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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
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'S CHAPTER THREE

Manfred Mann's Earth Band official website

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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$4.57
$1.99 (used)
20062006
Import
Edel Europe 2004
Audio CD$12.11
$6.87 (used)
Glorified MagnifiedGlorified Magnified
Remastered · Extra tracks · Import
Creature Music 2011
Audio CD$9.32
$9.98 (used)
The Roaring Silence with Extra TracksThe Roaring Silence with Extra Tracks
WB
Vinyl$25.00
$4.50 (used)
On the RoadOn the Road
Import
Brilliant Nl 2002
Audio CD$3.44
$3.43 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Manfred Mann's Earth Band - Messin' [CD New] USD $13.66 Buy It Now 1h 58m
MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND Watch 12" Vinyl LP Warner Bros 1978 ~g USD $8.95 Buy It Now 2h 11m
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2h 12m
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2h 37m
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2h 37m
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3h 43m
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3h 47m
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MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND Davy's On The Road Again 7" B/w Bouillabaisse UK Bron USD $6.79 Buy It Now 4h 48m
MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND Joybringer 7" B/w Can't Eat Meat UK Vertigo 1973 USD $7.23 Buy It Now 4h 48m
MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND Questions 7" B/w Waiter There's A Yawn In My Ear No 2 USD $7.23 Buy It Now 4h 48m
MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND Don't Kill It Carol 7" B/w Blinded By The Light UK Br USD $7.23 Buy It Now 4h 48m
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MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND Blinded By The Light 7" B/w Starbird No.2 UK Bronze 1 USD $6.79 Buy It Now 4h 48m
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5h 5m
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MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND Nothing Ever Happens 1996 EURO CD single USD $11.25 Buy It Now 6h 33m
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MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND - DAVY'S ON THE ROAD AGAIN - 7" VINYL 1978 BRONZE USD $3.32 Buy It Now 7h 54m
MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND Messin LP 1973 1st UK Pressing 6360 087 Vinyl USD $24.00 Buy It Now 8h 3m
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Manfred Mann's Earth Band Nightingales and Bombers 12" LP RECORD 1975 (B8) USD $5.27 Buy It Now 9h 56m
2 LPs by MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND The Roaring Silence / Watch USD $4.99 [0 bids]
10h 37m
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12h 36m
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17h 29m
Manfred Mann's Earth Band - Blinded By The Light - Bruce Springsteen BRO-29 NM USD $6.14 Buy It Now 18h 34m
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MANFRED MANN's EARTH BAND 1971-1973 VERTIGO FREE UK PRESS USD $16.80 Buy It Now 20h 31m
Manfred Mann's Earth Band - Good Earth (Remastered) [CD New] USD $24.47 Buy It Now 20h 57m
MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND - Davy's On The Road Again - Ex Con 7" Single BRO 52 USD $5.76 Buy It Now 21h 24m
MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND messin 1973 UK VERTIGO STEREO PROG LP USD $57.94 Buy It Now 21h 57m
MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND-DEMOLITION MAN-ORIGINAL GERMAN 7" 45rpm 1982 USD $5.99 [0 bids]
22h 27m
MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND-I (WHO HAVE NOTHING)-ORIGINAL GERMAN 7" 45rpm 1981 USD $5.99 [0 bids]
22h 28m
MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND-LIES (THROUGH THE 80's)-ORIGINAL GERMAN 7" 45rpm 1980 USD $5.99 [0 bids]
22h 29m
MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND-REDEMPTION SONG-ORIGINAL GERMAN 7" 45rpm 1982 USD $6.99 [0 bids]
22h 29m
MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND-THIRD WORLD SERVICE-ORIGINAL GERMAN 7" 45rpm 1983 USD $5.99 [0 bids]
22h 30m
MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND-YOU ANGEL YOU-RARE ORIGINAL AUSTRIAN 7" 45rpm 1979 USD $9.99 [0 bids]
22h 31m
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23h 38m
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23h 43m
MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND SOMEWHERE IN AFRIKA CD MINI LP OBI USD $12.95 Buy It Now 23h 43m
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1 day
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1 day
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1 day
Manfred Mann's Earth Band 1972 mini vinyl CD mini LP + bonus tracks NM USD $12.00 [0 bids]
1 day
Manfred Mann's Earth Band -The Roaring Silence 1976 CD mini LP + bonus tracks NM USD $12.00 [0 bids]
1 day
Manfred Mann's Earth Band?- Messin' 1973 mini vinyl CD mini LP + bonus tracks NM USD $12.00 [0 bids]
1 day
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MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND shows & tickets


