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NIGHTINGALES & BOMBERS

Manfred Mann's Earth Band

Eclectic Prog


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Manfred Mann's Earth Band Nightingales & Bombers  album cover
4.08 | 211 ratings | 26 reviews | 40% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Spirit in the night (6:26)
2. Countdown (3:06)
3. Time is right (6:33)
4. Crossfade (3:39)
5. Visionary mountains (5:38)
6. Quit your low down ways (3:27)
7. Nightingales and bombers (4:45)
8. Fat Nelly (3:20)
9. As above so below (live) (4:16)

Total Time: 41:10

Re-Mastered 1999 (2 Bonus Tracks) Mann 008
9. Quit Your Low Down Ways (3:22)
10. Spirits In The Night (3:14)

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

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

+ David Boswell-Brown / cello
- Doreen Chanter / backing vocals
- Graham Elliott / cello
- Ruby James / backing vocals
- David Millman / viola
- Martha Smith / backing vocals
- Chris Warren-Green / violin
- Nigel Warren-Green / cello

Releases information

Lp. Bronze ILPS 9337 / Lp. Warner BS 2877 / Re-Mastered 1999 (2 Bonus Tracks) Mann 008

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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The Best of Manfred Mann's Earth BandThe Best of Manfred Mann's Earth Band
Import
Wea Int'l 1996
Audio CD$5.61
$3.24 (used)
Good EarthGood Earth
Creature Music 2011
Audio CD$10.67
$16.32 (used)
Manfred Mann's Earth BandManfred Mann's Earth Band
Extra tracks · Import
Creature Music 2011
Audio CD$9.83
$4.93 (used)
Solar FireSolar Fire
Import
Creature Music 2011
Audio CD$10.64
$10.99 (used)
Nightingales & BombersNightingales & Bombers
Import · Remastered
Creature Music 2011
Audio CD$9.60
$10.21 (used)
Angel StationAngel Station
Import
Creature Music 1999
Audio CD$9.23
$8.23 (used)
40th Anniversary40th Anniversary
Box set
Creature Music 2011
Audio CD$152.43
$215.64 (used)
2006 (Diamond Edition)2006 (Diamond Edition)
Import
Edel 2006
Audio CD$5.30
$29.46 (used)
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MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND Nightingales & Bombers ratings distribution


4.08
(211 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(40%)
40%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
43%
Good, but non-essential (11%)
11%
Collectors/fans only (5%)
5%
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)
1%

MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND Nightingales & Bombers reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
4 stars One of my favourite as MMEB made a fortune out Springsteen's first lp before he did. Listen to the grandiose adaptation of Spirits in the Night and tell me that this is not a great nimber. Funnily most Springsteen and Dylan cover that MMEB did were more and more popular as their own material never had much success. Weird because if you listen to the rest of the albums there is many good stuff

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#27935) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, February 23, 2004

Review by Dan Bobrowski
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This disc was one of my favorites. Time Is Right still rocks and sounds fresh today. Underated Mick Rogers plays some very tasteful guitar solos, no flash, but very emotional. He also has a great voice. The strangest part of this disc and it's follow up, The Roaring Silence, is the inclusion of cover tunes by Springsteen and Joan Armatrading. Hit material, no doubt, but the other tunes suggest a band very capable of writing for itself. Curious?

As Above So Below features the taped sounds of German Bombers flying over Surrey during WWII, as the person was attempting to record the voices of a flock of Nightengales. Hence the album title, yet one wonders why the tapes weren't used on the song Nightengales and Bombers? The 4 instrumental workouts have a high level of interplay between Mann and Rogers. Prog humor in Fat Nelly. Visionary Mountains is the MMEB equivalent of Floyds Great Gig in the Sky.

A great mix of well crafted tunes and blistering instrumental fusion work-outs.

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Send comments to Dan Bobrowski (BETA) | Report this review (#27937) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, March 04, 2004

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is progressive rock. Compared to other of his good albums, the bass is definitely better: more presence, more bottom, better played. The keyboards are unique and very good as always. I like the unique moog-like sounds here. The lead vocals are quite impressive. The guitar is maybe more timid here, and the songs are maybe less catchy despite very accessible.

