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Man - Back Into The Future CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.88 | 79 ratings

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5 stars When I reviewed this album in 2006 for the first time I couldn't expect that there is any approvement imaginable. In the meanwhile Esoteric Recordings have re-issued 'Back IntoThe Future' which was originally designed as a double LP - divided in a studio and live partition. Now this new triple CD production comprises the complete legendary live gig at the London Roundhouse on 24th June 1973. Wow! I know a lot of MAN albums and saw the band on the stage on many occasions since the 1970s - and this gig can certainly be counted among the best they ever have offered during the band history of more than 40 years.

Unfortunately Micky Jones is not with us anymore - the only constant until he suffered from a brain tumor in 2002 for the first time. Probably not the most prolific guitarist from a technical point of view, but he surely was a very emotional musician provided with much empathy and intuition. No doubt - this is striking here too. MAN's music always lives from a playful twin guitar work - and mostly this was provided by the couple Leonard/Jones. But not on this occasion ... considering this top-notch performance it's so much the more exciting and surprising when you know that second guitarist Tweke Lewis just had played with the band for the third time ever!

With 'Back Into The Future' the MAN band had reached the peak of their psychedelic/space phase. As mentioned before Deke Leonard was not aboard who always was the guarantor for a more blues and rock n' roll influenced style. While additionally interacting with keyboard player Phil Ryan in 1972/1973 they had a great time starting with the studio album 'Be Good To Yourself At Least Once A Day' which was followed by this release. CD1 simply features the complete tracks from the original release where now the studio songs are the most attracting of course, four of them recorded as a quartet (Clive John had quit) and two with new member Tweke Lewis on the second guitar. The studio songs are all top-notch compositions, catchy, but far away from mainstream though, following the spirit of the two predecessor albums due to Phil Ryan's fantastic keyboard input featuring hammond organ, electric pianio and moog synthesizer.

You can ignore the folllowing live recordings because they were put on the second disc again, in the right order this time, not shortened and with improved sound qualitiy on top of it. They had invited the Welsh Gwalia Male Voice Choir who opened the set with the traditional Sospan Fach - I've listened to this set for uncounted times and it was always obligatory for me to start here. An impressive opener folllowed by a live version of A Night In Dad's Bag - quasi the warm-up for the first highlight, the fabulous extended C'mon offered with a high jamming proportion like on nearly every gig they celebrated. This one is alternating between groovy parts and cosmic explorations, first of all to name the spacey floating middle part where Micky Jones offers extraterrestrial vocals and the Gwalia Male Voice Choir appears once again with a very melancholic contribution.

This live tracks are demonstrating that MAN first of all are a great live band, hard-earned, except the times they were recording new stuff in the studio they were touring somewhere in Europe. Jam up Jelly tight comes later, the best jam I ever heard from this band, built around a standard MAN live track also called 'Spunk Rock'. During 21 minutes two guitars and a keyboard are hunting each other - unbelievable! CD3 then is completely provided with previously unreleased material, okay if you don't count another standard live track, the swinging Bananas which was released on an EP in 1976. As a special bonus you will also find two studio songs from the same year which never got a place on a regular album, not bad though, expressing some easiness and sleaziness from my favourite line-up.

This triple CD is a delicious snapshot, a masterpiece because it contains high quality studio songs as well as one of their best live performances ever. The sound technicians have made a great job when selecting and filtering out elements I've never heard before, speaking of some vocal or keyboard parts. Fantastic! This re-issue is also recommended if you are completely new to this band and want to get into MAN's extraordinary psych/space period.

Rivertree | 5/5 |


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