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MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND discography


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

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

3.04 | 86 ratings
Manfred Mann's Earth Band
1972
2.98 | 86 ratings
Glorified Magnified
1972
3.14 | 113 ratings
Messin'
1973
4.01 | 269 ratings
Solar Fire
1973
3.52 | 127 ratings
The Good Earth
1974
4.05 | 238 ratings
Nightingales & Bombers
1975
3.81 | 190 ratings
The Roaring Silence
1976
3.71 | 164 ratings
Watch
1978
3.41 | 122 ratings
Angel Station
1979
3.17 | 93 ratings
Chance
1980
3.03 | 76 ratings
Somewhere in Afrika
1983
2.49 | 54 ratings
Criminal Tango
1986
2.29 | 54 ratings
Masque
1987
2.63 | 42 ratings
Soft Vengeance
1996
2.49 | 40 ratings
2006
2004

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

2.85 | 10 ratings
Wired
1977
2.79 | 36 ratings
Budapest Live
1984
3.47 | 15 ratings
Mann Alive
1998

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

4.00 | 1 ratings
Angel Station in Moscow
2004
4.00 | 7 ratings
Unearthed The Best Of 1973-2005
2006
3.21 | 5 ratings
Budapest Live (DVD)
2007
4.67 | 3 ratings
Watch - The DVD
2008
0.00 | 0 ratings
Then And Now
2010

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

3.17 | 4 ratings
20 Years of M.M.E.B.
1990
3.97 | 5 ratings
The Very Best Of Vol. 1 & 2
1993
3.36 | 13 ratings
The Best of Manfred Mann's Earth Band
1999
3.27 | 6 ratings
Blindin'
2000
3.04 | 5 ratings
Odds & Sods (Mis-Takes & Out-Takes)
2005
4.07 | 5 ratings
World Of Mann
2006
3.00 | 1 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)

3.00 | 2 ratings
Joybringer
1973
2.50 | 2 ratings
Get Your Rocks Off
1973
2.00 | 1 ratings
Be Not Too Hard
1974
4.00 | 3 ratings
Father Of Day, Father Of Night
1974
3.33 | 3 ratings
Spirits in the Night [version 1]
1975
3.20 | 5 ratings
Blinded By The Light
1976
3.00 | 3 ratings
Questions
1976
3.00 | 3 ratings
Spirits In The Night
1977
2.50 | 2 ratings
California
1977
3.00 | 4 ratings
Davy's On The Road Again
1978
2.67 | 3 ratings
Don't Kill It Carol
1979
3.50 | 4 ratings
For You
1980
3.00 | 3 ratings
Lies (Through The 80's)
1980
2.00 | 1 ratings
I (Who Have Nothing)
1981
2.00 | 1 ratings
Eyes Of Nostradamus
1981
2.50 | 2 ratings
Redemption Song
1982
3.00 | 2 ratings
Davy's On The Road Again (live)
1984
2.00 | 1 ratings
Going Underground
1986
2.00 | 1 ratings
Do Anything You Wanna Do
1986
2.00 | 1 ratings
Geronimo's Cadillac
1987
2.50 | 2 ratings
Davy's On The Road Again
1990
2.00 | 1 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
 Chance  by MANN'S EARTH BAND, MANFRED album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.17 | 93 ratings

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Chance
Manfred Mann's Earth Band Eclectic Prog

Review by ghost_of_morphy
Prog Reviewer

2 stars One third arena rock and two thirds mild art rock would be how I would some up MMEB's album chance. The bad news is that the two thirds that isn't arena rock is mostly insipid. The good news is that the arena rock part is surprisingly good, especially considering that the genre was just getting started at the time. A revolving cast of vocalists also detracts from this release having a consistent sound. Also the bluesy groove that MMEB can occasionally rock has mostly evaporated away.

