Another year draws to a close and we will soon be doing the usual overeating thing, not to mention over drinking. Carol and I have I am afraid failed you this year. No Platform End. I do hope however to
put this bit of rambling in the post for those who cannot regularly access our electronic Platform End.
As I said before we hope to produce a couple of Mags next year although the format is as yet
undecided. Until we do something useful to deserve it we will not be taking your money. For now another big thanks to Nigel whose hard work is keeping us alive on the wed site.
There is quite a lot to report. The U.K. gigs next year are I am afraid off as I am told is the South Africa tour for now. The South African Tour was
to be shared with Jethro Tull and as one of their members has broken a limb, for now the tour is cancelled. As far as I can make out the band will
be back on the road in about May 2002 although there are a few gigs to go still this year. By the time this is published, I will have been to the gigs
on the 8th and 9th of December. Good reports are coming in with regard to the revised line up and I hope to catch up and chat to the new drummer soon.
On CD the best of Volume 2 is out in Europe at least. Mostly taken from the regular back catalogue as that was all that was available for this it does
include a couple of CD firsts. Tribal Stats is the single version whilst of course the much requested I Who Have Nothing makes its first CD
appearance as well even if it was taken off record. This release is the last of a long project lead by Rob Corich which includes all the Re-Masters
and the first Best Of. I think I have learnt a great deal from my involvement in this project (which I hope I can demonstrate in the next project, the
4CD boxed set). The project was strongly driven by certain factors. First few studio masters pre 1984 survive in England or Europe and those that
do are mostly are standard as released albums, although we did find an alternative Black and Blue! This made bonus tracks very difficult to find. I
know many find different edits interesting but for me the shorter fade on one version of Spirits is not something I can get excited about. In
searching the world for interesting bonus tracks we did however discover some very exciting things such as the cancelled first album and
unreleased Chapter III album. You are also driven by the constraints put on you by the record company whilst with this band nothing but nothing
gets put out without Manfred's approval. I think the fact he cares so much about what goes out is a very good thing even if there are times when
you wish he didn't! It is my hope that the box, when it comes sometime next year will include some of what we unearthed during the remasters project. A late Xmas treat and I hope well worth the long wait.
Manfred continues to work on the new album which as I have mentioned before already sounds very exciting. I am not sure when Manfred hopes
to finish it but with no Gigs in the early part of next year we can only hope it won't be too long now.
Ian Thompson has been very busy this year. As well as his usual roles at the studio and as tour manager and keyboard tech Ian has been of
immeasurable help in engineering the box helping to find stuff and convincing me of what not to try and include finding and if needed remixing
things. He also took a rest from MMEB recently to manage Rick Wakeman's Russian Tour. No doubt the experience of MMEB's visit there last year will have been of much use.
If you haven't yet got Chris Thompson's new CD then I suggest you give Father Christmas an extra for the Christmas Stocking I doubt any Chris or
Earth Band fan will be disappointed with this offering from Chris. It is a cool collection of heavy and powerful rock music and is by far the best
thing Chris has done in years. What a shame it isn't getting much airplay here. There is even and all too brief appearance of Manfred.
Whilst I would avoid the new version of Do Wah Diddy Diddy out at the moment, R and B but not as we knew it, another song with a big Manfred
connection has just been done by the Stereophonics. I refer of course to Mike D'Abo's wonderful Handbags and Gladrags. The new version for
me is the best yet out doing both Mike's own version and the famous Rod Stewart version on which Mike plays piano. Manfred Mann never
recorded the song on record, although they did perform it a couple of times on the radio as well as in a duet with Julie Felix on her TV show at
around the time Mike penned the song. I can't help feeling there was a missed opportunity here.
Thanks again to Nigel for all is help and to many of you who have offered lots of encouragement and help with the Remasters .
Well that's about all for now folks except of course for Carol and I to wish everyone in the band ,the crew, promoters, tour managers and
engineers, the record company lot and all fans far and wide a very Happy Christmas and a wonderful and I hope peaceful 2002.
Andy & Carol