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MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND

Eclectic Prog • United Kingdom


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Manfred Mann's Earth Band picture
Manfred Mann's Earth Band biography
Formed in 1971 in London, UK - Disbanded in 1987 - Reformed in 1991 and still active (as of 2017)

As MANFRED MANN (the 60's R & B group) was dwindling down, their leader moved on with drummer Mike Hugg to form Chapter 3 for two albums released on Vertigo label produced by Hiseman of Colosseum fame. The lack of success forced the two to fold and try another formula. The new group will be named EARTH BAND and will at first do average RnR but with each new album, the progressive elements will gain in importance that by SOLAR FIRE they had become an Art-rock band.

But MMEB will always be remembered for their arrangements of SPRINGSTEEN and DYLAN covers than for their own good material. In particular with SPRINGTEEN's first album, MMEB will do three mega-selling cover: "Spirits In The Night", "Blinded By The Light" and "For You". They managed to survive the late 70's by adapting their sound and in the 80's will make strong political statement against Apartheid in Manfred's country of origin, South Africa, where he could not come back. MMEB is still touring nowadays.

: : : Hugues Chantraine, BELGIUM : : :

See also:
- MANFRED MANN'S PLAINS MUSIC,
- MANFRED MANN CHAPTER THREE

MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND Videos (YouTube and more)


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MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND discography


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MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.10 | 131 ratings
Manfred Mann's Earth Band
1972
3.06 | 138 ratings
Glorified Magnified
1972
3.22 | 176 ratings
Messin' [Aka: Get Your Rocks Off]
1973
4.01 | 403 ratings
Solar Fire
1973
3.58 | 205 ratings
The Good Earth
1974
4.09 | 364 ratings
Nightingales & Bombers
1975
3.87 | 299 ratings
The Roaring Silence
1976
3.74 | 242 ratings
Watch
1978
3.51 | 181 ratings
Angel Station
1979
3.23 | 144 ratings
Chance
1980
3.05 | 124 ratings
Somewhere In Afrika
1982
2.52 | 84 ratings
Criminal Tango
1986
2.37 | 80 ratings
Masque - Songs And Planets
1987
2.74 | 67 ratings
Soft Vengeance
1996
2.65 | 60 ratings
Manfred Mann '06: 2006
2004

MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.88 | 18 ratings
Wired
1977
2.83 | 52 ratings
Budapest Live
1984
3.47 | 23 ratings
Mann Alive
1998

MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.00 | 2 ratings
Angel Station in Moscow
2004
3.98 | 11 ratings
Unearthed The Best Of 1973-2005
2006
3.33 | 8 ratings
Budapest Live (DVD)
2007
4.40 | 5 ratings
Watch - The DVD
2008
3.10 | 2 ratings
Then and Now
2009

MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 5 ratings
20 Years of M.M.E.B.
1990
3.94 | 8 ratings
The Very Best Of Vol. 1 & 2
1993
3.45 | 13 ratings
The Best of Manfred Mann's Earth Band
1999
3.28 | 7 ratings
Blindin'
2000
3.04 | 6 ratings
Odds & Sods (Mis-Takes & Out-Takes)
2005
4.07 | 5 ratings
World Of Mann
2006
3.79 | 5 ratings
Manfred Mann's Earth Band Bootleg Archives Vols 1-5
2009

MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.25 | 4 ratings
Joybringer
1973
2.67 | 3 ratings
Get Your Rocks Off
1973
3.00 | 4 ratings
Be Not Too Hard
1974
4.14 | 7 ratings
Father Of Day, Father Of Night
1974
3.67 | 6 ratings
Spirits in the Night [version 1]
1975
3.80 | 10 ratings
Blinded By The Light
1976
3.33 | 6 ratings
Questions
1976
3.86 | 7 ratings
Spirits In The Night
1977
3.25 | 4 ratings
California
1977
3.18 | 8 ratings
Davy's On The Road Again
1978
3.57 | 7 ratings
Don't Kill It Carol
1979
3.33 | 6 ratings
For You
1980
3.00 | 5 ratings
Lies (Through The 80's)
1980
2.00 | 1 ratings
I (Who Have Nothing)
1981
2.50 | 2 ratings
Eyes Of Nostradamus
1981
2.25 | 4 ratings
Redemption Song
1982
3.25 | 4 ratings
Davy's On The Road Again (live)
1984
2.00 | 2 ratings
Going Underground
1986
2.00 | 2 ratings
Do Anything You Wanna Do
1986
2.33 | 3 ratings
Geronimo's Cadillac
1987
2.75 | 4 ratings
Davy's On The Road Again
1990
2.67 | 3 ratings
Nothing Ever Happens
1996
2.00 | 1 ratings
The Ages Of Mann - The Manfred Mann Story Album Sampler
2006

MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Solar Fire by MANN'S EARTH BAND, MANFRED album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.01 | 403 ratings

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Solar Fire
Manfred Mann's Earth Band Eclectic Prog

Review by Dapper~Blueberries
Prog Reviewer

3 stars When people think of what Prog rock sounded like in the 70s, most people would think of either the more symphonic stuff of Renaissance or Genesis, and or the jazzy stuff of Gentle Giant or Van Der Graaf Generator. Most people won't really think of the more space rock side of things unless they are fans of Gong or Pink Floyd. Space rock style of Prog has existed since the 60s but never really caught on with the scene until the 70s, and even then it wouldn't be the most popular bunch of music until like the 2000s. Not to say it wasn't influential, but it wasn't what most people would gravitate towards 'less we talk about Pink Floyd. Though, while the scene wasn't as grand as some may say others are, it still brought about some great albums and songs, especially on today's subject of Solar Fire.

I have known about Manfred Mann's Earth Band for a bit, but never had interest diving into them, not until I heard their cover of Bob Dylan's Father of Night, which is also on this album. I am not a Bob Dylan fan, but I take any chance I can get in hearing a good cover of his music. This is one of my favorite Dylan covers now, and it's impressive a band can make a minute and a half song be extended to 9 minutes long. It made me grow interested in listening to the rest of this album since it was such a good cover.

However, that song is probably the only really big number on this album. While the songs here aren't bad to me, I feel as though the band raised the bar of expectations really high to where they couldn't meet expectations. Songs such as Pluto The Dog or Earth The Circle parts 2 and 1 do not hit the same marks that Father Of Day, Father Of Night gave. What you get here though is some fairly well made hard progressive rock standards. You get a lot of songs that sound very close to groups like Led Zeppelin or Deep Purple, but obviously with a more progressive twist. In The Beginning, Darkness is a number that really does sound very good in the hard rock camp in my opinion, and with the few meddlings of the more progressive flavors, it does sound good.

I think what this album excels at is the general fun flavor the band exudes. They aren't clearly trying to be big and epic, but they aren't being wild or crazy either. They kinda just do what they feel like, and that is honestly really respectful since you'll know their work will be of quality and be generally good. However, my main issue with this fact is that the more I listen to this album the more apparent it is that they aren't gonna be as groundbreaking as say Camel or Alan Parsons Project. Really, I compare them more to Nektar, being this generally good Prog rock sound that never really extends past the good markings. It's not something I hate with all my heart, but I cannot help but feel the band have missed some opportunities within what they could've done.

Solar Fire, to me, is great at best, and good at worst, but never a complete masterpiece. It is an album that I think can work well introducing new people into Prog Rock, but as a piece of music that can extend the boundaries of what music can be, I am sorry but you can find a lot more out there. Sorry for the disrespect, but I think it should be said to some degree.

 Angel Station by MANN'S EARTH BAND, MANFRED album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.51 | 181 ratings

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Angel Station
Manfred Mann's Earth Band Eclectic Prog

Review by alainPP

5 stars MMEB and 1979 or how the sound of MMEBs will change again, before being forced to!

