Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

MAN

Psychedelic/Space Rock • United Kingdom


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Man picture
Man biography
Founded in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, UK in 1968 - Disbanded in 1976 - Reformed in 1983 - Still active as of 2019

MAN formed in the Swansea area of Wales from the ashes of the mid 60s harmony pop outfit, The Bystanders, and another local band The Dream. The two fused together, and became a more progressive outfit, signing to Pye Records. Their debut album, 'Revelation', being a fully fledged concept album. However, this gained little momentum and they shifted to Pye's 'progressive' imprint Dawn for the more experimental '2 Ozs of Plastic With A Hole In The Middle'. This made about the same amount of impact, and they changed labels entirely for their third eponymous album that was released on Liberty. Rather typically by now, this also didn't exactly set the world alight.

It was only when they signed to United Artists, which had re-established itself as a prominent prog label at this time. A run of very popular albums started from 'Do You Like It Here Now? Are You Setlling In' in 1971 through to the live album 'Maximum Darkness' in 1975. However, again their fortunes started to dwindle and after a few less successful albums for MCA they split. However, a short term reunion in 1983, and another in the early 90s which has continued to this day, has kept the band alive, despite the fact that pretty much every album has never featured the same line up twice!! Nowadays the band is led by the bass player Martin Ace, who has been an on/off member since around 1970.

Their best work is represented by '2 0zs Of Plastic With A Hole In The Middle', 'Be Good To Yourself At Least Once A Day' and 'Rhinos Winos and Lunatics'. The first two represent space rock at its best, and the latter one shows a more structured approach yet some of their finest songwriting is on that album. However, space rock fiends cannot go wrong with their original 1969-1977 run of albums.

Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
MAN define the 'space rock' genre as much as bands like NEKTAR or HAWKWIND do; from 1969 through to 1977 they were one of the most consistently excellent progressive acts in Wales, and are possibly the most famous progressive rock act from Wales even to this day.

See also: HELP YOURSELF

Discography:

Studio & Live Albums:
1969 Revelation
1969 Two Ozs Of Plastic With A Hole In The Middle
1971 Do You Like It Here No...
read more

MAN forum topics / tours, shows & news


MAN forum topics Create a topic now
MAN tours, shows & news Post an entries now

MAN Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Search and add more videos to MAN

Buy MAN Music



More places to buy MAN music online Buy MAN & Prog Rock Digital Music online:

MAN discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

MAN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.08 | 53 ratings
Revelation
1969
3.40 | 53 ratings
2 Ozs Of Plastic With A Hole In The Middle
1969
3.07 | 66 ratings
Man
1971
3.92 | 78 ratings
Do You Like It Here Now, Are You Settling In?
1971
3.89 | 78 ratings
Be Good To Yourself At Least Once A Day
1972
3.88 | 77 ratings
Back Into The Future
1973
3.78 | 59 ratings
Rhinos, Winos And Lunatics
1974
3.22 | 51 ratings
Slow Motion
1974
3.65 | 44 ratings
The Welsh Connection
1976
3.15 | 13 ratings
The Twang Dynasty
1992
2.93 | 11 ratings
Call Down The Moon
1995
2.20 | 11 ratings
Endangered Species
2000
2.96 | 8 ratings
Undrugged
2002
2.20 | 10 ratings
Diamonds And Coal
2006
2.45 | 11 ratings
Kingdom Of Noise
2009
3.06 | 14 ratings
Reanimated Memories
2015
3.00 | 4 ratings
Anachronism Tango
2019

MAN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.23 | 22 ratings
Live At The Padget Rooms Penarth
1972
3.87 | 26 ratings
Maximum Darkness
1975
3.04 | 7 ratings
Live In London 1975
1975
3.14 | 7 ratings
All's Well That Ends Well
1977
3.17 | 5 ratings
Friday 13th
1983
3.19 | 8 ratings
Live At The 'Rainbow' 1972
1990
3.05 | 3 ratings
Live At Reading '83
1993
3.09 | 7 ratings
BBC Radio One Live in Concert
1993
4.03 | 3 ratings
1994 Official Bootleg
1995
2.25 | 5 ratings
Greasy Truckers Party
1997
1.36 | 2 ratings
To Live For To Die
1997
3.10 | 2 ratings
The 1999 Party Tour
1998
3.50 | 4 ratings
1998 At The Star Club
1998
5.00 | 1 ratings
Down Town Live
2002
3.10 | 2 ratings
Man Alive
2003