This is a two and a half star album, but I will round down on this one. If you are a fan of the Earth Band, you will eventually want to listen to this. Otherwise, give Chance a pass.

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 The Good Earth by MANN'S EARTH BAND, MANFRED album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.52 | 127 ratings

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The Good Earth
Manfred Mann's Earth Band Eclectic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Manfred Mann's Earth Band's progressive phase continues in 1974 with the album ''The good Earth'', recorded again at The Workhouse in Old Kent, London.The album dealt with ecological concerns and the band promoted it i a unique way.Each one having bought the copy would own the rights of one square foot of the earth in the County of Brecon, Wales, after registering via a coupon enclosed in the album!The album was released in October 1974 on Bronze Records.

Stylistically speaking this was one of Manfred Mann's Earth Band's most uneven works in the 70's.The main reason was propably the selection of songs of the opening side, ''Give me the good Earth'' was a reworking on a track by Spooky Tooth's Gary Wright from his solo album ''Footprint'', while both ''Launching place'' and ''I'll be gone'' were originally written by Mike Rudd, the main man behind Aussie Psych Rocker's Spectrum.So, ''Give me the good Earth'' is actually a raw Psych Rock piece with bluesy guitars and vocals in evidence with a nice after-middle part, highlighted by Mann's Mellotron and the nice guitar tunes of Mick Rogers.''Launching place'' is along the stylings of the band around the time, fronted by the spacey Moog synthesizer of Mann and the some bluesy/melodic guitar moves by Rogers, followed by a very good solo, while ''I'll be gone'' is a simple rockin' piece with a slow tempo and a rather cliche sound.The band's original material is displayed on the flipside and comes on par with the sound of ''Solar fire''.Much more balanced, with Mann's delightful keyboard themes in a jazzy and symphonic vein, these pieces are pretty close to GREENSLADE, featuring lots of keyboard interludes and more quirky bass and guitar parts.Mellotron, Moog synthesizer and acoustic piano come in evidence in moments, containing cinematic textures, Fusion techniques and Classical flavors, the instrumental parts are pretty extended and the vocals are more convincing, the result is music full of grandieur and instrumental efficiency, scanning a variety of styles and setting up a trully progressive atmosphere.

Had this album followed the style of the second side, we would be dealing with a fantastic work of Prog music.Even so ''The good Earth'' is another mark left by Manfred Mann's Earth Band in the 70's prog list, characterized by great keyboard lines and instrumental majesty.Recommended.

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 Masque by MANN'S EARTH BAND, MANFRED album cover Studio Album, 1987
2.29 | 54 ratings

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Masque
Manfred Mann's Earth Band Eclectic Prog

Review by Kingsnake

3 stars Wow.

Reading the reviews makes me sad. MMEB is one of those groups constantly reinventing music. One would expext that progrock-enthousiasts would embrace these kinds of experimental pop-records.

I think this album is very good and even consistent poprock-album. A lot happens here, there's hints of jazz, rock, pop, dance, classical.

Beautifully executed by Manfred Mann, Mick Rogers, John Lingwood en Maggie Ryder.

MMEB once made an album called Solar Fire and a lot of progrock-enthousiasts want Manfred Mann to repeat that album over and over again.

I'm glad he didn't and searched for new musical paths. This Masque is a great addition to any collection of great records. Maybe not the prog-masterpiece, so many people desire, but nonetheless a great album with a superb production and really nice instrumental parts featuring trumpet and sax.

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 Nightingales & Bombers  by MANN'S EARTH BAND, MANFRED album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.05 | 238 ratings

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Nightingales & Bombers
Manfred Mann's Earth Band Eclectic Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

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 released in 1975 with a very characteristic cover, black with light blue worms coming closer towards the watcher. On the back cover there're lyrics and information about the band. Of eight songs, four have lyrics and the vocalist Mick Rogers is perfect on that job especially on the song "Visionary Mountains" (10/10) which I hold very high. The vocals here are part of a progressive mixture of greatness. He also sings good on the more ordinary rock track "Spirits in the night"(8/10) which is written by Bruce Springsteen. MMEB does a huge cover hear, bombastic and keyboard oriented. "Time is right"(9/10) is another amazing lyrics filled track, not common at all, but true rock and prog and "Countdown", "Crossfade" and "Nightingale and Bombers" are instrumental travells for the music lovers(8/10). The only track a bit inferior to the others is "Fat Nelly" which is funny but silly(7/10).