1 Don′T Kill It Carol this vocoder, this riff, this drums, this organ which seems to sing alongside, the catchy air and fresh rock but not only; a break ah that smells prog, a bit of piano on the right, on the left, yes we loved the stereo before, the carabineer synth solo which comes at length; timeless zik which certainly begins to date but whose rhythm remains engraved fresh, twirling; playful, toned, rock with a drawer in it, nothing better until the final aggressive guitar 2 You Angel You... shh, I put the intro back... perfection is there; a title to listen to, don't watch the clip, too dated! a perfect rhythm, we feel the break that will come with the display of all the instruments, yes, yes, well yes I have already listened to it, hold the keyboard, the piano, the second synth, the other piano, the battery, in short the perfection this title even if Bob Dylan was the creator. 3 Hollywood Town where we have the voice of Steve who will take place, good beard and tuft of hair too; when the sound changes we are in 1979 and the disco, the punk hurt; we need shorter titles with twirling breaks to give more space to daydreaming, that's it 4 "Belle" Of The Earth and an interlude one; dark and gripping, fast-paced nursery rhyme talk that doesn't lack for pep; the flowing synth, the heavy riff that I like, in short, pure happiness in less than 3 minutes; a title that could have been much longer...ah those crystalline keyboard keys on that riff, ah! 5 Platform End for the second interlude, it scratches, it squirts, often with MMEB, the musicos are very good and don't hesitate to release a little title that could be a break from another song, in short, I love it 6 Angels At My Gate side B, did you get up, did you flip the LP, the K7? Well what can I say, I'm a fan and find everything good? Yes! But hey it's worth it, the title that gets going, the vocoder that refills, the strong riff, the tortured solo, the spatial break, heavy, fat, gripping, bewitched and bewitching, it's simple my legs move all alone, it's... stamped Prog de prog and it's not Manfred's final solo that will make me change my mind 7 You Are - I Am for the dreamlike second track, the one where you don't throw anything away: the spatial intro, the choirs, the rise, the synth-keyboard solo of Mr Manfred, the heavy rhythm with this drums that get you into the head; you are, dark break, a cello, or a note from Manfred, the voice of a lost and frightened extraterrestrial, Ann in real life but I believed in the extraterrestrial; the organ that starts... divine; we put the cover back I Am, you are... 8 Waiting For The Rain and Graham's intro on the violin that gives you chills, yes MMEB is also the intro first, the moment when you don't know where you're going... you want a 1st or a 2nd, nan the 1st with no return is too good! One of the most beautiful airs with the pompous, grandiloquent and divine side, all that at the same time, a proof? I had to go back to it three times to write on it, remaining paralyzed with happiness just at this melody of Falcon coming down from the sky... Falcon-sky quite a bit in the middle of the Paris Air Show right now, yes a marker temporal will not hurt; well the violin returns, declines, fights on this divine air... I have already said it, I leave the end, speechless 9 Resurrection or how to walk perky in the clouds for those who don't want to come back down after this perfect musical moment; the ideal bucolic nursery rhyme to end up there... back down... to earth

MMEB has taken the step of the 70s by offering an avant-garde album of the 80s, rock with drawers so as not to get lost, to make fun of the dinos who did not accept this offspring who wanted to make a hit, ah not well ! So what wouldn't we do without music these days? The war? Ah yes the music does not have all the exclusivity, too bad.

 Nightingales & Bombers by MANN'S EARTH BAND, MANFRED album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.09 | 364 ratings

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Nightingales & Bombers
Manfred Mann's Earth Band Eclectic Prog

Review by alainPP

5 stars MMEB of uncompromising prog, old, OK but prog has no age!