MAN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

MAN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.67 | 3 ratings
Twice
1972
4.00 | 3 ratings
Golden Hour Of Man
1973
5.00 | 2 ratings
Green Fly
1986
4.05 | 2 ratings
Perfect Timing (The U.A. Years: 1970 - 1975)
1991
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Early Years
1994
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Dawn Of Man
1997
5.00 | 1 ratings
Rare Man
1999
4.00 | 3 ratings
The Pye Collection
2000
3.00 | 1 ratings
3 Decades Of Man - The Best Of The 70's, 80's & 90's
2000
4.00 | 1 ratings
Many Are Called But Few Get Up
2001
3.10 | 2 ratings
And in the Beginning (The Complete Early Man 1968-69)
2004
0.00 | 0 ratings
The History Of Man - The Evolution Of The Legendary Welsh Rock Band
2005
3.31 | 4 ratings
Keep On Crinting: The Liberty/UA Years Anthology (1971-75)
2006
0.00 | 0 ratings
Sixty Minutes With
2007

MAN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Erotica / Sudden Life
1968
0.00 | 0 ratings
Sudden Life / Love
1969
0.00 | 0 ratings
Erotica / Don't Just Stand There
1969
0.00 | 0 ratings
Erotica / Love
1969
0.00 | 0 ratings
Erotica / Love / Puella! Puella! / Empty Room
1969
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Storm
1969
0.00 | 0 ratings
Daughter Of The Fireplace / Country Girl
1971
0.00 | 0 ratings
Don't Go Away / Back Into The Future
1974
0.00 | 0 ratings
Day And Night / Hard Way To Live
1974
0.00 | 0 ratings
California Silks And Satins / The Thunder And Lightning Kid
1974
0.00 | 0 ratings
Taking The Easy Way Out Again / California Silks And Satins
1974
0.00 | 0 ratings
Rainbow Eyes / Day And Night
1975
0.00 | 0 ratings
Out Of Your Head / I'm A Love Taker
1976
0.00 | 0 ratings
Bananas
1976
0.00 | 0 ratings
What A Night / Last Birthday Party
1984

MAN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Revelation by MAN album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.08 | 53 ratings

BUY
Revelation
Man Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Psychedelic Paul

4 stars MAN, Oh Man! Where do we begin with such a prolific band of Welsh boyos whose long history stretches back over half a century in the vast kingdom of prog? Well, let's begin by travelling back in time to 1968 and the early Dawn of MAN in the lovely mining town of Merthyr Tydfil, deep in the heart of South Wales. MAN's remarkably long career has had more ups and downs than a whore's drawers and amazingly, they're still going strong well into the 21st Century with seventeen studio albums to their credit and with their latest album released as recently as 2019. MAN blasted off into orbit with their first Space Rock album "Revelation" in early 1969, which caused more controversy than a pregnant nun by featuring a simulated orgasm on the song "Erotica" (which was subsequently banned in the UK), long before Madonna struck a pose in her conical bra over two decades later with her sultry song and album of the same name. The Ascent of MAN continued with their second album, the comically-titled "2 Ozs Of Plastic With A Hole In The Middle", released in late 1969. That was followed by a string of seven back- to-back studio albums recorded during the 1970's, up until the release of "The Welsh Connection" in 1976, when MAN disconnected shortly afterwards and went their separate ways due to the age-old band problem of "artistic differences". The band reformed with a new line-up in the 1980's and released their comeback album "The Twang Dynasty" in 1992, with a further seven albums and an ever-revolving door of line-up changes taking us right up to the present day with the release of "Anachronism Tango" in 2019. MAN are arguably one of the best bands ever to emerge from Wales and they've endured almost as long as Doctor Who's TARDIS, so let's travel back through Time and Relative Dimension in Space now to the genesis of MAN-kind and delve into the secrets of "Revelation".

BOOM!! Apocalypse Now! "And in the Beginning" opens ominously to the apocalyptic sound of an atomic explosion, followed by a distant lonely organist, playing what sounds like a feeble budget-priced Bontempi organ. The haunting music conjures up a stark and forbidding image of an irradiated desolate landscape - similar to a typical day during the coronavirus lockdown - where the chances of coming across another living person are about as remote as finding a moderate member of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Mullah Lite, perhaps? It's not all doom and gloom though, as there's some Man-sized prog on the way. Forget the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. These are the Five Welshmen of Man, and they're charging right at you with all guns blazing. Take a look at the powerful message contained within these portentous lyrics:- "The ageless face of time, Smiles carefree and is gone, And in its wake leaves nothing, Save future yet to come, And out of fire and time, A world is born and lives, A world still young and virgin, Its face yet to be scarred, And they created man." ..... This Psychedelic/Space Rock extravaganza is a real blast! The music features a triumphal marching rhythm with some hippyish Good Vibrations from the spaced-out psychedelic guitarist. There's also a sombre organ and spoken word passage thrown in for good measure too, giving the music a sense of added drama and gravitas - just like the newsreader back in 1969 who had to keep a seriously straight face when he announced that the Vietnamese villages of Phuoc Me and Ban Me Tuat had just been bombed by the American airforce. Maybe the newsreader had a few choice words of his own for his news-team after being given that particular story to read out.

