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

CHANCE

Manfred Mann's Earth Band

Eclectic Prog


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
2 stars As you might have guessed from the cover, a big change as the ambiances are gone and catchy pop tunes make the most of this album. The sound is definitely the 80's. This again featured a Springsteen cover from that same abum as Spirits and Blinded , but For You is not even close to the other ones . Another big hit though . But MMEB's streak of great albums ( from Messin') is stopped at nine . Not many groups can say that .

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#27963)
Posted Monday, February 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
Curry69@yahoo
5 stars This tenth Earthband album is my favourite one of Manfred Mann. A Masterpiece? Probably not for most people. But for me, it contains a certain feeling and a lot of great songs that deserve the top rating... Everyone that doesn't agree is pleased too accept my vote...

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#27966)
Posted Sunday, May 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I still think Chance was an excellent album with the exception of the irritating ' Lies'. Yes very much an 80's feel to Chance but there are some classic tunes like ' Stranded' , ' Hello, I am your heart', ' On the run' and the quirky ' Fritz the blank'. ' No guarantee' has a great riff to it too. This album for me was their turning point though, what followed never quite matched this and previous albums.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#27967)
Posted Monday, August 16, 2004 | Review Permalink
as1ting@hotma
4 stars Agree very much with Curry69 above about the special feeling of this album. This is what makes me give it a 4 withou hesitating a second. I think it sounds similar to "Angel Station", but not that superb overall. But there a lot of highlights here with Adolescent Dream, For You, Stranded, Hello I am Your Heart as the best ones.

Chris Thompson and Steve Waller's vocals are as always brilliant together with Mann's synth flavor (and even vocs on Adolescent Dream...) It can't beat "Angel Station" and "Watch" but it's very very close in my opinion.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#69078)
Posted Saturday, February 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Ever own one of those albums that you just can't believe others have not really listened to enough or not discovered the true inner charm and beauty of? That is exactly the case with MANFRED MANN's "Chance". This is an album I just love from side 1 to the end of side 2. "Chance" was also the last of the 70's Classic MANFRED MANN And His Electric Band albums and is literally a product of 1979 and 1980 writing and recording. This album is a wonderful mix of part prog, part 70's artrock and part pop. On the recording of this album Mann tried to keep the old band intact but had to suppliment with some new members. It might be the most inconsistent of all his 70's albums, butit still works cohesively for me. Long standing lead Chris Thompson only sings on 3 tracks and Trevor Rabin steps in for guitar duties. This is far far too underrated an album and a vintage one at that which is still waiting to be discovered. ...Come on take a "Chance"

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Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#72092)
Posted Thursday, March 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars We don't guarantee. you will enjoy all of it

MMEB were riding high on the back of a couple of enormously successful singles when they released "Chance". The ingredients were all there for further singles success on the back of this album, but those hits for some reason failed to materialise. Chris Thomson, who had left the band in 1979 but continued to tour and record with them, adds his distinctive tones to the first three tracks here. For the remainder, a number of singers are brought in such as Steve Waller (on "This is your heart") Willy Findlayson ("Heart on the street") Peter Marsh ("Stranded") Dyan Birch ("No guarantee"), and even Manfred Mann himself on "Adolescent dream". When added to the list of five guitarists, including one Trevor Rabin (also associate producer), this gives the album a disjointed feel. It took over a year to record, during which time Manfred Mann himself reports that a lot of time was spent on tracks which were eventually rejected. Others such as "On the run" and "Fritz the blank" metamorphosed into completely different pieces of music from those they started out as.

The opening track, "Lies (through the eighties)" borrows a lot musically from "Blinded by the light", with an uplifting chorus containing an eco-sensitive lyric. There is also what would now be referred to as a "sample" from Joni Mitchell's "Big yellow taxi". Quite why the song failed to find further success for MMEB is something of a mystery, it seems to have all the right ingredients.

"For you" reverts to the tried and tested policy of taking a Dylan or Springsteen (in this case the latter) song and improving it out of all recognition. It really is quite astonishing to compare the raw, unkempt original of Springsteen, with the refined melodic rock performance of MMEB. This is a superb rendition, and one of MMEB's finest pieces on any album.

As soon as Mann starts to sing on "Adolescent dream" it is clear that the unique vocals of Chris Thompson are behind us (for this album at least). Mann may be a great keyboard player, but this already mediocre song is made worse by his ill advised indulgence. "Fritz the blank", which originally had lyrics until Rabin wisely suggested it remain an instrumental, sounds like a Slippermen outtake from "The lamb lies down on Broadway".

