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Manfred Mann's Earth Band

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Manfred Mann's Earth Band The Roaring Silence album cover
3.87 | 304 ratings | 21 reviews | 31% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Blinded By The Light (7:07)
2. Singing The Dolphin Through (8:19)
3. Waiter, There's A Yawn In My Ear (5:38)
4. The Road To Babylon (6:54)
5. This Side Of Paradise (4:46)
6. Starbird (3:07)
7. Questions (3:59)

Total Time: 39:50

Bonus tracks on 1998 remaster:
8. Spirits In The Night (1977 version) (3:14)
9. Blinded By The Light (Single version) (3:46)

Line-up / Musicians

- Chris Hamlet Thompson / lead vocals, guitar
- Dave Flett / lead guitar (1,3-5,7)
- Manfred Mann / keyboards, vocals (1), co-producer
- Colin Pattenden / bass
- Chris Slade / drums, percussion, backing vocals

- Doreen Chanter / backing vocals
- Irene Chanter / backing vocals
- Suzanne Lynch / backing vocals
- Mick Rogers / backing vocals
- Tony Rowell / recorders
- David Culpan / recorders
- Margaret Wood / recorders
- Barbara Thompson / sax solo
- Derek Wadsworth / horn arrangements
- David Millman / strings

CHOIR: Gillian Ainscow / Stan Bailey / Marilyn Bennett / Janet Bunting / Peter Cudmore / Hilary Farmborough / Laurence Holden / Graham Jenkins / Philip Keywood / Jacqueline Nicholls / Jeremy Paynton-Jones / Chris Sennett

Releases information

Artwork: Shirtsleeve Studio

LP Bronze - ILPS 9357 (1976, UK)

CD Bronze ‎- 258 729-222 (1987, Europe
CD Cohesion - MANN 009 (1998, Europe) Remastered by Mike Brown & Robert M Corich with 2 bonus tracks
CD Creature Music ‎- MMCD09 (2013, Europe) Remastered by Mike Brown & Robert M Corich

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND The Roaring Silence ratings distribution

(304 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(31%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(45%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND The Roaring Silence reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Mama told me never to look in the eyes of the sun. But Mama, that's where the fun is. Blinded by the Light - another one of these Springsteen numbers remade like a master as only MMEB can do it . To yell this in concert is one of my best memories in concert in the 70's as well on their recent tour when they came to Verviers. And there is definitely more than that number on this album., namely Babylon. All is not perfect as I find Dolphins a little irritating for many tiny reasons but they are numerous as to make me skip that number, although I do not dislike it. Some version of the Cd came with better bonus track than others but get a load of Spirits sung with the new singer.

Mama told me never to look in the eyes of the sun. BUT MAMA !!!!!! THAT'S WHERE THE FUN IS !!!!!!!!!

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars Madman drummers, bummers, Indians in the summer!

This is where it all came together for MMEB.

Fired on by a huge hit single with their interpretation of Bruce Springsteen's "Blinded by the light" (a seam they would mine successfully again in the future) they produced their finest hour on album. The full length version of "Blinded.." kicks off the album, featuring a magnificent keyboard solo by Manfred Mann. While the song clearly has a pop rock basis, the lengthy middle section strengthens the prog credentials, a true prog hit single!

"Singing the dolphin through" includes female vocals and a sax solo, yet still represents fine melodic prog rock. The first side of the LP closes with "Waiter there's a yawn in my ear". Despite the irritating title, it's a magical jam session recorded live, featuring Mann's keyboard work.

Side two of the album is just as good, including "Road to Babylon" and "This side of paradise", two similarly structured pieces of mid-paced prog, featuring strong melodies and fine instrumental work. The albums closes with the simple but beautiful "Questions". Chris Thomson's distinctive vocals never sounded better. As a whole the songs on this album lend themselves perfectly to his gravel voice and slightly bluesy style of delivery.

If you only ever listen to one MMEB album, this has to be the one.