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#27938) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, April 11, 2004

Review by Proghead
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars What a nice rebound in my book to the lacklustre The Good Earth. This proved to be the last album with the original EARTH BAND lineup of Mann (keyboards), Mick Rogers (vocals, guitars), Colin Pattenden (bass), and Chris Slade (drums). For the first time, they covered a Bruce SPRINGSTEEN song, in this case, "Spirits in the Night" (which appeared on the Greeting From Asbury Park, NJ album). For some strange reason, the EARTH BAND decided to re-record that song in 1977 with Chris Thompson handling the vocals (and was included in later prints of The Roaring Silence). For some reason, the band went for a somewhat more bluesy direction, as "Quite Your Low Down Ways" demonstrates. There are a couple of nice instrumentals from MANN demonstrating his talents on Moog. "Fat Nelly" features that same choppy organ sound that would be revisited on their version of SPRINGSTEEN's "Blinded by the Light". It's nice to see the EARTH BAND rebound like this, but unfortunately my interest in the band stops here.

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Send comments to Proghead (BETA) | Report this review (#27941) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, May 03, 2004

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is MMEB's most convincing album by a long shot. No disrespect to some of the other album releases but Nightingales and Bombers delivers such conviction in each and every song it is sometimes hard to believe this was released in 1975. BTW 1975 is the ultimate year for prog releases IMHO. ' Spirits in the Night' starts the album off on a slow beat with great lyrics ( a wonderful Springsteen cover ) Countdown, Time is Right and Crossfade are virtually one song meshed together but I have to agree with another reviewer here the clean, definitive sounds coming off ' Time is Right' are bound to get that adrenalin pumping!

The second side starts with the poignant ' Visionary Mountains', Joan Armatrading guesting on backing vocals, the albums continues to deliver with Fat Nelly, the title track and the live version of ' As above so below'. I keep referring to 1975 and well Oldfield released Ommadawn, PF released Wish You Were Here and MMEB were almost equals with this mesmerizing album, Nightingales and Bombers. I guess what I am trying to say is add this release to your collection if you are new to prog rock or for some weird insane reason you missed it first time round.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#27944) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, August 15, 2004

Review by loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars "Nightingales and Bombers" was a follow up to the musical trilogy of both "Solar Fire" and "The Good Earth" and a grand conclusion to this progressive work. "Nightingales and Bombers" again showcases some standout musical contributions and great song writing. In typical MANN style, this album contains 2 cover version (Springsteen's "Spirits In The Night" and Joan Armatrading's "Visionary Mountains". I love the musical rhythm combo of Colin Pattenden (bass) and Chris Slade (drums) while Mr. MANN (keyboards) and Mick Rogers (guitars, vocals) elaborate with instrumental creativity and proficiency. This album contains some pretty awesome sounding deep analog keyboard work and great guitar gamming. Overall one of my personal favourite albums by classic era MANN.

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Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#27945) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, November 20, 2004

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars The birds and the "B's"

Probably MMEB's most progressive album with plenty of improvisation, and some damn fine keyboards and guitar. The title "Nightingales and bombers" is taken from a World War 2 incident where a bird watcher was recording the sound of some nightingales. As he did so, some bombers flew overhead. The resultant recording can be heard here within the track "As above, so below".

The album is notable as being the first to feature a cover by MMEB of a Bruce Springsteen song, "Spirits in the night". The band had of course covered Bob Dylan songs on previous albums so, with Springsteen being hailed by many at the time as the "new Bob Dylan", covering one of his songs was a natural progression. It's fair to say that at the time Springsteen was not widely known, MMEB's cover giving him some welcome exposure. Even Springsteen fans must acknowledge that MMEB's version transformed the song from a fairly nondescript ramble by Springsteen, into a classic piece of prog rock.

Once again the band demonstrated that their true strength lay in the identification of high potential material by other artists, and in the inspired interpretation of that material. The point is emphasised by the fact that in general terms, the bands own compositions tend to be the weaker tracks on their albums. It's all relative though in the case of "Nightingales and bombers", with even the band compositions being reasonably strong.

