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HAPPY THE MAN

Eclectic Prog • United States


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Happy The Man biography
Founded in Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA in 1972 - Disbanded in 1979 - Reformed in 2000

One of the finest American prog bands. Completely out of the american standards, HAPPY THE MAN combined lush melodies, great complex interplay and a slightly jazzy touch with occasional vocals. The band claims to be influenced by GENESIS, Yes, and GENTLE GIANT although they really do not sound anything like any of those bands.

Their first two albums, the self titled "Happy the Man" and "Crafty Hands" (almost entirely instrumental) are classic albums of the highest order, and are considered by the band to be the definitive releases in their catalogue. These are must haves. A reference point in the 70's US prog scene!

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Don't worry, be happy [Single-CD]Don't worry, be happy [Single-CD]
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HAPPY THE MAN discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

HAPPY THE MAN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.83 | 195 ratings
Happy The Man
1977
3.87 | 210 ratings
Crafty Hands
1978
3.48 | 90 ratings
Better Late...
1983
2.97 | 59 ratings
Beginnings
1990
3.53 | 57 ratings
Death's Crown
1999
3.58 | 113 ratings
The Muse Awakens
2004

HAPPY THE MAN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.84 | 27 ratings
Live
1997

HAPPY THE MAN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

HAPPY THE MAN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.92 | 10 ratings
Retrospective
1989

HAPPY THE MAN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

5.00 | 1 ratings
Service With A Smile
1978

HAPPY THE MAN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Happy The Man by HAPPY THE MAN album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.83 | 195 ratings

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Happy The Man
Happy The Man Eclectic Prog

Review by Kingsnake

4 stars I only knew Happy the Man by name, because Kit Watkins played in Camel and the biography mentioned Happy the Man.

I always thought it would be really poppy music, because Caravan was pop at the time, and Camel was pop at the time, and Keats was also pop.

I couldn't have been more wrong. This album is a perfect crossover of jazzrock fusion ala Return to Forever/Wheather Report and progrock ala Camel, Caravan, Rick Wakeman (solo), but then even more instrumental.

1977 is an odd year to release such music, maybe the United States didn't have the punkwave we did in Europe. Anyway, this is a treat for my ears, and wow, Kit Watkins is an extremely talented keyboardist and has some really nice sounds in his synths.

Thanks to this album I rate him as high as Rick Wakeman and Joe Zawinul and Chick Corea. This is strongly recommended to any prog/jazzrock enthousiast.

 Happy The Man by HAPPY THE MAN album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.83 | 195 ratings

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Happy The Man
Happy The Man Eclectic Prog

Review by Luqueasaur

3 stars I'm not a happy man: 6/10

HAPPY THE MAN's debut perfectly defines complexity and ambition. It features several instruments, almost like an orchestra, and the album has a distinct influence from jazz that is sagaciously blended on rock elements in a way it can't properly be described as jazz fusion . It also features an experimentalism typical of the progressive genre.

Three things are to be noted on this album: the first is that the highlighted instruments are the keyboards and wind instruments and the second is that the keyboards' preponderance brings HAPPY THE MAN on the verge with space rock. The lack of psychedelia and distortion on the instruments, as well aforementioned jazz's characteristics, prevents from it doing so. Oh, the third one, you ask? Man, look at those song names! Now THAT'S how you make someone interesting on lyrics. Seriously, I want to know who's Stumpy and Firecracker and where is that Stencil Forest.

However, those features don't save the album from being overall uninteresting. None of the tracks stuck to my head after listening to it, and I wasn't impressed by the elements featured in pretty any all tracks. Overall, HAPPY THE MAN is an average record. I would recommend it for people that like old prog but have nothing new to listen to, but nothing more.

 The Muse Awakens by HAPPY THE MAN album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.58 | 113 ratings

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The Muse Awakens
Happy The Man Eclectic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars The late 70s and 80s may have been the greatest test for progressive bands to weather out the storm with some, mostly neo-prog bands holding out and carrying the torch against hurricane force winds but the 90s saw a calm in the storm with bands like Anglagard and Dream Theater unapologetically reviving the complexities of 70s prog traditions and updating their sounds. The second generation of prog was born! and that coupled with digital technology making it infinitely less expensive to produce music and the popularity of the internet to by-pass record company whims was the perfect recipe for old school bands of the 70s to re- emerge from their slumber. HAPPY THE MAN was one of those bands who emerged just a little late in the game in the 70s to really garner a huge following. Their only two studio albums of the 70s came out in 1977 and 78 just when 'Saturday Night Fever' and the Sex Pistols were crashing the party and changing the musical soundscape. The band was, frankly, lucky to achieved what they did at that period but it is a testament to the outstanding musicianship that the band engaged in and it's no wonder they have kept a cult following after all the years that have passed.