"Stranded", which was originally record for "Watch" but rejected, is reworked for "Chance". The track includes radio shipping forecasts, something other bands would mimic, even into the 21st century. Peter Marsh does his best to sound reasonably like Chris Thomson here, but once again the song is adequate, but no more.

"Hello, this is your heart" is a pretty effective heavier piece, with blues overtones and some fine guitar work. Interestingly the copyright date on this song is 1973. "No guarantee" was a completed song which Mann decided he did not like, although he was pleased with the backing track. He therefore used the wording of a commercial guarantee to provide the lyrics, resulting in the track which appears here. This creates lines such as "We don't guarantee any work caused by the failure of the water supply"! It's not actually as bad as it sounds, the song is quite original and enjoyable. "Heart on the street" sounds a little too like what has gone before, lacking anything distinctive by way of melody or lyrical content.

Manfred Mann's sleeve notes are informative, but tend to betray a lack of enthusiasm for the finished product. His closing thought is that the album is "more or less how we intended it to be", although with the revolving door for the vocalist and guitar slots, it is difficult to identify exactly who "we" are.

In all, a decent but rather ordinary album. Had Chris Thompson remained on board for the entire album, it would undoubtedly have benefited from his talents. The fact that he provides the vocals for the two best songs is no coincidence.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#92506)
Posted Friday, September 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Pop-rock ŕ la Buggles is what you get here. Especially with "Lies", the opening number with its symptomatic chorus line (all through the eighties.). A catchy pop song after all. The "Mann" displaying some good synth break. The eighties are definitely there. This is maybe not the greatest news about this release.

Electro-pop (but uninspired) is the mix for "On The Run " and the AOR style is back for "For You". Not bad but don't expect any wonderful tracks in here. There aren't. At times OK but when I listen to "Adolescent Dream", I can't really get charmed. Great drumming though. As a consolation, probably.

Songs are not per se bad but highlights are absent, inspiration scarce. "Hello, I Am Your Heart" being a heavy and dull number. When compared to most of the songs, "Stranded" is a bit more sophisticated. Some spacey sounds (ŕ la "Hawkwind") do appear and are a nice combination with a pleasant melody. One of the best song available here.

As such, two stars seem to be a fair deal. No real blunder but no real good songs either. My fave from this work is "Heart On The Street". A slow paced rock song with some feeling at least as well as a nice melody. But we are far from the great Mann's songs.

This is typically an album that you listen distractively. Then, it is OK. But when you do it carefully, there is not much things left in your memory after a few spins. I guess that it is a sign that you only face an average album. And this is exactly what it is.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#165966)
Posted Monday, April 07, 2008 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Excellent addition to my prog music collection

To many listners this album is almost a desaster, because of the catchy pop tunes and easy listning, but to me is a damn good one, one of my fav MMEB albums, in fact the third best after Nightingales& bombers and The good earth. This is pop music with some leanings to prog but a well played one and very enjoyble. This is one of that albums that has something special even if you are not a MMEB fan. The best tracks are : the opening track - the rocker - Lies (through the 80's), the smooth Adolescent dream, For you , No guarantee and the funny Fritz the blank( who saw the cartoon version from the DVD they know what i'm talking about). So no deseppointing album for me, the keys om MM are present all over the album and recognaizeble instant, and again did a great job. Finaly this album for me was their turning point in their career, what followed never quite achived the magic moments of the previouses ones. 4 stars without hesitation

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#176043)
Posted Friday, July 04, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars I have always had a soft spot for this 1980 release from MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND. It does not have much prog on it, but as a pure pop/rock album it is awesome. I enjoy each and every song here. This work is without a doubt a product of it's times- it has a very "80's" feel and even a "new wave" feel. That said, however, it has held up much better than other works from that period that have become really dated. Lots of different singers, with Thompson being the best, of course. And "For You" is a Springsteen number (surprise!), that comes off well. This may be the swan song of real good Manfred Mann albums. 3 stars as a prog album, 4 as a rock album.

