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Manfred Mann's Earth Band

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Manfred Mann's Earth Band Messin' [Aka: Get Your Rocks Off] album cover
3.21 | 179 ratings | 11 reviews | 7% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Messin' (10:00)
2. Buddah (7:00)
3. Cloudy Eyes (5:30)
4. Get your rocks off (3:00)
5. Sadjoy (4:30)
6. Black And Blue (8:16) *
7. Mardi Gras Day (3:00)

* Exchanged by "Pretty Good" in the US edition

Total time: 41:16

Bonus Tracks on 1998 & 2008 reisues:
8. Pretty Good (4:02)
9. Cloudy Eyes (Single edit) (3:28)

Line-up / Musicians

- Mick Rogers / guitar, vocals
- Manfred Mann / organ, synthesizer, producer
- Colin Pattenden / bass
- Chris Slade / drums

- Judith Powell / backing vocals
- Liza Strike / backing vocals
- Ruby James / backing vocals
- Vicki Brown / backing vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Peter Goodfellow

LP Vertigo ‎- 6360 087 (1973, UK)
LP Polydor ‎- PD 5050 (1973, US) Re-titled "Get Your Rocks Off" new cover and 1 track exchanged

CD Bronze ‎- 258 731 (1987, Europe
CD Cohesion - MANN 005 (1998, Europe) Remastered by Mike Brown & Robert M Corich with 2 bonus tracks, including the one exclusive from US LP
CD Cohesion - MANN 005 (2008, Europe) As above

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND Messin' [Aka: Get Your Rocks Off] ratings distribution

(179 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(7%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (44%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND Messin' [Aka: Get Your Rocks Off] reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars This is the very start of MMEB's long string of almost prog albums , although this was their third album , this is the first one worthy of interest for proghead. Be carefull as this one came out with na different name and slightly changed track list. A lot of good moments and a fantastic art work cover complete with gatefold and cut-out. Side 1 with the title track and Boudah was quite enjoyable and side 2 was more reminescent of earlier releases.
Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The third Earth Band album sees a band still someway off its musical peak. The line-up of Mick Rogers (vocals/guitar), Manfred Mann (keyboards), Colin Pattendon (bass) and Chris Slade (drums) settled down pretty soon after this to create a brilliant record in 1974's Solar Fire, but Messin' is, quite frankly, a rather weak effort.

It doesn't start off too badly though. The title track is a lengthy, somewhat rambling stuttering bluesy piece with its share of electronic sound effects. I dig the environmental theme (the chorus goes "we're messin' up the land/we're messin' up the sea/we're messin up the air") and Manfred has a nice solo that comes in at around the 5 minute mark, only to be superceeded by a epic Rogers guitar solo before our two heroes trade some lead lines. Nonetheless I do feel the piece is overlong and pales in comparison to the subsequent epic Father Of Day Father Of Night that would appear on Solar Fire. Another problem dogging early Earth Band is that even though Rogers turned in some decent vocal performances, he was much less impressive than his successor Chris Thompson, whom to me is the definitive Earth Band vocalist.

The second track Buddah is another piece that has some great moments but is rather flawed. For the first half, it's rather boring save for a Rogers lead break that shows up a couple of times (and the fact that the bass line seems to pave the way for a memorable line in Boston's hit More Than A Feeling), but then half way through, the band picks up the pace and Manfred lays down a truly fine solo. I'm sad to report that it all goes seriously downhill from there on.

Cloudy Eyes and Sadjoy are both pedestrian mournful instrumentals that are shockingly draggy. The Bob Dylan cover Get Your Rocks Off is a blues rock stomper only slightly better than yer average AC/DC track (during the Bon Scott era, at least). Black And Blue is another lifeless blues that starts off with a ragged acapella section and has some hints of promise during the solos, but really goes nowhere. In fact, the brief mock cajun/calypso hybrid Mardi Gras Day (which I believe was intended as a joke) comes as something of a relief because it does at least contains a bit of energy.