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Hard act to follow coming on the heels of the epic Nightingales and Bombers BBTL serves up a real treat. My favourite Springsteen cover of the title track is incredible. Probably one of the cleverest songs ever written!!' Singing the Dolphins through' is the next track and this is co written by Mike Heron of Incredible String Band fame. It probably more different than any MMEB music previously and did set the trend for new directions. It is also an excellent track.' Waiter theres a yawn in my ear' ends side one and confirms how talented Mr. Mann is with his keyboards. A great instrumental. Side two starts with the wonderful ' Road to babylon' and Chris Thompsons vocals really come across well here. For me the next 3 songs ending in ' Questions' are OK but not worthy of a 5 point rating and therefore give this album 4 stars. It is a great album though and was released only one year after it's mighty predecessor which proves yet again how prolific bands were at the time without compromising the quality of output.
Review by Matti
3 stars MMEB was brought to my mind by Al Stewart's 'Nostradamus', a song they covered in Somewhere in Afrika, which I heard as a kid. Only lately having found them to be considered as prog I borrowed with curiosity MMEB's most succesful album. Hmm, the singer Chris Thompson has a good rock voice, the sound (in which Mann's keyboards are most crucial) is good. I think this music comes closer to American 70's rock than British prog of the time, and those Springsteen covers are not the only reason to think so.

The prog elements make some songs very enjoyable ('The Road To Babylon' and 'Starbird' - which owes much to Stravinsky's Firebird finale). The bands that come to my mind are ARGENT and AMBROSIA. Maybe Greenslade too. But on the whole this sounds irritatingly American and quite commercial to me. I don't much like the stupidly titled instrumental ('Waiter...') or 'Singing The Dolphin Through', in which the high "dink, dink" keyboard strokes make me almost sick. For the best moments in the album I give 3*.

Review by Blacksword
3 stars A slow grower, but not to be dismissed as middle of the road 70's pop/rock rubbish. The Roaring Silence is a slick album. The compositions are rich in melody, and the standard consistently high throughout. The production too, is polished and quite ahead of its time (1976) The album opens with a cover of Springsteens 'Blinded by the Light';a full length version. I have this album on vinyl.If you get the CD, you'll get the single version of 'BBTL' as a bonus track. 'Singing the dolphins through' is a deceptive piece of music. My initial reaction to it was, why bother? But like many parts of this album it grows on you over time. Sometimes the best albums are like that, and dont knock you out straight away. 'Waiter there's a yawn in my ear' is the instrumental that closes side one on the vinyl version. Despite the ridiculous title, this is a great piece of music. Manfred Mann plays some cool Moog licks here, but dont expect explosive Rick Wakemen-esqe keyboard flurries. Thats not really Manfreds style, and I was left dissapointed by his work on the 'Solar Fire' album. But he makes up for it here. He seems to like bending the notes in his solos; a trademark that I find a little irritating at times, but he does it less on TRS. 'The Road to Babylon' opens side 2, with a prelude of 'fake' Gregorian chant which sets the atmosphere perfectly. This is perhaps my favourite track on the album. A tense, and slick track which allows vocalist Chris Thompson to show his full strengths. This was the guy who sung on Jeff Waynes War of the Worlds album. He sung the song 'Thunderchild' and his voice is unmistakable. I'm no expert on MMEB, but the Roaring Silence is a good place to start IMO. A consistent album of strong melodies, imaginitive compositions, and quirky lyrics. The sound may be a little too commercial for the hardened progger; it's the sort of sound that would set my teeth on edge sometimes, but MMEB seem to cunningly avoid the cliches that could have pushed this album into that category.
Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars One of the last great prog albums from the 70s, The Roaring Silence is often unfairly overlooked because of the "pop" factor of the Blinded By The Light hit single. But I think this is an outstanding album with some stunning playing and loads of great songs.

In fact, I'd say that The Roaring Silence contains some of Mann's best ever synth playing, and the new boys, vocalist Chris Thompson and guitarist Dave Flett both do a great job of replacing stalwart Mick Rogers. In fact Thompson is a distinctly stronger vocalist. Aside from the awesome Springsteen covers Blinded By The Light (which has two absolutely sensational guitar solos from Flett and a piano break that incorporates Chopsticks!) and the quirky clever Spirit In The Night, two songs particularly stand out. Questions is a truly heart-breaking search that has me "plunged into the depths of despair, while the Gates Of Babylon, from its traditional Babylon (a song I first heard on Don McLean's American Pie album!) intro and outro to the superb ominous entry and the awesome soloing is another of MMEB's greatest songs.

Starbird is yet another powerful track with a great "gregorian chant" feel to the vocal segment and some sizzling solos, while Waiter There's A Yawn In My Year is an outstanding prog instrumental that never bores despite being reasonably lengthy. The only two questionable tunes for me are Singing The Dolphin Through and This Side Of Paradise, both of which have melodies that are really too precious and twee for my taste. Yet even these pieces are redeemed by great instrumental work.