Bursting onto the scene now is "Sudden Life", a quite extraordinary two-part song that opens as a basic British Blues number with a pounding rhythmic 4/4 beat, but then goes completely off the rails - a bit like this album review - and descends into a Crazy Train acid trip to hell and back. The music's crazier than rats in the attic nibbling on a diet of Bananas, Fruitcake and Nuts, not to mention the maniacal singer who sounds like he's away with the fairies in a straitjacket. The men in white coats are coming to take him away, Ha-haaa! Next, we hear the long-drawn-out echoing cry of H-E-L-L-O-O-O from a man in an "Empty Room", which just happens to be the title of the third song on the album, appropriately enough. On the contrary though, it turns out "Empty Room" is a fabulous Full House of scintillating Psychedelic Rock in the style of Jefferson Airplane and Big Brother & the Holding Company, with the male vocalist sounding remarkably like a curious cross between Janis Joplin and Grace Slick on this tripping flower-power song. Maybe he was wearing an extra-tight pair of trousers on that particular day to help him reach those really high notes. The band have come up trumps again with straight Aces in this psychedelic freak-out. It's time now for some gloriously pompous prog with the anthemic sound of "Puella! Puella!" (Latin for "Girl! Girl!"). There are no lyrics as such, but there's some wonderful choral harmonising to be heard from the five-piece Welsh choir of Man. Wow, Oh Wow! They're so incredible! This band of boyos have enough awesome vocal power between them to fill an entire cathedral. This tremendous album of classic Proto-Prog is turning out to be just as reliable and dependable as a 200- year-old Volkswagen Beetle that starts up first time after being found abandoned in a sea cave. Remember Woody Allen's "Sleeper" movie?

Turn the lights down low now, because we're getting in a smoochy lovey-dovey mood for some deep and meaningful "Love", a lilting melancholic refrain with the lovelorn heart-broken singer in full romantic balladeer mode, so get those Man-sized tissues at the ready. Listen out again for the very occasional, helium-induced, high-pitched vocals, which brings to mind the Hee Bee Gee Bees classic, "Meaningless Songs in Very High Voices". And now we come to the positively orgasmic and orgiastic "Erotica", a song with more gasps and groans than an Emmanuelle movie, or a Wimbledon tennis tournament. It's steamier than a Joan Collins movie, or a bodice-ripping Jackie Collins novel. It's easy to see why "Erotica" was banned in Britain in the not so permissive sixties, although having a song banned in the U.K never did the Sex Pistols or Frankie Goes to Hollywood any harm. This rather racy and risque tune is hotter than Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin's lustful "Je T'Aime" and Donna Summer's extended 12-inch "Love to Love You Baby" put together. The manic musical Viagra of "Erotica" is an unrestrained psychedelic organ and guitar jamboree from beginning to end, although it doesn't quite reach the zany level of insanity of Aphrodite's Child's "Infinity", which has to be a good thing. And so, after that hot and steamy love-fest of amorous fun and frolics, it's time for a cold shower now.

Onto Side Two now and the "Blind Man" is leading the way. It's a two-part song, beginning with a rabble-rousing burst of boogie-woogie piano, but then plunging into a dark mournful tale of loneliness and despair with these plaintive, emotionally- wrought lyrics:- "From my window in the alley I see life, Passing below, So very far away, And it doesn't really matter much to me, I've nothing to think of, No words to say, And the only answer seems to be that life, Is lying there waiting, To take my life away." ..... This impassioned song is a real tearjerker with the powerfully-emotive singer pouring out his heart and soul in this suicidal tale, that's even sadder than being a member of an N-SYNC tribute band. Onto a real album highlight now with "And Castles Rise in Children's Eyes", a classically-inspired prog-tastic spectacular - featuring some heavenly harmonisation - that's built around the grandiose majesty and splendour of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1, and it doesn't come much grander than that! It's time for some heavy Heavy Prog, as storming into view right now is "Don't Just Stand There (Come in Out of the Rain)", a non-stop artillery barrage of sonic nirvana and pounding machine-gun percussion. This tremendously-rousing Top Gun music is as awe-inspiring as a screaming F-14 Tom-Cat - piloted by Tom Cruise - swooping down on Biggles down below in his sputtering Sopwith Camel. And now for something completely different: "Missing Pieces", a manic melange of chaotic noises that sounds crazier than a Monty Python sketch, or as mad as a March Hare at the Mad Hatter's tea party. It's probably best to skip this wacky "song" altogether and move onto "The Future Hides It's Face" which brings us right back to where we started from with the tinny sound of the Bontempi organ featured in the introduction again. We're at Mission Control in Houston in 1969 for this spectacular out-of-this-world Space Rock extravaganza as we blast off into orbit with actual recordings from the Apollo missions. The Eagle Has Landed!

In the beginning, God created Man, and Man created Prog, and it was Good..... Man have blasted off into Space Rock heaven with their dazzling debut album of psychedelic Proto-Prog. It's one small step for Man, one giant leap for Prog-kind!

