Classic: Mannfred Mann´s Earth Band, Watch, 1978
With a career starting in the sixties, Manfred Mann must have seen it all. In the seventies he switched to more complex music, releasing a string of albums that made him even more successful. And in that time it was even possible to get a hit with music like this!
Sung by the ever excellent Chris Thompson, this is a prime example of how intelligent music can be adored by the masses. Besides two evergreens (Bob Dylan´s Mighty Quinn and especially Davy´s On The Road Again), all tracks on offer are quality material that is timeless.
Circles starts the album and sets the mood for all things to come. Starting with Mann´s keyboards, it evolves into a lovely song and the voice of Thompson enchants with ease. The duo of Drowning On Dry Land / Fish Soup is more complex, with extended soloing. But will also make you hit repeat, such is it´s beauty. Chicago Institute is one of the few originals. The opening lines immediately catch your attention and point the way into this fine example of prog combining with pop sensibilities. California starts with acoustic guitar and vocal lines. Underneath comes a lovely bass line and then the synths join in. The mood is mellow, but you try to resist it! The guitar solo by Dave Flett is a biting effort to express real emotions to which it succeeds easily. Between the 2 hit singles the song Martha´s Madman is placed. It is a more up tempo and rocking affair in typical Earth Band manner.
So to all people who only know and own a Best Of compilation, there is a wealth of material to explore from this time frame. Delve in and be amazed!