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Manfred Mann's Earth Band - Nightingales & Bombers CD (album) cover

NIGHTINGALES & BOMBERS

Manfred Mann's Earth Band

 

Eclectic Prog

4.06 | 306 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars The birds and the "B's"

Probably MMEB's most progressive album with plenty of improvisation, and some damn fine keyboards and guitar. The title "Nightingales and bombers" is taken from a World War 2 incident where a bird watcher was recording the sound of some nightingales. As he did so, some bombers flew overhead. The resultant recording can be heard here within the track "As above, so below".

The album is notable as being the first to feature a cover by MMEB of a Bruce Springsteen song, "Spirits in the night". The band had of course covered Bob Dylan songs on previous albums so, with Springsteen being hailed by many at the time as the "new Bob Dylan", covering one of his songs was a natural progression. It's fair to say that at the time Springsteen was not widely known, MMEB's cover giving him some welcome exposure. Even Springsteen fans must acknowledge that MMEB's version transformed the song from a fairly nondescript ramble by Springsteen, into a classic piece of prog rock.

Once again the band demonstrated that their true strength lay in the identification of high potential material by other artists, and in the inspired interpretation of that material. The point is emphasised by the fact that in general terms, the bands own compositions tend to be the weaker tracks on their albums. It's all relative though in the case of "Nightingales and bombers", with even the band compositions being reasonably strong.

The distinctive tones of Chris Thompson are not to be found here, this being the last album to be recorded by the original line up. The band's later reworking of "Spirits in the night" with Thomson taking on vocal duties (available as a bonus track on "The roaring silence") indicates that he would have added a further dimension to the music. Mick Rogers singing though, while slightly rougher and less melodic, is nonetheless more than adequate.

"Nightingales and Bombers" was an excellent move towards what many consider to be the band's finest album, "The roaring silence". It demonstrates how Mann was becoming increasingly willing to experiment with different sounds and structures, while investigating the compositions of others and transforming them into MMEB classics.

Recommended.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |

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