The distinctive tones of Chris Thompson are not to be found here, this being the last album to be recorded by the original line up. The band's later reworking of "Spirits in the night" with Thomson taking on vocal duties (available as a bonus track on "The roaring silence") indicates that he would have added a further dimension to the music. Mick Rogers singing though, while slightly rougher and less melodic, is nonetheless more than adequate.

"Nightingales and Bombers" was an excellent move towards what many consider to be the band's finest album, "The roaring silence". It demonstrates how Mann was becoming increasingly willing to experiment with different sounds and structures, while investigating the compositions of others and transforming them into MMEB classics.

Recommended.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#27946) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, March 12, 2005

Review by erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I love the way Manfred Mann's Earth Band sounded in the mid-Seventies (74-76) during the sensational breaks featuring a propulsive rhythm-section, harder-edged guitarwork and short but sensational Minimoog soli with often an accellaration and use of the pitchbend-button. On this album Manfred Mann is accompanied by a dynamic rhythm- section (Colin Pattenden on bass and Chris Slade on drums) and, fiery electric guitarplay and powerful vocals (both Mick Rogers). The compositions (including two covers) sound powerful, dynamic and varied, the distinctive Manfred Mann's Earth Band sound is at its pinnacle, waht a stunning but underrated progrock classic this albums is!

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Send comments to erik neuteboom (BETA) | Report this review (#36589) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Review by Philrod
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This album is somewhat surprising. It is full of this lyricism and spirit that we are used to hear from Manfred Manns Earth Band, but it is all too easy to see what they were listening to at the time: Jazz Fusion.Weather Report and especially Mhavishnu Orchestra are 2 especially important influences here. A lot of Jan Hammer coming from Mann himself, the drums recalls to mind Narada Michael Walden, and the guitar is a lotof those key guitarists, mostly Pat Metheny. The chemistry of the band is good, but sometimes Mick Rogers seems out of place with his guitar work.He is very emotional, but it does not always fit with the atmosphere of the piece. Some Key Highlights are Spirit in the night and Visionary mountains, the first songs on both sides of the LP. Not an essential work, but a solid album worthy of picking up in your prog collection. 4/5

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Posted Saturday, July 23, 2005

Review by b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Manfred Mann Earth Band - one of my all time favourite bands in prog. This is the best album they ever put on tape. In my view this is more prog than previous 3, more keys, and again Manfred did a good and historical job. Of course, for many the highlight is the Springsteen cover Spirit in the night, but to me Visionary mountains is a damn good one, the rest is trully amazing, here the band is at it's peak. A trully masterpiece of the '70, with unmatch virtuosity of Manfred Mann, a fabulous keyboard player.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#79796) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover Team
5 stars This album is the finest performance by an important rock band that really defined the use of the synthesizer , with South African Manfred Mann twirling his knobs & bending his notes with wicked abandon. Solar Fire was an exceptional recording but Nightingales really is the crowning achievement. Many fellow progsters rely on the absolute truth that Spirits in the Night is the reason why this album is held in such high esteem.Well, it's the easy way out really, because another cover , Joan Armatrading's "Visionary Mountain" blows the lid off any hint of doubt: what a song!!! The Mick Rogers/Manfred Mann duel collaboration is to die for, chock full of emotion, feeling and technique. Incidently, Rogers simply shines on this record , displaying a very unique style , bluesy yet raw. Too bad he faded away from view (a couple of Aviator albums and.... silence). Another shining moment resides in drummer Chris Slade's work throughout the proceedings but seriously displayed on Time is Right, where Mann's synth work dazzles again. This recording will remain on my top 25, desert island selection. Check out what the fuss is about, because this is a special prog masterpiece. 5 joysticks

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Posted Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I completely missed their previous album "The Good Earth" at the time of release. This album was my second "Earth Band's" one and I must say that I was expecting more by then.

Still, some great guitar riffs, gorgeous backing vocals are present during the excellent opening song. "Spirit In The Night" is a great rock song. It holds anything fans of this genre are found of. One of the highlights of course.

