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Manfred Mann's Earth Band - Glorified Magnified CD (album) cover

GLORIFIED MAGNIFIED

Manfred Mann's Earth Band

 

Eclectic Prog

3.03 | 105 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
2 stars The Earth Band's second album was also their only studio release not to chart anywhere in the world, unless you count some of the hodgepodge of records released after the band's de-facto demise in 1987. I suppose the main reason was poor promotion and not enough touring in support of the record, but truth be told it's not really a very good album either so maybe the sales figures are at least partially a reflection of that.

I'm not sure what the band story was at the time of these recording sessions but all indications are they were simply back at Maximum Studios to crank out a follow-up to their self-titled debut that was garnering some minor attention in the U.S. thanks to a surprising amount of FM radio play and a minor hit with the Randy Newman cover "Living Without You". Go figure.

I'm not sure if the band were rushed back into the studio too soon, or if they were not kept there long enough due to touring or other commitments. Either way this feels like a disjointed collection of decent but unexceptional tunes and not at all like a cohesive, well thought-out, career-building release.

The sound is heavier than on their first record, although as time would tell Manfred Mann and especially guitarist Mick Rogers were never ones to shy away from a good heavy riff and supporting organ forays. And the band actually seems to move further away from the progressive rock / experimentation shown a couple times on their first album and quite a bit on the upcoming 'Solar Fire', 'Nightingales & Bombers' and even the underrated 'Watch'. The closest they come is on the closing title track, an orgy of organ (that doesn't sound quite right) along with guitar in an instrumental that recalls the Manfred Mann original "Tribute" from their first album.

At least there are some recognizable and mildly interesting styles interspersed throughout including a bit of toned-down glam rock ("I'm Gonna Have You All"); American country ("Down Home", "Ashes to the Wind"); some sort of weird nuevo-jazz ("Wind"); and even a fairly decent preview of the sort of sappy arena-rock ballads Bret Michael's Poison would make a career from a couple decades later with "One Way Glass".

There were two singles issued from this release. The first was the unconvincing vegetarian anthem "Meat" and the second was (yet another) version of the Bob Dylan classic "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue", a song Dylan first recorded the same day in 1965 that he recorded the iconic version of his "Mr. Tambourine Man". Neither single charted and to the best of my knowledge neither received much radio attention either.

I enjoyed giving this very old vinyl a couple spins for the first time in many years recently. I'm pretty sure I bought my copy from a used record store in the late seventies after discovering the band via their later more commercial work like 'Angel Station' and 'The Roaring Silence'. As I recall I didn't think much of this one back then, and I still don't. That's not to say it's a poor album. The music is decent and there are thousands of bands who would have been thrilled to present something like 'Glorified Magnified'. But the ostentatious title and Manfred Mann's reputation both demand more, and this time at least the band failed to deliver. Things would get better, but for anyone making the trek down Manfred Mann lane I wouldn't pull over for this particular roadside attraction. Two stars for an underachieving album from a very good band.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 2/5 |

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