 Do You Like It Here Now, Are You Settling In? by MAN album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.92 | 78 ratings

BUY
Do You Like It Here Now, Are You Settling In?
Man Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by WFV

3 stars I understand this group being on here but I'd say this is more mainstream rock than pure prog. I like the description hippie prog I read in one of the reviews and they really remind me of the songs I've heard from the somewhat contemporary band Phish. I really like this album and I think this is the first of four good listening records from this Welsh product. These guys are creative and really don't sound like anyone out there during their heyday. Angel Easy and Many are Called but Few Get Up are highlights for me.

I can pull this out every year or so and be entertained

 Slow Motion by MAN album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.22 | 51 ratings

BUY
Slow Motion
Man Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Progfan97402
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Not my favorite from Man, in fact it's my least favorite. I don't know what happened, but this came out just six months after Rhinos, Whinos and Lunatic, and that was a rather good album, so I really felt Slow Motion was a letdown. I dig the Mad Magazine spoof (you can see a bit of Alfred E. Neuman's face on the upper left hand corner). Seems that Rick Griffin did the artwork, same guy responsible for the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and Quicksilver Messenger Service at the Fillmore West posters, and naturally, the Dead's Aoxomoxoa. He also designed the Neutrons band logo (as they were a Man spinoff), and even the Man logo for Maximum Darkness. I really found much of the material on Slow Motion didn't do much for me. The psychedelic and prog elements seemed to have evaporated, and same for any decent jams, so what on earth went wrong? Not one song left an impression on me, unlike the much superior Rhinos album. Call me strange, but I found their next studio album (and their last for some time), The Welsh Connection a much more enjoyable album, even if it has a reputation as being one of their worst 1970s albums (which I can't agree on). The following album to Slow Motion, Maximum Darkness was also a giant improvement, but to be fair it was live, which had them performing previously released material, plus a cover of a Buffy Ste. Marie song. To me, I give Slow Motion a pass. Love the Mad Magazine spoof, that's about it
 Man by MAN album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.07 | 66 ratings

BUY
Man
Man Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Progfan97402
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I know that Man was frequently of a divided personality, and I can generally lay blame on the band members who appear to have conflicting tastes, it's little wonder it's a miracle if they keep the same lineup for more than one album, kinda like Hawkwind (who also happened to share the same label, and even billing with them at one time). At least Hawkwind has been pretty consistent in what they done, you know what to expect. With Man, it's obvious that they're divided by blues, country, and '50s favored rock and rollers, and extended proggy and psychedelic piece, on the same album, no less, so it does make for a jarring experience, and nothing shows that more than their third album, a self-entitled album from 1971 on Liberty. This album was the first to bring in drummer Terry Williams, who, in the 1980s, found his fame and fortune in Dire Straits (he joined in 1982 just right after Love Over Gold came out). The album starts with "Romain", which apparently death with police treatment in Belgium, it's a blues-oriented rocker. This doesn't sound too encouraging. Worst is the next song, "Country Girl". Here they go all country on us, complete with pedal steel guitar, from Deke Leonard. What were they trying to do here? Get on the Grand Ole Opry? But then they take a drastic turn in direction, to my relief, for the next song, "Would the Christians Wait Five Minutes? The Lions are Having a Draw", much more in the psychedelic vein. How was this done by the same band? "Daughter of the Fireplace" is by far the best rocker on this album, I especially like that use of "liberty bell" in the middle. "Alchemist" clocks in at 20 minutes, and it's a really strange piece, it's as if Man was going all Krautrock on us. There's some nice use of glissando guitar (I'm sure was Deke Leonard using his pedal steel guitar in a similar manner that Daevid Allen did with his standard guitar). Pretty strange and ominous, might not be to everyone's liking. It's really obvious just how uneven this album is, it wouldn't be the first choice for the uninitiated (try Be Good To Yourself At Least Once a Day first), so it's one of those approach with caution albums.
 Reanimated Memories by MAN album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.06 | 14 ratings

BUY
Reanimated Memories
Man Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars - The First Review Of This Album -

The Welsh legend MAN have made a new 60˝-minute album. On ground of hearing a couple of their 90's works that were oriented to "let's have a good time" rock 'n' roll, my expectations were not high. Not that MAN has ever meant that much to me anyway. But I recognize a pleasant album even if the band in question, or the style they represent, wasn't among my favourites, and Reanimated Memories is fairly good for most of the time. The line-up is Josh Ace (g, voc), Martin Ace (b, voc), Phil Ryan (org, p, voc), James beck (g, voc) and René Robrahn (dr). I'm not a connoisseur of this band but I'm especially glad of Phil Ryan who participated in my favourite MAN era (e.g. Be Good To Yourself At Least Once a Day, 1972) and together with another MAN man, bassist Will Youatt, formed a relatively short-lived and criminally forgotten band NEUTRONS in mid-70's.