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Send comments to mohaveman (BETA) | Report this review (#351818)
Posted Monday, December 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars If you listen to Chance right after any of the albums from 3 or 4 albums earlier, you can see that they had started to move away from the progressive sound a little bit, and some may even consider some of the songs to be commercial sounding, but I see it more as that they were keeping an eye on the changing times and making a commentary about them, as "Lies (Through the 80's)" should serve as a good example of. There are some great lyrics on this album; some of their strongest, actually. I like the idea for using a dislaimer tag as lryics for a song with ominous synth-heavy music. ("No Gaurantee.") Manfred Mann uses his own personality effectively to sing that one very humorously. There are a lot of musicians on this album, (even Mick Rogers makes an appearance), and while it doesn't all bear close resemblance to their commonly known sound, Chris Hamlet Thompson's strong vocals are still present, and Mann's keyboards are still thick and weird, never losing sight of what has always made both of those key elements so distinctive to their sound, even if it would have helped the continuity to have Thompson sing on either more of the songs, or at least one of the later ones instead of just the first three. Steve Waller sounds right at home as an Earth Band singer, though, on "Hello, I Am Your Heart," a story of a heart breaking told from the perspective of the heart to it's owner. This song is a good example of how creative the Earth Band can be in combining lyrics, music, and production paradoxically. If anything is familiar, on this album, "Stranded" does sound a little like it could have been on Angel Station, and "Fritz the Blank" looks back to the spirit of the instrumentals from the Solar Fire period. In Bruce Springsteen's "For You", they change the sound completely (as to be expected) and even leave out a key line in the lyrics to turn the song from a tragic plea into a poweful song of hope. Whether that is a good or bad thing is up to the listener, but this version with it's loud power chord guirtars and strong rhythm section, pounding C-80 piano, and synth sweeps (not to mention Thompsons' vocals) does have a lot of verve. "Heart On the Street" also got some airplay, and is notable for being a great anthem, and for having one of their most unexpected endings.

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Send comments to 7headedchicken (BETA) | Report this review (#481419)
Posted Wednesday, July 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk Researcher
2 stars It never ceases to amaze me how similar so many albums from the early eighties sound, regardless of who recorded them. The stilted and unimaginative keyboards, mostly synth, arranged it seems more to evoke some contrived posture than to explore the limits of musical expression. Add to that the terribly vapid lyrics, usually delivered with awkward phrasing and timing and often slightly out-of-synch with the song's rhythm, choppy guitar licks coupled with gratuitous power chords and broken up with faux artsy acoustic breaks and random, often fake brass and strings, plus usually some completely unrelated Golden Age radio clipping from British radio and you have the makings of nearly every non-punk, non-dance tune released between mid-1979 and sometime in 1982. And Manfred Mann's Earth Band was not immune to this disease.

Other than the catchy minor hit single cover of Springsteen's 'For You' this is a completely forgettable album delivered in the exact mood, spirit and compositional structure described above. The opening "Lies (Through the 80s)" was written by Denny Newman, a mostly unknown blues guitarist who would later form the ill-fated SOS with If/Procol Harum guitarist Geoff Whitehorn and former Earth Band guitarist/vocalist Mick Rogers. Instrumentally this is vintage 80s schlock, distinguished most by its bastardized lyrics lifted from Joni Mitchell's 1970 anthem 'Big Yellow Taxi'. Otherwise the song is completely forgettable along with the next track 'On the Run' with its muffled keyboard progression and MTV-worthy poseur vocals.

'For You' garnered the Earth Band one of their last hit singles, and a minor one at that. Honestly I always thought this was a Survivor or Whitesnake song or something. It wasn't until years later that I heard it on the band's 'Best of' compilation and realized it was recorded by them. It's a catchy tune but frankly the keyboard riff and vocal phrasing too closely parrots that of 'Blinded by the Light' and in the end I think Mann went to the Springsteen well once too often this time.

Otherwise the rest of the album is barely worth mentioning, including 'Stranded' with that obligatory British radio clip, the muddled guitar spasm titled 'Hello, I Am Your Heart' and the totally disjointed 'No Guarantee'. Not much at all to like here.

The band would pull themselves together a couple more times to release modestly decent albums including the artistically pleasant but socially vapid 'Somewhere in Africa' and Mann's under-appreciated 'Plains Music' experiment. But really the best was far behind by 1980 and like so many of their contemporaries the Earth Band were mostly just going through the motions by this point. This is barely a two star effort and one that only the most stalwart fans could love. Don't bother with this one unless you fall into that category.

peace

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Send comments to ClemofNazareth (BETA) | Report this review (#579513)
Posted Thursday, December 01, 2011 | Review Permalink

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