A Yawn in Your E-Mail - August 2002
We are all supposed to be celebrating, I am told. If you are not celebrating, Nigel S., here on known as 'Earth Boffin', is only going to get you and make you do something almost if not quite useful with
your lives. So trust me and celebrate one year since 'Earth Boffin' took over the world, that is the world of MMEB on the internet. It's OK for you lot out there in the big world because you do have
lots to celebrate.
Since 'Boffin' took control you have had better pictures, good articles, almost up to date news (and
with this band that is an achievement), in other words a vastly superior electronic magazine better than anything we
did on paper. Spare a thought however for this tormented soul. Just as I finish one 'Yawn' he is on the phone asking me for the next one. Demanding I check out his latest boffin inspired innovation, or check out some
(see the bottom of this page) such as the new album is finished. That one wasn't true of course.
There is none of this laid-back shall we get a mag out this year from the Boffin. You can understand why we, the Taylor family dread his calls, or
visits (for one of Carol's famous Sunday diners), but you lot might think to drop the old message board a line and let him know just how much you
do appreciate his efforts. Nobody knows more than me what a thankless task it is and Nigel has done you all proud. So let him know how much
you appreciate him, if only so he goes on tormenting me. Nigel you are doing a cracking job, which I know from all the feedback I get, it is
appreciated by the band and the fans. Keep up the good work and you may get another Sunday roast.
How did you get to be interested in Manfred's music and how big has been the impact on your life? I bet there are some good stories out there. In
my case I regret it all started during one of those long hot summers we used to get every year, 1964 to be exact. You would probably find if you
checked back now that the summer 1964 had the highest rain fall and lowest temperatures since records began. Anyway, there was this band
named after the keyboard player heading for a No.1 and I loved the song - 'Do Wah Diddy Diddy'. My sister fancied the singer I didn't fancy any of
them and didn't even buy the record! I regret to say we had it recorded on reel to reel tape from Alan Freemans' 'Pick of the Pops'. I did buy the next
one and the next. I bought at least one in the bargain basement bin and stole my sisters copy of 'The One in the Middle' EP. This still has pride of
place in my collection because it's the only thing I ever stole from her! I ended up getting most of the records and I did like the hits. I don't think that
the hits, good though they were, would have maintained an interest over four decades. It was the blues and the jazz that got into my soul. Before I
knew it I was looking for other blues and jazz artists. Some of these were far better at it than the Manfred's, some had probably inspired Hugg and Mann in the first place.
As Manfred moved away from pop into jazz and rock I moved with him. The music I was buying changed to more modern rock jazz artists although
I was also discovering the likes of Graham Bond, Alexis Corner and other pioneers of British blues and jazz. I became a big fan of a group called
Colosseum lead by one of the worlds greatest drummers Jon Hiseman. They created an almost unique blend of jazz rock as good now as it ever
was. I don't think I say that because I live in the past, I just like what I like, new or old. I later became a big fan of Hiseman's wife, Barbara
Thompson long before Manfred started to use her talents. I think I have always loved music and am without doubt frustrated by my own inability to
play or make music myself. It is probably one of the most important aspects of my life. There were other influences. I loved the music of The
George Mitchell Minstrels in those far of days better known as the Black and White Minstrels. It never crossed my mind black people might be
offended by white guys blacking up to try to capture just a little of the magic of their music. I loved Gilbert and Sullivan, probably because my
parents did. I think a jazz rock comic opera would be wonderful. For now we will content ourselves with Jasper Carrott as 'Co Co' in the 'Mikado'
at the end of August. I can't however get away from the fact that 'Do Wah Diddy' was the start of my musical awareness. Mike Hugg introduced
me to the vibes, Mike Vickers to the Sax, Paul Jones to the harmonica and Manfred to jazz piano and organ.
Something strange is happening now. My son Thomas who is almost fifteen has been slightly over-exposed for a lad of such tender age to the
music of MMEB. He is still proud of the day he attended a rehearsal without the offered ear plugs! Over the years we have listened to lots of
different music. My sister, who no longer fancies Paul Jones, encourages classical and even opera, and it is Carol's dream that he will play violin
or piano in a world famous orchestra. Tom however has the bug. Tom has got jazz. I am told by those who know about these things that he is
good too. He sounds good to me but I'm his Dad. He plays piano in a big band, swing band and a jazz quartet, as well as backing rock guitarists.
His improvisation is wonderful to hear, he feels the music. He said recently that when playing classical stuff he has to work very hard to get it
right, but given a jazz piece his fingers seem to know where to go. There have been many influences such as Robbie's Swing album and like I did
with Manfred checking out the source material such as Frank, Dean and Sammy. He is the first to admit however that one of the culprits is a
certain South African keyboard player who notwithstanding a few well chosen words of encouragement now and again, has over the years listened to hundreds of piano, organ, and Moog solos.
Then there is all the fun I have had answering questions, writing this stuff, compiling albums out on the road. I like it when Manfred and his band
are innovating, or at least experimenting, taking risks. I am so looking forward to Manfreds next album. It may be great, it may not. It will be different,
and who knows it may send me off exploring a whole new strand of music like Plains Music did. Check out Jan Garbarek if you already haven't. I
wonder just how many families have been so affected by one simple pop hit. 'Do Wah Diddy Diddy' has a lot to answer for whether it was raining or not that year.
Yawn Hot News August 2002
I had a quite lengthy chat with Manfred today, the objective being to update you all on what is going on. There is in fact quite a lot going on at the
moment so here is some news on the new album, change in the band, The Workhouse and Blinded by the Light. There is also the box but I won't
give that or the four CDs or the never before heard tracks like Lead Me To Water, To the Limit, Summer In The City, Dirty City, Better Place.........a
plug again until I have a release date which I don't yet. You will just have to look forward a bit longer to hearing Chapter III do Messin' (its so good) or The Earth Band before they were the Earth Band..
What we all want to hear most is the new album. Manfred is finding it very difficult playing so many gigs and getting the album finished. It is
particularly frustrating for me because I have heard bits and really liked it. It is very different. Most of the tracks are based around classical
themes. Manfred said it was about three quarters finished but wasn't sure when he would finish it.
Most of you will know that Manfred is moving to a as yet unnamed Studio by the river. He is not sure if he will retain the Workhouse name or give
the new place a new name. He is also not sure when he will move to the new place, however The Workhouse is likely to survive for another nine
months or so. If any one wishes to visit before then and see the place then if you let me or Nigel know we will try and organise a few visits when there is nothing going on there.
Pete May and some of you may know this already is leaving MMEB at least for the time being at the end of August. He is due to go on tour with Cliff
Richard. His place will be taken by Geoff Dunn a well known and much in demand drummer who has played with such artists as Roger Chapman
and Joe Cocker. I am sure you will all join me in wishing Pete well and giving Geoff a big cheer when you get to see the Band.
Funk Star Delux who I think are described as a funk jazz dance band have reworked Blinded by the Light with both Chris and Manfred on vocals
and also featuring a Manfred keyboard solo. This sounds a big project. Manfred was off, I think he said to Denmark (but I haven't written it down
so I could be wrong) to make the video. I have no dates for this as yet but it sounds like we could have a hit record again, Manfred is considering
doing something with Sexual Jealousy with Funk Star Delux as well. In any case he is reworking this song for the new album.
And that is about it. There are supposed to be some UK gigs and I forgot to ask Manfred about his rumoured guest appearance on keyboards for Uriah Heep. You will just have to log on next time.