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

ANGEL STATION

Manfred Mann's Earth Band

Eclectic Prog


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
4 stars AS the times were getting ugly for musicians , the MMEB managed to pull one more gem without really changing but still adapting to other sounds . This has slight new wave sounds but this is still a classic, and all prejudice should be put aside for the next album. Carol ,You Angel You and the sublime Angels At My Gates are my fave.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#27955)
Posted Monday, February 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I agree entirely with the other review. This album has a very successful formula and it is consistently good from beginning to end. The best song for me would be ' Waiting for the rain' with the incredible sounds ( like violins ) but I am sure it is synthesizer. A more successful remake of another Dylan cover ' You Angel You'. MMEB always managed better cover versions with the exception of The Police's ' Demolition Man' from Somewhere in Afrika. Other great songs are the beautifully hypnotic ' Hollywood Town', the disconcerting ' Angels at my Gate' and ' You are - I am' . In fact the more I review this album the better it gets!! 4 and a half stars then.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#27958)
Posted Monday, August 16, 2004 | Review Permalink
mark.stevenso
4 stars A very good album IMHO, but be warned - it isn't prog, but a collection of rather good & thoughtful songs. Standout tracks are "Hollywood" & "Angels". "You Are - I Am" is a reworking of "Hollywood" featuring one of my all time favourite synth solos from MM (or anybody else for that matter!). And top marks also for the sleevenote: "...any resemblence is purely intentional..."

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#27959)
Posted Tuesday, September 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Going underground?

"Angel Station" is an underground station in London. Why an album would be named after it is beyond me, but I'm sure there must have been a good reason.

The album continues MMEB's move towards an overtly commercial sound, with several actual and potential singles included. The obligatory Springsteen or Dylan cover is here, this time it's a superb version of Dylan's "You angel you". I sometimes wonder if those great men ever hear MMEB's versions of their songs and think "why didn't I do it that way"!

The runaway finest track on the album is "Waiting for the rain". This is a majestic, haunting piece, on which Chris Thompson gives one of his finest vocal performances. His gravely voice suits this sort of track far better than on pop songs like "Don't kill it Carol". The main theme is played out on synthesiser as a trumpet voluntary, supported by a fine bass line.

While the album is generally more pop orientated than earlier MMEB output, it still has enough of a rock flavour to set it above routine chart orientated material. "Angels at my gate" is actually quite dark, while the fragility of "Resurrection" complements "Waiting for the rain" well.

A fine if mainly commercial album, as a reference point those who enjoy the music of Asia should enjoy "Angel station".

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#27960)
Posted Sunday, October 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
legendrous@ho
3 stars Good album, though the fact that it contains covers means it cant get the same respect as it would had it not. The originals however come out quite nicely "You are - I am" is one of the greatest songs ever, "Angelz at my gate" is also good, though the obvious electronic drumming does drag it down a bit. "Hollywood town" and ""Belle" of the Earth" also come out good. "Waiting for the Rain" has some really nice parts to it (despite the fact it's a cover) and "You angel you" is also well done. However "Don't Kill it Carol" is a poor poor track, that I could really do without.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#27961)
Posted Monday, December 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
normbach@peop
4 stars A great disc...great songs. Don't Kill it Carol has been overplayed,but still a great song...check out the lyrics and you may be very surprised. Other songs are even better. A magical disc overall.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#55117)
Posted Monday, November 07, 2005 | Review Permalink
as1ting@hotma
5 stars One of the best albums *ever* by any band in this genre (pop with a touch of prog but very little). There's not one bad track here except maybe for "Platform End" which is a little boring. I love Mann's solo playing throughout this album, it adds the special flavor that is so much late 70's MM. Fav's are You Angel You, Hollywood Town, Belle of the Earth, Angels At My Gate, You Are I Am!! All fantastic DARK MM songs!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#69076)
Posted Saturday, February 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars Coming off the great successes of Nightingales & Bombers and The Roaring Silence, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band had a bit of a dip with Wired and Watch. Like pretty much every other progressive and prog-related band of the 70’s, they were struggling to formulate a sound for the new decade. In Manfred Mann’s case, more of the same seemed to be a good answer. With Angel Station the Earth Band delivers just that, and in doing so probably should be given credit for staying the musical course while so many of their contemporaries were donning parachute pants and boning up on the subtle nuances of synthetic dance music. This is an album that might sound a bit dated, but it wears its age well.