There is a polished feel to the music that does make it seem light years away from my favourite MMEB album The Solar Fire, but The Roaring Silence is still one hell of an album. ... 82% on the MPV scale

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I had been looking for this album and finally I got the re-master version sometime last year with relatively "expensive" price of US$ 18. Is it worth? Well, it depends. My chief reason was actually to have one great non-prog song featured in this album: "Road to Babylon". Uh . I loved this song during my teenage times as it has great basslines with bluesy nuance. I lost my cassette on this album so I did try to find the CD even though it was not my main priority. But the song really intrigue me to have the CD. So, is it worth to pay that much for a single song? Well, I just put it this way: if it does satisfy my needs, why not?

The song starts off with a nice female chants voicing: " By the waters of Babylon. We lay down and wept and Wept for these I am. We remember, we remember, we Remember these I am" and the music flows in very soft crescendo with solid basslines and keyboard plus drumming, followed with male voice :"A golden helmet blinded minds. Among ten thousand swords. Along the road to Babylon" .oh man .this part is really wonderful! The combination of male vocals and female choral section is another interesting part. The guitar solo during interlude is also stunning. You must try this track yourself and enjoy it.

There is one instrumental track that in fact it's good and can be considered as prog rock as well: "Waiter, There's A Yawn in My Ear". I love the guitar and its combination with keyboard work performed in this track. The other tracks are also good. "Blinded by The Light" that opens the album is a good classic rock track with stunning guitar. "Singing the Dolphin Through" is another good example as well. "Questions" was once a radio hit in Indonesia. Even now some classic rock bands still cover this song. Even though I never consider the band as prog band in my book, even the Road to Babylon song, but this is a good classic rock album to have. Keep on rockin' .!

Progressively yours, GW

"A golden ocean turned to fire. And burned ten thousand ships. Along the road to Babylon. / Golden dreamer touched the sky. Alone in empty silence. On the road to Babylon" - Manfred Mann's Earth Band

Review by b_olariu
4 stars Another goody from Mann. One of the best from them, no doubt. A trully magic numbers like Springsteen cover (again, maybe better than original) Blinded by the light, my fav from this album is The road to Babylon and almost instrumental one Starbird, the rest is above usual stuff in prog. Mann always has catchy tunes, he plays on keyboards like no one, he has an unique style. You can recognize from the first note you hear, that is Manfred Mann on keys. A great band, they were above average bands in the '70. All in all, a timeless album and a classic band, try it, worth every spin. 4 stars fore sure.
Review by chessman
4 stars I have the remastered version of this semi-classic album, although, for some reason, I never got round to buying it when it first came out, back in '76. I did, however, buy the famous single 'Blinded By The Light'. This track opens proceedings here, and it's the full length version in all its glory. Some superb guitar work from Flett, and some Supertramp style keyboards from Mann all contribute into making this an excellent song. For me, Chris Thompson is the best singer MMEB ever had. 'Singing The Dolphin Through' is a decent enough song, if a little light at times. You could imagine this song being performed in some sort of modern musical. It's a bit repetitive, but harmless enough. It is, though, probably my least favourite track on the album. Funnily enough, if you compare this album to their earlier releases, such as 'Solar Fire' and 'Messin', you'd swear at times this was a completely different band. Of course, they have a different singer and guitarist here, but the difference is also noticeable in the production, which is altogether slicker and more polished. That doesn't detract from the quality of the music however. 'Waiter, There's A Yawn In My Ear' is a rather wonderful jam, dominated by Mann's superb pitchbending and atmospheric playing, though there is some tasty guitar work too. Apparently, this track was recorded live, as there is some clapping at the end of it. 'The Road To Babylon' starts off with a sort of choir, before the song kicks in properly. The melody is quite majestic and Chris Slade's drumming is quite to the fore here. Dave Flett adds some nice wah wah in places, and Colin Pattenden's bass is also prominent. A good song, which ends abruptly. 'This Side Of Paradise' again has some nice guitar work from Flett, and some nice soloing from Mann. This is one of my favourite tracks on the album. There is quite a spacey feel to this song. 'Starbird' starts off with what sounds like a monk singing, alongside Thompson. Then a ferocious bass line kicks in, and some superb keyboard and guitar interplay follows. Apart from another brief burst of singing, this is basically an instrumental track, and it is reminiscent of The Flower Kings in a way. Finally, 'Questions' finishes off the original album. This slowish track boasts a fine vocal display from Thompson, and more great guitar from Flett, backed by some quiet but effective keyboards and unobtrusive percussion. 'Spirits Of The Night' is the first of the two bonus tracks. To my ears, the music here is not unlike Pink Floyd, though the vocals are more American in style. In some ways, his track is the most seventies sounding on the album, to my ears. Finally, the single version of 'Blinded By The Night' finishes off the album nicely. I am torn between three and four stars, but in the end I think it's just worth the four. Good album.
Review by Chicapah
3 stars While leisurely perusing the well-stocked PA site I came across this album and not only remembered that I have a pristine vinyl copy of the LP in my record collection but also that I had no clear recollection of what it sounded like. That situation was quickly resolved over a few days time. As far as I am able to recall there were two principal reasons for my purchasing the album back in '76. First, I (like millions of others at that time since it skyrocketed to #1 as a single) was enamored with the band's slick version of Bruce Springsteen's overlooked "Blinded by the Light." Second, the cover art is nothing short of fabulous with the wide open mouth where the ear hole should be on the front and the group's individual members presented in eye-catching relief on the back. I often bought LPs for the artwork alone and have never regretted it.

