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Manfred Mann's Earth Band - Watch CD (album) cover

WATCH

Manfred Mann's Earth Band

 

Eclectic Prog

3.73 | 179 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Watch? Don't you mean listen?

Watch is one of those half live/half studio albums. I generally don't like this type of album, much preferring fully studio albums and fully live albums over these half measures. Manfred Mann's Earth Band's Watch is no exception to the rule. The studio tracks are similar to those we find on the previous, and much better, The Roaring Silence album. On a positive note, the live tracks are all 'new' songs in the sense that they had not at this point been on any other Manfred Mann's Earth Band album, studio or live. However, the Bob Dylan cover Mighty Quinn was recorded by Manfred Mann already in the 60's. Were they perhaps running out of inspiration here?

There were always cover songs on Manfred Mann's Earth Band's albums and most of their biggest hits and live favourites were actually written by other people. Watch is an extreme example of this tendency with most of the material being other people's songs. Only Drowning On Dry Land/Fish Soup and Chicago Institute were co-written by Mann. All the other songs are credited to other people, though I don't know most of the original versions of these songs.

I don't know why they decided to record these songs live for the album, but these songs have ever since been live favourites for the band.

Another problem I have with Watch is that some of these songs are a bit too commercial and too catchy for my taste, sometimes reminding me of the style of the first two Manfred Mann's Earth Band albums, before they started to experiment with their sound. Still, the first half (the studio half) is good.

I would have preferred them to either make a full live album or a full studio album. It would actually have been a perfect time for them to record an official live album at the time when Watch came out. After such a consistent string of albums that started with Solar Fire and ended with The Roaring Silence they could have made an excellent double live album featuring songs from Solar Fire, The Good Earth, Nightingales & Bombers, The Roaring Silence and the present one.

Watch is still very well worth having, but not essential.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |

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