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Cream of The Crate: Album Review # 179 – Manfred Mann’s Earth Band: Live Budapest

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cream of the crate: album review # 179 – manfred mann’s earth band: live budapest

cream of the crate: album review # 179 – manfred mann’s earth band: live budapest
Album cover – [CLICK to enlarge]
 

 

This review was originally posted on the first Toorak Times web site where publications ceased on that site in March 2017. The old site will be permanently closed in 2020 and these reviews are being re-published in order to preserve them on the current Toorak Times/Tagg site.

 

"Sound quality is impressive for a live album, particularly the vocal work which comes through clear and strong." - (The News (Australia) April 1984) .. .. .. "This is a crowd-pleaser with howling guitars and hot organ flushes most of the way." - (Adelaide Advertiser April 1984) .. .. .. "This album should remain a testament to his - (Manfred Mann) and the group's ability to play quality music in a live format." (This Review)

This is album retro-review number 179 in the series of retro-reviews of both vinyl and Cd albums in my collection.

The series is called
“Cream of The Crate” and each review represents an album that I believe is of significant musical value, either because of it’s rarity, because it represents the best of a style or styles of music or because there is something unique about the group or the music.

Links to the previous 150 reviews can be found at the bottom of this review.

Some artists from the 60’s failed to transition into the ’70s and even fewer made it into the 1980’s. However, I have pulled a vinyl album from my crate featuring a man who was successful in all three decades.

The artist is Manfred Mann and this, a vinyl album, is titled – Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – Live Budapest.

Released on the English Bronze label in 1983, it has the identifying code of L 38153.

cream of the crate: album review # 179 – manfred mann’s earth band: live budapest
Album label – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

The album has eight tracks and are from a series of live performances when the band played to over 350,000 people at 50 shows in 10 European countries between February 8th and April 14th, 1983.

Manfred Mann’s career started way back in 1962 when he met Mike Hugg and they formed the Mann-Hugg Blues Brothers.

cream of the crate: album review # 179 – manfred mann’s earth band: live budapest
Mann-Hugg Blues Brothers – [CLICK to enlarge]


This was the period of the early formation of what would later become known as the British Beat period, giving rise to such memorable bands as the
Beatles, Stones, Animals, Pretty Things, Kinks and many more, including a group called Manfred Mann, which developed from the Mann-Hugg Blues Brothers.

Manfred Mann (the band) had considerable success right through the 1960’s, and although never quite reaching the pinnacle of fame that the Stones and Beatles reached, they were indeed very popular and very successful.

The group had many lineup changes but Manfred Mann (the artist) and Mike Hugg remained the consistent lynch-pins.

In 1969 the group finally split, even while having the track Ragamuffin Man in the top 10.

Manfred Mann Chapter Three formed out of the Manfred Mann group, but followed an experimental jazz style and only lasted about 2 years when they disbanded in 1971.

This saw the formation of the Manfred Mann Earth Band.

The original line-up consisted of Mick Rogers (guitar and vocals), Manfred Mann (organ, synthesizer and vocals), Colin Pattenden (bass guitar) and Chris Slade (drums and vocals).

The group could probably best labeled as a progressive rock band, although with Manfred’s predilection for jazz and a love for English 20th Century classical music, the group’s style was in fact quite unique.

Not long after it formed, Manfred purchased a Moog synthesiser and used it extensively on stage. Being a new instrument at the time, it also helped with the group’s unique sound.

By the 1980’s Mann had become personally active in the international anti-apartheid movement and he was banned from entering his home country of South Africa.

Undeterred, members of the band made journeys to South Africa to record African musicians for the album Somewhere in Afrika.

cream of the crate: album review # 179 – manfred mann’s earth band: live budapest
MMEB in Budapest: Lingwood, Irving, Mann, Thompson & Waller – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

By 1987 and with many with membership changes, the band temporarily retired before being revived in the 1990’s and with more line up changes. In fact a total of 23 musicians have at one time or another been part of the band, and it has continued playing through until today.

This album, as indicated earlier, came about as result of a series of concerts in Budapest, and the recording was actually taken from the shows on April 6th and 7th 1983.

At this stage the band consisted of:
Manfred Mann – Keyboards & Synths
John Lingwood – Drums
Chris Thompson – Vocals & Guitar
Steve Waller – Vocals & Guitar
Matt Irving – Bass

cream of the crate: album review # 179 – manfred mann’s earth band: live budapest
Inner cover – [CLICK to enlarge]
cream of the crate: album review # 179 – manfred mann’s earth band: live budapest
Inner cover – [CLICK to enlarge]

Track Listing:

Side 1

1. Spirits in the night (6:04)
2. Demolition man (4:32)
3. For you (6:49)
4. Davy’s on the road again (4:43)

Side 2

1. Lies (through the 80’s) (4:34)
2. Blinded by the light (7:45)
3. Redemption song (No Kwazulu) (3:26)
4. Mighty Quinn (4:15)

cream of the crate: album review # 179 – manfred mann’s earth band: live budapest
Rear Cover: including track listing – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

Side 1 kicks off with a rousing audience and the band breaks in a Bruce Springsteen number, Spirits In The Night.