"Some brimstone baritone/anticyclone rolling stone/preacher from the east/says dethrone the Dictaphone/hit it in the funnybone/that's where they expect it least." Those are just some of the exquisite, subliminal lyrics from The Boss' "Blinded by the Light" that drew the populace into the album's opening song, as well as the energetic, prog-styled treatment that these guys gave it. Manfred's inspired organ and synthesizer work, Chris Thompson's distinctive vocal and Dave Flett's edgy, passionate guitar lead all added up to make this tune an irresistible radio hit worldwide. The idea of melding the verse and chorus into a round during the build up to the closing was a great stroke of genius, as well. "Singing the Dolphin Through" follows and it's an eclectic ditty with a very siren-like, beckoning hook line. It suffers a tad from a less-than-steady tempo but that might be a result of sloppy editing more than anything else. Singer Thompson's tinny guitar lead doesn't fit well at all but the track is rescued by the entrance of guest Barbara Thompson's saxophone solo that gets progressively ferocious and wild as the song fades out. The tune is definitely an odd duck but quite enjoyable overall.

The live recording of Mann's instrumental "Waiter, There's a Yawn in my Ear" is a surprisingly jazzy number that features some standout synthesizer moments and an interesting, dynamic arrangement. These musicians could play, no doubt. "The Road to Babylon" has some fine peaks but too many valleys to overcome the fact that it comes off rather contrived. It starts brilliantly, though, with female madrigal voices luring you in but soon it turns into a disappointing lite rock affair that suffers mightily from Flett's brittle guitar tone on the lead (Steve Howe he ain't). The tune cuts off abruptly and that makes me wonder why they didn't do that a lot earlier on this nearly 7-minute song, thus saving the listener from the excruciating solo that goes on and on.

Next comes the nondescript "This Side of Paradise" where the cool synthesizers are the only engaging asset. The obviously Stravinsky-influenced melody and impressive structure of "Starbird" is an unexpected treat. Chris and his backing vocalists are outstanding at the onset, then the tune takes a sharp left turn into a strangely-timed, speedy jam where a heated battle between the synthesizer and the two guitarists breaks out before the original melody tastefully works its way back up through the mix for the finale. If there's a track that should have been extended, this is the one. The album closes with a well-written rock ballad called "Questions." Drummer Chris Slade and Manfred penned a poignant little air here that features some admirable keyboards and a full chorale backing behind Thompson's vocal. Unfortunately they inject yet another unnecessarily harsh-toned guitar solo that rudely disturbs the peace but the simple, brief coda helps to restore some semblance of serenity.

To summarize, I'm glad I gave this forgotten LP some overdue listens. It ain't too shabby. Not many bands were putting out this kind of imaginative material in '76 when disco was starting to infect the airwaves and that's a plus. They also shined a light on the gifted songwriting talents of Mr. Springsteen, demonstrating that he was more than just a New Jersey rocker born to run. These boys, indeed, turned an even larger audience "on, sonny, to something strong." 2.7 stars.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars The band already shown his great ability to perform great cover songs ("Father Of Day.").

And they shine on brightly during "Blinded By The Light". A great cover from a Springsteen song. This is of course not their first great cover song (remember "Father of Day."), nor the first great song written by Bruce which will have a fabulous interpretation. "Because The Night" of Patti Smith" is another one. But I love her so much! A great, great lady my friends.

