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

SOLAR FIRE

Manfred Mann's Earth Band

 

Eclectic Prog

3.99 | 238 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Proghead
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Here's another album I was exposed to as a kid through my parents. Little did I know that the kind of music presented on this album would later define my own personal taste in music: prog rock. I don't consider myself much of an EARTH BAND fan, only because I found too much of their stuff inconsistent (and some later albums like Chance too commercial for my liking). "Solar Fire" is one of the few times the band made a truly consistent album, in my book. Even their previous album, "Messin" (or "Get Your Rocks Off", the American version, which might as well be another album because of songs that are not featured on the British version) seemed like the band was "messin'" around (having some good songs, and so-so songs).

Here's where they got it right and perfect the prog rock sound that they unfortunately never went further on. The album starts off with "Father of Day, Father of Night". It's hard to believe this was originally a Bob DYLAN song (from the album "New Morning" - the album he recorded as an apology for Self-Portrait). Except this is expanded in to a prog epic, with lengthy, extended symphonic solos, Moog, and even Mellotron! "In the Beginning, Darkness", is one of the more heavy numbers, with heavy guitar and a spacy synth solo with that cool drumming in the middle part. "Pluto the Dog" is an instrumental piece showing MANN's talent on the Moog (it might not be as mindblowing as "Waiter, There's a Yawn in My Ear", but still an effective tune). The title track is amazing, with that cosmic theme in the lyrics, it's just totally '70s. More spacy synthesizer to be found. Then there's the lengthy instrumental "Saturn, Lord of the Ring, Mercury the Winged Messenger". It starts off sounding not unlike "Sadjoy" from their previous album (but more bearable as I though "Sadjoy" was crap), but then the music changes in to a more atmospheric spacy mood before going in to a guitar overdrive.

Now here's that part that differs from the British and American releases. The British version features both "Earth, the Circle" part 1 and 2. The American version only features one part of "Earth, the Circle" (the one with vocals, the short but amazing synth solo, and quirky piano and drumming), and "Joybringer" replacing the other. "Joybringer" was originally released as a single in Britain and was a hit there, but they felt it was better to include it on the American version of "Solar Fire". This is basically rock adaptation of a theme from HOLST's "The Planets", with added on lyrics. My mother not knowing of HOLST, when I played TOMITA's "The Planets", she thought it was an electronic adaptation of MANFRED MANN. Until I explained that "Joybringer" was a rock adaptation of Holst. Not being a big EARTH BAND fan, I am really amazed at this album. Even for those not a fan of their music I still highly recommend this album!

Proghead | 5/5 |

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