Fast forward to the year of 2004 and HAPPY THE MAN finally, at long last, graces the world with a third full-length studio album. Forget all those demo and archival albums ('3rd - Better Late,' 'Death's Crown,' 'Beginnings') which are fine and dandy for collectors but not what i'd call real albums that you can just get lost in. THE MUSE AWAKENS is the real thing that stylistically fits somewhere between the band's 70s studio releases with an updated sound and production that suits the band sound, oh quite well! THE MUSE AWAKENS features only three original members, those being Stanley Whitaker (guitars and vocals), Frank Wyatt (saxes, keyboards and woodwinds) and Rick Kennell (bass). The newbies are David Rosenthal on keyboards and Joe Bergamini on drums and percussion. HTM had the Spinal Tap complex with all three studio albums having different drummers. As far as i know, there were no bizarre gardening accidents or spontaneous combustible moments! One of the first things i noticed is the use of much more prominent guitar making itself heard above the symphonic touches.

The album pretty much continues where the last two left off. The beginning track 'Contemporary Insanity' humorously lets the listeners know that HTM is quite aware of its current timeline and yet opts to anachronistically take us to that point in time in that imaginary universe where 'Crafty Hands' was a huge success and this was the much anticipated followup release. And yes, the energy, the jazz-fusion meets symphonic prog leanings, the syncopated rhythms and time sigs gone wild are all on board dictating to the world that true 70s prog is back and this is no joke. Is this album really good? Well, yes it is! However, it doesn't take long to prove that this album doesn't have a really good flow pattern to it. Starting with the second track which is the title track we get the first of some really slow 'soft' jazz-fusion tracks that as always bring The Weather Report to mind, however at least this one picks up the energy level after a bit. The track is redeemed by its intensity build-up. The one thing that keeps me from giving this album a higher rating are the smooth jazz moments that are counterproductive to the overall feel of the album.

The band can rock like nobody's business but there is a deliberate holdback as found on the mellower tracks like the title track, 'Maui Sunset,' 'Slipstream,' 'Adrift.' I should emphatically state that mellow doesn't mean boring. Tracks like 'Stepping Through Time' are mellow yet awesomely effective in carrying out a successful progressive rock inspired fusion that blows the mind utilizing all the members on boards to create an addictive atmosphere. Tracks like 'Psychedelicatesson' are magical and i truly wish the album was stuffed with these kinds of tracks and my absolute favorite HTM track of all time 'Barking Spiders' which takes their jazz- fusion approach and REALLY marries the rock really make this album worth the price of admission alone including the most guitar oriented track of the band's existence.

Yes, this sounds like a collection of tracks composed through the track of a couple decades and yes, this doesn't flow as nicely as a 'true' organic album should and yes, this may have more mellow tracks than it should, but i am quite enthralled with not only the diversity of the album but by the compositional skills involved and the fact that a 70s band created a really beautiful album that still resonates into the 21st century. Given all the obstacles placed in their way and the fact that this is not the most perfect album that could ever exist, i'm still very pleased with its achievement. When all is said and done, this album has more than enough to deliver to the hardcore HTM fans who were craving the top notch musical deliveries with a pleasing retro feel and musical repertoire that could transport the listener to the classic days of prog albeit the latter tracings. Perhaps a worked for 4 star appreciative effort but after many listens, one that i have found it to be

 Crafty Hands by HAPPY THE MAN album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.87 | 210 ratings

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Crafty Hands
Happy The Man Eclectic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