How deep a song can get you.But in terms of Patti, I am totally biased (but I have written this already several times). Let's get down to earth with this album if you don't mind.

Great guitar breaks during "Questions" are nothing than but normal in MMEB's work. But don't expect lots better (and in between, you have suffered a song as "Singing The Dolphin Through").

This album is not bad but if you would compare it to their masterpiece, it is of course difficult to imagine that the same band was responsible for these same tracks. Good guitar (as usual), pleasant melodies. But such a lack of originality when compared to "Solar Fire".

The music is pleasant and I admit that "The Road To Babylon" deserves some attention. It is definitely one of the good songs from this album. Nothing to write home about; but pleasant and much, much better than anything lelse here. "This Side Of Paradise" is closer to hell if you see what I mean. Very poor indeed and fortunately, a song as "Starbird" as well as "Waiter, There's A Yawn In My Ear" are welcome and save this album.

Still, the music I liked form Mann is all gone. What's left here is not too bad, but there are not too many feelings expressed here. Just a collection of average tunes. Really.

Five out of out ten. Upgraded to three stars. But so far from their great "Solar Fire".

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Here is one example of a tune that just does it pretty much unanimously for every color of progger, whether into complex RIO/zeuhl /experimental or the more commercial symphonic/neo cousin. From the opening notes of "Blinded by the Light", it appears clear that a great story will be told, full of vivid imagery and majestic musical delivery and who better than the cover dude himself Manfred Mann to supply the goods. With the equally Springsteen-penned "Spirits in the Night" off the previous "Bombers & Nightingales", it becomes obvious that our South African keyboard wizard knows how to imprint his style on folk/blues based songs whether written by the Boss or Bob Dylan. New vocalist Chris Thompson delivers a sizzling vocal from the get go, with Mann's spiraling Moog weaving memorable magic, wobbly crescendo and all. "She's gonna make it thru the night" ushers in a shimmeringly sensitive guitar solo by Dave Flett (no slouch as he is quite similar in tone to the fabulous Mick Rogers), full of effects and mist, rousing the deepest emotions, sustaining the drama. "Mama that's where the fun is" recoils with some infantile piano and a second run through that now exhilarates. What else can be said, a classic tune. "Singing the Dolphin Through": after a brief innocuous vocal, the synthesizers are combined with the trademark female backing vocals, taking this arrangement into conventional Mike Heron territories, frankly not my favorite track here even the guitar work (here handled by Thompson) is average without any hint of magic or genius. Barbara Thompson's sax solo at the end is good but nothing hair-raising. "Questions" is an average mid-tempo ballad that has some fine guitar and keyboard work on it but little more. The vocal is impassioned but ultimately there are no thrills here. "The Road to Babylon", now we are getting somewhere, as the divine counterpoint female choir ushers in waves of mellotron, marshalling the bass and drums along, the vocal is impressively astute and there is some all around fine playing by the crew. Dave Flett in particular lets a few sizzling solos rip with heavy wah-wah use (no problem for me , love that pedal) and unleashes a myriad of emotions from his fret board and gently fades away while the misty choir theme is reprised again, rekindling the opening verse and chorus for another round! Great track and the next one acts like a segue "This Side of Paradise" giving Manfred the opportunity to let his chops show with a plethora of zipping Moog solos that are both vibrant and creative. Dave tosses in his own little 6 string ditties, with bassist Pattenden and drummer Slade keeping the tension alive and the rhythmic embers aglow. "Starbird" has some multiple vocals entwined in a driving piece where the boys can start getting silly on their instruments, stretching out as much as possible. Both guitarists and Manfred trade off blazing insanities, certainly a tad of overt chopzilla here but hey, they are good to do it. "Waiter, There's A Yawn in my Ear "is a platform for Manfred to unleash some of his creative soloing, recorded live with studio overdubs and proves what an immense innovator this mann (Sic!) was on synthesizer and why he is regarded as one of the finest electronic note benders of his generation. I actually love this track, full of wild passion and exalted musicality. Total up the scores, our panel has the results and I have the envelope : this is half genius (4 wow tracks) and the other half pretty ho- hum. But what an opener! Get Solar Fire and Bombers first , then this one. 3.5 Silent roars
Review by SouthSideoftheSky
4 stars The Roaring Earth (Band)

I really like this album! I think it is the best and most progressive one from Manfred Mann's Earth Band. The Roaring Silence is a very consistent album, all the songs fits very well together to constitute a unified whole; the songs are all very well written (Blinded By the Light is a cover of a Bruce Springsteen song, but - as always with the Earth Band - it is very different from the original). The vocals of Chris Thompson are very good and in some moments remind me of Bono from U2. The keyboards are great and very distinctively Mann, the guitar work is very good and the drums and bass are also good; nothing to complain about here! The album is also very well recorded and produced and it has a great sound.