1 Spirits In The Night yes Bruce SPRINGSTEEN has been there, MMEBs can't make hits, one of the taboos of prog rock in fact... so they're going to take songs from some big names and grab them, from positive way; already hold the break with the crowd in the distance, the organ which navigates and invites the guitar, ah this guitar which pierces, which squirts... which does its job in a monstrous way; a perfect prog title as I like them, a bit of violin scratching and that's how in those days we didn't take the trouble to do very good. 2 Countdown for the interlude in my opinion or how to make an instrumental that washes your ears after such a title; Good 3 Time Is Right hard attack, I always thought that this group lacked something to be even better; it goes up too soft, but it goes up all the same and in the end, the drums and the guitar take you quickly to progressive lands; 2 mn and boom the progression occurs, as with the BJH, suddenly we feel that it goes elsewhere; it vibrates, it titillates, it titillates; finished the conventional chorus-verse, we went off track! 4'30'' and a glimmer of Visionary.. we will have to wait for the B side, huge, the clock, PINK FLOYD, the country guitar, these sound effects that only the proguous can understand, it's the good time 4 Crossfade or the counterpart of 2; the limited title linked from the previous one to drift a little more on the southern lands of prog; or how Manfred uses his beast by extracting sounds from elsewhere, extra-terrestrials; the contribution of the guitar for a fight in perfect similarity 5 Visionary Mountains .... here is the title, THE TITLE, the one that symbolizes easy-to-access prog; an intro, the intro, the rise, this vibrato, the languorous voice limits MOODY BLUES, warm, warm, haunting and so comfortable; the guitar which spleens, which vibrates, the organ because yes MMEB is the Hammond organ; the cymbal, the angelic voices, bare sirens that graze on a rock of seaweed and it starts again like a surf 6 Nightingales And Bombers much worse than Visionary but with a superb entry; a declination, a purely MMEB musical research with vibrations, a more telling jazzy side, a gradual departure from the title to arrive at a surging Mick's guitar, free rock, free jazz, it really rocks on a dreamlike crescendo which puts you in a trance; put elsewhere in the album this title is purely enjoyable; a bell, a cymbal and it starts again; yes the standard prog must be inside this album 7 Fat Nelly for a Manfred interlude with the help of his friend on the guitar, or how to create a frenetic title? would like to pass the organ of the WHO backwards and there it was well before 8 As Above So Below (Recorded Live) and another bonus, yes I take certain titles as a plus, as a singular research apart, like ... a declination, a moment of improvisation, a non 'radio edit' title , something that you would only see in concert, a jam... but there it is .. for you, for us: the air gets going; there's everything I like to know about musical exploration, you don't know where it's going to take us and that's what's good, very good; well it gets into action, the mothership is about to dock, well, maybe they know the ELOs too... in short, don't be afraid since the chaffinch won't stop singing!

MMEB released a major album with pharaminous titles on it and other titles of pure musical research; an album which would surely not work today but which gave the band its letters of nobility, prog of course! ... Emotion memory sequence.

 Glorified Magnified by MANN'S EARTH BAND, MANFRED album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.06 | 138 ratings

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Glorified Magnified
Manfred Mann's Earth Band Eclectic Prog

Review by istef

3 stars Glorified Magnified is the 2nd album of the band and it shows. It shows a band trying to find the balance between the heavier guitars and the lead man(n)'s keys. The balance between showing strong musicianship and writing (or covering) good songs. By no means is it a bad album. Actually it grows on the listener after a couple of listens. But it never gets off the earth (pun unintended!), never really excites.

And let's get one thing straight. It is not a prog album, although it has its proggier moments. It could be better classified under a term such as 70s heavy rock or something like that. So it has to be reviewed for what it is and not what it isn't. Having said that, I think the best parts of the album are still the ones that are not guitar dominated. "One Way Glass" on the mellower side of things and the title track on the more adventurous side. From the more typical 70s guitar driven rockers I would have to go with "I'm Gonna Have you All" (which also has a strong keyboard section at the end). Actually I have the impression that this is the only one that would fit on the later band releases.

As for the individual players, the first thing to notice is that Manfred, while not absent, is not really the centre of it all. He shines only in certain moments. To be sure, throughout the band's career he was never dominant like, say, Keith Emerson, but still you could tell who is the leader. On this album this is not the case. Normally this would not be a bad thing, but the space he leaves for Mick Rogers' guitar, while not exactly poorly covered, leaves the listener wanting. Rogers playing is adequate and he takes a few longer solos here and there, like on "Look Around". His playing looks towards Alvin Lee or a bit of Duane Allman, but he surely lacks the imagination of the former and the technical abilities of the latter. Also lacks the sophistication of, say, Peter Green. In general, it lacks! The rythm section, while not spectacular, is solid and especially Chris Slade's playing is very enjoyable.

All in all, GM is a good album on its own, but doesn't even hint towards the direction the band would take. It has its moments, but it is still very unlikely to become your favourite...

