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BE GOOD TO YOURSELF AT LEAST ONCE A DAY

Man

Psychedelic/Space Rock


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Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Isn't life strange? (thanks Justin and co. for the quote).

An italian progger to write the first review of the most acclaimed Man's album...I haven't got specific knowledge of this band. The same goes for the Welsh prog scene which appeared to me, before I've bought this classic one, an absolute zero.

Nevertheless I'm a little bit confused 'cause I didn't mind Man gone so far from the usual british sound of that era. Don't know if it depends on the fact of the particular relationship and differences that made and makes Wales so different from the rest of Great Britain island. The band takes inspiration mainly from the wes-tcoast psychedelic movement of the last sixties. I've read also that they played several concerts in California and became friends of the members of Quicksilver Messenger Service. It's even written somewhere (I don't remember vividly if it was on their website or in my old rock encyclopaedia) that a member of Quicksilver joined Man for tour and, maybe, for the recording of a live album. His name is Frank Cipollina.

To tell you of the Man's chameleon-like line-up is one of the most difficult things in the world. The band seems to have never had solidity. Almost all the members changed rapidly after the recording sessions of each album and the most part of them re-joined the band at least for one or two times. Perhaps the general appreciation of the supporters for "Be Good to Yourself..." (veeeeery long title, isn't it?) derives from the fact that this was a very good mix of players with the minimum of stability which is so necessary to make things go out well.

Their sound, as I said, remembers that of the bands of that part of the States and seems to be sometimes a sort of experimental fusion between early Pink Floyd and Greatful Dead. That bluesy vein is renewed and refreshed in the long guitar's and keyboards' solos. Other times the music is moulded upon a repetitive and naive pattern that goes on and on and on again never to be boring, though. It's a comfortable listening, I admit it. You wish each of the first three tracks would not have an end. I foresee that the opinion of many prog friends could be different from mine, and even very critic against this band. The fact is that they sound not enough european to be recognized as the prog epitome in Wales.

That said, I find useless the deep analysis of the album song by song. I will tell you only that the opener "C'mon", along with "Keep on Crinting" are considered to be their flag. So it's for the opener of side b, the surprising "Bananas" (they loudly sing "I like to eat bananas"!!). Maybe, the only "weaker" point of this 1972 work could be found in the album closer "Life on the Road" which appears to add no original contribution to the "american" style they sounds like.

All in all, it's rather diffucult to rate this album. It's the first I've ever bought of them and (for now) is the only I have. I would say the correct evaluation is around 3,75 (just a step below the excellence status), rounded up to four. Ok, they are not the best musicians of their time, but a sort of pioneers in european country.

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Send comments to Andrea Cortese (BETA) | Report this review (#85796)
Posted Friday, August 04, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars A major change in line up in the bands career. Whislt it would always be argued which was the best to choose from (there were 13 changes in the first 8 years alone), I can safely say that this and the previous line up are the best (check out reviews on the previous 2 studio outings) Original keyboard player Clive John departed and then returned on rhythm guitar (?) whilst Deke Leonard left to pursue a solo career, only to return a few albums later. Thats the great thing about this band, they are like one big happy extended family!

Anyway back to the music. As you can see from the tracklist, songs are fewer but have gained in length. A lot more jamming can be found here. Deke Leonard on previous LP's, gave more of the basic hard rocking/blues influences. Without this the band were free to experiment further. The results of this are good.....very very good. The melodies flow beautifully in and out. Its hard to describe who they could be compared to as they have such an individual sound of their own here. The presence of keyboard wizard Phil Ryan, gave the band a more classical and jazz influenced sound. Overall, the album is much more instrumentally orientated, with vocals (if any) only appearing at occasional intervals. Generally regarded as their best album, I would say it's only a notch below Do You Like It Here Now, but still essential listening.

It's worth noting that an original vinyl copy of this album, will come with a stunning pop up 'cartoon' map of Wales - worth the price of admission alone.

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Send comments to kingdhansak (BETA) | Report this review (#112083)
Posted Wednesday, February 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars MAN are the first prog band I think I have listened to from Wales.There are not much in the way of vocals as they seem to prefer to just jam away, bringing to mind some of the Psychedelic and Krautrock bands I love.They don't hide their love for weed anyway.

"C'mon" has lyrics that are words of encouragment really to the down and outers. Words like "get up, come on" are sent out to the hurting .There are some Howe like guitar melodies that are followed by a long pastoral interlude of mainly slowly played organ and light drums.The song starts to build back up 7 minutes in to an organ and vocal melody. And then they jam !