The band hits the floor running with “Don’t Kill it Carol”, a rocking tune written by Mike Heron of the Incredible String Band. This one is all over the place musically, with some thundering drum work, screaming guitars by the awesome Steve Waller, and Mann’s keyboards simulating everything from piano to violin to pipe organ. Somewhere in the mix someone pulls out a voice-box and that gets thrown in as well, to great effect. I gotta’ wonder if Mann drew on his production experiences from this song when he took on Sting’s “Demolition Man” on Somewhere in Afrika a few years later. Just when you think the song is coming down from the mountain, Mann and Waller just cut loose with an orgasmic frenzy of guitar shredding and keyboard slamming. By the time this one winds down I’m doing a wild-eyed air guitar AND the Flashdance around my living room. Bitchin’!

Back down to earth and we’re treated to that unique Manfred Mann touch on the classics, in this case the great Bob Dylan’s “You Angel You”. This is straightforward rock, as no one, not even Mann, can sing a Dylan song any other way. The only disappointment here is that four minutes of this song is not nearly enough to do it justice.

Next up is Harriet Schock’s “Hollywood Town”, a somber treatise on the broken dreams and spirits of the walking dead in that land of plenty and of despair called Hollywood. Schock is probably best known for a number of her songs that other people have turned into hits, but this one really doesn’t fit with the rest of this album, so perhaps Mann was hoping her magic would turn this one into his hit single for the album.

Mann contributed “Belle of the Earth”, a slower, almost bluesy tune about – well, I’m not sure exactly. On the one hand this seems to be a kind of ‘left behind’ morning after song, while a closer listen makes me wonder if Mann is simply singing about drawing on solitude and introspection for artistic inspiration. Who knows, it’s a sad song either way.

“Platform End” is a short little instrumental that ends the front side of the album. For some reason this one is credited to six different writers, although it’s only about a minute long and nothing spectacular. Weird.

Next up is “Angelz at my Gate”, a song that seems to be seething and bubbling under the surface of an explosion, with Mann’s middle-eastern influenced whining keyboards and some funky uncredited percussion that sets a Turkish bazaar mood. Waller is scratching the metal coating off his guitar strings off to the side, while Mann and Chris Thompson almost mumble the lyrics. I have no idea what this song is about, but I’m guessing there’s blood above the doorway and plagues involved.

Mann also contributed “You Are – I Am”, and this is probably the last purely Earth Band song with the combination of Mann and Thompson we’ll ever hear recorded. This is a brooding and almost creepy tune, and again I have no idea what it means. Maybe you can figure it out -

“You are the time between solar fire and the silence; You are the last chord in the symphony of the lost. You are the sign between the high road and the low road, You are the pen in the moving hand of time”.

Ideas anyone?

Billy Falcon’s “Waiting for the Rain” is up next, and you have to understand the context of this song to really appreciate its depth. Billy Falcon lost his 29-year old wife to breast cancer in the 1987, and wrote a song called “Heaven’s Highest Hill” that described the experience of having to explain to his three year old daughter why her mother wasn’t coming home. “Waiting for the Rain” is an early love song written to his wife early in their relationship. Anyone choked up yet?

“Resurrection” is a very sarcastic attack on commercialized religion. Jesus comes out of hiding and goes on tour:

“We'll sell them Jesus hats, Jesus socks, Jesus coats, We'll sue the Pope. Jesus shoes, Jesus dirty books too, I wonder what will Billy Graham do”.

This is a Manfred Mann tune, but sounds all the world like something Randy Newman would have done. An odd choice to end the album.

This was supposed be Chris Thompson’s last album with the Earth Band (although in fact he was back only a year later for the Chance LP), and Manfred Mann showed his true class with a hand-written tribute to his long-time friend and band mate on the back cover of the album. Although there are a couple tracks on this album that I didn’t particularly care for (“Angelz at My Gate” and “Resurrection”), and Mann would commit in my mind an egregious act of negligence with his Somewhere in Afrika album just three years after Angel Station, he is after all one of the good guys in the modern music business. This is a good album, and I doubt if anyone who listens to it would find it to be anything less than that. Some might find it to be great – I wouldn’t go quite that far, so I’m going to give it three stars and call it a day.

peace

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Send comments to ClemofNazareth (BETA) | Report this review (#78191)
Posted Sunday, May 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Still a classic Manfred Mann's Earth Band album delivering some hits like Don't kill it Carol and Angels at my gate but ghangeing their music to much towards pop and new wave but with prog elements, and for the fans this album is a hit under the belt. The atmosphere is the same like on the previous one Watch, the same polished pop comined with unforgetable sound of keys of mister Mann, all pieces with prog leanings. Again another successful remake of Dylan cover ' You Angel You'. The album desearves 3 stars, an enjoyble one but less intristing than for ex, Nightingale & bombers or The good earth.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#161878)
Posted Friday, February 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Much more pop-oriented, this album features a lot of electronic sounds which are not too much of my likings.

The worst being the opening number ("Don't Kill It Carol"). And when I listen to "You Angel You", I can only come to the conclusion that the best of Manfred Mann is definitely behind him (do try and listen to "Father Of Day. from "Solar Fire" for instance).