 Then and Now by MANN'S EARTH BAND, MANFRED album cover DVD/Video, 2009
3.10 | 2 ratings

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Then and Now
Manfred Mann's Earth Band Eclectic Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Then: May 1972, Roundhouse Theatre in Sydney, Australia. Manfred Mann's Earth Band had only released their eponymous debut album two months earlier, and when they had given their third ever gig in Australia a year prior (planned Australian tour with Deep Purple and Free was cut short due to a mysterious threat, ie. "I will kill Manfred Mann on Sunday" headline on a rock magazine, as the liner notes reveal), they still had used the name of Mann's previous band Chapter Three. So, the "Then" part of this DVD really shows MMEB at the beginning of their long career, and it undoubtedly has historical value. On guitar and vocals is Mick Rogers.

Subjectively speaking, the 55-minute gig, filmed black and white for the Australian TV, bored me as hell with its four- song cycle and very modest visual and audio quality. 'I'm Gonna Have You All' appeared later that year on their 2nd album Glorified Magnified. Mann's Moog intro aside, this is uninspiring blues rock I have no real interest in. 'Black and Blue' is IMHO equally boring blues rocker, originally by an Aussie band called Chain. 'Mighty Quinn' (written by Bob Dylan) was recorded by Manfred Mann in 1967 when he "used to be a pop star" as he introduces the song. This version rocks hard and contains an over-extended jam section. Although I personally am not so impressed by such things, this is clearly the audience-thrilling highlight of the short gig.

The band's TV interview during the same Australian tour gives me next to nothing as it's hard (because English is a foreign language to me) to hear what Mann mumbles, and the other members seem very shy. Then comes a bonus clip, 'One Way Glass' originating from Chapter Three's 1970 debut album, in which Manfred handles the vocals himself and is accompanied by a brass section. A rare archival view into that phase of MM's career.

The "Now" half of the DVD is an outdoor performance at the Burg Herzberg hippy festival in 2005. MMEB's setlist contains six pieces, although the starting Springsteen cover 'Dancing in the Dark' (combined with 'House of the Rising Sun') is just a brief clip. The essential Dylan cover 'Father of Night, Father of Day' from Solar Fire, 1973, is guitarist-vocalist Mick Rogers' spotlight number, and this jam-extended version bursts with live energy. The smash hit 'Blinded by the Light' (Springsteen cover) has a long and meditative instrumental prologue titled 'She Was', which is quite interesting in its keyboard/guitar interplay.

'Demolition Man' (originally by The Police) appeared on the MMEB album Somewhere in Afrika (1983) and works nicely here, as well as the 1978 hit 'Davy's on the Road Again'. The set is finished by a slow and bluesy version of 'Mighty Quinn' thus bringing an interesting contrast to the 1972 performance. The long instrumental intro -- and near the end the citing of 'Smoke on the Water' -- makes me think of the way Dire Straits broke the album-based format in the excellent Alchemy Live (1984). And finally, Manfred Mann interview from 2008, dealing with the Australian tour '72 etc. The 12-page booklet gives valid background information especially on the 1972 part; I only miss the 2005 live line-up information. Strongly recommended for a fan of MMEB, but the more casual listener can happily live without this DVD.

 Be Not Too Hard by MANN'S EARTH BAND, MANFRED album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1974
3.00 | 4 ratings

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Be Not Too Hard
Manfred Mann's Earth Band Eclectic Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars MMEB's sixth album Good Earth (1974) is sandwiched between more classic releases Solar Fire (1973) and Nightingales & Bombers (1975), and frankly, especially for a prog listener it is not quite as satisfying as them, not to speak of my fave MMEB album Roaring Silence (1976). This single took both songs from the album, the B sider being much more interesting this time.

'Be Not Too Hard' is a relaxed and semi-mellow song with a blues oriented classic rock sound. Mann's keyboards mainly just repeat one note during the song while Mick Rogers' vocals and guitar are on the front. Like so much of the band's output, this is not theirs originally. It was composed by Christopher Logue (never heard...) and recorded also by Joan Baez, about seven years before MMEB.

'Earth Hymn Part 2' is among Good Earth's best and proggiest pieces. It's almost an instrumental by nature since the treated main vocal part comes only near the end. Before that one hears an exciting, Mellotron-loaded soundscape with space rock nuances, even a hint of Tangerine Dream. Too bad that the source album dwells more on the hard rock as a whole.

