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Manfred Mann's Earth Band - Somewhere in Afrika CD (album) cover

SOMEWHERE IN AFRIKA

Manfred Mann's Earth Band

 

Eclectic Prog

3.03 | 63 ratings

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Proghead
Prog Reviewer
4 stars I would have given up long ago with the EARTH BAND had not my dad bought "Somewhere in Afrika" on cassette just as it was released here in America. This is the version with the hit "Runner". I couldn't be more surprised with this album. The EARTH BAND released way too many albums that were too commercial for my liking after "The Roaring Silence". And while the music on "Somewhere in Afrika" still sticks to the 3-4 minute song format meant for radio airplay, the band now incorporated African music with pop. Think of a precursor to Peter GABRIEL's "So" or Paul SIMON's "Graceland" (both from 1986). But the major difference is "Somewhere in Afrika" has a much more darker and serious tone than "Graceland" ever did.

The reason is it's partially a concept album against Apartheid-ran South Africa (MANN had left South Africa in the early '60s to England because of Apartheid, as had many other South African born musicians, like Trevor Rabin or Duncan MacKay). Here you get a version of the POLICE's "Demolition Man". Here Steve Waller is the one singing the vocals. This version is trimmed down quite a bit from the original off "Ghost in the Machine", making it easier for radio stations to play it than the original. Plus there's no horns as in the original. "Runner", found on the American version actually became a minor hit. There's also a cover of Al STEWART's "Nostradamus", called "Eyes of Nostradamus" here, again, trimmed down and shortned, but still a well-produced and well-played song. "Third World Service" is another great piece where the band combined African music with pop.

The second half of the album consists of everything from full-blown African music, to a cover of Bob MARLEY's "Redemption Song" to a suite that is basically a collection of songs protesting Apartheid. Having just the cassette, the thing bothering me is no mention of who was in the band, but I do know that Steve Waller is there, playing guitar and singing. Mann even at this point is still playing his Minimoog! But I also assume the band also had some African musicians helping out as well. Certainly, as far as African/'80s pop hybrids went, it certainly did not have the success of Peter GABRIEL's "So" and Paul SIMON's "Graceland" from a few years later, it's still recommended if you like that style of music.

Proghead | 4/5 |

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