It is of course difficult to compare one of their albums with the great "Solar Fire". Still, a song as "Countdown" is so full of energy that one has to admit that this band has definitely something special to offer. Far from most of the clichés : the band plays some hard rock music (and has obviously listened to Purple). That's for sure. And even if "Countdown" is short, it is the second highlight.

It is not really much the case for the bluesy "Time Is Right". But not all tracks can be of great value on an album. Especially if you take under consideration than "MMEB" is not the absolute top in terms of rock (nor prog) music. A good band playing good music. I believe that this is fair enough. Their skills being in the front line during "Time Is Right". It sounds a bit too much as "Time" from whom you might know at times. Another good track, for sure.

But let's face the truth : this album has little to do with "Solar Fire". Just another follower as "The Good Earth" but less imaginative or powerful as the masterpiece could be. And when compared to "The Good Earth", one has to admit that this effort is somewhat weaker. I was rather disappointed with my purchase some thirty three years ago.

I do not listen very often to this album. And I guess that there aren't a lot of prog friends who have made this album their absolute maximum. At least, I hope so for them.

There are some excellent guitar breaks, as usual. But don't we expect some more from this band? Especially after the great "Solar Fire"?. I can understand that a song as "Visionary Mountain" sounds pleasant, but frankly the end of it is just a remake of their greatest song so far. "Father Of Day." (a cover BTW).

As usual, there are some great instrumental parts and to be honest, they are the most achieved form this work. Don't expect great vocal melodies, smooth ballads, gorgeous classic themes. You just won't get it.

This album is one out of many good hard-prog rock combinations. There are no true highlights. No true unbearable tunes either. But rating this album over than three stars is beyond my capabilities. They even emulate the Tramp closely during "Fat Nelly". The closing number is just a Press NextT song.

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Posted Friday, March 21, 2008

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album is wonderful. One of the most perfectly balanced record in the whole rock history. It blends a stunning rythm session within propulsive mini moog flights and tasteful hard-shaped electric guitar playing. The sound is very clear and the arrengements are perfect.

I don't think the highlight is the opener penned by Bruce Springsteen (Spirits in the Night). My favourite one is the exciting Countdown: only 3 minutes of perfect prog rock sound. It's a sort of mad crescendo with great bass playing and usual dynamic performance of Manfred on keyboards (organ and moog). Goose bumps for the obsessive electric guitar screams in the second part and what a curious effect of liquid waves thanks to synth. Perfect.

To be honest I should say that each track deserves a special place in every prog rock collection. Time is Right feature sharp and good vocals and, again, rich and bluesy interplay between electric guitar and the powerful rythm part. Another excellent number. Visionary Mountain is a pure classic (melancholic moog solo) and Crossfade has crazy synth effect. Nightingales and Bombers opening part reminds me of Yes' To Be Over or the Soon section from The Gates of Delirium. The closer Fat Nelly is really interesting with some vague Beatles touch and excellent (furious) drumming.

The remastered mini lp edition also features three bonus track: the catching live As Above So Below, the average Quit Your Low Down Ways and the single vrsion of the highly acclaimed Spirits in the Night that, I repeat, is a strong number but slightly overestimated due to the fact that was written by a certain Springsteen.

Almost a perfect album. 4.5 stars.

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Posted Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
4 stars Visionary Manfred

Nightingales & Bombers is another album in a long series of very good albums released by Manfred Mann's Earth Band in the 70's. As had become a trademark of the band by this time, the album begins with a cover song heavily re-arranged in the bands own style. This time it is Bruce Springsteen's Spirits In The Night; a great version, rather 'progified'. Apart from Spirits In The Night there is also a second cover this time in Visionary Mountains, credited to Armatrading/Nestor. I don't know the original version or who performed it, but it is a great song. This song is softer and slower compared to the previous three tracks, offering a short respite from the rather intense moments. Visionary Mountains reminds slightly of the softer tracks off the excellent The Roaring Silence and is possibly my favourite track on Nightingales & Bombers. Overall however, the material on this album is more similar in style to that of Solar Fire, and these two albums are among the band's most experimental (yet melodic) ones.