 Solar Fire by MANN'S EARTH BAND, MANFRED album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.01 | 403 ratings

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Solar Fire
Manfred Mann's Earth Band Eclectic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars Respect to the band to combine progressive rock and classic rock elements in such a crispy and catchy piece of work and introduce an advanced planetary concept. Manfred Mann Earth's band brings other progressive rock bands' influence to the table: King Crimson (listen to the epic "Father of Day, Father of Night", The first composition is not overly complex but very epic, solemn - the guitar and keyboards excelling in creating dense atmosphere. Moog, synths, organ and mellotron are all represented. Would you ever say that the song was penned by Bob Dylan?

"In the beginning, darkness" is a hard-rock classic song with progressive keyboards.

"Solar fire" finally shows some irregular rhythm by the band. The male and female vocals are powerfully combined. "Saturn, Lord Of The Ring / Mercury, The Winged Messenger" is the definitive masterpiece on this album and one of the best progressive rock tracks by the band. Starting off as a hard-rock piece with interesting chord sequence. Things calm down and a furious moog/guitar tandem based on a traditional rock rhythm takes the stage. I like moog playing in particular. It reminds me of some Kansas tracks that put weight on guitar/keyboards while maintaining straightforward bass/drums.

The suite "Earth, the circle part 1/2" are muscular Moog and synths matters but not pretentious. The latter part 1 is actually also a beautiful composition with short-lasting vocals.

It remains one of my top bands album and greatly recommended especially to newbies in prog that are looking for an accessible entry.

 Glorified Magnified by MANN'S EARTH BAND, MANFRED album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.06 | 138 ratings

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Glorified Magnified
Manfred Mann's Earth Band Eclectic Prog

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars This is first and foremost a rock album rocking harder or softer. The band are in their formative years but showing potential individually to form a strong and distinctive results. I like compositional strengths with guitar and keyboards standing out. Keyboard in particular shows some hints of progressive rock while bass and drums more or less sticks to staightforward rock. Vocals are competent, too. "Look around" is a semi-prog almost instrumental number and despite its short length, "Our friend George" has a decent progressive chord twist with quite good Hammond. The title track has organ/Moog willing to tackle current progressive rock but it's marred by unsuitable rock'n'roll drumming that has little fantasy. "I'm gonna have you all" has nice organ touch that remind me of The Who. Last traces of bluesy sound can be found in "Down home".

Quite a good album (better ones are to come) but hardly essential.

 Manfred Mann's Earth Band Bootleg Archives Vols 1-5 by MANN'S EARTH BAND, MANFRED album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2009
3.79 | 5 ratings

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Manfred Mann's Earth Band Bootleg Archives Vols 1-5
Manfred Mann's Earth Band Eclectic Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars "First review of this album"

'Magical Minimoog Master Mighty Manfred Mann'.

That was some Alliteration Extravaganza to hail the overlooked Minimoog wizard Manfred Mann. Now let's take a look at this very interesting mid-priced 5-CD box, spanning the time between 1981 and 2007, so 3 decades of MMEB live.

CD 1 ' Live 1981. For me CD 1 was the reason to buy this box set, because I have witnessed the Manfred Mann's Earth Band 1981 Change tour in my former hometown The Hague. I remember that sold out gig very well, great performance, great tracklist and,last but not least, great work on the Minimoog: many spectacular, picthbend driven soli in Hello Hello (previously unreleased live track), Chicago Institute, Martha's Madman and Give Me The Good Earth. And I was blown away by the use of the distinctive talk box (known from Peter Frampton's Show Me The Way) in Angels At My Gate and Step By Step. But also lots of exciting work on the guitar, especially the powerful wah-wah drenched guitar solo in On The Run Lies Thru' The 80s, instrumental track Fritz The Blank (funny animation on screen), bluesy piano intro in Spirits In The Night and hilarious words in Hobo Bill's Last Ride.

CD 2 ' Live 1986. This concert features the return of Mick Rogers, he puts his mark on the music with outstanding rock guitar, especially during the intro of Banquet and in Visionary Mountains, Father Of Day (pleasant new arrangement) and Mighty Quinn. We can enjoy Manfred Mann his spectacular trademark Minimoog soli in Father Of Day, Davy's On The Road Again and especially The Runner, wow, this is top notch Minimoog work! I also like the Spencer Davis Group cover Gimme Some Loving, a very powerful and tasteful rendition.

