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Manfred Mann's Earth Band - The Roaring Silence CD (album) cover


Manfred Mann's Earth Band


Eclectic Prog

3.85 | 273 ratings

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4 stars Here is one example of a tune that just does it pretty much unanimously for every color of progger, whether into complex RIO/zeuhl /experimental or the more commercial symphonic/neo cousin. From the opening notes of "Blinded by the Light", it appears clear that a great story will be told, full of vivid imagery and majestic musical delivery and who better than the cover dude himself Manfred Mann to supply the goods. With the equally Springsteen-penned "Spirits in the Night" off the previous "Bombers & Nightingales", it becomes obvious that our South African keyboard wizard knows how to imprint his style on folk/blues based songs whether written by the Boss or Bob Dylan. New vocalist Chris Thompson delivers a sizzling vocal from the get go, with Mann's spiraling Moog weaving memorable magic, wobbly crescendo and all. "She's gonna make it thru the night" ushers in a shimmeringly sensitive guitar solo by Dave Flett (no slouch as he is quite similar in tone to the fabulous Mick Rogers), full of effects and mist, rousing the deepest emotions, sustaining the drama. "Mama that's where the fun is" recoils with some infantile piano and a second run through that now exhilarates. What else can be said, a classic tune. "Singing the Dolphin Through": after a brief innocuous vocal, the synthesizers are combined with the trademark female backing vocals, taking this arrangement into conventional Mike Heron territories, frankly not my favorite track here even the guitar work (here handled by Thompson) is average without any hint of magic or genius. Barbara Thompson's sax solo at the end is good but nothing hair-raising. "Questions" is an average mid-tempo ballad that has some fine guitar and keyboard work on it but little more. The vocal is impassioned but ultimately there are no thrills here. "The Road to Babylon", now we are getting somewhere, as the divine counterpoint female choir ushers in waves of mellotron, marshalling the bass and drums along, the vocal is impressively astute and there is some all around fine playing by the crew. Dave Flett in particular lets a few sizzling solos rip with heavy wah-wah use (no problem for me , love that pedal) and unleashes a myriad of emotions from his fret board and gently fades away while the misty choir theme is reprised again, rekindling the opening verse and chorus for another round! Great track and the next one acts like a segue "This Side of Paradise" giving Manfred the opportunity to let his chops show with a plethora of zipping Moog solos that are both vibrant and creative. Dave tosses in his own little 6 string ditties, with bassist Pattenden and drummer Slade keeping the tension alive and the rhythmic embers aglow. "Starbird" has some multiple vocals entwined in a driving piece where the boys can start getting silly on their instruments, stretching out as much as possible. Both guitarists and Manfred trade off blazing insanities, certainly a tad of overt chopzilla here but hey, they are good to do it. "Waiter, There's A Yawn in my Ear "is a platform for Manfred to unleash some of his creative soloing, recorded live with studio overdubs and proves what an immense innovator this mann (Sic!) was on synthesizer and why he is regarded as one of the finest electronic note benders of his generation. I actually love this track, full of wild passion and exalted musicality. Total up the scores, our panel has the results and I have the envelope : this is half genius (4 wow tracks) and the other half pretty ho- hum. But what an opener! Get Solar Fire and Bombers first , then this one. 3.5 Silent roars
tszirmay | 4/5 |


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