This album is a mix of pop-rock tunes, some guitar solo here & there or pleasant synth (both during the childish and uninspired "Hollywood Train"). I totally agree with EL while he compares the sound of this album with "Asia". "Belle Of The Earth" has this AOR verse which doesn't really suits me. At all.

The naive ballad "You Are, I Am". is a catchy song, poignant at times, the highlight being a great synthesizer work from the Mann. My favourite passage of this album (lasting only for two minutes).

The melancholic "Waiting For The Rain" is another nice ballad. But there are a bit too many of these on this album. Still, it is another good moment of this work (the closing instrumental part especially).

IMO, this is average pop-rock-AOR music. Five out of ten. Two stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#165843)
Posted Sunday, April 06, 2008 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
3 stars "You are the time between Solar Fire and The Silence"

The first three songs of Angel Station are cover songs as are track number 8 which mean that almost half the album was written by outsiders. Were Manfred & Co. perhaps running out of inspiration here? Well, yes and no. There were always cover songs on this band's albums, but they seemed to increase in number with each album leaving less space for the band's own compositions. For Prog fans it is clearly the band's self-penned material that is the most interesting on all their albums. Sadly, today Manfred Mann's Earth Band is just basically a cover band despite having a back catalogue with many excellent self-penned compositions.

Waiting For The Rain is worth a special mention because it is a ballad which is quite unconventional for Manfred Mann's Earth Band. It has some nice uncharacteristic violin work too! Resurrection is also a bit unusual being a sarcastic reflection on commercialized religion! A bit weird to end the album with that perhaps.

Angel Station is a bit more commercial compared to earlier albums and the songs are all very catchy and accessible. There is a slight New Wave-ish sound and the keyboards are more modern. Even if I definitely like this album, I think it is not up to par with the earlier ones between Solar Fire and The Roaring Silence which indeed seems to be Mann's own view too since he acknowledges the special value of this particular period in the lyrics to You Are, I Am ("You are the time between Solar Fire and The Silence").

Good, but not the place to start.

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#223467)
Posted Saturday, June 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars This is the ultimative commersial MM album. The sound very overproduced with a heavy use of effects even on drums. It was and is still for me dissapointing. And in my view it dosent age well. It is so very evident that this is a late 70's album, trying to follow the tends towards new wave. All those bad words said about the production, its strong enough on the material itself with many good songs. And as allways MM do what they do well. Some nice keybord/guitar soloing. But its a pure POP/ROCK album, not Prog at all. These later Mann albums is not for people mainly looking for Prog music, cant give it more than 2 stars.

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Send comments to tamijo (BETA) | Report this review (#352232)
Posted Tuesday, December 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars A solid Manfred Mann Earth band album with a definite late 70's-80's feel to it. Lots of synths. I guess this could be called pop-prog. Similar to Utopia from the same period. Good cover tracks like "Don't Kill it Carol", "Hollywood Town", and "Waiting for the Rain" bring this up to a level above many of the Earth Band albums that ensued. No weak tracks are to be found. The end piece "Resurrection" is a short enjoyable tune mocking oranized for-profit religion. "We'll sell them Jesus hats, Jesus coats....." Great satire! Overall, though this is avery commercial release, it is still one of the better later efforts from Manfred Mann and the Earth Band. 4 stars!

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Send comments to mohaveman (BETA) | Report this review (#451334)
Posted Monday, May 23, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars A strange album, even for them, but it's very good. The first song, "Don't Kill It Carol" is a little too close to ELO for my personal tastes, but I really get into all of the rest of the album, and they do a good job of changing the mood at appropriate times, throughout. "You Angel You" - maybe not quite as good as the original in this case overall, but Chris Hamlet Thompson sings it passionately, and I really like the ever-winding rubato moog pattern Mann adds to it. "Hollywood Town", "Belle Of the Earth", and "Waiting For the Rain" all sound like something new that the Earth Band hadn't done up to this point, and we even get (at least) two completely different takes on spirituality this time around, a serious tribute to the connection between God and all things ethereal, including the Earth Band's own music in "You Are - I Am", and a not-so- serious yet still thought provoking satire on commercialized religion in the Mann- sung "Resurrection." Besides the Dylan cover, probably the best of this lot are "Angelz At My Gate", which evokes a very creepy atmosphere with layerd keyboards, almost atonal guitars (if I'm remembering that right), and hushed octave vocals, plus the side one closer, "Platform End", a fun instrumental that amazingly demonstrates each band member's writing style in only 1:30. If you're a fan of their eariler stuff and your first listening of this one is underwhelming, give it a few more listens. It could grow on you.

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Send comments to 7headedchicken (BETA) | Report this review (#480742)
Posted Tuesday, July 12, 2011 | Review Permalink

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