Overall, the guitar and keyboard solos are all valid and relevant and never meandering and directionless as on some earlier Earth Band albums; they are focused and fit well into the context of the songs. The solos have never been so well integrated within the songs an Earth Band album before. Still, the instrumental parts of this album play a very large role as opposed to on some later albums.

The keyboards are varied with electric piano, grand piano and synthesizers playing large roles in the sound. The electric pianos have the same sound as on Supertramp's albums.

Blinded By The Light needs no introduction, I think. The second song, Singing The Dolphin Through, is the one I like the least on the album. It features good guitar work and good vocals, but it is a bit too long. It could easily have been shortened by a couple of minutes. It ends with a rather wild sax solo. However, it doesn't distract too much from my overall enjoyment of this album. Is this song a cover song by the way? I don't know. It is credited to someone named Heron.

Questions is the first really great song of the album. It features grand piano and very melodious guitar solos. Being a bit of a (semi-)ballad, this song is a bit untypical of the Earth Band, I would say. The great Road To Babylon is as symphonic as Manfred Mann's Earth Band ever got - it features a female choir to great effect! Starbird also have great vocal harmonies that remind me of Gentle Giant, but more down to earth. This Side Of Paradise features keyboards that has the typical Neo Prog sound.

Some parts of Waiter, There Is A Yawn In My Ear remind me of Refugee (a short-lived band with Patrick Moraz and some former members of The Nice). Yet other parts of this song are more in the Jazz-Rock vein. You could say that this last song of the album is the Los Endos of The Roaring Silence (Los Endos is the instrumental that closes Genesis' brilliant album A Trick Of The Tale). Apparantly, however, Waiter, There Is A Yawn In My Ear was not the last track on the original release. But I think the album runs better with this song as its closer.

Highly recommended!

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I still remember with nostalgia my years of childhood when didn't had an idea what Prog was, singing happily with my pals in the school band "Madman drummers bummers and Indians in the summer with a teenage diplomat" , and fighting with the complex arrangements, but the effort was worth, it was the Nº 1 song, and if we were able to play it in the Spring festival we most surely would win the contest, but at the end three bands selected the same song...This proves how big was "Blinded by the Light" in Perú.

Several years later (Like 20) when joined Internet found that MANFRED MANN & THE EARTH BAND were mentioned everywhere with respect, that the version of the album was twice the size of the one on the old 45 Rpm, that it was obviously a Prog track, despite having been written by The Boss and that we were not talking about a one hit wonder as we believed here.

The first thing I did was buy "The Roaring Silence" and even when all the songs are not in the same level, is still a very good release that I enjoy playing frequently, so lets go to the album.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN'S "Blinded by the Light" opens "The Roaring Silence", but you can't find any musical reference to The Boss unless you read the credits, because this is a total different thing. A brilliant catchy opening with amazing keyboards and outstanding vocals that captures the most demanding listener from the first instant with multitude of changes, a mysterious atmosphere but still catchy enough for everybody to enjoy it.

Probably this excellent song topped the charts because the single version was shorter and stopped during the instruments break in the middle when the really complex part begins, with a guitar - keyboards spacey atmosphere simply brilliant and at the end, a fabulous vocal work with polyphonic vocals and chorus, one of the finest tracks in Rock history.

"Singing the Dolphin Through" starts softer with a nice female chorus that blends perfectly with Chris Hamlet Thompson's leading voice, the song appears to be soft calmed and simple but in the background the guitar arrangements and keyboards make a very elaborate work with the strings and horn, as in the previous track the vocals play a very important role along the track, which may not have the radical changes of "Blinded by the Light" but is a very strong song.

"Questions" is a nice and simpler track with beautiful piano but overall Manfred Mann does an outstanding job with the Mellotron that melts with the chorus, very nice, even when not in the level of the previous tracks.

In "The Road to Babylon" the band begins with a wonderful polyphonic Medieval polyphonic chorus enhanced again with Mellotron waves until the drums lead the rest of the band into a very elaborate and interesting passage that reminds me of the best works by ALAN PARSONS PROJECT, but in no way I would suggest a copy, because both albums are coetaneous. The guitar solos by Dave Flett are perfect to create a contrast between the Medieval and contemporary, excellent song.