5 stars HAPPY THE MAN had a series of serendipity by impressing an exec at Arista Records and then impressing Peter Gabriel after auditioning for his solo band, who helped them secure a music contract. The band was also fortunate to support their debut album as an opening act for various popular bands such as Foreigner, Renaissance and Hot Tuna, but the live touring thing was too much for drummer Mike Beck and he was replaced by Ron Riddle who was in an early lineup of The Cars and would appear on their second album CRAFTY HANDS. While still quite progressive and in some ways even more challenging than the debut, there are signs that the record company was stifling the creative process and lobbying for more commercial music at points molding the band to take on a Styx type of sound such as on the one and only vocal track 'Wind Up Doll Day Wind.' Well the rhythmic drive has a Styx feel to it in the keyboards. Vocally Whitaker sounds more akin to Colin Goldring of Gnidrolog at times. Even though the band wanted to make this sophomore release all instrumental, the bigwig at Arista demanded that they include at least one vocal track in hopes of increasing marketability and creating a wider mass appeal. The track is the one and only vocal track on here and while they complied to the boss' desires, they still managed to jazz it up enshrouded with sophistication and an 11/8 time signature!

CRAFTY HANDS takes all the elements of symphonic prog and jazz-fusion (and the occasional Gryphon-esque folk sounds such as the flute and oboe on 'Open Book') that appeared on the eponymous debut album and tamed them down a bit. The fact that there are less vocal tracks is a plus for me and for the one that does appear, Stanley Whitaker sounds much more accomplished here. The one aspect that is missing from CRAFTY HANDS that the debut flaunted is the sense of recklessness and bold progressive workouts that would appear suddenly in the midst of the dreamy polyphonic synthesized dreamscapes that the band effortlessly conjured up. This album seems a lot more polished and even-keeled, however don't think for a second that the progressiveness has diminished in any way. These guys still deliver some of the most delicious musical calisthenics that were to be heard in the late 70s. It's just that they are melded together in a more seamless manner and there are no fast tempo Keith Emerson keyboard moments to be found. This one is much more relaxing, much like the most sedated music of Camel and could possibly qualify as elevator prog if such a thing were to exist!

This album is is very impressive. All the compositions are exquisitely done. The musicianship is impeccable and the atmosphere and mood of the entire works show the band named itself well as the music is cheerful and upbeat even when tamed down to dreamland. Perhaps a few listens may be required for these complex rhythms and polyphonic assaults to sink in, but once they do, they find a firm foundation in your soul. Unbeknownst to the band, this was a make or break album and when the album failed to result in even the slightest commercial interest Arista records dropped the band like a hot potato on a restaurant floor and the band was forced to seek out a new label, but in the late 70s, none came to the rescue. HAPPY THE MAN sallied forth determined to continue and recorded material for a third album, but the pressures of a prog fish swimming upstream in the currents of a punk and disco torrent proved to be too much and the band ultimately called it a day. CRAFTY HANDS, and the debut, for that matter gained many fans as time went on for the clever use of polyphony, brilliant integrative musical styles and highly complex musical runs that still managed to remain somewhat catchy and have even been cited as the influence of many bands like Dream Theater and beyond. Personally i love this album as much as the first although i miss the spontaneity and reckless abandon of the debut. CRAFTY HANDS is a more calculated beast that has lost its youthful innocence but gained in sheer sophistication and remains a steadfast cornerstone of American symphonic prog. 4.5 but rounded up. These guys deserve it

 Happy The Man by HAPPY THE MAN album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.83 | 195 ratings

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Happy The Man
Happy The Man Eclectic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars Of all the progressive rock bands from the USA that made the grade in the prog rich decade of the 70s, none were so eclectic and far reaching as HAPPY THE MAN which began its days as far back as 1973 in Harrisonburg, Virgina when guitarist Stanley Whitaker and bassist Rick Kennell met in Germany and once they returned back to the US decided to share their passion for progressive rock and form a band. The band actually took their odd name from a quote from Goethe's "Faust." ("Oh happy the man who can still hope") After several lineups along the way, the band spent some years as a cover band glorifying the bigwigs of the day such as Genesis, King Crimson and Van Der Graaf Generator. On one fortuitous day playing in Washington DC, the band caught the attention of an exec from Arista records who was so impressed that he showed interest in signing the band which was quite surprising considering the year of 1976 was seeing the major decline of prog and more interest building towards punk and arena rock. In that very same year, none other than Peter Gabriel was scouting out musicians for his solo career and although after hearing them play decided their sound wasn't compatible with his, did manage to help secure a contract with Arista for a 5 year multi-album deal but would actually end after only two releases.