My overall impression is that Messin' is way too uneven an album and clearly inferior to later more cohesive works like Solar Fire and The Roaring Silence. It's also a much less enjoyable record than the albums Manfred made during the Chapter Three phase that preceeded the Earth Band, so I guess some questions have to be asked about this one. ... 43% on the MPV scale

Review by chessman
3 stars I have the remastered version of this album. If you compare it to 'The Roaring Silence' from 1976, you would almost think it was two different bands performing. Of course, Mick Rogers is singer/guitarist here, and by '76 he had gone and been replaced by Flett and Thompson. This album is altogether more raw and earthy than 'The Roaring Silence'. It is more bluesy in other words. 'Messin', the opener, has an industrial tone to it, with insistent beat and industrial noises behind the melody. It has some impressive guitar work from Rogers and, as always, some nice keyboard work from Mann himself. Second track, 'Buddah' is maybe my favourite, with a nice, gentle verse and more aggressive chorus. Again, good instrumentation. 'Cloudy Eyes' is an impressive instrumental that, in parts, reminds me almost of the sort of stuff Mike Oldfield was to produce ten years later. 'Get Your Rocks Off' is, for me, the weakest track on the album. A predictable, quite dated seventies rock song this one, quite repetitive and with little true melody. Sadjoy' is the second instrumental and, although not as good as 'Cloudy Eyes', it has its own charm and is enjoyable. 'Black And Blue' reminds me, in the verse, of early Fleetwood Mac, very bluesy, but later comes some nice synth work from Mann. A good song. 'Mardi Gras Day' is the official album closer, and is a more uptempo mardi gras style song, quite fun in a cheerful way. First of the two bonus tracks is 'Pretty Good' which, in fact, isn't! It's ok, and better than 'Get Your Rocks Off', but again it sounds like a dated, repetitive seventies song. (Which of course it is!) Finally we have a shortened version of 'Cloudy Eyes', which brings nothing new to the longer version, but ends the album nicely. Worth a listen, but don't expect anything approaching 'Blinded By The Light'. Three stars.
Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars This album is a clear indication of the album(s) to come.

When you listen to "Messin'", some close links with "Father." can't be ignored (even if a bluesy feeling can be felt). But since we are flirting with the best of the man (Manfred), I can't really complain. Great guitar, harder attack: a great opening number. By far their best song so far in their career (more to come).

"Buddah" features some good organ and guitar play during the second half, which is saving the track. Another one of my fave (with the opening number) is "Cloudy Skies". A straight forward guitar-oriented song. No shouts in here, a pure and wonderful instrumental piece of work which is extremely catchy.

Guitar heroes lover, be ready to listen to the next one. A great rock moment, for sure. Almost as passionate as the great Carlos (Santana of course). Cloudy Eyes is a fantastic song. Another highlight.

The same joyful mood is felt during "Sad Joy". Another hymn to guitar. This is of course not to annoy me. This is another of the very good tracks from this album. Even if the backing vocals could have been somewhat more convincing.

It is of course not the fully blues oriented "Black & Blue" that is going to maitain the quality level of this album, which was significantly high so far (four stars). The poor closing song is downgrading this album to the three stars level.

Some great songs, a few average ones and a poor one. Still, a good album.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars Manfred Mann's Earth Band third album named Messin' from 1973. This is almost blues like previouses releases with prog leanings. Not bad, better than the predecesor but far from what they've done after this one. Still some very good moments like:Buddah and the instrumental ones. I'm a fan of this band so i will give 3 stars, witch i think is fair, not bad but not special either, but enjoyble most of the time, inferior to later more cohesive works. A good but non essential album.
Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Third band's album - somewhere very close to their "golden period". You can easy feel there Deep Purple influences, but at the same time Mann has very his keyboards lines. Songs mostly are catchy. Guitar and drums are all hard rock, but at the same time you easily find there plenty of prog elements.

Title track sounds as it was taken from "Nightingales and Bombers" album. Buddah is great prog-rock composition. In fact all the album is mix of previous blues-rock and r'n'b songs, and some new growing progressive sound. Still not final result, but sound quite attractive. What means, that could be recommended for band fans. New listener should better try "Nightingales and Bombers".

Review by ClemofNazareth
3 stars With their third studio release Manfred Mann's Earth Band starts to show some of the traits that earned them the 'progressive' label in some circles. The songs are longer, there's a bit more emphasis on rhythm, percussion, stronger vocals and fatter guitar riffs and a little less on the heavy organ that was especially noticeable on the band's second album. Overall this is their strongest effort yet, although the one somewhat weak point is once again the lyrics which seem rather trite and idealistic today and probably did to a certain extent even in the mid seventies.