"This side of the Paradise" is the weakest track of the album, not bad "per se" but seems out of place in the album, too funky and the keyboards sound like the most cheesy ones Rick Wakeman would use a couple years later, not so bad to press the skip button, but surely bellow the level.

A couple years ago I was listening the album in the car and a friend who knows very little of Prog (Less about Classical), told me "Hey this is the song that YES played before the concert", had to tell him it was part of a Ballet by Igor Stravinsky for which the song takes the name "Firebird", after the laughs we both enjoyed the outstanding track, my favorite after the opener, with brilliant keyboard and guitar interplay that as a fact reminds me of YES by moments but much faster, impressive song, even when too short.

I believe the CD editors made well when they switched "Waiter, There's a Yawn in my Ear" with "Questions" as the closer, because this track is a very strong closer, experimental, ambitious with some pompous moments and overall a great bass performance by Colin Pattenden, another high moment in the album.

Despite all the memories and nostalgia "the Roaring Silence" brings to me, I can't rate it with 5 stars because there are better albums by several Prog bands, but without doubt is a great addition for any Progressive Rock Collection that I refuse to rate with less than 4 stars, even when 3.5 would be more accurate.

Review by ClemofNazareth
4 stars There was a lot going on with the Earth Band around the time they recorded 'The Roaring Silence', much of it possibly lost on fans that (like me) only discovered the band with this album even though they had been around for several years prior and released six earlier albums and five minor hit singles between 1971 and 1976. Several factors converged to make this arguably the finest album Manfred Mann and his band mates ever put together. Most notably lead vocalist and guitarist Mick Rogers departed the band following the 'Nightingales & Bombers' release, a mutual decision resulting from his almost obsessive interest in Frank Zappa and desire to take the band in an avant jazz direction. In replacing Rogers, Mann expanded the band to a quintet by recruiting vocalist Chris Thompson and guitarist Dave Flett. Between them Thompson and Flett had prior experience in such luminary groups as the Central Park Reunion, Hillberry Walker and the Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band. In other words, Mann took a huge chance on a couple of unknowns. Based on the success of this album it seems that gamble paid off. It didn't hurt that Thompson was a Bruce Springsteen fan, something that surely endeared him to Mann and likely added a measure of enthusiasm to the recording of the seminal Springsteen cover 'Blinded by the Light' that launched the band into international stardom in late 1976. Mann also ensured the group had a chance to become familiar with each other and the band's music (including several songs on this album) by embarking on short U.S. and UK tours prior to entering the studio.

Mann also appears to have spent a bit of time studying the production habits of some of his contemporaries, including it seems Alan Parsons, Jeff Lynne and Godley & Creme. There is more than a little in the new album's sound that points to Alan Parsons Project, Electric Light Orchestra and 10CC in the arrangements and especially the accompaniment on this record. The choral backing on 'Blinded by the Light', 'Road to Babylon' and 'Starbird' almost sound as if they were lifted directly from a 10CC studio session, while the blending of synth keyboards and screaming guitar licks would have made Alan Parsons proud in the years before he started taking himself too seriously. And while I wouldn't compare much of this music to ELO, Mann's ability to work pop melodies into what is basically keyboard- dominated music is something Jeff Lynne made a career of, so they had that in common anyway.

The showpiece here is the band's opening cover of 'Blinded by the Light' from Springsteen's debut album. As with so many other covers Mann manages to deliver something better than the original, in this case by applying his production skill to a song that was not much more than an afterthought when Springsteen penned it for 'Greetings from Asbury Park N.J.'. Like Kansas' 'Dust in the Wind' this was a last-minute addition to that album and although it became the first single for Springsteen his version didn't make any impression on the music public. Mann's version is considerably more upbeat, energetic and full of musical layers including a toe-tapping and persistent keyboard riff, an extended instrumental bridge and luscious backing vocals throughout. It also contains perhaps the most misquoted lyrics of any modern tune, ranking up there with Elton John's 'Rocket Man' and Bowie's 'Diamond Dogs'. But despite all that the song became an international #1 hit and a lasting classic that graces the FM airwaves even today.

