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Manfred Mann's Earth Band - Manfred Mann '06: 2006 CD (album) cover

MANFRED MANN '06: 2006

Manfred Mann's Earth Band

Eclectic Prog

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2 stars Well,when I read M.M. has a new album,my expectations were not that high,since his last REALLY good album was 30 years ago.But what the hell I have to listen here to?Nothing better than a fairly good commercial album.Tracks 1 to 4 I don't want to tell much about,the short appearence of this guy Thomas D. in the first track turned me off already.One fact is really irritating that each track is faded out.Track 5 is the first one which is rather good with some sax playing.Track 6 is starting well,but rather short and again.....faded out.It seams the intention is there to make really good music,but unfortunately not accomplished due to commercial demands.Track 7 again would be quite a good track and recalls a bit the "good old days",nice background choir and good keyboards,but altogether it remains the impression of listening to a sample (fading out!).Let's forget Track 8.Track 9 is a quite nice quiet one with more spoken lyrics (McCalla?) and nice acoustic guitar, but of course.....faded. Track 10 with Thompson on vocals could be a typical 80's Earthband song. Instead in Track 11 something more un-typical for Earthband, Gregorian choirs, one could say Enigma in a bit more rocking vein. Track 12 is the worst I heard from him since a long time. .Some cover version of a classical theme with really bad female vocals and once again Thomas D. The last track is not really a reward for the previous one.

As a summary I have to say apart from a few hopeful moments it's the worst album of M.M. I've heard since his poppy 60's era. I'm sorry for the really good musicians acting on this record, because they are really performing well but the final output is rather poor and quite commercial. 2 stars is really the maximum I can give.

Report this review (#33205)
Posted Wednesday, December 1, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars When I discovered that this album was available, beiing ann MMEB fan from a teenager, I purchased a copy. For those who enoy MMEB you will really enjoy this album. From the opening track, "Demons and Dragons" to the reprise, it is simply a great album!! On a scale of 1-10, I would give this album a 9. You need to find a copy of this album and but it.
Report this review (#33207)
Posted Saturday, April 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars 2006 is a Manfred Mann solo output, and not a MMEB release. This album strikes me as more of a jam, where competent musicians are playing around with unfinished ideas, rather than a full-fledges album. In the liner notes it is mentioned that some of the material was recorded 'live in studio' in order to get a spontaneous feel. The problem is that it doesn't work - at least not for me. Listening to the snippets and musical ideas having no head or tail and which does not lead anywhere leaves me with a sensation of listening to skeletons of things that might have led to something good, had it only been structured and put together as entities. There are admittedly good moments on the album ('Mars' and 'Two Friends' come to mind); but the entity is missing. If you want to explore the progressive sides of Mann, I suggest you check out the early/mid 70's MMEB releases rather than this one.
Report this review (#33208)
Posted Thursday, May 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Yes it's been sometime since this band released a studio album, having aired this album now 3 times, it's not a bad album, but it does have some very irritating stuff on it. And that being that most of the tracks just fade out into nothing. As like all albums by MMEB since the day chris thompson joined them back on the album watch back in 78, they are very commercial and short tracks, rather than their earlier prog stuff. I do rather like 2006, and it's a lot better than the very dissapointing album masque made back in 87. However I do not think this album is as good as the 96 album soft vengeance which was their last studio album. The prog days are well gone by this band, and it would be an entire waste of time comparing albums that were made before 78 with any of there later stuff, because I would have their earlier stuff anyday, and it's a shame that this band is not working on stuff like from their earlier days, more lenghy material, rather than the half completed tracks we have on this album 2006. Albums this band made from 78 onwards like watch and angel station are amongst there best produced commercial material and leave this album 2006 way behind in expectations of good written material. It gets 3 stars here from me, but In all honesty, I would have given it 2 and a half stars if I could.
Report this review (#125579)
Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Can the Mann do better without his Earth Band? This is the main question before one listens to this album.

Several albums of the band ranged from good (the majority of his earlier output) to excellent ("Solar Fire"). But these were produced ages ago. The evolution of the band towards a pure pop oriented music couldn't please an old fan as I am.

On this album, the Mann makes some illusion with the good opening track "Demons And Dragons". Because when you listen this album further on, those terrible beats we have been used to during "Masque" or to a lesser extent "Soft Vengeance" are back again.