I believe this album was originally issued in the U.S. as 'Get Your Rocks Off' and missing the slavery-themed "Black and Blue" which was deemed too controversial for American audiences. And that's too bad because musically it is one of the stronger tracks on the album.

Once again I lament the lack of any comprehensive Earth Band biography to give some context to this album, but clearly Manfred Mann was concentrating on social issues such as pollution, commercialism and racism, as he has done for much of his career. Given the times I suppose the songs were fairly well-received, although as the decade wore on audiences surely became more jaded and embracing of pop, disco and later punk music.

"Buddah" is an interesting tune that foreshadowed the blend of pop, ballads and earnestly- crooned lyrics that would become known as arena rock. Bret Michaels would have been impressed (and maybe he was). Lyrics like "saw Moses in a Cadillac, said hey man why did you come back'?" give this a heavier vibe than some of Mann's earlier pop tunes, but the real star here is Mick Rogers with some wicked guitar work that segue beautifully to Mann's extended organ instrumental. This has long been a favorite of Earth Band fans and I'm sure was a killer track in concerts. "Cloudy Eyes" has a similar vibe and is carried by a guitar riff that is vaguely familiar but that I can't quite place.

The "Get Your Rocks Off" is a pretty straight-ahead rocker and also the shortest track on the album at well under three minutes. It doesn't really fit with the rest of the album and despite this being one of his beloved Dylan covers I'd love to hear Mann's rationale for including it here. It's followed up by the guitar anthem "Sadjoy" that seems to have been made for live performances, especially under the stars in an outdoor arena. Would have loved to have heard it in that environment back in the day.

The other irony of "Black and Blue" being omitted from the U.S. issue is that this is a heavily delta blues-based track with plodding rhythm guitar and a pulsating beat that fit perfectly with Roger's soulful vocals and whiny lead guitar passages. Mann gives the blues a new twist with another extended organ passage in the middle, an eerie thing that slowly morphs into something akin to Edgar Winter's more accessible work. An excellent example of the band's talent for transforming contemporary musical styles into something all their own. A highly recommended track for any Mann fan. The band tries to extend the Delta blues theme to the Dr. John New Orleans celebration tune "Mardi Gras Day", another good tune but again one that doesn't quite fit here.

The album closes with the best options for a radio single, the driving John Prine tune "Pretty Good" that recalls the slightly country-rock sound that characterized much of the band's first album. Oddly though the band did not release this as a single, and neither of the two tracks from the album that did appear as singles charted.

This isn't the best the band would do by a long shot, but it is a fairly solid album with few weak points and at least a couple pretty strong ones with "Black and Blue" and "Buddah", along with a special mention for "Pretty Good". I can't quite call this an essential Earth Band album, although it is close. So a very high three stars out of five it is, and a strong but not overly enthusiastic recommendation.


Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Recently, I played the seventies music especially those that were not quite considered great ones in the era including this 'Messin'' album by Manfred Mann's Earth Band. Looking back the time when it was released I was much more paying attention to bands like Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin or Bad Company at that time. No wonder that I was not quite familiar with this album. But when I play this album I find joy in the music especially with its simplicity in composition - nothing is complex at all - combined with its vintage blues-rock style that reminds me to bands like Trapeze or Grand Funk Railroad or Black Sabbath. I think, that is something that I can not get from modern music. The fact that it was recorded with analog technology is the major factor of enjoyment as far as my taste.

Nothing so special as far as track by track music as there is basically nothing unique except the nice nuance of the music. I can enjoy Messin', Buddah and Cloudy eyes nicely and I find the conculding track Mardi Gras Day is a funny song. There is basically no prog elements from this album. Keep on proggin' ....!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Einsetumadur
4 stars 11/15P. This album - like most of the other Earth Band albums - is absolutely strange. This record is the most impenetratable take on blues rock that was likely to come out in 1973.

This album is where Manfred Mann's Earth Band first steadied their distinctive sound - the unisono playing of a fierce Stratocaster and the Moog synthesizer, the rapid jams which start abruptly in the middle of a song and the effective deconstruction of cover versions. But when I listen to this album I always wonder what kind of music this band actually wants to do. There are the spacy synthesizers, the (slight) jazz influences and the moody instrumentals, but the whole thing reminds me more of Lynyrd Skynyrd's debut album than of anything else. It's all about tight band interplaying and heavy riffs, but these riffs share similarities both with Robert Johnson's and Gustav Holst's compositions. There are few progressive bands which rely as heavily on riffs, and there is no other progressive rock band which arranges these riffs in such a sophisticated way, eventually making them sound like the title melody to a science fiction movie. This album is really knotty and cold, but nonetheless tremendously exciting.

