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Manfred Mann's Earth Band - Solar Fire CD (album) cover

SOLAR FIRE

Manfred Mann's Earth Band

 

Eclectic Prog

4.01 | 334 ratings

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Alucard
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars In 1973 MME released a last single for 'Vertigo' before moving to the 'Bronze' label : 'Joybringer', which was based on British composer's Gustav Holst's 'Planets' ( 'Jupiter). Mann was lucky, because back then the work of Gustav Holst was not yet public dominion and Holst's daughter Imogen granted Mann for the first time the permission to adapt her father's work into popular music. The single reached number nine and Mann thaught of doing a whole adaption of 'Planets', being this time refused by Imogen Holst, but ...

...Mann kept the idea and build a record around the theme of Planets, giving birth to 'Solar Fire'. Now Mann had already tried to combine Pop, Rock, Blues, Soul, Jazz & classical elements into one, but up to now the efforts were not very convincing. In the meantime Mann and Rogers had listened a lot to Pink Floyd and suddenly everything fell into place, making 'Solar Fire' one of the most perfect progressive pop-rock records integrating jazz, soul & classical elements, the catchy melodies of Mann and the Jazz-Rock inspiration of Mick Rogers gave birth to a pure classic.

The record opens with an epic cover of Dylan's 'Father of day, father of night', one of the most beautiful Dylan covers ever. The track starts with an gregorian-like choir, followed by an organ intro, guitar and mellotron before the song starts to unfold. 'In the beginning, darkness' is a heavy blues Rock alternating with a funky shuffle and soul backing vocals bythe Chanter Sisters.'Pluto the dog' a short medium funk instrumental with an extended moog solo and 'Solar fire' build around a slow organ theme, a Dave Gilmour inspired guitar riff and a vocal duette of Mann & Chanter. 'Saturn, lord of the ring - Mercury, the winged messenger' another heavy Blues with an extended guitar solo, athmospheric synth sounds and jazz-rock runs.' Earth, the circle part 2' a jazz-rock theme with another exended moog solo and 'Earth, the circle part 1' ends the record with a classical piano theme, that evolves into a repetitive pattern.

'Solar Fire' is IMO the best MME record and unfortunately the band didn't managed to keep the same standard, leaving 'Solar Fire' a lonely masterpiece in the MME discography. Highly recommended .

Alucard | 5/5 |

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