The poorest track probably being "Down In Mexico". Only good to practice the press nextT exercise. This album features a lot of uninspired and boring music like the instrumental "Happenstance" vaguely Oriental influenced.

This soul influence is also too dominant for my taste. "The History Of Sexual Jealousy" sounds more as a weak Motown track of the seventies than anything else. I'm afraid that this record is just the continuation of a long downhill initiated a loooooong time ago.

The Mann (with or without his band) has been very discreet in terms of album releases. This is his third effort in seventeen years. And I wonder who could be interested in such an album in the third millennium.

All of a sudden, a brilliant instrumental track falls like a gift. "Black Eyes" is a superb melody and the guitar play is just splendid. Unfortunately (as it often happens on poor albums) this great moment is rather short.

Soul / funky music covers the majority of the tracks of this album ("Mars", "Get Out Of This") and I have never been able to digest these genres. And the quality of the song writing also leaves much to be desired.

A charming song as "Frog" comes as a relief. A very nice and gentle story. The third good number so far. Touching, emotional. Things are also on the good side with the pop "Two Friends". At least the global soul mood has gone and the keyboards solo is rather well executed.

The heavy beat of "Monkman" is compensated with some church choir vocals (hence the title). Not great but an original mix. Actually, the album gets better towards the end even if, again, another good instrumental is waaaaay too short ("Marche Slave").

As a contradiction, the Mann gets back to some sort of mix between Motown and rap style. Independent Woman is just terrible my prog friends.

Two stars is my rating. Some average to good tracks prevents me to use the one star rating, but be aware that half of this album is pretty much unbearable. The best thing to do is to get his early albums (up to The Roaring Silence.

Report this review (#168194)
Posted Sunday, April 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Manfred Mann is trying to find his place in new century music market. Very first song shows it: soul-pop-rock song with even some rap-vocals. Not very listenable. Second song is 1:22 minutes (!) long instrumental. Sounds as promo version of longer song.

Song No. 3 is Lieber/Stollier production hit Down In Mexico. Musical part sounds as Tom Jones old song scented with few melodies from "Nightingales and Bombers". I'm serious!

Happenstance is uninspired electric reggy - blues.Happily, instrumental. The History of Sexual Jealousy is not very professional urban/r'n'b clone with chorals. I 'm serious again!

Black Eyes can make me laugh. Classic Russian romance song ( I can name few thousand version of it were sung) is transferred to melodic pop-rock instrumental. Mars is kind of MM self parody.

Eights song is pop-soul with pretension to be a hit. Great song's name, however ( Get Me Out Of This).Frog is acoustic naive ballade with Mann's spoken vocals.

Two Friends sound as previous ballade just with a bit faster tempo and with addition of Hammond and heavy guitar solos ( melody wasn't changed, mostly because there was no melody to be changed).

Monkman uses Enigma's chorals just from very beginning. Enigma's few electronic beats are useable there as well. Marché, Slave is extra-short instrumental (1:42) mixing few simple electronic sounds with Middle East tune. Independent Woman is pop song with female vocals ( understandable, according to song's name) and some low key electric keys and rap ( in German as well).

Wait, wait, still not the end - there are bonus track ( didn't mentioned on cover).Still want to know what this song is about?

Total disaster.

Report this review (#261551)
Posted Tuesday, January 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars Manfred Mann managed a put together a surprisingly solid swan-song to the Earth Band's recording career with '2006', an album released in 2004 but post-dated by Mann as an attempt to help keep the music relevant a little longer than it might have otherwise. That little marketing trick failed as the album didn't chart anywhere, but the music, while not in the same league as the band's strongest work from the 70s, is still pretty decent.

Most of the songs here were written by Mann himself, something of a departure from earlier Earth Band albums that were always known for the liberal use of both cover and commissioned tunes. Mann does include a handful of classical-inspired tracks such as "Independent Woman" and the eerie instrumental "Marche Slave" whose keyboard riffs borrow from Tchaikovsky, and the reprise of the Holst-inspired "Mars" from the band's 'Solar Fire' days.

