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Manfred Mann's Earth Band - Somewhere In Afrika CD (album) cover

SOMEWHERE IN AFRIKA

Manfred Mann's Earth Band

 

Eclectic Prog

3.03 | 85 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars "Won't you help to sing these songs of freedom"

As the title suggests, African rhythms are predominant on this album. Side two of the LP is occupied by the "Africa suite", which, while nominally occupying about 10 minutes, effectively lasts for the whole side. The highlight of the side is the interpretation of BOB MARLEY's "Redemption song", a rousing modern day hymn, full of optimism and hope. Chris Thompson's vocals are perfect for the track, sitting comfortably on top of the tribal "No Kwazulu" backing vocals.

Elsewhere on the album, there is a cover version of the vastly underrated Al Stewart's "Eyes of Nostradamus". While the version here does full justice to an excellent song, it does not add anything to Stewart's definitive original (his live version on the "Indian summer" album is also superb).

I never particularly rated STING'S "Demolition man" in the first place, and the disappointingly faithful rendition included here does little to change that. MMEB have come up with many fine cover versions, especially of songs written by Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen (and now of course Bob Marley), but "Demolition man" falls into the notable exception category.

The three "conventional" MMEB tracks on the first side (which include the two cover versions mentioned above) sit slightly uneasily with the overt African influences of all the remaining tracks. They are sandwiched between the synth backed chanting of "Tribal statistics" and the first appearance of the recurring theme "Brothers and sisters of Anzaia". The band do however successfully blend together their own melodic rock sound with the ethnic African sounds which dominate much of this album.

Over the last couple of decades, the trek to African for inspiration has become a well worn path for many artists. Manfred Mann's South African heritage however probably offers greater credibility to his venture than that of some of his peers.

In all, a rather inconsistent, but ultimately enjoyable album by MMEB, with a couple of excellent tracks, and some good instrumental work.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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