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Manfred Mann's Earth Band - Manfred Mann's Earth Band Bootleg Archives Vols 1-5 CD (album) cover

MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND BOOTLEG ARCHIVES VOLS 1-5

Manfred Mann's Earth Band

 

Eclectic Prog

3.79 | 5 ratings

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TenYearsAfter
4 stars "First review of this album"

'Magical Minimoog Master Mighty Manfred Mann'.

That was some Alliteration Extravaganza to hail the overlooked Minimoog wizard Manfred Mann. Now let's take a look at this very interesting mid-priced 5-CD box, spanning the time between 1981 and 2007, so 3 decades of MMEB live.

CD 1 ' Live 1981. For me CD 1 was the reason to buy this box set, because I have witnessed the Manfred Mann's Earth Band 1981 Change tour in my former hometown The Hague. I remember that sold out gig very well, great performance, great tracklist and,last but not least, great work on the Minimoog: many spectacular, picthbend driven soli in Hello Hello (previously unreleased live track), Chicago Institute, Martha's Madman and Give Me The Good Earth. And I was blown away by the use of the distinctive talk box (known from Peter Frampton's Show Me The Way) in Angels At My Gate and Step By Step. But also lots of exciting work on the guitar, especially the powerful wah-wah drenched guitar solo in On The Run Lies Thru' The 80s, instrumental track Fritz The Blank (funny animation on screen), bluesy piano intro in Spirits In The Night and hilarious words in Hobo Bill's Last Ride.

CD 2 ' Live 1986. This concert features the return of Mick Rogers, he puts his mark on the music with outstanding rock guitar, especially during the intro of Banquet and in Visionary Mountains, Father Of Day (pleasant new arrangement) and Mighty Quinn. We can enjoy Manfred Mann his spectacular trademark Minimoog soli in Father Of Day, Davy's On The Road Again and especially The Runner, wow, this is top notch Minimoog work! I also like the Spencer Davis Group cover Gimme Some Loving, a very powerful and tasteful rendition.

CD 3 (live 1991), CD 4 (live 1999) and 5 (live 2007) deliver new lead singer singer Noel McCalla, not my favourite MMEB vocalist (due to his theatrical outbursts) but he does a very good and inspired job. During the years MMEB has turned into a very tight, professional and entertaining unit, on this three more recent live recordings you can enjoy lots of excellent renditions of oldies with new arrangements. Manfred Mann is not as omnipresent with his Minimoog as in the Seventies and early Eighties but he still shines in some tracks. Especially in the intro of Banquet, all versions of Martha's Madman and the long intro of Blinded By The Light (1999 version), wow, what a spectacular Minimoog sound! Mick Rogers is a very good rock guitarist, just listen to his wah wah drenched sound in Don't Kill It Carol (awesome rendition) and his biting soli in Blinded By The Light and Mighty Quinn (unfortunately faded away).

Remarkably CD 5 contains the most recent concert but the sound is the most close to bootleg quality. The tracklist is very varied, from Captain Bobby Scout (from their first album) to the classic Spirits In The Night (nice rendition) and a (bit too) long Dancing In The Dark cover version (in between some House Of The Rising Sun organ and vocals). I consider this fifth CD as the least interesting, my highlights here are Manfred Mann his Minimoog work and Mick Rogers his powerful guitar, in some songs they deliver also great interplay, the very distincive MMEB sound!

I highly recommended this 5-CD live box, it captures the awesome MMEB live performances in 3 different decades, and what a treat to listen to Manfred Mann his many sensational pitchbend driven Minimoog soli!

TenYearsAfter | 4/5 |

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