But there are also some interesting original tracks as well as hybrids where Mann takes one or more songs from other artists and weaves something new of his own. Sort of a prog-rock version of sampling I suppose, and Mann even includes a bit of soft rapping on several tracks courtesy the European rap artist Thomas D. The opening "Demons and Dragons" for example takes the basic structure of Super Furry Animals' 1997 single "Demons", mixes in some Paddy McAloon (Prefab Sprout) lyrics and Thomas D smooth spoken-word crooning to yield a legitimate 21st century tune. Like I said, not the sort of thing you normally expect from Manfred Mann's Earth Band but at least the boys are trying for the first time in quite a while. The album closes on a reprise version of the same Super Furry Animals/Mann composition.

Most of the rest of the album goes on like this, Mann mixing other people's material with his own and yielding instrumentally-dominated, moody and somewhat postured music that is nonetheless modern-sounding, creative and quite listenable. The Earth Band had managed to lower the bar on their previous half-dozen albums to the point where this one sounds comparatively good, so that's something anyway.

There are a couple duds on the record that detract but don't manage to sink it completely. Mann either legitimately likes the avant-weirdness of Momus or at least feels like he should pretend to, demonstrated by his inclusion of yet another variation on that artist's "The History of Sexual Jealousy". I personally find his music quite boring, but to each his own. It doesn't fit here any more than it did on 'Soft Vengeance' though. And the Coasters cover "Down in Mexico" would have been better left to a legitimate house or R&B band. Even though Mann includes Thomas D's vocals here the band doesn't quite manage to bring authenticity to the sampling.

Otherwise this is arguably the best thing Manfred Mann's Earth Band recorded since 'Angel Station' way back in the 70s. Props to Mann for not giving up on himself. I can't quite go to four stars since in the end this is more about arranging and interpreting other people's music than it is about original composition, but three stars seem fair and indicate this one should at least be checked out if you are anything more than a casual Earth Band fan.


Report this review (#585595)
Posted Saturday, December 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars I have some difficulties to understand why this album is so hated. I did not listened to it until now, because of these bad reviews ! I'm like others here a complete fan of the Roaring Silence, Messin, Nightingales & Bombers etc. period of MMEB, and I'm not that disappointed by '06. There are some very, very nice songs like "Frog" on this record, and the whole thing is running very smooth and pleasant all along all tracks. "Two Friends" is sounding very 70's MM. It's a lot better IMHO than some other efforts like Soft Vengeance, Criminal Tango... for me it's the best MM since Somewhere In Afrika, which is a masterpiece.

Worth ' 3+ stars IMHO but giving 4 to balance all these very low notes.

Report this review (#825727)
Posted Friday, September 21, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is insanely good. This is a very coherent and musically diverse album, although it's somewhat of a Manfred Mann-solo album.

This is intelligent progressive pop with influences from r&b/soul, hardrock, worldfusion, jazzfusion. This could have been an album by Peter Gabriel or David Bowie (I am not kidding, the standard is that high), except with different vocalists. I love the different approach of vocals (spoken word, opera, rock, rap). Noel McAlla must be one of favorite vocalists.

The production is crystal clear and very balanced. There's room for every different instrument. You can't even tell most songs feature different musicians. That well balanced the production is.

There's not a boring moment on the album. I like the dynamics, a lot of songs build and build and build into a crescendo (like the gorgeous History of Sexual Jealousy). Other stand-out songs are the exciting and fun The Frog or the hardrocking Two Friends with it's funky breakdowns. Very nicely crafted. The opener is very heavy and great aswell, it takes guts for a prog-artist to be really progressive and add rapvocals. I think it's funny to read how many reviewers don't like it. Get over it, is what I think.

Manfred Mann was always praised for not showboating musicianship and focus on good songs instead. Sometimes it didn't work out so well, because the songwriting is very important in that approach. But on this album every song is a direct hit.

Praise to Manfred Mann for releasing this album. Only let-down (as another reviewer pointed out) are the (many) fade-outs at the end of the songs. The songs don't have to be 10 minutes long , it can be a drag when songs are that long most of the time. But after a while fade-outs tend to be annoying, but that's the only negative point to this album.

Highly recommended to fans of intelligent progressive pop like Sting, David Bowie, Peter Gabriel and maybe Tears for Fears.

Report this review (#1916504)
Posted Sunday, April 22, 2018 | Review Permalink

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