From the brief liner notes: "The songs are about time, love, the absence of God and all the other rock 'n' roll subjects". The Martin Ace -penned opener 'The Ballad of Billy Lee' tells a story of a man who fought in the US Civil War. Finished with B.J.Cole's pedal steel, the song is quite country-ish but nicely moody. 'No Solution' is a pretty harmless mid-tempo rock song coloured by the presence of piano. The obvious highlight - for me at least - is Phil Ryan's 10˝-minute composition 'In Time'. Starting and ending in a more lively tempo with fuller lyrics and slowing down in the middle to a very dreamy and spacey soundscape with just the words "in time" repeated over and over, this piano-centred track is enjoyable like a foam bath.

B.J. Cole's pedal steel adds the country flavour again on the next two songs that are listenable but not really my cup of tea at all. 'Ordinary Man' is credited to Phil Ryan and his long-time collaborator Pete Brown. The song per se is pretty harmless in its slight tongue-in-cheek attitude, but a good amount of piano and the very balanced production (concerning the whole album) make it a nice one.

The second best track is Martin Ace's final track 'All the Birds' which is slowish, relaxed and emotional. All in all this surely isn't a spectacular album from prog's point of view, it may include too much of the American country-rock flavour and too little echoes of the band's better Space Rock days, but it's a very satisfying and dignified work from a greying group who don't need to convince anyone anymore.

 Do You Like It Here Now, Are You Settling In? by MAN album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.92 | 78 ratings

BUY
Do You Like It Here Now, Are You Settling In?
Man Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by ExittheLemming
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Exclusive - Discovered in Wales - The World's First Edible Pot Noodle

You know, I'm caught on the horns of a Dalai Lama with this album. To wit, how can such a hirsute gaggle of smoking enthusiasts capable of this stunning masterpiece have produced precisely squat of discernible merit before or since? I've never really believed in 'flukey' genius (as those hypothetically immortal monkeys astride typewriters with infinity to kill would eventually be whittled down to a partially shaved splinter group called the Grateful Dead) As far as grievously irritating hippy cosmiche w.a.n.k goes, the cited accomplices that conspired to forge this creation are strenuously denied parole as the public need to be protected from Bethnal Green impersonating California (i.e. Fleetwood Mac circa Albatross), together with known artless dodgers such as the Steve Miller Band, Quicksilver Messenger Service and the durable Dead etc. To my ears the west coast influences from these bloated jam slags are usually overstated and fail to evince the more palpable echoes of Jefferson Airplane and Family (erm...who weren't even from Bethnal Green) Unlike 2 Ozs. Of Plastic (With A Hole In The Middle) and Be Good to Yourself at Least Once a Day, there are no long spacey indulgences here and the prevalent mood is a welcome focus where the improvisation appears to have begat the songs and not vice versa. Therefore the discipline, restraint and structural rigour encountered throughout is completely at odds with the majority of the rest of their output. (So for those wishing to learn what might be the best Man album to buy, this review will be about as useful as dayglo tripwire)

Angel Easy approaches a jazzier and maybe funkier country rock, a place where Albert Lee would feel entirely at home. Similar to the Kinks' Muswell Hilbillies it's remarkable how five scruffs from Merthyr Tydfil who also draw so heavily from American idioms and rhythm and blues forms still manage to sound indelibly and naturally British on material like this.

Twin guitar bands are something of a consuming fetish for this rodent with Television, Barbaro, the Stones and Crimson all high on my list of those featuring partnerships where the twelve string whole conspires to be more than the sum of the individual six string parts. This exhilarating synergy is exemplified by Many Are Called But Few Get Up where Leonard and Jones negotiate a tangential steeplechase of metrical hurdles but still produce an uber moreish toe tapping textural treat. Subtle phasing and wah-wah effects are used to achieve this end and like the beautiful gently over-driven crunch which they coax from their amps, nothing is overcooked or underdone. Deliciously languid slide guitar occasionally winks coquettishly in our direction but is spirited quickly away, lending proceedings an anticipatory charge, like a lingering embrace. They also exploit key changes to mirror the desired atmospheric mood at any given time. Yep, these are exquisitely crafted songs where the ensemble writing and arranging process exploits all the player's strengths to best effect. In 1971 Man couldn't even get arrested in the UK (different story in Belgium where dope smuggling and people trafficking are often interchangeable, but you need to read Deke Leonard's sleeve-notes for that) They were however achieving modest success in Europe and had relocated to Darmstadt, Germany where like fellow ex pats Nektar, managed to shift sufficient units and attract enough gigs to make their music a viable commodity.

I first heard this album at 19 from a Glasgow public lending library after deciding to take a punt on the contents based solely on what I thought was a blasphemous gag on the cover i.e. the appeasing angels seem to say: here is your earthly paradise, please keep the noise down and try not to burn all the plants OK?

