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Man - Rhinos, Winos And Lunatics CD (album) cover



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Honorary Collaborator
2 stars By the time of Man's seventh album, the musical chairs were in full gear, with prodigal guitarist Roger "Deke" Leonard returning to join co-founder Micky Jones and drummer Terry Williams in the Man band. Deke also brought two members of his solo project Iceberg with him ... incidentally keyboardist Malcolm Morley and bassist Ken Whaley had earlier been part of cult band Help Yourself ... and this must have changed the band's sound. I'd heard a lot of good things about this album beforehand, but the fact is, that after giving it many, many chances I've come to the inescapable conclusion that it's a fairly ordinary boogie-rock album.

That's right ... whether it's totally forgettable like the opener Taking The Easy Way Out Again or shows a little bit of character like The Thunder And Lightning Kid and the epic concluding ramble Scotch Corner, this record rarely moves away from plodding boogie rock jams with too strong a Southern rock influence for my taste. The languid California Silks And Satins boasts some nice acoustic guitar work and the brief keyboard-led outro Exit may both a nice change of pace but the general impression I get is of an unceasingly bland, middle of the road pop/rock album that betrays its lofty reputation. If you want to hear this sort of thing done well, check out Boston's first album.

Possibly the only reason I've still got this record is Kerosene, which actually has some nice synth and electric piano from Morley that breaks the monotony, but it's really a case of too little, too late for me. In fact, while many hardcore Manfans will recommend this record, I'm going to direct you to the Jones quote on the liner notes of my copy of the album "With this album we were heading towards American AOR, though that's a horrible thing to say."

It isn't that great a thing to hear either! ... 32% on the MPV scale

Report this review (#67783)
Posted Wednesday, February 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars One Man and his Rhino

For their seventh studio album, Man once again revised their line up with a former member returning, new members arriving, and others leaving. This perhaps contributes to the lack of identity on this 1974 release. While Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker was brought in to tighten up that side of things, the album was written and recorded with indecent haste, driven on by an absurdly tight deadline.

The dominant feeling is of country or west coast; certainly far more American than Welsh. Three of the tracks on side one are loud, abrasive affairs with frankly average singing. "The thunder and lightning kid" features some Caravan keyboard sounds, while "Four day Louise" belts out a straight rock number with a repetitive guitar hook. The exception is "California silks and satins", a rare soft CSN influenced harmony piece.

The second side consists of just two long tracks, book ended by a brief "Intro" and "Exit". "Kerosene" has echoes of fellow countrymen BUDGIE, particularly in the high vocals. The track features some fine keyboards and wah wah guitar in a pleasantly laid back arrangement. The CSN vocal harmonies here sound rather out of place but are kept short, the track being dominated by the extended instrumental sections.

"Scotch corner", named after a road junction in North East England, is the longest track on the album. The country guitar rhythm of the opening section is reminiscent of Harry NILSSON, the track sounding similar to the work of HOME from a few years earlier. Lead guitar features heavily on this driving but ultimately unexciting number, the sound at times becoming rather muddled and unfocused.

While "Rhinos.." is not the sort of album which is ever going to win any top album awards (outside the band's own environment anyway), it is an enjoyable diversion. It represents the band well in terms of content, containing as it does largely second division songs which are adequately performed. There's little hint of prog though, the band remaining well within their comfort zone.

Incidentally, the papier-mâché Rhino featured in the sleeve picture was imprisoned in the equipment room where the photo was taken, apparently having been built too big to fit through the door.

Report this review (#101367)
Posted Saturday, December 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I know I've been really generous with this band, my favourite band. BUT yet another 5 stars are well deserved here. Easily their most successful release, this album made the top 25 when it came out. Following yet another line up change, we see yet another change in direction. Mainly brought on by the return of Deke Leonard and his songwriting skills. Compositions were strong and commercial, without being dull. Production is smooth and polished. A fine job by Roy Thomas Baker, shortly before he worked with Queen. From the energetic hard rockers of Taking The Easy Way Out and Four Day Louise to the mellow Calafornia Silks and Satins, this album never fails to please. The vocal harmonies sound better than ever: Baker again and his great multi-layered production. Those looking for a more experimental sound, should try earlier albums first, but should not ignore this one later down the line. Brilliant stuff yet again!!
Report this review (#112090)
Posted Wednesday, February 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars If I was approached by someone asking where would the best place be to start with Man then I would direct them to this album. It has on it everything that is great about them and a well rounded representation of the esscence of the band. The long instrumental workouts, the harmony vocals and Man's own brand of Rock 'n' Roll.

Every track on this album needs to be there, not a single filler is present. This may have been helped by bringing in Producer Roy Thomas Baker who helped streamline the band who by their own admission didn't usually like outside interference.

The album also marks the return of Guitarist/Vocalist Deke Leonard who had spent the last few years with his band Iceberg. He brought with him from that band Malcolm Morley and Ken Whaley on Keyboards/Vocals and bass respectively. Completing the line-up were the ever-present Mickey Jones, Guitar and Vocals and superb Drummer Terry Williams (later to have success as a member of Dire Straits).

Side 1 on the original vinyl format consisted of four songs opening with the uptempo "Taking the Easy Way Out Again" , one of the highlights of this release. Man adopt more of an American west coast harmony sound on the beautiful "California Silks and Satins" but my personnel favourite being "Four Day Louise" which the bnad liked so much they even stated at the time that they'd play it for the next 29 years. They didn't by the way.

Side 2 really consists of 2 songs, "Kerosene" and "Scotch Corner" which are bookended by short instrumentals "Intro" and "Exit". Both long tracks with some wonderful Guitar workouts in the traditional Man style, "Scotch Corner" slightly having the edge in my opinion. The album closes in hauntingly beautiful fashion as the downward spirral Arpeggio of "Exit" comes to an abrupt end.

Report this review (#135684)
Posted Saturday, September 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This 1974 release from Welsh band Man has stood the test of time rather well.

Opening with two country-rock tinged tunes with good commercial appeal and some catchy choruses, and continuing with a mellow ballad with some good vocal harmonies, it isn't until the fourth track we get to hear remnants of the style the band is best know for though. Still, these opening numbers are good, and the psychedelic-laden slightly dreamy tracks that follow are equally interesting - with some excellent psychedelic guitarwork underscored by keyboard textures in compositions with long, instrumental passages for tripping out or daydreaming.

The sound is retro, and the album is clearly a product of it's time; but he basic songs are good - making them memorable and interesting tunes even more than 30 years later.

Report this review (#165458)
Posted Tuesday, April 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one of the most underrated "progbands" ever, and Rhinos Winos and Lunatics is the best in a splendid catalouge. It has always puzzles me why Man stays outside the prog radar. Maybe because they are very down to earth( in musical terms anyway) and they never fall into introspective nodling.

On RWL the Man Band skipped the long improvisations from the latter albums. The reason is I belive the return of Deke Leonard and his ability to write a simple (hmmm) tune. But do not get me wrong. The album is packed with fantastic interplaying and Micky Jones, the mainstay, is bending the strings as clever as ever. The album kicks off with the single Taking the easy way out and is followed by California Silk and Satin, the only weak tune (sort of) on the album. If the rest of side one is great, side two is were it all gels perfectly.

Do not miss this album. Is one of these classic albums from the mid 70´s. And the reissue on Esoteric is beautifully remastered with an extra disc with live material.

Report this review (#266566)
Posted Tuesday, February 16, 2010 | Review Permalink

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