"Keep on Crinting" is an instrumental. I was reminded of the ALLMAN BROS. in the beginning. This is a restrained and tasteful song. The organ solo 3 minutes in is great ! So is the long grinding guitar solo that follows. "Bananas" is another fantastic jam song with drums, organ and guitar leading the way. There are some vocal parts in this one. "Life On The Road" has a THE DOORS-like intro as the piano,vocals and drums recall that legendary band. This is without a doubt a blues flavoured tune.

Overall there is a lot to like about this band, but I have heard so many similar sounding bands that sound much better. Good album though.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#124693)
Posted Monday, June 04, 2007 | Review Permalink
Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Welsh rockers Man, despite numerous line-up changes, had really hit the form when releasing their fifth album Be Good to Yourself at Least Once a Day.

Characteristic traits of all 4 compositions on the album are long, improvisational-sounding jams; with psychedelic licks from the guitars going back and forth, as well as some nice underscoring by the keyboards - and vice versa. And The Manband really excel at these kind of tunes - sounding pretty much like they were recorded live in studio, the long instrumental parts are tight and always evolving; always adding elements or adding slight changes to the textures keeping the song interesting to listen to.

In general style, the guys are influenced by country rock quite a lot; while on the last track they use blues rock as the foundation for their explorations.

Fans of improvisational rock with psychedelic leanings should enjoy this one.

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Send comments to Windhawk (BETA) | Report this review (#165745)
Posted Saturday, April 05, 2008 | Review Permalink
Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Be Good To Yourself At Least Once A Day is a bit of classic in the Man catalogue, not least because it contains the classics C'mon and Bananas which have been live favourites since this release in 1972. The album only contains four tracks so there's ample opportunity for the band to stretch out on the Psychedelic west coast influenced jams much like they do live.

This original version of C'mon sets a fine standard for the rest of the album to live up too. Less frantic than it usually is live it starts with a wonderful Micky Jones guitar riff familiar to all Man fans before settling into an easy groove courtesy of inventive drummer Terry Williams. Things are taken down a notch for the instrumental Organ dominated mid section before some of the bands trademark harmonies bring us back in to where we started. As testimony to the greatness of this track is it must have made more appearances on Man live albums than any other song by the band some of which are even better versions than this one here.

Keep On Crinting keeps the standard high with some lovely guitar picking and a great Williams shuffle on the drums. It's an instrumental with Phil Ryan's Keyboards (not always an instrument present in the band line up) given equal rein to the guitars of Jones and Clive John. (Yes, no Deke Leonard here who must have kicked himself for missing out on this one).

Bananas opens side 2 of the original vinyl version and as already mentioned was to become another Man classic with it's jagged rhythmic structure, though a more steady groove prevails, at least in part for the excellent instrumental interplay of the mid section which builds up to a frantic pace before things calm down again to fade out with some spacey guitar work.

Life On The Road closes and is a bluesy shuffle propelled by Williams and bassist Phil Youatt. Once again between the vocal sections there's space for instrumental workouts and although it's probably the weakest of the four tracks it's still an enjoyable listen not least for the guitar interplay between Jones and John.

This comes close to being the very best of Man studio albums but is just beaten by the brilliant Rhinos, Winos and Lunatics but due to the inclusion of the essential C'mon and Bananas makes it the perfect place to start your Man collection from. 4 ˝ stars.

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Send comments to Nightfly (BETA) | Report this review (#179240)
Posted Saturday, August 09, 2008 | Review Permalink
Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions
4 stars A Highlight of the MAN history ...

The MAN band had reached the peak in 1972/1973 and this album belongs to the best of what they ever worked out. 'Be good to yourself at least once a day' - an ambiguous title by the way - was one of my mostly played LP's in the 70s. Nearly every day when I was acting as a barkeeper and DJ in personal union at our youth center FLA-FLA I took the chance to put on this album during the evening/night and never noticed anybody misliking it. But sadly once a burglery stopped that and my vinyl exemplar provided with this special Wales map disappeared for ever end ever - how sad, at least for that moment.

What I'm writing about is the new release by Esoteric Recordings from 2007 which contains two bonus tracks. It probably might be only a matter for completionists to explore an earlier version of 'Bananas'. But it was new for me that this song is a product of the former Jones/Leonard/Ace/Williams line-up as a matter of fact. It's interesting anyhow to search for the stylistical differences. And the short Rockfield Jam is from the same recording session - something really new for me, laid back - and yes - sounding like a leftover from the recent 'Do You Like It Here Now ...' production.