Manillo has the fattest acoustic guitar sound ever faithfully captured to tape before weight watchers started using electronic scales and unmarked vans. I'm not sure how they achieved this as I can't hear any incriminating phasing or chorusing artifacts in the resultant yummy fondant jangle. Perhaps they marinated the strings or the player's fingers in lard? This song is also notable for maybe the greatest punned evocation of indolence in the history of rock where the singer dispenses entirely with the frilly niceties of providing sufficient words for his very resilient melody:

I've got my eyes on the pillow, can't get to sleep All is manillo, mmm mmm mmm mmm

With the possible exceptions of John Lennon's I'm So Tired and Noel Coward's Coronation Chorale, (where the latter yawns 'on pitch') I ain't heard better and it never fails to make me smile. Take note of the sly key change for the chorus though, where an anguished gravitas descends as the song's central theme (withdrawal symptoms) is laid bare.

I can't move a leg and I can't move an arm and I can't understand what's doing me harm and the lonely pain grips your weary soul, and goes on and on and on on and on

Yes, Love Your Life has a sweltering pre colonial tom driven drum loop which introduces a killer riff but doesn't rest on it's catchy laurels and boasts an almost equally memorable developmental section to boot. Perhaps I've been too harsh on the lads hippy affectations up to now as ain't the gist here really amor fati as implored by that nemesis of the so called slave morality Nietzsche?. OK it's a tad tenuous but this strikes me as a wake up call to the sort of nihilistic and hedonistic drivel that passes for the rock'n'roll lifestyle as endorsed by its ungrateful dead.

Just marking time and standing still When you got no life you got no will The city people makin' bread I'm just as stupid, I'll be just as dead

The perceptive author has learned that those who inhabit the moral high ground are often susceptible to nose bleeds. You are also advised that Clive John's distorted organ solo is a thrilling slalom of abrasive and coruscating beauty that just builds and builds in ever increasing excitement until such time as the trumping riff does not merely return, but 'erupts' to bring this spiffy composition to a very satisfying conclusion.

Deke Leonard's sleeve notes reveal an impish mordant wit at play and it comes as no surprise that he has to date published at least two music related books under his own name. One being a history of Man (the band, otherwise he's clearly overreached himself) and the other a collection of essays about some of his favourite guitarists.

Traces of Man's Psyche lineage can be heard at their most overt on All Good Clean Fun which is a kaleidoscopic zero gravity ski jump replete with backwards vocals, Victorian whimsy, self depreciating humour and ladled with hallucinogenic brio. I suspect it was heavily edited into its current form as it seems to 'rush in from the middle' as though a preceding section has been unceremoniously hacked off. Splicing such dissociative effects into a modern digital mix is of course a piece of proverbial piss via Pro Tools but to approach this level of inspired derangement using the painstaking drudgery of manipulating a very thin and unforgiving piece of magnetic tape using a razor blade and 'flying blind' for the forensic timing accuracy required, beggars belief. Kudos are therefore due to engineers Kingsley Ward, George Chkiantz and Dave 'Rockpile' Edmunds. Which all begs the question, if/when they played this number live, did the vocalist have to learn to sing/pronounce the backwards bits erm...forwards? Meticulously ornate in places and ravishingly wanton in others (check out the three way dialogue between the two dueling guitars and Clive John's ironic 'starting pistol' piano) Reputedly the lyrics are an affectionate swipe at some of the other UA acts that appeared on the label's promotional tour which went out under the banner of 'All Good Clean Fun' but like many Man anecdotes, might be apocryphal.

To describe the drum sound on We're Only Children as 'crisp' would be like describing the Atlantic Ocean as 'moist'. Rarely have I heard a kit from the 70's sound this lean and parched so it therefore seems slightly perverse that drummer Terry Williams went on to become a willing accessory to at least two war crimes against timpanic membranes better known as the 'Dire Straits' and 'Meatloaf' atrocities. Slightly dippy lyrics on this one but hey, we're in the realm of patchouli oil, tie dye, cheesecloth, incense sticks and un-groomed men referring to each other as 'cats' ya dig? The textures deployed here are certainly reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac circa Albatross, but although Man draw generously from the former's haunting and plaintive beauty they dispense entirely with its soporific torpor.

Written, recorded and mixed in just one week Do You Like It Here Now? is ample proof that analogue technology foisted a discipline on musicians that for all it's merits, the 'unlimited undo' digital domain does not. You have to make choices in the analogue realm, be it committing to what takes are used for an (irreversible) 'bounce down' due to track limitations or if leaving those barely perceptible flaws in timing and pitch will actually help keep a performance inherently 'human?' There is a freshness and energy to these songs that must have been commensurate with their being written in the morning, recorded in the afternoon and mixed at night. Ideas pored over, tweaked, twiddled and fiddled with at inordinate length often result in fixing something until it breaks. Man were a bunch of happy campers at this point in their career having just signed to new label United Artists and were garnering a burgeoning reputation in mainland Europe from constant gigging. They might have had cause to pinch themselves: Here we are in our early 20's, safely ensconced at Rockfield Studios in the land of our fathers, dreaming of never having to get a 'proper' job again. Judging by Deke Leonard's version of events, the whole recording process was as smooth and easy as shooting six suicidal fish in a barrel and serving same to a hungry seal. Apart from possible industrial action by the employees of 'Rizla', there was very little external disruption that could have undermined this archetypical stoner band's only unimpeachable contribution to the legacy of rawk.

