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


Manfred Mann's Earth Band


Eclectic Prog

4.01 | 334 ratings

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demolition man
5 stars It is incredible to look back in time to 1973 and review what these musicians created a somewhat remarkable 40 years ago. Even more amazing is to recognise the brilliance of Manfred's keyboards prowess and Mick Rogers expert guitar playing. Of course Mick in those early days took the lead vocals and together with Manfred produced some magical moments worthy of a greatness tag.

Those that appreciate the subtle genius of Manfred will also undoubtedly know that both he and Mick Rogers are still touring extensively around Europe and still give great pleasure to thousands of dedicated fans. For it is as a live band that Manfred finds his music developing. It really doesn't matter so much that new material is short in supply (Soft Vengeance (1996) and 2006 (2004) being his latest studio woks, because it is as a live act that the music is truly appreciated. Let's make no exaggeration here, these guys can really play. Mick Rogers (he who nearly made it to Genesis after Peter Gabriel left the band) is severely underrated as a guitar player and vocalist, Manfred who is as unique in his playing as could possibly be, Chris Slade who was bigger than his drum kit and eventually went on to star with with AC/DC and Asia amongst others and the individualistic bass playing of Colin Pattenden (long since retired). Yes this was a great line-up and, as fortune would have it, there is some fabulous footage available on the market to capture those early moments (Unearthed 2006 especially)

Manfred Mann had a good career lined up with his pop band but chose to move to a more creative sound and explore his jazz roots with Mike Hugg. Having released two marvellous albums with Manfred Mann Chapter Three he disbanded the band and recruited Rogers, Pattenden and Slade to embark on a remarkable exploration of progressive music. This line-up produced some truly amazing music which was both unique and experimental. But by the time Solar Fire came along they were reaching top form.

Solar Fire is a true great of the Prog world. Relatively unknown and swamped by many a great album of its time, it is truly a remarkable experience. The interplay between Rogers and Manfred is just incredible on Saturn Lord Of The Ring / Mercury, the Winged Messenger". A slow starting track building to a great climax; this instrumental being a truly hidden gem. Father of Night Father Of Day is another masterpiece of Manfred's ability to take others' music and create something unique for the band (this trend would follow on future releases and even to this day in the live act you can witness Manfred's unique re-modelling of somewhat bland songs creating magical music)

It is with great pleasure that I give this band the best possible score of 5 stars. Thoroughly deserved and, because I have followed this band from the near very beginning and have seen the band perform on countless occasions, I can only give this 5 stars. It is simply my favourite album of all time. Greatness in an album can be achieved only to an individual's ear but this is the real deal. Thoroughly recommended. If you are searching the greats of the early 70's and haven't heard this album, then please search out a copy. You will be very well rewarded; just as I was over three decades ago.

demolition man | 5/5 |


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