I am very pleased with this my introduction to Manfred Mann's Earth Band, I bought for 20 crowns a month ago. Manfred Mann plays organ and synthesizers, Colin Pattenden plays bass, Chris Slade plays drums and Mick Rogers guitar. I recommend the album for both rock and prog fans, and the music of the 70s always has the special feeling hard to get elsewhere.

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 Budapest Live by MANN'S EARTH BAND, MANFRED album cover Live, 1984
2.79 | 36 ratings

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Budapest Live
Manfred Mann's Earth Band Eclectic Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

2 stars Isn't it sad that a band with so many 70's classic studio albums like MMEB, never had a worthy live album to show their stage performances. Indeed, buy the time Budapest came out, it was much, much to late, because the band was in its final days, and possibly that this was their last album (to my knowledge anyway), possibly released as contract filler/ender. Indeed, the 80's were not kind to MMEB, despite some encouraging commercial success with their previous Somewhere In Africa and that Chance had spawned two hits. But by 83 and the east European tour behind what was still the Iron Curtain (this was a three night stay in Budapest), but outside the singer Chris Thompson (and Manfred of course), there is no-one else left from the glorious mid-70's line-up. And obviously Manfred probably struggled to keep Thompson in the band, as can be witnessed by useless (for MMEB) rendition of Redemption Song. Of course, the music scene had changed by 83, and the band tried tio adapt, still pulling their success through a series of cover (there isn't one single original MMEB composition on this set), but even the new covers lacked the delicious and meandering arrangements that was the Mann-magic the previous decades: the Police (Demolition Man) and Marley (Redemption Song) songs are all-too 80's and feature straight unrefined arrangements.

OK, MMEB was probably opening a new potential market and wasn't about to take risks in featuring more adventurous material, but this set list downright sucks. But the probably undiscerning (for then) Hungarian crowd seemed to appreciate this basic rundown of the later hits (outside Spirits and Blinded, all others are from 78 and younger). And to be honest, the older stuff re not well played (especially my fave Sprits In The Night, but I always thought Mick Rogers sang it best), and sometimes rushed, if not even botched. It doesn't help either that the poor recording quality, flat production and thin-overall sound are hardly impressive. So you get a bunch of Springsteen songs (Dancer is missing), two Dylan ones (though they did quite a few more throughout the years), etc? But nothing from Solar Fire or Angel station - their two best albums, IMHO. :-((

Soooo, I'd found this album at the bottom of a drawer in a lab I'm newly working in, so I decided that 30 years after hearing it a few times, I'd take it home to listen to it. Guess what??? It's going straight back in that drawer tomorrow morning. BTW, just in case you care, there were another 50 albums in that drawer, and this was no doubt the best in that selection. Gotta find me another lab, where they got better musical tastes. ;o))) (just kidding Burckard) Fortunately, I'll probably be on pension or even dead when it'll be time for another reappraisal in some 30 years. That bad, you ask?? Nope, but I felt incisive and discernant.

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 Solar Fire by MANN'S EARTH BAND, MANFRED album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.01 | 269 ratings

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Solar Fire
Manfred Mann's Earth Band Eclectic Prog

Review by maryes

4 stars In all Manfred Mann's discography, I think which "Solar Fire" is the really start of his most progressive phase, in spite of "Messin" an even in "Glorified Magnified" already had demonstrated the progressive vein, this progressive rock approach is much more explicit in "Solar Fire". The track 1- "Father Of Day, Father Of Night", is a great example of "how to make" a simple theme turns into a "deep" and "charming" rock ballad, with great introduction, "hypnotic" cadence and wonderful guitar solo. The track 2 - "In The Beginning, Darkness" is a hard (almost heavy) theme with a great female chorus participation and a solo section with drums, synthesizer and guitar "space landscape". another remarkable track is track 5 "Saturn, Lord Of The Ring / Mercury, The Winged Messenger" with 2 distinct movements, the first a lead guitar "bucolic" moment and the secound a type of "jam session" with a keyboard/guitar duets and counterpoints. In a general way all disc is very pleasant, and my rate is 4 stars !!!