Much more interesting though is that the original album contains two of their most famous songs and they played them nearly on every live show until today - no matter what line-up was present ever. If you're searching through the MAN discography I'm sure you will get the most hits for them because of the huge amount of live recordings and compilations which were offered.

The album starts off with one of this very special pieces simply named C'mon. First there is Micky Jones' wellknown riff initiating a straighforward rocking part soon showing a band's trademark - the dual guitar work, matching flawlessly. The rhythm instruments are played very simple here just for backing the interaction of guitars and keyboards. The keys - they have never been a main component of the sound and even developed to a minor point after starting the first reunion in 1983. But this time, with the presence of Phil Ryan, the organ appears somewhat emancipated. Clive John, formerly responsible for the keys predominantly, substitutes Deke Leonard for to have a second guitar present. However - the important dual guitar appearance is less contrasty as with Leonard. The whole group fits together though regarding 'Be Good To Yourself ...' as the debut for this line-up.

After a while the song changes into a breathtaking spacey section. Very melancholic - organ and guitars are circling and floating around - fantastic! This is only surpassed by the live version from the 'Back into the Future' album including the Gwalia Male Choir. The song later turns back into the former propulsive drive again with haunting guitars and then it all suddenly stops. The following relaxed grooving Keep On Crinting with a high psychedelia quotient is proving that they were heavy on the road at that time bouncing from one gig to the other playing the songs coupled with extended jamming. Excellent synth, organ and twin guitar interaction. Will Youatt and drummer Terry Williams are showing their real skills.

Bananas is heading the vinyl's B-side and the second featured MAN classic. A happy flavoured mood is leading this song provided with challenging lyrics - expressing they liked bananas and marihuana :-). This one is also provided with a more relaxed floating part where Phil Ryan proves that he's a benefit for the sound with his versatile organ work. And finally the song gets very psychedelic at the end. Life on the road is reflecting their intensive touring experiences I'm sure. This is presented as a boogie/shuffle song with nice piano contributions. A song with US westcoast influences which is more refering to the sound with Deke Leonard in the line-up.

The aforementioned 'Back into the Future' album has been already priced by me with five stars because of the stunning live recordings. So this album which also obsesses me for more than 30 years will 'only' get 4.5 stars. Recommended by all means if you want to explore MAN's highly developed psychedelic and spacey period.

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Send comments to Rivertree (BETA) | Report this review (#194826)
Posted Tuesday, December 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Keep quiet and everyone believe you are an idiot. Open your mouth and you are removing any doubts.

This is exactly what I am now doing by writing this review. I bought this album three years ago on Ebay and have been listening on and off to it since then. I honestly do not "get" Man from Wales, United Kingdom. They are in my view all over the place. But most off all, I regard this band as a noisy, energetic band with a predominant live feel both live and in studio. This album is no exception.

This album does have some surprising melodic, folk music like songs though. Both the opener C'mon and Keep On Crinting does have good folk rock vibes in addition to blues and space rock vibes. The same with Bananas. Life On The Road is an all out blues rocker which sounds like it was written by a disillusioned blues guitarist from the racial segregated Louisiana back in the 1940s. It is a good blues song too and I am pretty sure, a good live tune.

All the songs on this album is good, I find their music a bit too one-dimensional for my liking. Too much americana southern state blues for my liking, to be more precise. Hence, this album is not a regular visitor in my CD player. But I have a lot of time for this band and I think this album is good, but nothing more.

3 stars

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Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#294358)
Posted Friday, August 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Man" is a group that incorporates rock n roll, progressive rock, blues, country and hard rock. This album is no exception. They have the gift to make their studio albums (mostly those issued around 1973) sound like live recordings. The twin guitar solos, the tight and groovy rhythms, their enthusiasm and energy are combined with skill and good ideas. The piano and keyboards play a district role with soulful solos here and there as compositions lead into jams. If a reference is needed, I 'd dare to say that Wishbone Ash, Marshall Tucker Band or Quicksilver Messenger plus hammond organ jamming on stage sound similar at times. The most progressive oriented piece in this album is the beautiful instrumental "Keep on crinting". Although "Man" don't play progressive rock in the strict meaning of the word -and even the last song "Life on the road" is a rhythmic blues piece- anyone who loves good pure rock music will find this a delightful recording.

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Send comments to Astryos (BETA) | Report this review (#305756)
Posted Wednesday, October 20, 2010 | Review Permalink

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