This album includes some of the band's better and perhaps most progressive material. Songs like Time Is Right and Fat Nelly are highly melodic and there are many instrumental sections where the guitarist and Mann himself can stretch out. There are admittedly a few passages throughout the album where you get the feeling they don't quite know where they are going, but these moments pass by very quickly. The last track was recorded live and should perhaps best be regarded as a bonus track. Anyway, I think it is rather forgettable and it doesn't add much to the album as a whole (despite the fact that it features the sampled recording that gave the album its name - a recording from the Second World War, made by an ornithologist intending to capture nightingales and accidentally captured bomb planes too!).

Nightingales & Bombers is one of Manfred Mann's Earth Band's better albums.

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Posted Friday, June 26, 2009

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I would certainly rate this as one of MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND's better albums. Right up there with my favourite "Solar Fire" in fact. This just really "sounds" good. The drumming is outstanding and Mick's guitar and vocals are fantastic. The bass is very prominant and of course Manfred's keyboard work is all over this recording.

"Spirits In The Night" is a favourite track of many from this album, but for me it's probably my least favourite. I do think it's pretty good but the Springsteen lyrics do nothing for me. I do like the guitar and the cello on the chorus. Some excellent guitar after 3 1/2 minutes as well. "Countdown" is an instrumental with a great rhythm.The guitar is all over this and we get some mellotron as well.The keyboards and guitar trade solos later. "Time Is Right" is led by drums and vocals early. It gets better when it kicks back in before 3 minutes to the end. Lots of great guitar again here. "Crossfade" has some nice synth work on it. The guitar takes over 1 1/2 minutes in. Catchy stuff.

"Visionary Mountains" features synths and organ early. Vocals a minute in. The guitar is incredible 3 1/2 minutes in. It then settles with organ. What a great tune. This cover of a Joan Armatrading song is much better than the other cover ("Spirits In The Night"). "Nightingales And Bombers" opens with synths that make me think of RUSH. I love how this sounds. It's like everything is being held back. It breaks out 2 1/2 minutes in. The guitar is lighting it up after 3 minutes and then it settles again. These last two tracks are amazing to say the least. "Fat Nelly" opens sounding like "Blinded By The Light" with the pulsating organ. Vocals join in. Melancholic synths then keys take over. Guitar is next as drums pound. Excellent tune. "As Above So Below (Live)" is dominated by keyboards and drums early. The sound is building. It sounds like female vocals 3 minutes in then birds chirping before it turns haunting.

A solid 4 stars. This was much better then I was anticipating.

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Posted Sunday, October 11, 2009

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars For a first I got this album as second-hand LP with cover, fixed by scotch in few places. It happened some 20+ yrs ago. And I fell in love with this music after very first listening never listened all MM works, but from what I listened, nothing is even close to this album.

Very melodic, but never to mellow, excellent balance between keyboards and guitars sound, long , a bit spacey compositions. But most important - great songs! This album was recorded by great songwriters at the time, when best musicians still played memorable songs!

Not too heavy, but never too soft, nice vocals. Nightingales and Bombers is a gem. All instrumentals are perfect. I loved even funny Fat Nelly. Spirit in The Night was in my head for years. Possibly, that album represents one of the best music of it's time: still r'n'b and blues-rock based, but with dreamy arrangements, experimental ( for the time) electronic sounds and very catchy songs.

Before writing this review I re-listened the album once again, and my old love to this music returned with new power. Great music! Highly recommended!

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Posted Thursday, January 07, 2010

Review by ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars It's always good to hear a band rebound from a weak album, and Manfred Mann's Earth Band did just that with the pleasantly surprising 'Nightingales & Bombers' following a rather tepid 'The Good Earth'. The band revisits the female backing vocal motif of 'Solar Fire' (in this case just Doreen of the Chanter sisters augmented by Martha Smith and the soul singer Ruby St. James). The band also adds strings with no less than three different cellists (cellist Nigel Warren-Green also appeared on Steve Hackett's 'Voyage of the Acolyte' the same year) along with a violin and viola. The female vocalists and strings don't appear on every track but that's probably just as well since guitarist Mick Rogers is in fine form throughout and he and Mann carry several tracks almost by themselves including the soaring "Time is Right" and the almost New Age-y instrumental "Crossfade".