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 Solar Fire by MANN'S EARTH BAND, MANFRED album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.01 | 269 ratings

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Solar Fire
Manfred Mann's Earth Band Eclectic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Manfred Mann's Earth Band's Solar Fire opening with Father of Day, Father of Night, an example of one of Mann's more notable talents: taking a second-string Bob Dylan song and redeeming it through entirely transforming the musical backing. Taking this decidedly hippified anthem and putting it through a series of symphonic prog filters turns it into a memorable trip and a tasty appetiser for the rest of the album. If what follows often doesn't quite measure up to the brilliant opener (ah, let's be honest - nothing comes close to it), it's still a competent enough release which will appeal to most fans of symphonic prog, and it finds the band's compositional powers working hard to radically scale back their reliance on cover versions, even though the cover version here is the best of the lot.

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 Wired by MANN'S EARTH BAND, MANFRED album cover Live, 1977
2.85 | 10 ratings

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Wired
Manfred Mann's Earth Band Eclectic Prog

Review by BORA

2 stars Rehearsing on stage? That's rather naughty!

A fan of mid-period MMEB, I had high expectations after perusing the track list before obtaining this album. Well, it turned out to be a let down. There is nothing much wrong with the actual performance, except that the same tunes were recorded in much better versions on the studio releases.

Right off, they've ruined an otherwise great tune "Road To Babylon" by almost completely removing the dynamics that made this piece so enjoyable in the first place. The rest of the tracks suffer from similar neglect due to re-working.

I am not immune to variations in a live context, indeed, my preference is for such that contains extended solos, even jamming. Well, this performance is not one of those, leaving me substantially unimpressed.

The tracks here are poor cousins to the originals and in some instances the performance is rather awkward as if the band were only rehearsing. There are some fine moment,s but overall, they don't save the rather uninspired delivery as a whole.

The vocals are generally strong and there is some good guitar work in places, but frankly, I can't imagine that the band were only able to do a mediocre performance on stage. With that in mind, the release of "Wired" doesn't appear to be a wise decision.

I couldn't call it good and if you have the originals, there is no reason to bother with this. In my books, it doesn't quite reach the criteria for 3 stars, so it's a regretful 2, only.

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 Solar Fire by MANN'S EARTH BAND, MANFRED album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.01 | 269 ratings

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Solar Fire
Manfred Mann's Earth Band Eclectic Prog

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

2 stars The fourth Earth Band album in a little under two years, 'Solar Fire' is undoubtedly the former Beat group's most ambitious undertaking, a space-themed concept piece featuring nods to classical music, strong instrumental moments and an extraordinary nine-minute version of Bob Dylan's 'Father Of Day, Father Of Night' as the album's opening track. However, whilst this 1973 album was undoubtedly a vast improvement on their blandly-realised debut, the underwhelming follow-up 'Glorified Magnified' and the frankly rather poor third album 'Messin'', there is still much about the Earth Band's style of progressive rock that simply hasn't aged at all well. The haphazard blend of intricate instrumental solos, overly-slick production values and Mann's awkward vocals positions the group as a kind of sub-Alan Parsons outfit, their overall sound featuring a jocular, semi-serious feel that distracts hugely from the music. The lengthy opening cut and the funky-yet-playful moog solo of 'Pluto The Dog' aside, this is a prime example of why the Earth Band have never been taken seriously as a progressive rock group. An overcooked mixture of stodgy pop melodies, over-produced prog theatrics and hokey art-rock ambition, 'Solar Fire' helps explain just why punk-rock came knocking. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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 Nightingales & Bombers  by MANN'S EARTH BAND, MANFRED album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.05 | 238 ratings

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Nightingales & Bombers
Manfred Mann's Earth Band Eclectic Prog

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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