A powerful track it grabs attention without being an uptempo track. Featuring a Talk Box and some very nice guitar lines, it is lush with keyboards and some beautiful harmonies.

In many ways it is a good track to start the album off with as it allows us to slip into the mood of the night, and is a nice track for both the head, and the ears.

The track, as written and released by Springfield,had no “s” and was called Spirit in the Night.

On this album and indeed the original album it was released on – that being the 1975 album Nightingales and Bombers; the “s” was added to the title. When in 1976 it was released as a single, the “s” was dropped. The track is not my favourite on this album, but it’s still pretty damn fine.

Spirits In The Night

Track 2 is Demolition Man.

This track was written by Sting and both The Police and Grace Jones recorded it.

This is the version I prefer, by a lot! The group originally released it on their Somewhere In Afrika album, and that version is probably the best, but this version is no slouch.

There is something about a well played live version that just generally gives it an edge over most studio versions, the general studio sound quality notwithstanding. The guitar work on this track is quite outstanding.

The track is a real rocker with a wonderful uptempo beat and the vocals are excellent – in fact the quality of the recording is amazingly good.

Around the 3:10 mark you would swear the band was bringing the piece to a conclusion – but oh no!

That comes almost a minute later after the guitars have made some really fine statements.

Tied to the tracks
And the trains just coming
Strapped to the wing
With the engine running
You say that this wasn’t in your plan
Don’t mess around with the Demolition Man

[CHORUS]
I am a walking nightmare
An arsenal of doom
I kill conversation as I walk to the room
I’m a three line whip
I’m the sort of thing they ban
I’m a walking disaster boy.

Tied to a chair
And the bomb is ticking
This situation was not of your picking
You say that this wasn’t in your plan
Don’t mess around with the demolition man

[CHORUS]

Tied to a chair
And the bomb is ticking
This situation was not of your picking
You say that this wasn’t in your plan
Don’t mess around with the demolition man

[CHORUS]

Demolition Man

​The final two tracks on this side are For You, and Davy’s On The Road Again.

For You is another Springsteen number and appeared on the Roaring Silence album. Kicking off with a piano solo it breaks into a quite a power track with some almost heavy metal power chords.

A nice enough track, but it’s another track that is not a favorite of mine.

Davy’s On The Road is a Robbie Robertson composition, and when it first starts you can almost imagine the Band playing it. Very quickly the Earth Band put their own mark on this uptempo piece.

Side 2 kicks of with a brilliant performance of the track Lies (through the 80’s), which first appeared on their 1980 album – Chance.

This live performance is a great example of the group producing a live version of their studio track that is every part as good, if not better than that studio version.

A very nice rocky piece it tells of the rising concerns that in the 80’s technology and how the rising pace of change was leaving many behind.

It tells of feelings of lost hope and despair, and cleverly refers back to Joni Mitchell’s 1970 track – Big Yellow Taxi, when they use the line, “Pull up the trees and put up a parking lot

It is very ironical that here we are over three decades later, still feeling the same thing. If you aren’t familiar with this track you must take a listen, and if you are familiar, then enjoy it once more.

We’re all gonna live out the Hollywood dream
Everything’s gonna be just what it seems
Gonna find a better way to run our cars
All through the Eighties
‘Cause the race is on, we’re gonna land on Mars
All through the Eighties
The Video Screen will open up the door
All through the Eighties
Information – there’ll be more and more
All through the Eighties
Will the man on the street finally know the score

But I saw a kid with no smile on his face today
Where is my place in this bright future, I heard him say
I’ve lost my hope there isn’t anywhere to play
(Pull up the trees and put up a parking lot)

The play’s been written we’ll all be in the cast
All through the Eighties
And our feet are gonna point away from the past
All through the Eighties
Will supersonic travel be our ticket to ride
We’ll have cruise missiles, they think as they fly

But I saw a kid with no smile on his face today
Where is my place in this bright future, I heard him say
I’ve lost my hope there isn’t anywhere to play
(Pull up the trees and put up a parking lot)

Time will go and the years fly by
All through the Eighties
And we’ll have another slice of American Pie
All through the Eighties
Credit card living, push button cash
All through the Eighties
We’ll pay our money and we’ll take our trash
All through the Eighties
And another generation will “Talk about their Generation”

But I saw a kid with no smile on his face today
Where is my place in this bright future, I heard him say
I’ve lost my hope there isn’t anywhere to play
(Pull up the trees and put up a parking lot)
I saw a kid with no smile on his face today
Where is my place in this bright future, I heard him say
I saw a kid with no smile on his face today

Lies (Through the 80’s)

To be perfectly honest all three remaining tracks are absolutely great performance tracks and it’s really hard deciding one over the other.