HAPPY THE MAN the band released their eponymous debut album in 1977 and as you would might have guessed, failed to make any type of commercial impact at all but did manage to create a unique eclectic symphonic prog meets jazz-fusion type of sound. The album begins innocently enough sounding like something that wouldn't sound out of place on a Weather Report album as the suave jazzy passages slink around like a smooth syncopated caterpillar walk but soon displays the band's tendencies to erupt into serious prog frenzies with keyboards as spastic as Keith Emerson accompanied by extreme musical travails with complex arrangements and instrumental gymnastics. While most tracks on the album are instrumental there are some such as "Upon The Rainbow" that are slowed down and focus on the lyrics. These make me think of what a much more adventurous Steely Dan might sound like if they turned the prog and jazz-fusion up a few notches. I would however say that the vocal parts are my least favorite parts even though they aren't bad or anything. The band just shines so much more brightly when they let loose and erupt into prog outbursts.

This is a symphonic prog lover's dream come true with lush Hammond organs, rhodes pianos, minimoogs and clavinets dishing out dreamy synthesized jazzed up melodies often overlapping and creating complex polyphony accompanied by rocking bass and percussion and frequent slick solos that crank it up and run wild. While guitar is included in both six and twelve string form, it is more subdued and is more than drowned out by the heavy dominance of the symphonic elements swirling around like a wild tornado that can calm to a gentle ocean breeze in the blink of an eye. While the tempo shifts can be abrupt, the music is always allowed to breathe and carry out its intended effect. On the jazz side of things the band includes a sax in various sections and also on board is the use of flute and marimba for the occasional folk and ethnic influences, however for the majority of the album's running time we are simply treated to an all assault on the senses with polyphonic keyboard runs overlapping and creating interesting dynamics. HAPPY THE MAN is one of those band's that reminds you of many others (Genesis, Camel, Weather Report, ELP) but always keeps their sound unique and truly their own. This band is one of my favorites of the 70s to emerge from the US where prog bands were always several steps behind the European scene. Along with Kansas, Zappa, Santana, Yezda Urfa and The Muffins, HAPPY THE MAN were in the upper tier of United Statesian prog.

 The Muse Awakens by HAPPY THE MAN album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.58 | 113 ratings

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The Muse Awakens
Happy The Man Eclectic Prog

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The Virginia band Happy the Man released only two studio albums before changing tastes pushed them rudely off the map at the end of the 1970s. But they didn't vanish entirely: a sporadic selection of archival music would appear over the next few decades, keeping the memory of a unique band alive and paving the way toward this unexpected reunion project in 2004.

The core of the group, minus only Kit Watkins, was still intact. And the survivors resumed more or less exactly where they left off a quarter-century earlier, when Arista Records pulled the financial plug after the failure of the band's career peak "Crafty Hands" album. The new music was the same quirky, instrumental Prog, freshly energized by all the time off and no less eclectic than before: not Symphonic Rock; not Jazz Fusion; and certainly not the retro-copycat sound favored by too many latter-day proggers.

What's missing of course is the zeitgeist itself. Progressive Rock was mainstream in the middle '70s, but in our tame new millennium the style (actually more an attitude than a formal style) has been reduced to a healthy fringe movement for musical outsiders. Which makes new albums like this one, tied to a shared creative heritage but still completely original, all the more welcome, offering discriminating listeners a double rush of both discovery and recognition. Compare the results here with the half-baked efforts of other Golden Age Progressive refugees to hear the correct method for recharging a long-dormant musical battery.

A few of the song titles speak directly to the change of circumstances: "The Muse Awakens"; "Stepping Through Time"; and of course the tongue-in-cheek "Contemporary Insanity". The latter opens the album on a blast of pure Prog adrenalin comparable to the best of Gentle Giant, but in truth making the Shulman brothers sound like constipated sleepwalkers. Frontloading the strongest track may have cost the album some momentum, because little of what follows can match it (although the perfectly-titled, off-kilter spasm of 'Barking Spiders" comes close). And sometimes the music drifts uncomfortably close to something not unlike smooth jazz, in "Slipstream", "Adrift', and elsewhere.

But never without being redeemed by a typically playful touch of Prog Rock vigor and intricacy. Only truly creative, totally disciplined musicians can think in such odd meters and still write melodies sounding so unforced and natural: an HTM specialty, then and now.