First of all - I don't own the reissue of this album. The Earth Band reissues by Creature Music Ltd. are by far the worst reissues I've ever seen. Useless bonus tracks, a shabby booklet design without any interesting information and a sometimes shabby sound (especially on the Chapter Three albums). I don't want to know which drunk apprentice was responsible for this stuff. I mean, making typos while copying the original liner notes for an album - that cannot be true!

But all in all, there's just one dull track on the whole record. Get Your Rocks Off is a cover version of one of the many overrated Dylan Basement Tapes songs and is on the same level as the mediocre stuff on the Glorified Magnified album. Ok, they manage to pack a short and sweet multi-tracked guitar bridge into the song at 1:11, and the slide guitar in the chorus is quite alright as well, but they just aren't The Band - and the song itself is pretty forgettable. It's a shame because the MMEB pulled off some nice blues rockers on Glorified Magnified, particularly the stomping I'm Gonna Have You All and Look Around, which itself is based on the American folk song Black Betty.

Cloudy Eyes isn't dull, but simply a few tads too little inspired. It is a laid-back instrumental which steadily walks along a stoic 4/4 beat without lots of variation. Nevertheless I always enjoyed the neat J.S.Bach melodics in this tune with the sharp lead guitar setting the main melody with lots of trills while the Moog synthesizer echoes some guitar motives, allowing the guitar to do some variations. But since I've listened to Procol Harum's Repent Walpurgis I believe that such music works much better when given a certain degree of solemnity. But that's not the major problem, the chord progression differs too much from Repent Walpurgis to make the track a rip-off. But there's not a lot happening in the first four minutes, it's just the same (good) melody over and over again. Thankfully, the piece fades out before it gets tedious. The last 90 seconds are dedicated to Mann's Moog, and here he emulates the sound of a hurdy-gurdy, a stringed folk instrument which gives a droning sound due to a revolving wheel. In a way it's a violin with an endless circular bow, or the stringed pendant to the bagpipes. It sounds absolutely odd and I've got no idea what purpose this fragment has. But I don't mind; no matter what it is or what it shall be - it is really successful in its menacing drone and sends shivers down my spine.

Sadjoy is more or less an extended guitar solo constructed around a 40bpm, i.e. really slow, rhythm with many people singing a sophisticated melody over and over again. Supposedly Manfred Mann intended to write some kind of musical in 1973, and this and Cloudy Eyes are recycled versions of compositions intended for this purpose. A track like this, for sure, will only be successful when the guitar playing is good, and indeed Mick Rogers rarely had such a good opportunity to show off his considerable skills. The sharp attack of the Stratocaster bridge pick-up and Mick Rogers' emotional bendings fit very well to each other, preventing the whole affair from being boring over the whole 5 minutes.

Mardi Gras Day is one of the swampy Cajun-like tracks by Dr. John Creaux, and although this is pretty much a simple sing-along tune, this mixture of shrieking lead guitars, the laid-back offbeat rhythm and the tribal backing vocals by presumably everyone who was present in the studio is amazing. Mick Rogers really nails this one with his reggae vocals and the clean funky rhythm guitar. Manfred Mann's Earth Band, as early versions of Ashes to the Wind show, did a lot of this world-music inspired rock fusion in those years and continued to do so on the Somewhere in Africa album.

This brings us to the three huge songs on this album.

In Black and Blue the band do what they were always best in: enriching existing songs by other bands which sounded pretty dull in their original form. This time it's a first-person blues song by an Australian band which has slavery and deprivation as its topic. Starting off as a Mick Rogers vocal solo the song develops into a mournful sea of tightly weaved Moog melodies on top of a leaden rhythm. The guitar stays pretty quiet, but howls from afar from time to time. Apart from the wailing multi-tracked guitar riff (which, in fact, take in the role of a chorus) this is an amazingly haunting piece of psychedelic blues rock and a definite highlight in the band's career. I'm not completely sure, but it might be my favorite track off this record, simply due to the psychedelic mid-part which is pretty unique in the band's repertoire.