if you don't like this Man album, then you'll never like a Man album. Deke Leonard on 2 Ozs. Of Plastic (With A Hole In The Middle)

I turn my whiskers up at your cream Deke daddio

 Be Good To Yourself At Least Once A Day by MAN album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.89 | 78 ratings

BUY
Be Good To Yourself At Least Once A Day
Man Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars Heavy Welsh jam band Man have always been difficult to categorise, playing a mix of country rock and blues with psychedelic and adventurous rock passages, with slight spacerock and even Krautrock flavours worked in as well. By the time of this LP, "Be Good to Yourself At Least Once A Day", their fifth studio album in 1972, the band were really starting to fire on all cylinders. Honing their skills over their numerous live shows and four previous albums saw them find a better balance of all the above mentioned different styles here, and it's one of their most consistent releases from their vintage Seventies recordings.

"C'Mon" is a punchy call-to-arms opener, with plenty of positive and sunny vibes throughout. The relentless rocker is bookended with slippery bass, warm harmonies and singing slide guitar, but the real highlight is the a slow-build, impossibly beautiful shimmering low-key spacey rumination in the middle. Glistening Hammond organ ripples and electric piano float in space, chiming guitars and wavering electronics drift over sighing wordless harmonies in the manner of Nektar, before ending on a light driving guitar jam and a brief punchy symphonic prog burst. `Keep on Criting' is a sprightly upbeat and instantly likeable instrumental. Drowsy and toasty warm bubbling Moog, electric piano fingertips and whirring Hammond remind of the upbeat Greenslade instrumentals, with a fuzz organ solo in the middle instantly calling to mind Caravan. The guitar is gentle country licks to begin, then thick and snarling in the middle, and heavy psychedelic twin guitars duel on either side of the speakers trying to snake their way to the heavens in the finale.

The flipside holds the colourful and playful groover "Bananas." A total psychedelic rocker, at first it's warped with nonsense lyrics such as "I like to eats bananas, 'cos they have no bones, I like marijuana, 'cos it gets me stoned", which certainly raises a smile! The piece quickly diverts into dreamy levitating preciousness, as chiming guitars dazzle, whizzing spacy Hammond glides all around and an optimistic dreamy vocal wafts by. The electric guitar soloing that races through the final minutes is constantly joyous, lifted into the air by electric piano and fluid bass to end on positive vibes. Closer `Life on the Road' is an Americana-infused shuffling boogie, driven by nimble piano and slow-burn electric guitar fire. It may be more straight-forward than the rest of the disc, but it's easy to wind down to, exceptionally well-played and ample proof of the skills of the band.

Some Man albums can be a bit hit and miss, but `Be Good..' is one of their strongest works from their initial run of Seventies albums. There's no shortage of varied rock elements and psychedelic touches delivered here, and they've also offered plenty of blues/country elements as well, so many types of listeners should find something to appeal to them. Well played with high-quality material, "Be Good to Yourself At Least Once A Day" is one of Man's defining releases, and it makes for the ideal introduction for newcomers to the band to explore.

Four stars.

 Man by MAN album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.07 | 66 ratings

BUY
Man
Man Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

2 stars The third album by Welsh band Man is a frustrating and inconsistent collection played by a talented group simply not knowing which direction to head in. A band known for blurring country and blues-rock with psychedelic (frequently West-Coast styled) sounds and some progressive sophistication, this self-titled album is perhaps a little too ambitious, with as many ideas as possible thrown in together to confused results, although there's still decent music here and there throughout.

`Romain' is a nicely played chugging slow-paced grooving boogie with a blistering electric guitar solo in the middle. Make sure to hang around for the slightly bent acoustic finale that comes out of nowhere, easily the most interesting part of the track. You sure wouldn't know the band were from Wales on `Country Girl', unsurprisingly a foot-tapping country rocker with pleasing pedal-steel guitar and soothing upbeat group harmonies. It's nothing of interest at all for prog fans, but it reminds of the Byrds' screwy space- rock/country/psych album `Dr Byrds and Mr Hyde', so it's easy to be forgiving of it. `Daughter of the Fireplace' is a blistering break-neck four minute blur of noisy blues-rock, full of howling vocals and pounding honky-tonk piano. It's punchy and energetic, but the jammy version on their live album `Live at the Padget Rooms, Penarth' wipes the floor with it.