The reunion was brief, however, and the band has since moved on to other projects. But if this was the last we'll ever hear of Happy the Man, at least they quit on their own terms, fulfilling the potential denied them by a narrow-minded music industry once upon an earlier time.

 Crafty Hands by HAPPY THE MAN album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.87 | 210 ratings

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Crafty Hands
Happy The Man Eclectic Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Happy the Man was a band name that cropped up from time to time, and I became curious. After having familiarized myself with the primary and many of the secondary big name bands of 70's prog, I turned toward the tertiary ranks: the bands that struggled to find a little success and then disappeared until the age of the Internet.

As with other 70's American prog bands that I have heard, Happy the Man sound deeply inspired by their British seniors, and in this case I feel it is as though Alan Parsons and Bill Bruford worked together to create much of the music on this album. The production on the reissue I have is very clean and all instruments can be heard clearly. The sound, whether light and pretty or bold and assertive, is as beautifully mixed as on an Alan Parsons Project album, and much better than the mixing of UK's debut and louder than the mixing of Bruford's "One of a Kind". So you can expect a remarkably clear mix with music that combines the drama of Alan Parsons Project with the jazz/rock fusion of Bruford or UK.

The album opens with a rather stunning instrumental in a strong Alan Parsons likeness, "Service with a Smile". There's an iterated synthesizer over which dramatic guitar and percussion create a dynamic piece of music. Perhaps here it would be good to mention that all but one of the tracks are instrumentals. Also, though synthesizers comprise much of the bedrock of the musical landscape, the soft string synth sound is rarely used and instead these almost plucked sounds that emulate guitars, and other piano/organ type instruments are employed, giving the music more texture.

The music of "Crafty Hands" can be divided into two basic categories from here on: soft and dramatic. The softer tracks include "Morning Sun", which does indeed encourage images of dawn to appear in one's mind, the opening of "Wind Up Doll Day", "Open Book", which includes a beautiful acoustic guitar and woodwind passage reminiscent of Gryphon, and the closing track "The Moon, I Sing (Nossuri)". These are often very soothing and serene pieces and depend largely on subtle percussion, very little electric guitar, and two or three synthesizers with soft and chime-like sounds.

The more dramatic tracks on the album after "Service with a Smile" are "Steaming Pipes" and "I Forgot to Push It" which both have a very Canterbury-like jaunty and off-kilter jazz rock approach. "Ibby It Is" also includes more adventurous jazz rock. In these tracks you can find some aggressive guitar solos and some spectacular percussion that works to accentuate the drama of the music and not just provide a rhythm with fills. I personally prefer the upbeat pieces, though "Open Book" is one of my top three picks.

"Wind Up Doll day", being the only actual song here, deserves mention. Honestly, the vocals are not quite to my taste though they are not bad. The lyric "Splashing across the street into the box / My box, your box" somehow irks me by its delivery. But the music and the rest of the song are very good, actually getting a little heavy with distorted guitar chords and a steady, heavy rhythm. At times I am reminded of late 70's Genesis when they could become a little heavy, too.

This is not the style of music I usually choose but this album is very well done and it is a welcome addition to my collection. If I have any criticism at all it would be that the music is so well executed and recorded and mixed that it seems flawless. And this might be the flaw. Everything is rehearsed to polished perfection, so much that it could almost be called sterile if it were not for the allure of the music itself. Also, the music for the most part follows two formats. The only real break we have is the opening track, the heavier Genesis-like part of "Wind Up Doll Day" and the Gryphon-esque part of "Open Book". For just over 40 minutes of music this might not be too bad; however, I find that by the time the last track comes on, I feel I've already heard everything there is to offer on this record.

I give it a solid four stars for the remarkable compositions, playing, and overall recording quality and listening experience.

 Crafty Hands by HAPPY THE MAN album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.87 | 210 ratings

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Crafty Hands
Happy The Man Eclectic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars 1977 was the year for live performances for Happy The Man.While not often the first name on stage, they were lucky enough to support bands such as Foreigner, Renaissance and Hot Tuna, bringing them in front of large crowds and helping their popularity.At the end of the year drummer Mick Beck left the band and was replaced by Ron Riddle.By the spring of 1978 material for a new album was prepared and they visited the Chateau Recorders in North Hollywood, California, again with Ken Scott on the producer chair.The new work ''Crafty hands'' was released later in the year.

