the man. Last word about their band name. Even if i'm french speaking, this is the ready made expression i use to express my moments of pleisure and hapiness, often related to music enjoyment. I'm indeed a "Happy the man" thanks two these fellows.

bertolino | 5/5 |


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