Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – The Roaring Silence - rediscovering a classic!

Manfred Mann (his name at birth was Manfred Sepse Lubowitz) is a keyboard player originally from South Africa. In his early twenty’s he left South Africa and moved to the United Kingdom where he began forming and playing in bands beginning with self titled band Manfred Man followed by Manfred Mann Chapter Three and eventually Manfred Mann’s Earth Band in which this album The Roaring Silence falls under.

Manfred Mann’s Earth band released sixteen albums to date. The first six albums had a consistent line up of Mann on Keyboards and vocals, Chris Slade on drums, Colin Pattenden on bass and Mick Rogers on guitars and vocals.

The Roaring Silence was the first of many line-up changes within this band; replacing Mick Rogers with Dave Flett on Guitar and adding lead singer Chris Thompson. This is an incredible lineup for the band with plenty of talent throughout.

This is one of those cases where I associate a band with one song so much that I wrongfully assume that all of their material will sound the same. I thought the Blinded By The Light cover was all they had to offer. Now sure it is a great song and I like it (hell Springsteen wrote it), but I had enough of it and needed to find out what else they had (funny how I talk about this like it’s a brand new album, guess I’m about 40 years behind on catching up to new music). So the purpose of spinning this record through was hoping for more from Manfred Mann’s Earth Band and boy is there ever more.


Drummer Chris Slade really has a great groove going on throughout this album. Never settling for the easy beat and making challenging fills sound so easy.

***Fun fact: After his time with Manfred Mann he drummed for AC/DC for a while. He drummed on the Razors Edge album and stuck with the band for five years after until he was booted out to make room for original drummer Phil Rudd***


Colin Pattenden finishes off the rhythm section and holds the band tightly together with his great consistent bass playing. Bass can be approached simply or complicated; Colin seems to hit both aspects making the complicated bass lines sound simple.

Dave Flett on guitar absolutely blew me away on this album. He never ceased to amaze me with his countless guitar solos filled with wah-wah effects. This guy deserves loads of credit as a guitar player and I can’t believe I haven’t I heard of him more over the years. He is a highly under rated guitar player. 

Again, this is the first album with Chris Thompson on lead vocals. Funny how I always assumed it was Manfred Mann singing all these years, never knew it was Chris Thompson’s voice stuck in my head singing Blinded by the Light.

Last but not least of course is non-other than Manfred Mann himself, making these crazy sounds squeal out of that keyboard. It’s hard to describe Mann’s playing in a few years, you really need to hear it for yourself, and this is a great album to start with.

A few songs stood out above others to me. Starbird is one with a very cool a cappella type style verse, than breaking into everybody just showing off any talent they have and plenty of talent there is. A little too “prog” for my taste normally, but it works well here.

My favorite on this album is the instrumental written by Mann himself called Waiter, There’s a Yawn in my Ear (hence the cover I guess). This is just an amazing instrumental filled with jazz styles mixed with progressive rock.

This, like most Manfred Mann albums consisted of both original material and cover songs. The most notable cover would of course be Blinded by the Light written and recorded originally by Bruce Springsteen and released on his album Greeting from Asbury Park, N.J.

I’m definitely late in the game starting with Manfred Mann’s Earth Band but that’s how it works with this record collecting hobby I love so much. Discovering these albums from years ago as if they are brand new. Most of the time people feel that it’s only the rare albums that are out there to explore but that’s not true. This, for example, is a pretty common album found in many collections that I just kept passing through. One day I finally figured I should see what all the fuss was about. Obviously, in this case, most people bought the album for Blinded by the Light but it was a pleasant surprise to find that there was so much more here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.