The material of Happy The Man could be split in two styles throughout the album.First come the structures around a slight mid-70's GENESIS influence and, while the music is largely instrumental (only one track contains vocals), they appear to share the same taste for elaborate and refined arrangements with electroacoustic changes and dreamy, symphonic keyboards on tracks containing plenty of variations.Very smooth, but always competetive and intricate stuff, led by some nice Moog synth moves.The other side of the band explores the more complex nature of Progressive Rock with the GENTLE GIANT and VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR influences dominating the arrangements.However they did have a character of their own, because it was not very common at the time to place some powerful sax lines next to an emerging synth-based enviroment.Sounds strange for a combination, but these guys were talented enough to deliver extremely well-crafted music with symphonic and Fusion vibes, based on shifting tempos and changing climates, while the atmosphere of the album ranges from romantic soundscapes to dramatic and dark textures.Some good interplays and a fair instrumental richness would eventually carry the album on the top of 78' Prog releases.

''Crafty hands'' is exactly what its title refers to.A set of hands with tricky, progressive ideas around music, somewhat unappreciated by the period of their appearance, but coming up with an intricate Symphonic Fusion affair.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

 Happy The Man by HAPPY THE MAN album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.83 | 195 ratings

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Happy The Man
Happy The Man Eclectic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars By mid-70's Cliff Fortney had left Happy The Man because of his stagefright and technical inability and he was replaced by singer Dan Owen, while flute parts were handled by Kit Watkins.Owen spent about 8 months with the band and during his time the ''Death's Crown'' suite was recorded in the band's rehearsal room.After Owen quit in 1975, the rest of the crew decided to move on as a quintet.Happy The Man attracted the interest of Peter Gabriel, who was searching for a backing group after his departure from Genesis and, although this collaboration did not work, this was enough to increase Happy The Man's popularity.They were eventually signed by Arista in a 5-year recording deal and recorded their debut at A&M Studios towards the end of 1976, supported by the production value of Ken Scott, who had worked with The Mahavishnu Orchestra, Supertramp and David Bowie.In 1977 the official debut of Happy The Man sees the light.

''Happy the Man'' was there to unite two different worlds.The one was the complex and intricate Progressive Rock of early 70's with GENTLE GIANT and VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR references, a style totally out of fashion around the time.The other was a style by a Prog band heading to the next decade, smoother, more melodic and atmospheric, with pronounced use of synthesizers and elegant passages, which however contained lots of adventurous themes.The most surprising thing about the group was their ability to follow dense, virtuosic interplays with more delicate, harmonic passages in a very tight combination, revealing tons of composing talent.Their style included influences from Jazz and Fusion, dominated by Frank Wyatt's incredible sax work, the quirky keyboard parts of both Wyatt and Watkins and the consistent rhythm section of Beck and Kennell.They did have also a strong Classical character at moments with piano interludes and symphonic keyboards in the forefront, building structures for the upcoming rich instrumental lines.Happy The Man's introduction was music with unexpected twists, amazing interactions between the instrumentalists, powerful breaks and romantic soundscapes with mellow keyboards.The result is often astonishing with GENTLE GIANT being the main influence minus the Medieval vibes, a beautiful surprise in a scene that was fading around the time.

The early rehearsals of Happy The Man eventually developed into a fascinating, bombastic listening experience with a fresh attitude.Consistent Symphonic/Jazz Rock with both fiery and calm instrumental material, really a pure delight.Absolutely recommended.

 The Muse Awakens by HAPPY THE MAN album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.58 | 113 ratings

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The Muse Awakens
Happy The Man Eclectic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Happy the Man last testament is The muse awakens from 2004, after this release they will disbaned in 2005, sadly. Kit Watkins is not present on this relelase but the music is elegant and inventive as on the glory days, at least to my ears. David Rosenthal on keyboards is a very eminent keyboard player with good pedigree in rock music, with collaboarations with Rainbow among others. As I said the music is elegant, intelligent arrangements all over with some spectacular moments like opening track Contemporary Insanity, some blistering musicinaship here, awesome. The title track is a smooth spacey airy with superb interplays between instruments. Not much to say if you love this unique band, that this album must be into your collection. Inspired album, top notch musicinaship. A winner to me and because of that 4 stars easy.
Thanks to Ivan Melgar M for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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