I never took much to 'Singing the Dolphins Through' back when this album was new, probably because it 'Blinded' was such a tough act to follow but also because the damn thing made no sense whatsoever (and still doesn't). Is this about a child caught between feuding parents? Is it about sailing into the sunset? Maybe a drug reference? Who knows. The original was penned by Mike Heron of Incredible String Band fame while the band was still nominally active but well past their prime. Heron had formed his own band and released a sophomore album titled 'Mike Heron's Reputation' that showcases his slightly bluesy pub-rock roots. The original is rather laconic and uninspired, but once again Mann found something to like and managed to turn it into a serviceable number thanks to easy-flowing guitar and keyboard passages and crisp female backing vocals. Heron's version had female backing too, but they sounded more like stoned hippies compared to the professional crooning of the Chanter sisters.

Mann's arrangement and keyboard playing on the instrumental 'Waiter, There's a Yawn in My Ear' sound all the world like something Alan Parsons would have put out in the mid- seventies, and had I heard this one on his 'Instrumental Works' CD next to 'Mammagamma' I really wouldn't have known the difference.

'Road to Babylon' was one of the tunes the new Earth Band lineup debuted on their tour prior to the album's release, and I've read the working title then was 'Well, Well, Well'. 'Road to Babylon' is a much more appropriate title, and here again the slowly building lead- in of keyboards, guitar and finally bass opening up to Thompson's lead vocals with layers of backing voices is something that smacks a lot of Alan Parsons. I always liked this song and thought it balanced the more pop nature of 'Blinded' quite well. Flett's guitar playing on 'Babylon' is possibly the finest on the album and Colin Pattenden's bass really grounds the mood well. Next to 'Blinded' this is the strongest track on the album.

The rest of the album kind of wanes after a strong opening quartet of songs. 'This Side of Paradise' has some interesting synth noodling but the guitar and bass are fairly restrained and the whole thing smacks of an attempt at a second single that never materialized. 'Starbird' has a weird a capella opening that explodes into a jamming keyboard/guitar foray that may or may not have been scripted, a solid enough song but not on par with the better parts of the album.

The closing 'Questions' is the slowest number on the album and a no-brainer for inclusion in live shows. I can almost see the ocean of lighters waving in the night even now.

'The Roaring Silence' marked the pinnacle of success for Manfred Mann's Earth Band, and despite a couple of average tracks it has held up quite well over the years. The band would never again reach the heights they achieved with this album in 1976, but considering so many progressive bands of their day never managed to put together even one outstanding album I'd have to say that this was a pretty good legacy to leave. Easily a four (out of five) star effort, and an album that definitely belongs in the collection of any prog or art rock fan.


Latest members reviews

4 stars The Boariang Silence" in my scale from MANFRED MANN be in second place ( not so far from the first place - "Solar Fire ) . The first track "Blinded by the light" is a good instrumental and vocal piece with two highlights: the phased guitar solo and the vocal counterpoint in the end of track. Tra ... (read more)

Report this review (#1614397) | Posted by maryes | Friday, September 23, 2016 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The emotional solos of Mick Rodgers' are missed, and I always liked his voice a lot, but Dave Flett and Chris Hamlet Thompson are just as good, but in very different worlds. This is appropriate, since the band had already started to change their sound a bit with Nightingales and Bombers. Thi ... (read more)

Report this review (#478323) | Posted by 7headedchicken | Thursday, July 7, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is a fabulous brew of high quality, eclectic music. The well known "Blinded By The Light" was my main reason for purchasing the album. I was soon attracted by the terrific lyrics as well as the music in the song. "Singing The Dolphin Through" took me some time to appreciate. It's actually ... (read more)

Report this review (#349639) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Saturday, December 11, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Blinded by the Light: This song, being only around 1000x better sounding, better performed, better music than the original, is the song everyone knows but is only the second best. Singing the Dolphin Through: Good thought, not so great music. A little lengthy for the uh, goodness, of the song. ... (read more)

Report this review (#101358) | Posted by rekabat | Friday, December 1, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Just about the most successful of the Earth Band's 70s albums. Previous guitarist Mick Rogers left and was replaced by two people, Chris Thompson on vocals/guitar and Dave Flett on guitar. This proved to be the catalyst for renewed creativity and there are some tremendous songs. Blinded by ... (read more)

Report this review (#91319) | Posted by jimpetrie2000 | Saturday, September 23, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Well, it's a matter of tastes... Sometime happens... Several good reviews convinced me to buy this cd... Total disappointment... Typical mid '70 poppy,uninspired production... Even a cover of a B. Springsteeen song. Too much for me... ... (read more)

Report this review (#27921) | Posted by | Tuesday, November 9, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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