The band is very tight on every track, a welcome return to form after the loose and somewhat improvisational 'The Good Earth'. Mann stretches himself more than ever before on keyboards, relying more this time on synthesizers than in the past but with plenty of Hammond to center Roger's soulful vocals and majestic guitar forays. Bassist Colin Pattenden on the other hand takes more of a back seat than he did on the prior few records, apparently content to lay down complimentary supporting rhythm to Slade's drum work rather than step out into the limelight as he did on 'Messin' and to a certain extent 'The Good Earth'. This is really a Mann and Rogers show through and through, and the two of them show their chops wonderfully on the band's interpretation of Joan Armatrading's early composition "Visionary Mountains", the Springsteen standard "Spirit(s) in the Night" and the funky title track. Too bad Rogers would depart following this release, but he shows here why it took two musicians to replace him.

The most well-known song is the opening "Spirits in the Night", one of three Springsteen debut singles the band would record in their career. The original album version features Rogers on both guitar and vocals and the tune bears an eerie resemblance to Donald Fagen and some of the less jazzy early Steely Dan material. The band would reissue the song as post-album single with new vocalist Chris Thompson and this is the version most people have probably heard as it made it into the Top-40 charts in the UK and U.S. the following year as a complement to the band's smash hit "Blinded by the Light", also a Springsteen cover. This is a summer tune with a theme in the vein of Bob Seger's "Night Moves" and an addictive harmony of vocals and cellos that perfectly captures the mood of the summer of 1975, although it in fact was meant to recall an earlier time much as "Night Moves" was.

The weak tracks if there are any include "Fat Nelly" and the guitar/organ-orgy "Countdown", both relegated to the background only because of their relative brevity and lack of female vocals or strings that accent some of the other material so well.

This is another very impressive performance from the Earth Band, an album somewhat forgotten only because it was followed and eclipsed so quickly by 'The Roaring Silence'. That's too bad, as 'Nightingales & Bombers' ranks among the best two or three Manfred Mann studio efforts ever, easily as good as 'Angel Station' and giving 'The Roaring Silence' a run for its money in energy and consistency if not in star power. Another four star offering and highly recommended. If you liked any of the Earth Band's popular material you should definitely check this one out too.

peace

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Posted Saturday, November 26, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Inspired by a World War II-era tape the band had come across of birdsong rudely interrupted by a flyover of bombers, Nightingales and Bombers leads off with one of the Earth Band's competent prog-pop reworkings of Bruce Springsteen songs (in this case, Spirit in the Night) and follows it up with a range of prog instrumentals and songs. Fat Nelly manages to combine a music hall sense of humour with keyboard-heavy prog performances in a great little match - the sort of combination ELP were always trying (and failing) with their comedy numbers - whilst the instrumentals proved that the Earth Band were a serious prog powerhouse in their own right. A real eye-opener if, like me, you've only heard Manfred Mann's various singles before tuning into this one.

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Posted Monday, November 19, 2012