Messin' is, in fact, a self-cover - something which the Earth Band frequently did with their 1960s and Chapter Three songs. It was written by keyboarder Mike Hugg and recorded for the shelved third Chapter Three record. Originally a fast soul/rock track with free jazz elements, actually a more concise Happy Being Me with a flute and Hammond organ solo, the band augmented it with industrial machine sounds and sounds of crying monkeys (both effects are utterly frightening, I have to admit) and made a leaden blues rocker out of it. The female backing vocals and the lyrics are the only things which didn't change, even Mike Hugg's melody has been simplified at certain places. But the band deteriorated the original version by no means; they rather gave it a better structure in the extended instrumental part by rearranging the brass melody of the early Chapter Three track Konekuf that it may fit on the heavy rhythm of the vocal parts. Interestingly, they play parts of the melody in a nearly polyphonic way (i.e., shifted by some bars) with amazing musical communication between Manfred Mann and Mick Rogers. Afterwards Manfred Mann shows his talent of writing riffs which sound bluesy although their melodies, soaked with strange intervals and avantgarde, are as stiff as contemporary classical music. At first Mick Rogers has an extended solo, then Manfred Mann runs into some ragtime-inspired Moog synthesizer pitch bends. After a reprise of the chorus the track ends in the monkey and machine noises again. A tour de force with a style of improvisation absolutely typical of this band. Check out the Chapter Three version (Messin' Up The Land from the Odds and Sods collection) as well - it's available for commercial download and absolutely worth the mony.

Buddah begins deceptively as a ballad - a really good ballad I daresay, owing to Mick Rogers' controlled and vibrato-laden voice and the catchy clean Stratocaster picking, alternated by some heavy riffing in the chorus. The (not that rarely thought about) topic is the reappearance of ancient prophets (Jesus, Buddah and Moses) in our time. The Strawbs' The Man Who Called Himself Jesus is, from the lyrical point of view, more interesting than this example, but it doesn't matter in this case because everything else sounds marvellous. At 3:38 the jam part of the song begins. Listen closely to the shift in timing in the first bars of this part and you'll find again how meticously the band composed and planned the frame of the improvisation. They played these bars exactly the same way live, as recordings for the BBC and the Swedish TV prove! To the accurate thumping of the bass guitar and an accelerated drum rhythm Manfred Mann glides into an atmospheric Moog solo, sometimes accompanied by some backwards piano notes, a bit like Deep Purple's No One Came, but more futuristic and avantgardistic. The last 90 seconds contain in total six different parts: a riff-laden hard rock part, followed by some rising major chords, moving into majestic Moog fanfares (I suppose many AOR bands listened to this part!), a reprise of the riff-laden part, a short drum solo and an ending in which Mick Rogers majestically superimposes lead guitar lines in a major mode - which is not the kind of scale you would expect in a blues jam, but which Mick Rogers would later be known for.

All in all, ideas like these - making jams more exciting by improvising on complex scales, deconstructing existing melodies in a classical way, taking influence from world music, jazz, space rock and blues rock - make this album a really interesting piece of music. Solar Fire is more consistent and also has more peaks, but the stiff blues rock of Messin' - although it's, perhaps unintentionally, an exhausting and absolutely uncommercial record - isn't far away from the quality of Solar Fire. Get the album if you like blues rock and Moog synthesizers, but be prepared that the album is tougher than you might expect it to be.

(By the way - how comes that the song lengths are all exactly n:30 or n:00 minutes long? I did say that the album is peculiar, didn't I?)

Latest members reviews

3 stars One of a couple of albums from the Earth Band that I found really frustrating. There are some great prog moments on tracks like Messin', Buddah and Black and Blue, but the rest (apart from perhaps Cloudy Eyes) are completely forgettable. Messin' is a satisfying epic with machine noises and ba ... (read more)

Report this review (#91317) | Posted by jimpetrie2000 | Saturday, September 23, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Not bad, not bad... Though rather dull and slow... If to think about, for instance CAMEL or Gentle Giant of the same period... It turned out to be a not a prog album but r'n'b with some prog moments... Worth listening. ... (read more)

Report this review (#27868) | Posted by | Friday, December 17, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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