I really can’t go past track 2Blinded By the Night.

cream of the crate: album review # 179 – manfred mann’s earth band: live budapest
Manfred and the Earth band: circa 1981 – [CLICK to enlarge]
Another Springsteen composition, this live version kicks of with a “cosmic” crash before the familiar piano refrain kicks in, and we are off and running.

Originally released on the 1976 Roaring Silence album, it was released as a single and reached the number 6 position. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this live version is easily the best version.

The quality of the playing and the quality of the recording is absolutely second to none. In my mind it is the “feature’ track of the album and should remain a perennial favourite.

It also contains one of the most “misheard” lyrics of all times with many people wondering why they sung about being “revved up like a douche”! Well, the lyrics actually are –
Blinded by the light
Revved up like a deuce
Another runner in the night

Now a “Deuce” is a 1932 hot rod, typically Ford, although others have been modified as well. They are built for racing or as show cars.

The Beach Boys had a hit about “A Little Deuce Coupe”, and if you look up the term in Google images, you will find numerous cars which clearly reiterate the idea of a hot rod engine revving in the night.

The rest of the song details the protagonists various run-ins with people in the night.

Blinded By The Night

Track 3 is a wonderful rendition of a much covered Bob Marley track, Redemption Song.

The final track is a rearranged version of an early Manfred Mann hit – The Mighty Quinn.

The track has had a mighty ingestion of steroids – as it IS powered up. I actually like that original version. Here Manfred would be paying appropriate dues to his earlier work in the Manfred Mann band of the 60’s, and, the audience would be demanding to hear some of the earlier hits.

So this is the one they chose, and did so with great power and emotion.

Manfred Mann is a survivor, that is for certain!

In a career that has spanned nearly 60 years he has entertained and grown and continually developed.

cream of the crate: album review # 179 – manfred mann’s earth band: live budapest
Manfred Mann circa 2106

 

The Earth Band was indeed a very good incarnation of Manfred’s musical groups, and this album should remain a testament to his and the group’s, ability to play quality music in a live format.

The album Budapest, is a beauty.

The playing, production and engineering associated with it is of the highest quality. It would be remiss not to acknowledge the work of Pete “Manuel” Carson as the Recording engineer, Alan Bradshaw as the sound engineer and the production work of John Lingwood and Chris Thompson.

An album highly recommended for any collection it is available in vinyl for those vinyl collectors, it has been re released in 2012 on vinyl and will cost around $45.00.

There are copies of the original pressing for around $25.00.

If you are not a vinyl collector, then the CD version released in 2011 with three bonus tracks might be the way to go, and it retails for around $22.00 with free postage. All forms are available on Ebay.


VIDEOS:

There are a good selection of videos from these performances by the group on Youtube. I have selected ones for the tracks not discussed.

 

For You

 

Davy’s On The Road Again

 

Redemption Song

 

Mighty Quinn


Previous Cream of The Crate Albums:

 

To view/listen the first 50 vinyl album reviews just click the image below –

cream of the crate cd review #2 : robert johnson – the complete recordings

 

To view/listen the first 50 Cd album reviews just click the image below –

 

To view/listen album reviews 101 – 150 just click the image below –

 

Click to open the following reviews covering #’s 151 onward.

#151.  The Shaggs – Philosophy of the World

#152.  The Animals – The Animals

#153. Omah Khorshid & His Group  – Live In Australia 1981

#154. Alan Parsons Project – Tales of Mystery and Imagination: Edgar Allan Poe

#155. Billy Thorpe – Tangier

#156. Aretha Franklin – The Best Of

#157. Big Bill Broonzy – Big Bill’s Blues

#158. The Supremes – Where Did Our Love Go 

#159. The Band – Stage Fright

#160. Ray Brown and the Whispers – Hits and More 1965 – 1968

#161. Guitar Junior – The Crawl

#162. Jimi Hendrix – Radio One

#163. Memphis Minnie – Queen of the Blues

#164. Eno – Taking Tiger Mountain (by Strategy)

#165. The Loved Ones – Magic Box

#166. Various Artists – On The Road Again [ An Anthology of Chicago Blues 1947 – 1954]

#167. Janis Joplin – Greatest Hits 

#168. David Bowie – Ziggy Stardust [The Motion Picture]

#169. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication

#170.  Chain – Two Of A Kind

#171. Bob Marley – Legend

#172. Koko Taylor – What It Takes

#173. Stevie Wonder – Original Musiquarium

#174. Various Artists – The Unissued 1963 Blues Festival

#175. Noeleen Batley – Little Treasure

#176. B.B. King – The Best Of

#177. Fleetwood Mac – Fleetwood Mac

#178 – Memphis Slim – I Feel So Good

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