Review by stefro
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Always the odd cousins to the progressive rock fraternity of the 1970's, Manfred Mann's Earth Band enjoyed a relatively successful career, graduating from humble beat group origins to full-blown art-pop purveyors during the space of a few short years. A prolific outfit led by the South African-born keyboardist Mann, the first Earth Band album arrived in 1972 and was quickly followed by four more full-length studio offerings, all of which were released across the space of just two years. The most notable of these was arguably 1973's ambitious 'Solar Fire', a kind of classically-tinted, space-themed concept yarn, yet the Earth Band would really hit their stride with 'Nightingales & Bombers' from 1975, an album whose title was inspired by a cache of accidental BBC recordings from World War 2 that were supposed to pick up certain ornithological sounds yet ended up catching a major aerial dogfight between British and German forces(the recordings feature in the album's penultimate piece, a live rendition of 'As Above So Below'). Inspired by these extraordinary tapes, Manfred Mann's Earth Band put together what many consider to be one of their defining achievements. Featuring a trio of covers - this time it's a fairly straightforward AOR version of Bruce Springsteen's popular 'Spirits In The Night', a slick reading of Joan Armatrading's 'Visionary Mountains' and a slightly awkward take on 'Quit Your Low Down Ways' by Bob Dylan - 'Nightingales & Bombers' proves both eclectic and accessible, blending progressive aspirations with a slick pop-rock touch that prefigures much of their 1980's output. Unlike 'Solar Fire', it is shorter, sharper tracks that are the meat of 'Nightingales & Bombers', making for an enjoyable if somewhat lightweight album, the atmospheric Springsteen-penned opener - one of the better versions of the oft-copied track - providing an energetic opening, whilst the intricate melodies of 'Time Is Right' and the title- track showcase the group in highly-creative mood with the latter in particular blessed by a dazzling keyboard solo from bandleader Mann. However, whilst many of the classic releases from the Earth Band's fellow progressive icons of the 1970's have generally stood the test of time remarkably well, both 'Solar Fire' and 'Nightingales & Bombers' simply haven't. Listened to now through 21st century ears, its unfortunate to note that virtually all of Manfred Mann's Earth Band albums from this period feature a trite, almost jocular feel, no doubt carried on from their 1960's beat-group past, that distracts the listener from what should be some pretty impressive instrumental moments. As a result, this inability to shake the pop-essence of their past makes for a simplistic brand of what can be best described as progressive pop - no bad style in the right hands, just ask The Alan Parsons Project - with 'Nightingales & Bombers' a prime example. There are still moments here well worth the price of admission, but when compared against the 'Nursery Crymes' and 'Wish You Were Heres', this does feel rather tame. Hats off to excellent production values though; pity the music isn't of the same quality. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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Send comments to stefro (BETA) | Report this review (#872758) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, December 07, 2012

Latest members reviews

4 stars I am new to this band, Manfred Mann's Earth Band. Earlier I had only heard a couple of pop songs from the 1960s and I was pleased with what I heard. Now I discover the Earth Band and am also very content with what I heard. Nightingales & Bombers is the sixth album of the band and it was rele ... (read more)

Report this review (#1064202) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Monday, October 21, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is either Manfred Mann's Earth Band's best album, or at the very least, the best one from the Mick Rodgers era. This is of course coming from someone who has only heard the stuff from their first album through Somewhere In Africa, and only half of Glorified Magnified, Messin', and Solar ... (read more)

Report this review (#477554) | Posted by 7headedchicken | Wednesday, July 06, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Manfred Mann's Earth Band's 6th album comes from 1975, and is a pretty good effort with a mix of rock, space, and blues numbers. One of the first albums I ever bought as I recall! Top tunes are "Spirit in the Night", "Visionary Mountains", and "Nightingales and Bombers". There are really no w ... (read more)

Report this review (#451345) | Posted by mohaveman | Monday, May 23, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars You Are... One only as to listen to the track You Are, from the album Angel Station, to realise exactly what an album Nightingales & Bombers realy is. And I can honestly say with all my heart that this album and the one before it namely The Good Earth, are by far the best 2 albums this band e ... (read more)

Report this review (#125360) | Posted by intruder369 | Sunday, June 10, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is one of my most favourite Earth Band recordings. The last album to feature the original line-up, guitarist Mick Rogers left soon after, but he goes out in a blaze of glory. Some truly inventive guitar playing lifts many of the songs into the stratosphere. Spirits in the Night (which was ... (read more)

Report this review (#91318) | Posted by jimpetrie2000 | Saturday, September 23, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Totally awesome, from start to the end. Spirits in the night by MMEB blew springsteens origional version away, and shows how unique at doing cover versions this band really is. This album to me is the very best album MMEB has ever made without a doubt. Mick rogers is on fire on this album, along wit ... (read more)

Report this review (#27940) | Posted by | Thursday, April 29, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A fine effort by MMEB and Mick Rogers' last album before he left the band for the first time. A superb interpretation of Springsteen's Spirits in the Night and my personal favourite is 'Time Is Right'. ... (read more)

Report this review (#27936) | Posted by | Sunday, February 29, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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