CD 3 (live 1991), CD 4 (live 1999) and 5 (live 2007) deliver new lead singer singer Noel McCalla, not my favourite MMEB vocalist (due to his theatrical outbursts) but he does a very good and inspired job. During the years MMEB has turned into a very tight, professional and entertaining unit, on this three more recent live recordings you can enjoy lots of excellent renditions of oldies with new arrangements. Manfred Mann is not as omnipresent with his Minimoog as in the Seventies and early Eighties but he still shines in some tracks. Especially in the intro of Banquet, all versions of Martha's Madman and the long intro of Blinded By The Light (1999 version), wow, what a spectacular Minimoog sound! Mick Rogers is a very good rock guitarist, just listen to his wah wah drenched sound in Don't Kill It Carol (awesome rendition) and his biting soli in Blinded By The Light and Mighty Quinn (unfortunately faded away).

Remarkably CD 5 contains the most recent concert but the sound is the most close to bootleg quality. The tracklist is very varied, from Captain Bobby Scout (from their first album) to the classic Spirits In The Night (nice rendition) and a (bit too) long Dancing In The Dark cover version (in between some House Of The Rising Sun organ and vocals). I consider this fifth CD as the least interesting, my highlights here are Manfred Mann his Minimoog work and Mick Rogers his powerful guitar, in some songs they deliver also great interplay, the very distincive MMEB sound!

I highly recommended this 5-CD live box, it captures the awesome MMEB live performances in 3 different decades, and what a treat to listen to Manfred Mann his many sensational pitchbend driven Minimoog soli!

 Solar Fire by MANN'S EARTH BAND, MANFRED album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.01 | 403 ratings

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Solar Fire
Manfred Mann's Earth Band Eclectic Prog

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I've always had a soft spot for Manfred Mann's Earth Band. Especially the albums made in the 70's and the earlier in particular. The band created some really exciting prog with hints and doses of pop and rock. The pop elements got more space over time and the sound became slightly more polished aswell. But there was always a serious progginess in their music. On "Solar fire" this is very evident and the album is very cohesive and dense in every respect.

Often enough the MMEB albumst boasted a cover by some more or less known figure in popular music. "Solar fire" opens up with an elongated and very nicely arranged Dylan song, "Father of night, father of day". The opening choir is simply beautiful in its simplicity. It's like a medieval convent joined the band in the studio. It sets the tone and mood of the album quite nice. No, this isn't an album of choir music. It is all about prog and when the organ takes over from the choir, is joined by mellotron, bass and drums one is, I swear, in prog heaven. Simply stunning. A great track with dense and powerful arrangements. As far as covers are concerned MMEB also interprets some of Holst's "Planet suite" which is quite in tune for a true progressive experience.

Apart from before mentioned covers it's all MMEB originals. All songs are very powerful and the album is very much in the progressive hard rock vein, which I like very much. It's heavy and full of force. "Pluto, the dog" might sound hilarious but is really a kick in the teeth and I mean that in a positive way. Amazing keyboards and a drive that is exptremely potent. A great little track. The title track is equally powerful. There are also some scary parts, ominous and foreboding, which only helps to emphasize the diversity and craftsmanship of everybody involved.

Throughout the album Manfred Mann serves us a hearty meal of keyboard driven extravaganza. There is moog, organ, mellotron and synthesizer in abundance. For me, loving keyboards of the vintage kind, can't help sitting smiling with a daft smile on my face. It's just splendid how well the band and Manfred puts forth a slice of progressive punch. The band is truly on (solar) fire on this album.

If I was to introduce someone to the works of MMEB I wouldn't really know where to start. "Nightingales and bombers", "Messin'" or "The good earth"? Anyone of those would do but I could just aswell recommend that person to begin with "Solar fire". On here you will find energy, vision and complexity on such a high level I just might fear they never really achieved before or after this album. So, start with this one. If you're into keyboard driven high-octane prog with a hardrock edge and many layers of brilliance you'd do well to pick this one up.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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