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

MESSIN'

Manfred Mann's Earth Band

 

Eclectic Prog

3.13 | 96 ratings

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Trotsky
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The third Earth Band album sees a band still someway off its musical peak. The line-up of Mick Rogers (vocals/guitar), Manfred Mann (keyboards), Colin Pattendon (bass) and Chris Slade (drums) settled down pretty soon after this to create a brilliant record in 1974's Solar Fire, but Messin' is, quite frankly, a rather weak effort.

It doesn't start off too badly though. The title track is a lengthy, somewhat rambling stuttering bluesy piece with its share of electronic sound effects. I dig the environmental theme (the chorus goes "we're messin' up the land/we're messin' up the sea/we're messin up the air") and Manfred has a nice solo that comes in at around the 5 minute mark, only to be superceeded by a epic Rogers guitar solo before our two heroes trade some lead lines. Nonetheless I do feel the piece is overlong and pales in comparison to the subsequent epic Father Of Day Father Of Night that would appear on Solar Fire. Another problem dogging early Earth Band is that even though Rogers turned in some decent vocal performances, he was much less impressive than his successor Chris Thompson, whom to me is the definitive Earth Band vocalist.

The second track Buddah is another piece that has some great moments but is rather flawed. For the first half, it's rather boring save for a Rogers lead break that shows up a couple of times (and the fact that the bass line seems to pave the way for a memorable line in Boston's hit More Than A Feeling), but then half way through, the band picks up the pace and Manfred lays down a truly fine solo. I'm sad to report that it all goes seriously downhill from there on.

Cloudy Eyes and Sadjoy are both pedestrian mournful instrumentals that are shockingly draggy. The Bob Dylan cover Get Your Rocks Off is a blues rock stomper only slightly better than yer average AC/DC track (during the Bon Scott era, at least). Black And Blue is another lifeless blues that starts off with a ragged acapella section and has some hints of promise during the solos, but really goes nowhere. In fact, the brief mock cajun/calypso hybrid Mardi Gras Day (which I believe was intended as a joke) comes as something of a relief because it does at least contains a bit of energy.

My overall impression is that Messin' is way too uneven an album and clearly inferior to later more cohesive works like Solar Fire and The Roaring Silence. It's also a much less enjoyable record than the albums Manfred made during the Chapter Three phase that preceeded the Earth Band, so I guess some questions have to be asked about this one. ... 43% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 2/5 |

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