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

SOLAR FIRE

Manfred Mann's Earth Band

 

Eclectic Prog

4.01 | 242 ratings

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Trotsky
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I'm not normally given to emotional outbursts while reviewing an album, but I must make an exception for this one. The opening track on Solar Fire, a radically reworked cover of Bob Dylan's Father Of Day Father Of Night, is an absolute masterpiece of prog sent down by the gods themselves. Please take the trouble to listen to this timeless monster of a track, while has some of my favourite guitar and keyboard moments from any band anywhere. Make sure you are alone in a dark room when you listen to this track. If you don't feel something special, you have my sympathies ... no, I think my pity is a more accurate word. Heavenly choir, numerous breaks, gorgeous epic solos, and an imcomparable timeless vibe. Whatta song! Whatta song!

The rest of the album, which is by far the best made by the initial MMEB line-up of Mick Rogers (vocals/guitar), Manfred Mann (keyboards), Colin Pattendon (bass) and Chris Slade (drums), is pretty damn good too. In the Begining Darkness overcomes a weak vocal segment thanks to some great space-rock jamming. Pluto The Dog is excellent in a really kooky way, with a great groove and loads of pitch-bending synth and organ solos.

The title track Solar Fire is another highlight with a mesmerizing melody and some out of this world spacey solos. Saturn Lord Of The Ring, Mercury The Winged Messenger is really two very different pieces stuck together and in Saturn's case, I actually enjoy the name more than the song, which I feel is just dull solo-ing over a slow bluesy riff, with a rather lame main theme to boot. Thankfully the song evolves into Mercury which after a slow beginning becomes another superb jam. The two part Earth, The Circle is another monumental piece of space rock with Mann and Slade standing out.

Annoyingly Solar Fire was one of those albums that came out in different versions on opposite sides of the Atlantic. The version I have has two parts of Earth, The Circle, but no Joybringer (a hit single in 1973!), an admittedly excellent pop-prog song that would have made Solar Fire an even more outstanding album. I'll admit that I gave this album an extra star just because I want to draw attention to the marvellous opening track, but even if that masterpiece weren't here this would still be a highly impressive prog album. ... 91% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 5/5 |

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