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(46:10, Esoteric Recordings)
TRACK LIST: 1. C'mon 11:04 2. Kep on Crinting 8:14 3. Bananas 9:25 4. Life on the Road 7:11 5. Bananas Instrumental 7:03 6. Rockford Jam Remix 3:14 LINEUP: Micky Jones – guitar; vocals Clive John – guitar; vocals Phil Ryan – keyboards; vocals Will Youatt – bass; vocals Terry Williams - drums, percussion
Prolusion. Four years after starting out, the hard-working Welsh outfit MAN had established themselves as a popular band, despite numerous line-up changes. With the release of "Be Good to Yourself at Least Once a Day" their career peaked artistically according to many of their more ardent fans, and 3 out of the 4 tracks on this release are seen as compositions both defining the band as well as being among their best tunes ever according to polls and surveys. This album was re-released in November 2007 by the British label Esoteric Records.
Analysis. Man has a somewhat unique musical foundation for a band seen as a progressive rock band. American country rock has been a major influence on their sound, giving their tunes a mellow and laidback atmosphere. Blues rock is an additional inspiration, "Life on the Road" showcasing that influence. And concentrated listening will also suggest that folk and folk rock elements are used in the compositions made by the various incarnations of this group. These influences come together to form a foundation for the music Man wanted to entertain their listeners with. Psychedelic textures, either as melodic solo guitar bursts added to the soundscape or as more or less harmonized play between one or more instruments – acoustic guitar, electric guitar and keyboards – were the main elements added to the basic song structures, giving the compositions a progressive edge when performed. A second very notable trait in Man's musical output, especially when playing live, but also captured very well on this release, was improvisational playing. The four basic tunes on this album, all of them on the long side, for the most part consist of instrumental music with a high degree of improvisational feel to them, sounding like they were recorded live in the studio. Man is skilled at this kind of performance, the interplay is tight and the instruments improvising at any given time always move in a specific direction, the songs constantly evolving to some degree. Although these are high class tunes, and very well performed too, the compositions aren't quite on the level of truly classic progressive songs. They miss that undefinable element transforming them to stellar compositions. It's a good recording, nonetheless, above average in quality. This reissue has been expanded with two bonus tracks, both being previously unreleased. They're not of real importance to the casual buyer, but fans of "The Manband" should take note of that.
Conclusion. A fairly solid album that should appeal to fans of progressive rock with strong psychedelic leanings as it was done in the early 70's. Fans of bands like The Allman Brothers Band and Grateful Dead might also find this one interesting, as the musical style on this album does have some similarities to the music explored by both those bands.
OMB: May 1, 2008
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