Of much more interest to progressive fans are the two extended pieces, beginning with the 13 minute `Would The Christians Wait Five Minutes...'. Disorientating mangled guitar reverberations, plodding drumwork, spacey keyboard effects and delicate piano brings a dusty drifting haziness. By complete chance, the shimmering keys make it resemble Pink Floyd's classic `Echoes' from a couple of years later, and the uplifting main theme reprised in two spots even calls to mind German band Novalis. Some wordless crying harmonies in the final wouldn't sound out of place in a climactic western movie showdown. Truthfully it's not the most eventful of longer pieces, and there's barely anything resembling an actual tune or melody, but it sure sounds plenty cool and mysterious.

The album closes on a side-long piece, `Alchemist'. A twinkling ambient synth build, crashing cymbals, deranged wailing voices with some slow-burn electric noodling briefly calls to mind `Spare Chynge' from the Jefferson Airplane or a Grateful Dead improv. Soon imposing heavy dark riffs straight off a Black Sabbath album, wavering sound effects and spiralling drumming stomps down on the listener. Halfway through the piece evolves into a brooding acid-rock stroll with rambling spoken-word passages before finally wrapping on a bass hoedown with devilish accordian. Sadly the piece is really just a bunch of slightly interesting fragments and improvisations strung together with no sense of flow or cohesion, and it kind of pushes the friendship at almost 21 minutes.

If you are wishing to investigate the Man band for the first time, it might be better to initially stay away from this one. Perhaps one of their numerous dynamic live albums, such as the above mentioned `Penarth' disc would be a better starting option, showing off the band's talented skill of more focused improvisations and jams while still delivering energetic performances. But be alarmed by the two star rating, it's simply due to this being an inconsistent work, a clear case of multiple musical personalities, from a band that had several better albums to offer very soon after this one.

Two stars.

 2 Ozs Of Plastic With A Hole In The Middle by MAN album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.40 | 53 ratings

BUY
2 Ozs Of Plastic With A Hole In The Middle
Man Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by malcra

4 stars Recent acquisition on the Man back catalogue on vinyl has proved that one of the greatest bands to emerge from Wales had a) a big list of albums and b) the quality of them is fairly consistent blending good with mediocre tracks on a regular basis. The arrival in the post on "2 Ozs. Of Plastic With A Hole In The Middle" coincided with a trip to optometrists and the application of drops to dilate the pupils of the eyes. Whilst this left me with enough vision to turn on the Rega, it wasn't sufficient to allow me to read the sleeve notes or which side I was playing. I did know which album I was playing.

You are usually doing something else whilst listening to music, however I can recommend eye drops (or alternatively eye patches or those covers that posh older people using on the plane. You listen to the music.

As commented by other reviewers, Man's second album sees them getting into their stride and the style and line-up(s) that saw them through to All's Well That Ends Well. The music for me a prototypical Man, and captures some of style and flavour which was always best live (at the Roundhouse, though 94's Official Bootleg from the Marquee) is my personal favourite. With Man you get a real sense of West Coast US meets Methyr Tydfil with and undercurrent of hard rocking trying to break out through the dreamy sounds of the Pacific surf, sort of. Spunk Box is the standout track for me, though again its better live (and extended) on the Greaser Truckers album.

With my vision returning I flipped the album and totally oblivious to the ironing stack behind me, continued to enjoy and understand was is really a great album. It's getting harder find on vinyl I sense, and my copy isn't perfect, but it's the only way to listen to this type and period of music. I am a fan or Man, their place in history and principally (or is that principality) their music. It's one of their better ones.

 Undrugged by MAN album cover Studio Album, 2002
2.96 | 8 ratings

BUY
Undrugged
Man Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

3 stars "Undrugged is a terrible state to be in. The state of having no drugs. Dopeless. Lacking the wherewithal. Absence of the necessary. Grim. Desperate. Pestilence walks the land?.Take a stroll around your local police station on a weekend and you will find that the cells are not full of placid, grinning hippies, they are full of aggressive, vomiting piss-heads. Now, I've got nothing against aggressive, vomiting piss-heads. Without them, the music industry would grind to a halt. Every band contains at least one. Traditionally it is the drummer?.." This is just a small section of the contents of the booklet (written by Deke Leonard), and shows the frame of mind of the Welsh version of The Grateful Dead.

My first introduction to these nutters was over twenty-five years ago, and I have had a sort spot for them ever since. In their normal organised manner it took them five years and two line-ups to record this mostly acoustic album, and of course the results are very pleasing indeed. Songs such as "I Always Thought The Walrus Was Protected" and "Listen To Me, Sister" work extremely well, and even the few covers take on a new life. Martin Ace and Deke Leonard have been playing together for nearly thirty years and they have a definite understanding of what they are trying to achieve.

Just because they are not as popular as they used to be, this is no reason for the band to stop playing great music and this albums shows that they have a real empathy. "Georgia On My Mind" is full of power and emotion and should be required listening for all Pop Idol wannabes.

Originally appeared in Feedback #67, Jun 02

Thanks to salmacis for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives